Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs

My Nikon D1 Lenses

by Uwe Steinmueller last updated 04-21-2001


Ron Reznick was the first in our series to share his experiences with different lenses for the Nikon D1
We own the following AF (auto focus) lenses and 8 other old MF Nikkor lenses (all over 20 years old)



      • Nikkor 35mm f/2.0D
      • Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D
      • Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D
      • Nikkor 300mm f/4.0 AF-S
      • Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 Micro

Tele Converters

      • TC-14e tele converter
      • TC-20e tele converter
      • TC-14a tele converter



      • Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 AFS
      • Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8 AFS
      • Nikkor 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 D IF
      • Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8
      • Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 AFS
      • Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6

The best possible quality can of course be expected from prime fix focus lenses. With our F2s we did not even think of using zooms. There are these reason we now most of the time use zooms:

  • High end zooms got much better
  • We got lazy
  • Changing lenses often introduces dust to the D1 (so we have now an excuse to be lazy)
I will try to present the different lenses in the order we got them and also talk about the reasons to get the newer ones.

Nikkor 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 D IF

Nikkor 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 D IF: This lens covers a very broad, useful range and at about $350 is not very expensive. With the D1 this lens is ok but cannot show what you can get out of your D1. It gets a bit soft in the corners and does not have such a good contrast and saturation as the top AFS zooms.

Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 AFS

Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 AFS: This was our first AFS lens. This lens is sharp, has a good contrast and focusses very fast. This is the right entry (into even longer glass) lens for tele photography. The speed of the AFS system allows photographing even fast moving targets.

Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 AFS + TC-14E

Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 AFS + TC-14E: The good thing about the Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 AFS lens is that you can use the top Nikon 'E' teleconverters which preserve all camera functions (including AF). The Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 AFS + TC-14E combination works wonderful and is a clear winner.

Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 AFS + TC-20E

Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 AFS + TC-20E: This combination works ok even if your photos get a bit softer. The above photo is one of the best photos we got in 2000 but also here you can easily see that the image quality suffers with this converter.

Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8

Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8: We bought this lens as we thought to have a cheaper solution than the Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8 AFS. We never were really satisfied with this lens on the D1. Now we own the Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8 AFS and know why. The newer AFS lens is much more contrasty and the results look sharper. In some way I even prefer the Nikkor 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 D IF to this lens. It is noisy, slow(!) and has a push-pull zoom.

Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6

Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6: This is Nikon's answer to Canon's IS lenses. The good news is that this lens is sharp and the VR (vibration reductions) works. Unfortunately it does not focus as fast as the AFS lenses and so this lens is not for fast actions or fast moving targets.

Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 + TC-14A

Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 + TC-14A: This combination gets you to an 840mm equivalent with the D1. But it looks more like a misuse of the VR lens because the VR, AF and some metering options are not available. On the other side this is sometimes very useful for photographing birds.

Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8 AFS


Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8 AFS: Finally we bought this lens and it is clear that this is the best zoom lens we have owned so far. Also for our landscape work it provides the range we need most (it is Bettina's standard lens, bad luck for me :-)). I don't think we ever had that high ratio of useful photos ever before. That this lens is very fast focussing is not our main interest, this lens has good contrast and is very sharp.

Also there was the feeling that many D1 were not saturated enough. With the AF-S lenses and the fixed 50mm f/1.4 you do not have that impression anymore. We love this lens! Only out bank account does not agree with us.


Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 AFS

Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 AFS: This looks like a really wide angle zoom and it is one if used on the F5. For the D1 it covers an equivalent of 25-52mm. We are not very much into wide angle photography but sometimes 28mm (42mm on the D1) are not enough. This lens is pretty good but probably not as good as the Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8 AFS lens. This is no surprise as zooms of this range are a challenge for any lens manufacturer. Overall we are very pleased with the results. This lens is just a contrasty as the Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8 AFS.

Nikkor 300mm f/4.0 AF-S + TC-14E

Nikkor 300mm f/4.0 AF-S

We rarely use this lens without one of the tele-converters TC-14E/TC-20E. This is now our standard bird lens. Even full open and using the TC-20E converter the results are pretty much ok (beyond what we expected using the TC-20E). The main reason we bought the 300mm f/4.0 was that the VR 80-400 with the TC-14A works but is not really fun to use and the 300 f/4 + TC20E gets me into the same range. This combination is a 900mm equivalent on the D1 and the maximum we are currently willing to carry on our hikes.

The auto focus works with the TC-14E although getting a bit slow (but still faster than with the VR lens). Even the auto focus works with the TC-20E attached. Be aware that this is beyond the specification of Nikon's AF (up to f/5.6) and only really works with good daylight.


Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D

Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D: This lens is cheap, sharp, contrasty and provides great low light capabilities. As Ron stated in his article this is a lens you should not miss.
Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D: This lens is also very good but we did mostly use the zooms.
Nikkor 35mm f/2.0D: We have no real experience with this lens right now.
For more lens infos look here.

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