This is out of the curiosity cabinet. I got this for under 50 used more for curiosity than anything else. It is a manual focus lens that can focus closer and have a reproduction ratio of 1:4 at 35mm and 1:5.5 at 105mm, letting you focus somewhat closer but not as much as what you are used to from a real macro lens that manages 1:1 or 1:2 ratios. In fact the Nikon 35 has also a reproduction ratio of 1:4. So technically it is hard to call this a macro, however it has two modes of operation, in one the minimum focus distance is more than a meter, and when you move to its macro mode, this drops significantly to about 30cm.
Working with a mostly manual lens is quite educational, but maybe a bit too overwhelming for someone with less experience (consider that 50 years ago, there was nothing better). There are a couple of things that this lens has, which I think is very helpful. The first is a hard stop for infinity. Basically if you turn the focus ring all the way to the end, the focus will be at infinity, which is what you want when you are taking landscape shots (and for astrophotography, but that is an other story). This is not as common as you think, even some manual focus lenses have this a bit less than the maximum. The second is the feel of the focus ring. Unlike some of the more modern lenses, the turn on the focus ring is very precise allowing you to focus easily. This is great as the camera is not doing it automatically for you. Oh and I also love the unconventional shape.
|Good for||Close ups, plants, daily|
|New or used||Not so common, but can be had for very cheap (under 50)|
It is a decent lens for walking around and challenging yourself. Manual focus lenses require quite a bit of patience, they are not your typical click and shoot lenses, but dealing with such a lens is rewarding, once you get around the initial frustration. It is a bit of a longer version of Nikon 24-70 (and slower), so it can serve more or less all your needs, and will let you also come closer (not usual macro range, but still), very good for flowers for example.
This is essentially a 50mm-160mm lens on an APS-C. While on a full frame it works quite fine, any cheaper kit lens like Nikon 18-105 would cover the same range and more on an APS-C, so it would certainly not be filling a gap you have. However, this is a very good lens for a day out, it does not go very wide or very long, but covers a decent range. It is a great challenge lens, you will need a bit of patience to get the most out of it, and where a modern lens gives you a perfect shot most of the time, you will have to try a bit harder. Only for those who want to experiment a bit, knowing full well that most zooms would easily cover this range and be easier to handle.
Close focus at 35mm. Notice the falloff at the edges, and how at this shot, it actually sort of looks good.
This is to visualize the close focus at 35mm. This is what a regular Nikon 35 also manage by the way.
My dear furry companion [Tina the Hedgehog https://twitter.com/TinaTheHedgehog] shows off the portrait capability of this lens.
On an APS-C camera the wide end of the lens is actually not that wide, but it still remains quite usable.
It is challenging to get your shots right with a lens that does not have all the gizmos of a modern lens. There is no autofocus, no image stabilization, and this is not a particularly fast lens at f/3.5, here in this shot stepped down to f/5.6. This is a 1:1 center crop from File:nikon35-105_flower.jpg. Usually the problems with your shots are not due to your lenses. I bought this lens for less than 50 (used), and I am not sure it could come out any better;.
These pages are for Amateur Photographers and not really for seasoned photographers and professionals. I have no affiliation or commercial interest with any brand/make. I write from my own experience. I ended up using mainly Nikon, so I am more familiar with this brand than others. See price for notes on pricing as well as photography related links.