The Nikon AF 35-135mm f3.5-4.5 is a lovely lens to use, beautifully made in the older Nikon metal and glass style, this is a large and heavy lens with a smooth zoom control but with the original Nikon small narrow manual focus ring, which is a little awkward to use. Fortunately the autofocus works perfectly on both my Nikon D70 and Fuji S2 Pro camera bodies.
Sharpness in the center of the frame is generally very good, but edge performance is a different story. At 35mm and full aperture edges are pretty soft with obvious colour fringing in the corners. By 50mm edges are very soft and by 100mm central results are also fairly soft. Central sharpness improves again at 135mm although the edges are still soft and there’s noticeable pincushion distortion and vignetting.
At f5.6 central sharpness is very, very good but edges are still soft and show a fair amount of CA - colour fringing around contrasty edges. It’s a shame, but, even though this is a beautifully engineered lens, and central field results are excellent the edges are just too far behind the optical performance of modern, designed for digital, wide range zooms. Even the Tamron 28-300 easily outperforms the Nikon 35-135 despite having a much greater zoom range.