Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1997/01/25

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Subject: Re: zooms on RFs, Nikkor 85/2
From: Stanley E Yoder <>
Date: Sat, 25 Jan 1997 07:49:33 -0500 (EST)

    Putting a zoom on an RF body not only raises the problem of a
tracking viewfinder, but of the lens' linkage to the RF, since most
zooms focus with the front element (or group) and nothing moves in/out
back at the lens mount. And even if that could be overcome by some
internal linkage in the lens (so that front-element movement moved an RF
finger in the body), many zooms do not focus at the same index point on
a given distance, throughout their zoom range. Technically that makes
them variable-focal-length lenses, since 'true' zooms hold focus.

    Now, about the Nikkor 85: I have Moose's tome and value it, but the
'Nikon Compendium', written by two Germans, has more technical
evaluations. Of the 85/2 they say, in part: "......a great lens matched
to the portrait photographers's demands by its intentionally reduced
contrast........this lens is not well suited for on-the-spot photography
where the full aperture is often used, as well as high-speed films
delivering low contrast themselves. The desired crisp sharpness is
simply missing in these shots, but together with the contrasty
Kodachrome 25 it demonstrates its high resolution." Make of that what
you will.  Of the earlier 85/1.8: ".......A six-element design
delivering an excellent degree of sharpness and contrast....."   I will
say that my old NAI 85/1.8 is my favorite Nikkor, with the 105/2.5 right
behind. The 80-200/4.5 zoom (2nd version) is also a good performer,
though long/heavy by today's standards. The later f4 is allegedly even

Stan Yoder