Recs for CHEAP wide-angle for Nikon AI/AIS camera?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by grruffbowwow, Jan 29, 2007.

  1. grruffbowwow

    grruffbowwow Guest

    I have an old Nikon FG-20, ca. 1982 manual 35mm camera that I've
    recently taken a shine to, nice and light, works great with some old
    B&W film I found. I presently have a 50mm f/1.8E and a cheap Quantaray
    70-210 f/3.5-4.5 that came with the camera; they both work ok, but I
    would like to get a wide angle, in the past I have usually used
    28-35mm almost exclusively. Given that I have no money for this, I've
    been searching for a sub-$50 off-brand lens.

    I like sharp, and fast aperture; I also like zoom, but I'd also be
    willing to get a prime if it was fast and sharp. Unfortunately, I can
    find virtually no reviews of these lenses on the net; when I do they
    usually say something like, "not as sharp as the Nikkor (or other
    really expensive lens), cheaply made" - but I knew that, I just want a
    cheap lens to play with.

    So, what I've come up with so far is a Vivitar 28-105 f/2.8-3.8 Series
    1 - it's got a nice range but it doesn't seem to have ANY good
    reviews. There's a Vivitar 28-85 F2.8-3.8, and also a Sigma 28-70
    F2.8-4 UC and 28-85 F3.5-4.5 SIGMA II, that I can't find out anything
    about at all. And then there's a variety of 28mm f/2.8 primes by
    Vivitar, Sigma, Tokina,. and Soligar..... All in the right price

    So, any thoughts? Thanks for your time!
    grruffbowwow, Jan 29, 2007
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  2. grruffbowwow

    Doug Robbins Guest

    No free lunch.
    Doug Robbins, Jan 30, 2007
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  3. grruffbowwow

    Paul Furman Guest

    That's where I'd look. You won't find reviews on cheap lenses, trial &
    error is probably the only approach, see if you can get a return
    policy... but at that price range shipping x3 is going to equal the lens

    But anyways the primes are more likely to satisfy than old cheap zooms.
    Paul Furman, Jan 30, 2007
  4. grruffbowwow

    grruffbowwow Guest

    Thanks for the reply - I kind of thought so too, but I'm hoping
    someone can steer me to a "gem in the rough" so to speak. All I can
    find out about cheapo primes report bad things - serious coma and CA,
    unsharp edges at all apertures, etc (on the Vivitar 28 f/2.8; nothing
    exists on the others AFAIK). If I'm going to put up with that I might
    as well get the Vivitar 28-105 and be done - at least it's got one-
    lens walking-around potential.

    Oh well, it was a long shot (as Mr. Robbins pointed out); if anyone
    does know of this magical lens I'm looking for, please let me
    know.... ;-)

    (if this is a repeat, I apologize - Google groups is a bit unsettled
    at the moment....)
    grruffbowwow, Jan 30, 2007
  5. grruffbowwow

    Paul Furman Guest

    I'll bet that zoom isn't f/2.8 though, that's what primes buy you. Some
    people like the wacky bad lens look, like Holgas & LensBabies. They
    probably have a nice little sharp spot in the middle for portraits. Go
    for one of the 28mm/2.8 primes.
    Paul Furman, Jan 31, 2007
  6. grruffbowwow

    Yuki Guest

    I own a cheap 24mm 1:2.8 branded Carl Zeis Jena II manufactured under license in
    Japan, I believe by Cosina, that's a pretty decent lens, specially as I paid EUR
    25 for it in as new condition.
    Mine is Canon FD mount but I'm sure the it was also manufactured in Nikon mount.
    Yuki, Jan 31, 2007
  7. grruffbowwow

    Guest Guest

    Vivitar made a nice 28mm f/2.5 lens. I'm not sure if it was available as an
    AI though, all the ones I've seen/owned/used were non-AI.
    Guest, Feb 1, 2007
  8. grruffbowwow

    Tony Polson Guest

    The "Carl Zeiss Jena" lenses that were made in Japan were manufactured
    by Sigma Corporation. The 24mm was not a bad lens. It was reasonably
    sharp across the frame when stopped down, but it has quite severe
    barrel distortion. Still, not a bad buy for Eur. 25.

