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Nikon Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8 lens

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Mr Ken is right on this (btw, nearly all of his old stuff is astonishing reasonable), this was once an expensive pro lense.

of course it's getting a bit old now and not all of this antique glasses are in superb optical condition, but hey, there's no risk - you could allways sell it without loosing a fortune.

I did not shoot it, but my elder friends did in the days of slide films and the fact that my pics were better has nothing to do with this lense. :-)

 

 

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I shot a good amount of footage with the 35-70 over a couple years. It can be a stellar lens. It can be a whopping pain, too.

The real issue with this lens is the veiling flare. I found I needed a matte box with a top flag almost all the time, and I could use the flag as almost a "flare level" knob.

There were some critical green screen shots with some light sources outside the (APS-C) sensor crop and viewfinder - but being an FX lens, we were still getting flare - the light sources were still hitting the lens and being blocked by the smaller crop. Very minor flare, but we just couldn't get sharp focus until we really flagged the hell out of everything. It's very hard to get sharp focus on any high key scene (some examples may be less plagued by this - but my glass was very clear and clean, lower key stuff looked sharp).

I'd say for the money (often under $300) it's a nice lens, it's just a killer-fabulous macro lens, in many situations it's gorgeous... and in some it just won't work.

You may not "need" this with the focal length coverage you have - I'd say, get a 100mm 2.8 Series E if you feel a need to be longer (the best of the E's - just avoid the 28!) at a budget. Still, I shot this entire video with the 35-70, using the top flag as described (except the crane shots from behind the audience, those were all an AC-130):

 

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Really helpful seeing the example and hearing the positives.  I guess I'm just surprised more people aren't shooting with them.  I tend to shoot with the (rented) canon 24-70mm 2.8 that it seems everyone has... but was hoping to find a decent alternative.  thanks!

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Regarding flares, that's nearly always a problem with 2.8 midrange zooms, even the modern 24-70 suffers occasionally to some degree. While I strongly rejected cheap, plastic midrange zooms with variable apertures (uuurg) for more than two decades, ironically I fall in love with the old 28-75 3,5-4,5 AFD last year.

Normally I prefer primes, but when I found a dusty copy of this little plastic gem I gave it a try just out of curiosity and was much surprised: Apart from it's price, weight and pocket size, this baby did a great daytime job shooting in and against the sun. Colour rendition and sharpness was not that bad on my D800, I had no problems selling a few prints for mags. For 50-70,- it's highly recommended, if you could live with a 'darkroom' (most of my daytime shots are around f=5,6 anyway). Manuell focussing on Nikon's AF(D) plastic autofocus lenses is not that great to be honest, but still much better than the modern G generation which didn't have any hard stoppers at all. It has a rotating front lens.

At least it's a phantastic backup for me as I like to shoot in hail, snow, rain, on stormy sand beaches and other dangerous places for expensive gear, where most people would be even recluctant just to walk outdoors.

 

AIS 35-70 / 3,5 (?) As an alternative, you could try one of these former pro all-manuel lenses.

(Btw, the F-mount is often classified as a disadvantage, but in my experience you will find enough vintage quality Nikkors for your needs, at least in the most important 28-100 mm range)

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Really helpful seeing the example and hearing the positives.  I guess I'm just surprised more people aren't shooting with them.  I tend to shoot with the (rented) canon 24-70mm 2.8 that it seems everyone has... but was hoping to find a decent alternative.  thanks!

​Just don't forget the negatives. Nowadays I shoot with the more modern (and more huge) Nikkor 28-70 2.8 - it's my "video" lens maybe 75% of the time -  and I have zero flare trouble (when I want flares, they're very pretty and controllable). The 35-70 is pretty notorious for white-out veiling flare, a different beast altogether. Some examples are worse than others, but I've worked with two of them and they were both equally prone. You can do great work with them, but eventually you'll find a case where they'll bite you - I'd keep some primes in your bag for those occasions.

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