Thursday, March 31, 2011

The User’s Review: Nikon Nikkor 28 - 80 mm zoom lenses D vs. G

I summarized the comparison between D and G models in the following figure and table. The advantages of each model are highlighted in the table.

Figure Nikon 28 - 80 mm D and G zoom lenses. The shorter ones are always G model.

Table Nikon AF 28 – 80mm D and G lens
Nikon AF 28-80mm
Production period
1995 – 1999
2001 – 2006
Color version
Black or silver
Optic elements
8 in 8 groups
6 in 6 groups
Aperture ring with lock
Yes, 3.5 - 22
Maximum aperture (f)
3.5 - 5.6
Diaphragm blade #
Manual focusing ring
Focusing ring movement
Yes with zooming
Focusing scale
Close focus (m)
Lens mount
Filter size (mm)
58, rotates
58, rotates
Weight (g)
Lens size (ะค & length, mm)
63, 57 - 113
66.21, 64.00 - 82.03
Full retraction at zoom length (mm)
between 38 - 50
at 50

Among D lenses, there are several versions. I see a narrower focus ring on D.  The problem with these lenses is that they are not durable because of most of moving PLASTIC parts. It’s common to see loose zoom and focus rings on old lenses. 

If I was given a pick of only one of them, I go with D lens, simply because it has an A-ring, which can be used on older Nikon bodies.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The User’s Review: Nikon MB-17 Battery Grip for N65 Camera

Fig. 1. Nikon MB-17 battery grips with a battery drawer for 4 AA batteries. The white piece is the cover of grip connecting pole.

Nikon MB-71 is well-designed and user-friendly battery grip, made in China, paired with Nikon N65 camera (Figs. 1 - 3).

Fig. 2. Nikon MB-17 battery grips paired with two color-versions of Nikon N65 cameras. 

Why do I like to have it attached to my N65? I believe that there are at least three reasons. First, for a long run, the attached battery grip, which accepts 4 AA batteries, will save $ for me from the CR2 batteries required by Nikon N65. Second, the grip helps balance the camera with lens. And third, it is more comfortable for my hands to hold them together. One of my friends told me the fourth: you would look more professional when holding a camera with a grip. Do you have the same feeling?

Fig. 3. Back view of a Nikon MB-17 battery grip attached to a black N65. 

MB-17 has no any camera control buttons on it. I am looking for a Canon PB-300 battery grip for my Elan 7NE because there are a second set of control buttons including a shutter release on this Canon grip.  

Friday, March 11, 2011

The User’s Review: The differences between Pentax SMC DA L and DA II (18 - 55mm) Lenses

Some people believe that the DA II lens produces better images. And the two models do have differences physically. At this time, I have both lenses side by side to demonstrate them (Figs 1 - 2 and Table).

Fig. 1. Front view of DA II and DA L. See the different colors of reflections caused by two kinds of front element coating.

Table Physical differences between SMC Pentax DA L and DA II (18 - 55mm)

Quick shift (QS)
Super protect coating SP
Mount ring
Distance scale
Weight (g)

The key difference is the quick shift (QS) in DA II. The lens releases the gear with the focus-driving motor in camera body and allows manual adjustment of focusing once the auto-focusing finishes. I use QS for two purposes (1) manual focus adjustment if I can do better than auto-focusing, and (2) for storage, I set the distance ring to infinity to reduce the lens length, without switching to the manual focusing mode on camera body.

Fig. 2. Side and mount views of DA L and DA II

The DA L lens was sold online for USD 37 including shipping, on May 20, 2011.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The User’s Review: Nikon N65 (F65) film slr camera released in 2000

I own several Nikon N65 bodies (all body versions, see below), and prefer to use them than my N75 because of the bright pentaprism viewfinder in N65.

N65 (= F65) has two color versions (black vs. black-silver) either with or without date print (Figs. 1 - 3). The black version is less common and priced higher in the second-hand market.

Fig. 1. various versions of N65 bodies

N65, released in 2000 and made in Thailand, is of lightweight (395g or 400g for date version), compact design (139.5 x 92.5 x 65.5mm, 68mm thickness of date version) and higher quality (9/10).

Nikon Multi-CAM900 autofocus module with AF-Assistant light and 3D six-segment Matrix Exposure Metering System with auto or manual selected Centre-Weighted Metering are installed in N65 (Nikon N75/F75 and N80/F80 uses the Multi-CAM900 too). Lens servo includes single servo AF, continuous servo AF (only in sport mode) and manual focus. There are 10 exposure modes (M, A, S, P(auto-multi program), Night, Sports Continuous, Close-up, Landscape, Potrait and Auto). My understanding on the Auto mode is like point-and-shoot if AF is set.

Fig. 2. Top view of N65

The LCD panel on top (Fig. 2) and the bottom display of viewfinder provide me information more than enough. Can you get a picture you want if all the values show/are set right? No. These tell you only the science part but you still need the art part to create your own image.

Detailed information on N65 can be found in its user’s manual, which can be downloaded at $0 from the internet. Below are some points that, I think, are important to its users:

Focus area/AF-assistant light button is located above the lens release button on the outside wall of lens mount. Since this is a single button, you have to follow the preset cycle to set the focus point you want. The good thing is, with the same button, you can turn off the AF-assistant light when you want.

N65 has a depth-of-field preview button, located right under the AF-assistant light. This light can be turned of by pressing down the focus area selection button (located right above the lens release button) while focusing.

Auto-set DX Film of ISO 32 – 3200 is usable. Film advance speed is < 2.5 fps. No infrared film can be used with N65 because of its infrared sensor used to locate the film frame.

Fig. 3. Data back of N65. A CR2025 cell is needed to imprint date.

To power N65, two 3V CR2 batteries are needed. MB-17 battery grip using 4 AAs is available at several USD (used) to $20 (new). A separate CR2025 cell is installed on the film door for date printing. On my N75D, the two CR2s do everything.

Immediate or 2-second-delay release remote modes can be chosen on N65. I prefer these timing options to be set on the remote (like my Canon RC-1), which is easier for user.

Why do I like to own and use N65? I am answering this question by lining up my N65, N75 and N80 by my notebook.
1. Easy to use, with many functions (settings) including point-to-shoot. N65 has one command dial. Why do you need two like on N80 if one can do all?

2. Bright viewfinder. It’s a conventional optical one in N65 (vs. electrical-optical viewfinder in N75 and N80, which needs power to ‘light up’).

3. Remote control for N65 (and N75, not for N80).

4. Small and lighter weight to carry around.

5. Low cost and high capacity (N65 is the little brother of N80, and is more different from N75, whose brother is N55). If yours does not work any more or is lost, buy another one.

6. Lower cost and easy-to-find battery grip, compatible with AA batteries, which reduce your cost for a long term.

Over the years, the common problems developed with N65 include broken film door latch, mis-functional button of shutter release, lost AF and failed flash. Check these issues while you are looking for a used N65.