    The use of the "Carl Zeiss Jena" brand name was a cynical move by the
    UK importers, C. Z. Scientific Instruments Limited, who owned the
    rights to the "Carl Zeiss Jena" brand in Western Europe. Despite the
    favourable exchange rate with the East German Mark, manufacture in
    Japan allowed a much lower price point.

    The Japanese-made "Carl Zeiss Jena" lenses did not resemble genuine
    Carl Zeiss products in any way except the name. They were 100%
    Japanese Sigma designs. Thankfully, they were made before Sigma went
    even further downmarket with some truly appalling optics, but they
    still compared very badly with the genuine Zeiss product.

    Unfortunately, the sale of cheap Japanese lenses with the "Carl Zeiss
    Jena" brand devalued the Jena company's reputation, all because of the
    short term cynical motives of the UK importers.
    Tony Polson, Feb 1, 2007
  9. grruffbowwow

    Yuki Guest

    Perhaps I was not clear enough but I used "cheap" and "branded" to express that
    this lens it's only Zeiss in the name, made from plastic, with lousy tolerances
    in focus helicoid.

    My guess about the manufacturer was because the locking ring is identical to one
    in a Vivitar lens, alledgely made by Cosina according to the serial number.

    In any case I had looked to some old pictures made in a narrow alley, fully
    open, and geometrical distortion is not so obvious although it shows strong
    vignetting and looses sharpness away from center. As I own also the Canon 24mm
    1:2 lens I have some reference.
    Yuki, Feb 1, 2007
  10. grruffbowwow

    grruffbowwow Guest

    In the end I ordered a Tokina 28mm f/2.8 AIS, it'll do the job as long
    as it's not trashed, and it was cheap. So now I'll carry the FG-20
    with 28 and 50mm, and it'll fit in a couple of pockets. Loaded with
    Arista Edu Ultra 200 (Fomapan 200) pushed to 800 it should produce
    some interesting street scenes, nice and gritty. Thanks for the
    replies, folks, it was helpful!
    grruffbowwow, Feb 1, 2007
  11. grruffbowwow

    Robert Guest

    WHy not buy a used AI Nikkor from ebay? recent examples:

    AI nikkor 28mm f/2.8 £36 item 180077429433
    AI nikkor 28mm f/2.5 £24 item 230077148791

    Robert, Feb 2, 2007
  12. grruffbowwow

    Desdinova Guest

    They made three or four versions of this lens. The *original*
    version, 67mm filter ring, the rubber grip has sprialish grips on it
    and a large embossed 1 on it, is a very good lens. It is also
    sometimes hard to find in a sea of the newer models.

    I'm a fan of the Tamron 28mm BBAR MC f/2.5 in the adaptall mount, this
    does not have CRC. It's rather warm and very sharp... and very
    cheap. I think I got mine BGN graded from KEH for under $30. When I
    got it, it looked like it had never been mounted. There's also a very
    useful lens hood availible, I found it on ebay, I believe, for a
    couple bucks.
    I'd grab the tamron 28 online and keep an eye out at pawns/your local
    craigslist/epay for the Ser1. That vivitar was my go-to lens for

    Take care,
    Desdinova, Feb 2, 2007
  13. grruffbowwow

    grruffbowwow Guest

    I looked for that lens, it's the original one I wanted; but around
    here they're running U.S.$70-120; the 28mm f/3.5 runs about $70-100.
    Too rich for me right now.

    eBay has been very spotty, for every decent piece of equipment I
    manage to win, I also get hosed. The prices are being driven up to
    retail or higher for anything that seems worthwhile, anyways; the
    Tokina I got for $30 shipped runs $50-100 on eBay. And buying anything
    as precision as a lens on eBay is probably a bad idea around here -
    too risky for the little or nothing I'd save. Right now I'm waiting
    for an eBay seller to ship a bulk loader I bought over a week ago;
    he's not replying to my email queries, AFAIK he's dead. Good thing it
    was only a few bucks.
    grruffbowwow, Feb 2, 2007
  14. I have seen them go for $25 in the US. Damn good lens
    for $25.
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Feb 2, 2007
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