I was at my local camera shop the other day and saw this lens in a junk bin. Does anyone know why? It is a nikon 135 f/3.5 that has no apparent fogging, oil on blades or fungus. It focuses and shoots fine.
My initial thoughts are: it has the “ears” so it can only go on a few dslr’s unmodified. It also is full manual focus and aperture. Is it that the 135 is an odd length?
Here’s a newer faster version for $1,250!
The other weird thing is that someone has scratched off the nikkor name on the front of the lens. I should have asked the shop, but does anyone know why this lens would be $5? Thanks for your guesses!
Funny nobody responded to this.
In case anybody comes along that is curious, there is nothing wrong with that lens. In fact, that’s a pretty good one. There are several reasons it goes so cheap (not usually five bucks, but cheap.)
The 135 lens is just not a popular length. There is nothing exotic about it. That is the main reason this lens is so incredibly cheap. Just too many around, and not enough 85mm lenses. In fact, 135s go for almost free as this example shows. Typical 1970s fare was a 28mm, a standard 50mm, and pretty much this lens here. none of those three go for any real money, and all three are typically between excellent and astonishing by today’s standards.
Worse, if it happens to be slower than f/2.8 like this f/3.5 is, that probably makes it an even better lens, but even LESS desirable. I’m not all that surprised at the price, but you got a great deal. There are some real problems with the idea of “get what you pay for” when it comes to lenses. I have lenses worth hundreds of times as much that aren’t really any better when it comes to image quality. Some are worse!
The solid bunny ears are typically non-AI, which means the back edge of the lens has no notches around the outside and will smash into the indexing tab on many modern cameras and pull it too far, snapping off an internal spring that is incredibly difficult to re-attach, and probably breaking the tab for good measure. In other words, don’t put a NON-AI lens on most of the newer cameras. The bigger cameras have ways around this, but the lens can also can be “AI’d” by replacing the non-AI aperture ring with an AI ring, or machining that one in specific areas. Then it could be used on anything in some capacity or another.
Cool lens, and fascinating blog!
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