Sec­ond­hand Su­per­star

NPhoto - - Nikopedia - Jeff Rad­cliffe, via email

I’m af­ter a wide-an­gle zoom lens for my D750. Can you sug­gest a cost-ef­fec­tive sec­ond­hand op­tion?

Ja­son says… I’d go for the Nikon 17-35mm. Un­like old-school ‘D’ type lenses, this fea­tures an in­te­gral AF-S (Silent wave) aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem. It’s achunky lens that also goes large on build qual­ity. This wide-an­gle pro-grade zoom is a real heavy­weight. All the bar­rel parts and the mount­ing plate are made of metal rather than plas­tic. As such it’s big and hefty, mea­sur­ing 83x106mm and tip­ping the scales at 745g. Even so, it feels very well matched to Nikon’s FX (full-frame) bod­ies.

The op­ti­cal path in­cludes two ED (Ex­tra-low Dis­per­sion) el­e­ments to boost sharp­ness and con­trast, while min­i­miz­ing colour fring­ing, and three as­pher­i­cal el­e­ments. Thanks to IF (In­ter­nal Fo­cus­ing) the front el­e­ment nei­ther ex­tends nor ro­tates through­out the fo­cus­ing range, the near limit of which is im­pres­sively close, at just 0.28m. The fil­ter at­tach­ment thread is a con­ve­nient size at 77mm.

Im­age qual­ity is im­pec­ca­ble in terms of sharp­ness and con­trast, with good con­trol over dis­tor­tion, colour fring­ing, ghost­ing and flare. Nat­u­rally, some sec­ond­hand ex­am­ples are nearly 20 years old now and have been heav­ily used, but the lens is still in pro­duc­tion, so fairly new ex­am­ples are also avail­able, which means it’s worth shop­ping around.

Key points

Full metal jacket The bar­rel, fil­ter at­tach­ment ring and mount­ing plate are all made of metal, which adds to the lens’s high-qual­ity feel. The zoom and fo­cus rings are also metal, with non-slip rub­ber coat­ings. Fo­cus scale There’s a fo­cus dis­tance scale at the rear, and the fo­cus ring is at the front of the bar­rel, but there are no depth-of-field mark­ings. Aper­ture ring As with other ‘D’ type lenses, this lens has a me­chan­i­cal aper­ture ring that needs to be locked at its min­i­mum set­ting (f/22) on DSLRs. Do­ing this en­ables the cam­era to con­trol the aper­ture. Specs El­e­ments/groups: 13/10 (2x ED) Aut­o­fo­cus: Ring-type ul­tra­sonic Min­i­mum fo­cus dis­tance: 0.28m Max­i­mum mag­ni­fi­ca­tion: 0.22x Fil­ter thread: 77mm Sup­plied accs: Hood, case Di­men­sions: 83x106mm Weight: 745g

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