Data Sheet: Nikkor K 28 mm f/3.5

Pekka Buttler, 08/2022

Pictured: Nikkor K (pre-ai) 28 mm f/3.5


The table below summarizes the lens’ key specifications:

Brand:Nikon (Nikkor)Lens nameNikkor 28mm 1:3.5
Focal length(s)128 mmAngle-of-view274°
Maximum Aperturef/3.5In Production1975–1977
Lens mountNikon FSubfamily (if applicable)Pre-Ai (K-type)
Length341,8 mmDiameter463,3 mm
Filter ring diameter52 mmWeight228 grams
Lens element count6Lens group count6
Aperture blades (S/R/C)57 SFocus throw190 °
Minimum focusing distance30 cmsMaximum magnification1:7,6
Has manual aperture ringYESHas Manual focus ringYES

Further notes:
• This lens replaced the Nikkor-H•C 28 mm f/3.5 (C-type) in 1975 and was in turn replaced by the Nikkor Ai 28 mm f/3.5 in 1977. During that time, some 80 000 copies were made.
• Because Nikon later offered Ai-kits for this lens, many of the original Pre-Ai lenses have since been AI’d
• Nikon offered a dedicated, thread mount, steel lens hood for this lens (the HN-2), but also the HN-1 can be used.

A brief genealogy of Nikon SLR lens types

Nikon is undoubtedly one of the great names in 35 mm SLR photography. The Nikon F mount has been in continuous production since 1959. During that time, the mount has developed/changed in some detail, however without ever fully sacrificing compatibility.

In short (a longer version is here), the development of Nikon’s SLR lenses can be traced as follows:
• 1959–1977: Pre-Ai. Manual focus lenses that use ‘rabbit ears’ to communicate selected aperture with the camera body. Pre-Ai lenses can further be subdivided into
• F-type (1959–early 1970s: metal focus ring and single-coated),
• C-type (early 1970s–mid 1970s: metal focus ring and multicoated), and
• K-type (mid 1970s to 1977: rubber focus ring and multicoated).
A significant share of remaining Pre-Ai lenses have since been converted to Ai-spec (Ai’d)
• 1977–1986: Ai and Ai-s. Manual focus lenses that may have ‘rabbit ears’ for backward compatibility, but are designed to communicate selected aperture with the camera body through indentations in base of aperture control ring.
• 1986–today: AF and AF-D. Autofocus lenses that do not have a focusing motor within the lens, but rely on the focus motor within the camera. All AF and AF-D lenses are simultaneously Ai-s lenses (they are Ai-s lenses extended with AF) 6
• 1996–today AF-S and AF-P. Autofocus lenses that have an internal focusing motor and do not rely on the body having a focusing motor.

Nikon has offered 28 mm wide-angle lenses for the Nikon F system almost since the 1959 launch of the Nikon F system. These, relatively dim wide-angle lenses were later abandoned in favour of brighter designs (f/2.8 and brighter). The genealogy of Nikon’s 28 mm f/3.5 lenses is summarised below:
• 1960–1967 2,8 cm f/3.5 (6 elements in 6 groups, 5 blades, 0,6 m MFD) (F-type) [data sheet]
• 1968–1973 28 mm f/3.5 (6 elements in 6 groups, 5 blades, 0,6 m MFD) (F-type)
• 1973–1975 28 mm f/3.5 (6 elements in 6 groups, 5 blades, 0,6 m MFD) (C-type)
• 1975–1977 28 mm f/3.5 (6 elements in 6 groups, 7 blades, 0,3 m MFD) (K-type) [this lens]
• 1977–1981 28 mm f/3.5 (6 elements in 6 groups, 7 blades, 0,3 m MFD) (Ai)
• 1981–1983 28 mm f/3.5 (6 elements in 6 groups, 7 blades, 0,3 m MFD) (Ai-s)


There are good chances this lens can still be used natively:
• If the lens has been AI’d, this lens can be used natively on all current high-end Nikon dSLRs and several earlier medium-to-high-end older Nikon dSLRs7 as well as all post-1977 Nikon Film cameras.
• If it is in its original Pre-Ai form, it can be used natively on the Nikon Df and on all Nikon F-mount film cameras produced before 1977.

Thanks to being a fully manual lens (manual aperture, manual focus), the lens can be adapted to all mirrorless cameras using a suitable dumb adapter (and such adapters are easy to find). Moreover, a large range of special adapters (helicoid adapters, tilt/shift adapters, speed boosters) for using Nikon F lenses on most mirrorless systems are available.

Using Nikon F lenses on non-Nikon SLRs and dSLRs is likewise a distinct possibility. Thanks to the relatively generous flange focal distance of the Nikon F mount (46,5 mm), adapter rings for all dSLR mounts are available as well as for a goodly portion of film-era SLR mounts. Such rings may not allow for auto aperture, but even then the lenses can be used in stop-down metering mode.


1 Focal length is (unless stated otherwise) given in absolute terms, and not in Full-frame equivalent. For an understanding of whether the lens is wide/tele, see ‘Angle-of-view’.

2 Picture angle is given in degrees and concerns the diagonal picture angle. Rule of thumb:
> 90 ° ==> Ultra-wide-angle
70–90 ° ==> Wide-angle
50–70 ° ==> Moderate wide-angle
40–50 ° ==> ‘Standard’ or ‘normal’ lens
20–40 ° ==> Short tele lens
10-20 ° ==> Tele lens
5-10 ° ==> Long tele lens
< 5 ° ==> Ultra-tele lens

3 Length is given from the mount flange to the front of lens at infinity.

4 Diameter excludes protrusions such as rabbit ears or stop-down levers.

5 S=straight; R=rounded; C=(almost)circular at all apertures.

6 There is a further sub-class of AF-D lenses called AF-I lenses that are otherwise AF-D lenses (meaning, fully Ai-s compatible), but have an internal focus motor. Only long tele lenses were made in AF-I variants.

7 As of this writing, the following Nikon dSLRs fully support Aperture priority and manual metered modes on Nikkor Ai lenses: D2, D3, D4, D5, D6, D200, D300, D300s, D500, D600, D610, D700, D750, D780, D800, D800E, D810, D850, D7000, D7100, D7200

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