Home | Reviews | Lenses | 35mm Zoom | Nikon

Nikon 25-50mm f/4 AIS Zoom-Nikkor 35mm Zoom

4.58 star rating
                      4.58 / 5 (12 Reviews)
MSRP : $0

Product Description

Out-of-production, manual focus, Nikkor zoom lens.

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

Reviews 1 - 5 (12 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by jose carlos a Expert

Date Reviewed: January 16, 2013

Strengths:    el color, su color un tanto "pop" y a la vez sedoso, es impresionante, me recuerda a las postales de "Bel Epoc", con fuertes contrastes saturados, pero muy bellos y armoniosos

Weaknesses:    ninguna, aparte de ser analógico, que para paisaje hay tiempo para enfocar y no es ningún problema

Bottom Line:   
Cuando le enseñe a un amigo fotográfo las fotos que hice en un viaje a Albarracin, hechas con este objetivo 25-50 F/4, lo primero que me preguntó fue que retoque tan impresionante. A lo que le contesté ¿que retoque?, no estan retocadas, son los colores de este maravilloso objetivo. Nunca había visto unos colores iguales, acostumbrado a los modernos zooms quedó impresionado

Expand full review >>

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   EE.UU

Similar Products Used:   a ciera distanccia el 28 F/2.8 AIS, el 20 F/2.8 también resuelve muy bien el 28-50 F/3.5, pero el 25-50F/4 tiene algo muy especial que cuesta de describir

Type of photography:   Outdoor

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Arninetyes a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: August 21, 2010

Strengths:    Image quality: subjective image appearance, color rendition, low distortion, no chromatic aberration.
Build quality: built like a tank. It's all metal and glass. It shows us how far lens-makers have devolved with the latest plastic fantastic wonders.
Feel: Nothing feels like a pro-level, Nikkor, manual focus lens. The focus is buttery smooth, perfectly damped, and works the way I wish all focus mechanisms worked. The aperture is smooth, light, and has positive stops at each full f/stop.
Excellent landscape lens.

Weaknesses:    Age: If you buy one, it may need servicing.
Sharpness: Requires you to stop down to f/8 (wide end) or f/5.6 (50mm end) in order to get good images; f/4 just doesn't work.
Portraits/Still life: Since you have to stop down to f/5.6 or f/8 to get good quality, it's hard to get a good background blur.
Weight: While I love the heft and the feeling of quality, the 25-50 weighs 600 grams. It is NOT a good hiking lens.
Zoom range: Okay, a weakness for some, but I don't care. I generally prefer primes anyway.
Compatibility: on cheap Nikon DSLRs, like the D40, D60, etc, there is no metering. You can use the lens only if you do manual exposure with an external meter.

Bottom Line:   
If you are thinking about buying this lens, especially after reading negative reviews about 'soft' and 'no contrast', please, read on, because mine was both, and now it is excellent.

This is a fascinating lens. It has limited zoom range (2x was considered limited even in 1980) and it's only an f/4, yet it has a giant front element (72mm filter size) and it weighs a whopping 600g. When it was designed and offered for sale (1979-1985), pros weren't much interested, because they worked mostly with primes, and the 25-50 was too expensive for most amateurs.

Fast-forward 30 years. Now rather obscure, you can occasionally find reviews of this lens. While lab reviews tend to be rather tepid, because 'sharpness' isn't up to standard, yet low distortion and limited chromatic aberration are characteristic. On the other hand, subjective reviews usually give glowing accolades based on perception of image quality. On the strength of these reviews, I searched and finally found one as part of a lot of film equipment. You can occasionally find them on eBay, though they are usually being sold by someone asking $300-400 for them.

My first couple rolls of film were very disappointing. No matter how carefully I focused, images weren't just soft, they were blurry, and contrast was dreary. I put the lens away. Last December, I finally bought a Nikon DSLR (D700). While trying out lenses on the D700, I pulled out the 25-50. Results were as bad or worse than they were with my 35mm Nikons. On a lark, I used a small penlight and looked through the lens. There was so much haze and dust I couldn't even see the through the lens. Now I know why all images were fuzzy and low contrast. I sent the lens to be cleaned, lubed, and adjusted (CLA). When it was returned, $140 later, I immediately mounted it on my D700 and started shooting.

What a revelation! Every picture that is focused and exposed properly is gorgeous. They look brilliantly sharp, and colors seem to stand out. Contrast and color saturation are wonderful. When I look at 100% crops, I find that sharpness really isn't that great--it's good, but not even close to my 105mm/2.5. However, as carefully as I've looked, I can't find any CA. None. I can't even find any CA in RAW images. I haven't done any examination for distortion, but of the pictures I've taken, no distortion is apparent.

It does have limitations. Even though max aperture is f/4, you still have to stop down to achieve good sharpness and contrast: f/8 at the wide end, f/5.6 at the 50mm end. This means it will be difficult to get good, out-of-focus backgrounds for any kind of portraiture. On the other hand, it is a great landscape lens.

A much as I like the 25-50 with my D700, it becomes truly spectacular with color slides. Some images seem almost 3D as they leap off the screen. So far, my favorite is Fuji Velvia 50, the 25-50, and my F2A--somehow, it just seems appropriate to use the old warhorse with this lens, even though slides look just as good taken with my F100.

The more I shoot with this lens, the better I like it. I've shot with a fair number of lenses, but only a few have made this kind of impression on me: my Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 (at more than 15 feet), 50mm/f/1.2 (at less than 15 feet), and a borrowed, Leitax-converted, Leica Elmarit APO 180mm f/2.8 (this one will spoil you--I just can't afford it).

