80-200 Zoom Nikkor- The Lens That Changed How Photographers Looked At Zooms

80-200 on the FM

80-200 on the FM

I have never been a huge fan of zooms. The convenience of a bunch of focal lengths usually comes at a price, most notably, aperture speed. There are a lot of other compromises as well. Size, convenience of use, moving parts, more elements, and sometimes, inferior glass. These were some of the issues Nikon photographers wrestled well into the 60’s. in 1969, Nikon introduced the first version of their 80-200 f/4.5 Zoom Nikkor. It single handedly changed the 35mm world , and perception of zoom lenses, maybe forever.

This lens was scooped up at this Spring’s Photographica for a whopping $15.00. It has the original user’s name engraved on it, and like virtually all “push pull” Nikkor zooms of this vintage, it suffers from all out, full blown, lens creep. The same grip you use to zoom in and out is also used to focus, and there is an internal piece of felt that almost always broke down. If held upside down, the lens barrel will slide right down to 80mm, with virtually no resistance at all. I rectified that with a couple of pieces of gaffers tape. And, sorry Richard, I painted out your name. A little bit of cleaning of the front and rear element, and a yellow Hoya filter, and ready to fly. This version is the “C” version, indicating additional coatings of the glass. And, it was originally pre-Ai, but factory Ai converted, as evident by the second smaller aperture scale to accommodate ADR (Aperture Direct Readout), and the Ai coupling. Richard broke off the rabbit ears, so no metering on the F or F2. But F3, FE2, FM, and yes, D300? Meters and indexes perfectly.

80 200 D300

Mounts, indexes, and meters on the D300.

The lens is insanely sharp, almost too much so. The maximum aperture of f/4.5 really turned out not at all to be as bad as I thought it would be. Even at f/4.5, it is crisp and punchy. And, 400 speed film almost seems made for it. It is built like a tank externally. All metal, decades before plastic invaded the consumer Nikon zooms, and photographers had to pay a hefty premium for successors, such as the 70-200 f/2.8 VR. This was certainly the lens that kicked the more professional zooms off, and back in the day, this was the one photographers lusted for. Easy to see why. A few samples from last month, in historic Concord, MA, with the F3. Semi-stand developed in Rodinal-

Minuteman Statue, Concord, MA The lens aperture was stopped down to a fairly small aperture here.

Minuteman Statue, Concord, MA The lens aperture was stopped down to a fairly small aperture here.

Beautiful tree in historic Concord graveyard downtown, wide open aperture.

Beautiful tree in historic Concord graveyard downtown, wide open aperture.

The sharpness and speed of Ilford HP5 is a real nice match for this lens.

The sharpness and speed of Ilford HP5 is a real nice match for this lens. Old North Bridge.

Get one of these lenses, get one that is cheap. Like all older lenses, check for fungus, element separation, scratches, rubbing and cleaning marks, and general condition. But I don’t think I’d pay more than $20-30 for one. And have a blast with it. Not all zooms are bad.

Memorial Day

Statue that commemorates the battle at the North Bridge, inscribed with verse from Ralph Emerson's Concord Hymn.

Minuteman by Daniel Chester French- statue that commemorates the battle at the North Bridge, inscribed with a verse from Ralph Emerson’s Concord Hymn.

I brought a second roll of film on the recent visit to Concord, a roll of Tri-X. Unfortunately, this roll was a major struggle in the darkroom to load into the tank, with multiple jam ups with the Patterson reel. But I am very happy with two of the surviving shots, timely for this upcoming great American holiday. Once again, the 500c/m, and 150mm Zeiss Sonnar-

Old North Bridge replica that was built in 1956, based on drawings of the bridge built in the 1760s. It was then restored in 2005.

Old North Bridge replica that was built in 1956, based on drawings of the original bridge from the 1760’s. It was then restored in 2005.

 

“By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.” Concord Hymn, Emerson

 

Enjoy this Memorial Day.

More From Concord

Walden Friends Of The Performing Arts

Walden Friends Of The Performing Arts

This town has big history, as well as little, quaint scenes. It really is Hasselblad heaven. Walking around with the camera downtown, it really does not seem to draw as much attention, questions, from other pedestrians. Which made it much easier to find nice shots, focus, and compose. Once again, the nifty 150, and Delta 100.

 

Beautiful windows can be found everywhere in the architecture downtown.

