This lens is probably the last kit lens designed for Nikon film SLRs. It is also the last iterations of Nikon 28-80(85)mm zooms with the first one being the manual focus AI-S 28-85mm f3.5-4.5 released in 1985. The ones that follow are AF 28-85mm f3.5-4.5 MK-I (1986-91), AF 28-85mm f3.5-4.5 MK-II (1992-2005), AF 28-80mm f3.5-5.6D MK-I (1995-99), AF 28-80mm f3.5-5.6D MK-II (1999-2006), 28-80mm f3.3-5.6G (2001-2006, this one). The three 28-85mm zooms were made to semi-pro quality in many aspects and it is worth mentioned that back in the 1980s, making wide angle-to-short telephoto zooms would still require the latest technologies. The 28-80mm zooms, on the other hand, were made as economical kit lenses for film bodies like the F55, F65, and F75. They are almost entirely made of plastic (including the mounts) and weight next to nothing. For example, the AF 28-80mm f3.3-5.6G weights only 195g! Size-wise, all are highly compact with the AF 28-80mm f3.3-5.6G being the smallest simply because of the omission of the aperture ring (as a G-lens) and its “ultra-thin” focusing ring. All 28-85mm’s have their own dedicated macro modes with reproduction ratios around 1:3.5 but only at the 28mm position. For the two AF 28-80mm f3.5-5.6D’s, they simply focus down to 0.4m at all focal lengths which give a maximum reproduction ratio 0f 1:3.8. The AF 28-80mm f3.3-5.6G focuses a bit closer, down to 0.35m (1:3.5 at 80mm). For occasional close-ups, this is more than enough.
In terms of optical quality, like its successors (the 18-55mm f3.5-5.6’s) in the digital age, the AF 28-80mm f3.3-5.6G gives you more than you paid for. Of course, one cannot expect pro-quality when it is wide-open but at f/8 or f/11, there is certainly no complaint. Below is a 100% crop from an image taken by a D300 with the lens at f/11 and 80mm. The image follows is its full frame.
One might question what is the point of getting a film-era kit zoom in the digital age? Well, this lens is certainly a semi-disposable grab-and-go for owners of full-frame bodies. For a APS-C crop-sensor body, it becomes a 42-120mm, which in fact is more preferred for me as a travel zoom then the DX 18-55mm since I do not shoot a lot of wide-angle beside my architectural works. Anyway, I bought this copy of AF 28-80mm f3.3-5.6G at a very cheap price ($30 CAD) mainly to replace my aging 18-55mm which had been knocked slightly out of alignment after 8+ years of use. Below is another sample shot from this beautiful little lens taken with a D300 :
Status : In Collection