In short, if you buy a 25-50, it is a used lens that is at least 25 years old. If you take a few shots and are disappointed in the result, the lens may need servicing; mine did. For a combined cost of about $270 (for me; your mileage may vary), it is easily the best landscape lens I have--not the sharpest, just the best.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $125.00

Purchased At:   locally

Similar Products Used:   Nikon lenses
AF 17-35, AF 20-35, AF 24-70, AF 28-80
MF 28-50, MF 35-70 f/3.5 Ai, AiS, and 35-70 f/3.5-4.5 (this was a POS).

Type of photography:   Outdoor

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by royszone a Professional

Date Reviewed: June 16, 2008

Strengths:    very good grip,easy to focus and zoom,72mm filters,just right wieght,built like a tank with a great finnish.

Weaknesses:    f:4 but not a problem with 200 asa and up. Hard to replace now as Niokn didn't make many of these gems. Constantly have to keep the filter clean to stop flare.

Bottom Line:   
Hi guys,,,I am a seasoned Pro and use this lens every day . I still use film with my F-4e's but mostly D2xs with all my lenses. The 25-50 F4 Nikon Zoom is my number one choice for most shots in this range,both film and digital. It produces pictures that have no distorion at all . Yes the corners are a tiny bit soft but who is looking at the corners except in a lab test. I rate this lens at 5 of 5 and against todays lenses.
I have in my bag a Tokina 17mm f3.5 AIS, Nikon 20mm f3.5 AIS,28 and 35mm f2.8 Nikon,50mm f1.4 and 1.8 AFD , 50mm f1.8 AIS,55mm f2.5 Micro Nikon,105 f2.5 AIS Nikon,135mm f2.8 AIS nikon,200mm f4 AIS Nikon,300mm f2.8 AF ED Nikon,and zooms are 12-24mm f4 AF ED IF Nikon, 25-50mm f4 AIS,20-35mm f2.8 AFD, 35-70 f2.8 AFD Nikon,35-135mm f3.5-4.5 Nikon,50-135mm,f 3.5 Nikon,80-200mm f4 Nikon,80-200 f 2.8 AF ED Nikon as well as 2 Vivitar 70-210mm f 3.5 AIS series 1 zooms and 28mm f 2.5 Vivitar AI for the rainy day shots.
Also my favourite of all time is my Nikon F-2s with MD2 and MB1 that I will never sell.
Getting back to the 25-50 ,,it is the best lens in my bag and the same fro the guys I work with shooting breaking news events and spoerts.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $250.00

Purchased At:   Vancouver,BC

Similar Products Used:   perfect companion is the 50-135 f3.5 AIS zoom ,,20-35mm f2.8 AFD ,Nikon and 80-200mm f2.8 or f4 Nikon zooms with these lenses you can do anything with top notch results in any situation,,,,any..!

Type of photography:   Other

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Mark Tupper a Professional

Date Reviewed: June 23, 2007

Strengths:    Just everything ! see above

Weaknesses:    Soft at f4.0

Bottom Line:   
I bought this lens in as new condition, October 2006 Kyoto Japan - an amazing lens - I use it for panoramic shots on a D2x - using the The Panorama Factory software
I use 3 Nikkor autofocus zooms and 2 Nikkor fixed focal length manual lenses - very happy with all of them but...
This manual focus circa 1980 zoom beats the lot ! no distortion, no chromatic abberation, minimal flare and ghosting, smooth bokeh, sharp as you like f5.6 - 16
I can only assume that the designers sneaked this one past the accountants !

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $200.00

Purchased At:   kyoto Japan

Similar Products Used:   12-24, 35-70 2.8 , 80-200 2.8, 55 3.5, 105 2.5, all Nikkors

Type of photography:   Other

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Sanyi a Expert

Date Reviewed: December 29, 2006

Strengths:    Easy coverage of popular range of indoor and landscape lens ranges.

Fantastic crisp and rich rendition of colour into light at night and during daytime.

The proof of the pudding is in the photos with subjects which leap off the print or slide.

Weaknesses:    Loose focusing collar but this makes no difference to photos

Bottom Line:   
Paid $AUD200 for this 16 years ago. I have used this lens for night photography on a cable released Nikon loaded with transparency on a tripod as well as for daytime photos handheld and on tripod.

Compared to my other Canon, Nikon and Leica lenses this lens produces brilliantly crisp and beautifully coloured photos that jump up at the eye.

I mentioned to someone knowledgable the extraordinary colour on a par with my Leica R 180 f3.4 Apo and someone suggested that extraordinary colour is a good indicator that this lens must be Apo corrected.

I don't know how the quality was achieved but I will not be parted form this lens.

I am now debating which Nikon digital to buy to allow me to keep using it or if I should go Canon to keep using Leica. I will have to test the latest digital bodies to make that decision.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $200.00

Purchased At:   Private sale

Similar Products Used:   Nikon AIS 28mm f2.8, 50mm f1.8, 300 f4
Canon FD 20mm f2.8, 24mm f2.8, 35mm f2, 50mm f1.4, 100 f4 macro
Leica R 28mm f2.8, 50mm f1.4, 90mm f2, 180mm Apo f3.4

Type of photography:   Outdoor

Reviews 1 - 5 (12 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

Holiday Gift Guide 2013

Check out our holiday gift suggestions for these categories!

See All Holiday Gift Guide coverage - Click Here »


PhotographyReview Videos