This 3.9× zoom lens is made in Japan and was introduced in 1984, long before there were digital cameras. It was designed for film cameras like the Nikon F3. While a new design in 1984, its optics lived-on for a longtime as an autofocus lens for cameras like the Nikon F4 and F5. Both the Ai-S and AF versions were discontinued in 1998. There were approximately 92,000 Ai-S units manufactured.
It is hard to keep the EXIF data on Nikon DSLR cameras accurate thanks to it being a variable aperture all-manual zoom lens (no electronics).
The cumbersome macro function is at f=135mm — as it should be — and it is quite good for a zoom lens like this. The 35-105mm Ai-S and 35-200mm Ai-S also performed well at their "macro" distances. When entering the macro function, this lens shortens its focal length and probably its optical formula is optimized for near focusing.
A lens like this could have benefited greatly from aspherical elements and ED glass. But, alas, this was made at a time before asperical elements existed and before ED glass elements were as common in lens design as they are today.
Distortion of the barrel type is present on the wide end and pincushion distortion on the long end. This is not unexpected.
This is an Ai-S lens meaning it will work in program and shutter priority mode on some older model film cameras. It takes 62mm filters and the front element turns as it is focused making use of a polarizer difficult. It has a macro function ring and when turned a reproduction ratio of 1:3.8 can be achieved, which is better than the 35-200mm and 35-105mm lenses achieve. There is an infrared focus index for all focal lengths, a focus scale and a depth of field scale. The focus collar has a short throw like most Ai-S lenses. This is an all metal lens with rubber focus/zoom collar so as to prevent "brassing" as is typical on early Nikkor lenses. The zoom does note creep as it is pointed up and down.
The optics are spot on for such an old design so it's no wonder why it endured so long as an Ai-S and AF lens.
This lens can take a Nikon TC-14 and TC-14B if not focused to infinity (∞). It can accept the Nikon TC-300 and TC-301 teleconverters if an extension tube is used. It does take the TC-14A, TC-201 and TC-200 teleconverters without real issue.
Generally, this lens does not impress when used with teleconverters, particularly when used with the TC-201. There is very little vignetting added when using these teleconverters.
Focal length: 35-135mm
Maximum aperture: f/3.5-4.5
Minimum aperture: f/22-32
ø62mm filter ring
Lens construction: 15 elements in 14 groups
Picture angle: 62° - 18°
Distance scale: 1.5m/4.9ft. to infinity with infrared focus index
Macro mode at f=35mm: 0.4m/1.3ft. - 1:3.8 (0.26×) reproduction ratio