Beautiful windows can be found everywhere in the architecture downtown.

This next shot really surprised me, as my 150 has the Carl Zeiss T* coating, and I use a lens hoot. Despite that, lens flare can still happen-

Flare in the lower right of frame.

Come on up….We’re really nice! Flare in the lower right of frame.

That could also be uneven developing. Still, a cool shot. The amount of detail in the rope and tag is incredible.

Really Great Things!

Really Great Things! Stairway to an antique/gift shop in Concord.

Really Great Things! Stairway to an antique/gift shop in Concord.

This was just too cool of a shot to resist. The amazing thing about walking around downtown Concord with the Hasselblad in this configuration was that the 150mm really is not that much larger, or longer, than the 80mm. It’s not like walking with a D300 and 70-200mm. It was surprisingly compact. And, long enough, yet not insanely so. From the same roll of Delta 100, developed in D-76, 1:1.

Concord architecture is beautiful and timeless. Guessing this does not look that much different than it did in the 1700's.

Concord architecture is beautiful and timeless. Guessing this does not look that much different than it did in the 1700’s.

My window display and reflection obsession always gets in the way-

Deed-Rooted Wisdom

Deep-Rooted Wisdom

There truly are some Really Great Things in Concord!

Concord

Concord is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 17,668. The United States Census Bureau considers Concord part of Greater Boston. Concord is notable for playing a significant role in American history and literature. – travel.yahoo.com

Concord, Massachusetts is historic, having been founded in 1635, the oldest European-settled town in New England beyond tidewater. – http://www.newenglandtravelplanner.com

I shot some Polaroid in Concord a few years ago. This past weekend, I took the Hasselblad into the historic town, one of the birthplaces of America. As my 80mm is being CLA’d, the 150mm was put to very good use here. Ilford Delta 100 is so silky smooth. Developed in D-76.

This woman does not seem to see me or the Hasselblad, but at the same time, does not seem to be very happy, at all-

Hasselblad Street Photography- not easy, but it can be done.

Hasselblad Street Photography- not easy, but it can be done.

Shooting wide open allowed for a nice window view of S. (San) Pellegrino bottles. Medium format allows for crazy, insane shallow depth of field-

S.Pellegrino is the Italian water preferred by top chefs and fine dining lovers all around the world.

S.Pellegrino is the Italian water preferred by top chefs and fine dining lovers all around the world.

Clothes and artisans were everywhere. These stylish hats were irresistible-

Vintage Style Hats

Vintage Style Hats

I also took a roll of Tri-X, which gave me a wrestling match in the darkroom. But this roll of Delta was a complete success. Much more to come. And, the struggle with my Patterson-style tanks have prompted a purchase of some new kit for development of medium format. More on that to come.

Birthplaces Of American Freedom

Revolutionary Cannon, Leominster Common, Leominster, Massachusetts

Revolutionary Cannon, Leominster Common, Leominster, Massachusetts

Had the opportunity last month to go on some photowalks. As the spring weather in New England has been far from ideal, B&W was a great option. Got my hands on some Fuji FP-100B, my new “go-to” B&W film. These were taken with the Polaroid 230. Leominster is a little known city, adjacent to Fitchburg, MA. It is the hometown of literary legend Robert Cormier, author of “The Chocolate War”, and “I Am The Cheese”. A Fitchburg State alum, Cormier is still read widely in schools. Leominster is also known as the birthplace of the Foster Grant Company (yes, the sunglasses), and as the plastics capital of America. If you have pink flamingos on your lawn, chances are they were made here. It is also where Johnny Appleseed became famous.

Meetinghouse Site, Leominster, MA

Meetinghouse Site, Leominster, MA

The above is on Monument Square in Leominster.

The Old Manse, Birthplace Of American Literature

The Old Manse, Birthplace Of American Literature

I am not even going to attempt to write about this beautiful spot in Concord, where the American Revolutionary War had its start. Maybe the Polaroids speak for themselves.

Legendary Munuteman Statue Crafted By Daniel Chester French, Sculptor Of The Abraham Lincoln Memorial Statue

Legendary Munuteman Statue Crafted By Daniel Chester French, Sculptor Of The Abraham Lincoln Memorial Statue

Memorial As Seen From The Old North Bridge, Concord, MA

Memorial As Seen From The Old North Bridge, Concord, MA

Freedom.