Nikon 35-105

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An older macro zoom

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.

My Nikon 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5
Price Very cheap
Weight Moderate, 500g
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.


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.