Even though cutting-edge technology has penetrated our photographic lives, some of us still like to stand up next to the cameras that have survived the crushing test of time.
If you are old school photographer, you may have owned Nikon F3 or still own it.
If that is the case, you have probably wondered which of the lenses on the market are still compatible with the vintage camera.
Before we get into technical details regarding the lens choice, let us briefly introduce the epic camera. The F3 has been a reliable piece of equipment since its debut in 1980.
It represents an affordable entry-level camera for 35 mm film photography. F3 packs a professional manual focus and manual exposure. The Nikon in matter works flawlessly with long automatic night exposures.
Is it possible to make the vintage camera shoot phenomenal photos even today? With the right set of optics, it indeed is! If you are eager to check out which are those, keep reading.
Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 50 mm f/1.8D Lens does not support autofocus with cameras that lack an autofocus motor. In these cases, only the manual focus can be used by photographers. The lens sets the minimum focusing distance of 0,45 m, with a maximum angle of view of 31°30′ for DX-format and 46° for FX-format.
The maximum reproduction ratio is 0.15 x. The lens reproduces distortion-free images with an excellent resolution and beautiful color rendering. All of the pictures that came out with the lens in the matter had a high-contrast.
The lens proved to be the best one in the “prime” category in the testing phase. One of the things I have noticed is the time I dedicate to focus the picture manually. As a photographer, I am well used to it, but it could take some adjustment for casual users. On the other hand, the picture quality is exquisite.
The lens can be a beautiful asset to anyone who is looking to improve their portrait photo game. Bokeh effects are stunning, and even the f/1.8 aperture can provide excellent performance, especially for portraits taken from a distance. The f/1.4 could come in handy if your aim is professional work, but for everything below it in rank, an f/1.8 will suffice.
- Excellent balance of contrast
- You can open it up to f1.4
- Fast, bright and sharp
- Great low-light performance
- No aperture ring
- Color fringing is noticeable
Best Wide-Angle Lens for Landscapes
Nikon AF Nikkor 1923 35 mm f/2D lens is a compact, light-weight lens for general photography. It has a maximum reproduction ratio of 0.24x.62-degrees. Furthermore, it comes with a Nikon Super Integrated Coating for minimizing flare and ghosting.
The lens also provides an excellent color balance. The maximum aperture sets at an f/2, making the lens a perfect choice for low light and handheld shooting situations. The closest focusing distance is 2,60 cm.
Although the lens is not a zooming one, it provides quite reliable performance for wide-angle photography. The lens focuses as fast as any of my other lenses. It is designed for smaller digital sensors, and it comes with a relatively wide aperture.
Focusing speed is reliable, yet I think it could be faster. It does hunting. The lens is an excellent pair for Nikon F3 or other cameras requiring an aperture ring or a direct coupled motor.
The picture quality is satisfactory. Pictures appear great in terms of sharpness and color rendering. In terms of design, the lens falls under lowlight category, and it is easy to fit in the camera bag. If you can deal with manual focusing and hunting now and then, I would say it is a good deal.
- Good price to performance ratio
- Image resolution is quite sharp
- Bokeh at f/1.8 is quite pleasing
- Distortion levels are amazingly low
- Harder to balance on pro bodies
- Weather sealed isn’t ideal
Best All-Around lens for everyday photography
Nikon Nikkor Ai 80-200 mm f/4.5 zoom is a superior all-around lens built like a tank that can tackle every weather condition. The lens is practically indestructible, and the materials used in the design are of high-level quality.
Although the lens’s weight could deter some users from using it as a walk-around lens, if you appreciate a powerful zoom, you will love it.
The lens in the matter is a manual one, so be ready for it. It has a slippery pull and pushes zoom adjustment that could take some practice to master. On the other hand, the lens is quite sharp, especially if you are well versed in focusing on the subject.
The image quality is impeccable, with extreme sharpness all around the corners. It is incredibly sharp even at wide-open apertures.
The lens is equipped with an optical construction consisting of twelve elements in nine groups. It is also multi-coated with the Nikon Super Integrated coating to give it good flare and ghosting resistance. The diaphragm consists of seven straight blades, while the aperture ring is all metal.
The lens also supports 52 mm metal filters. The manual focus action is very smooth, while the bokeh is just flawless. Barrel distortion is moderate yet visible at 80mm and non-existent in the range of 105-200 mm.
- Vibration reduction works well
- Comes with lens hood
- Pro level color and contrast
- Center sharpness is very good
- Color fringing
- Sharpness fade on the edges
Best Telephoto Lens for Wildlife Photography
Nikon 135 mm f/2.8 Nikkor AI-S Manual Focus Fixed Lens is an appealing piece of vintage lover hardware. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 1.3 m, and it has a 52 mm filter. It comes with a manual focus, making any beginning photographer get in touch with how manual shooting works.
Fast-focusing is possible for users well versed with the shooting manual. For those that are yet to become it, it could take a period of adjustment.
The color rendering, couple with a micro-contrast, is what impressed me the most about the lens. All of the pictures taken with it appear natural, with beautifully rendered colors. Furthermore, the lens provides an extreme sharpness from corner to corner.
The focusing ring operates smoothly, and it doesn’t cause issues down the road. The weight of the lens is acceptable, despite its relatively powerful focal length.
One of the drawbacks is the chromatic aberration at an f/2.8 with backlit subjects or high contrast. If you intend to shoot fast-moving subjects, or if you have issues with holding a camera still, I highly suggest mounting a tripod. Although the lens could seem outdated, it always delivers impressive performance for today’s standards.
- Useable Focal Length
- Long zoom and good colors
- Metal mount gives a sturdy feel
- Performs well with proper lighting
- Mediocre low-light performance
Best Macro Lens for Macro Photography
Nikon 55 mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor Lens AIS IMP has a filter size of 52 mm, and it comes with a close-range correction system. The focus sets at 18 inches, but with no focus to infinity. The lens comes with a manual guide, and it delivers crisp images.
It provides a beautiful background blur at a wider aperture. At a narrow end of the spectrum in terms of aperture, seven blades are apparent on circular highlights.
The lens is exceptionally sharp, and it provides excellent performance for macro photography. However, it is short of focal length for every possible close-up scenario. The bokeh effect is pleasing, so it is entirely usable for portrait shots as well.
The focusing ring provides a smooth movement so that it could work great for videos as well. During the testing, I didn’t notice chromatic aberrations nor vignetting.
The lens’s body is full metal, with a focusing ring is a flawless piece of work. You will not need a lens hood since the lens’s front element is well tucked inside. Naturally, since the lens is manual focus only, the front element doesn’t rotate during focusing. In conclusion, if you don’t matter manual focus tweaking, the lens is a great buy.
- Excellent image quality
- Feels sturdy and well built
- The hood is very nice
- Relatively long focal length
- Very heavy
- VR performs poor at micro distance
Best lenses for Nikon f3 – Verdict
Nikon F3 is a beautifully manufactured camera with a stylish and representative design that still catches attention, despite being over 40 years old. It showcased the iconic red stripe, which you can see on many new Nikon models.
The list lenses are not the only ones you can pair F3 with, but they sure provide the most pleasing aesthetic performance at a reasonable price range. If you are on the lookout for high-end optics, pick out any of the lenses from the list, and prepare yourself to tack photography without autofocus!
In conclusion, the best lenses for your Nikon f3 camera are right here in this article!
Choose wisely, and you won’t regret it!