What's the knock on Nikon series E lenses?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Wolfeye, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    Are they good, bad, great? Why would you buy a series E lens? They sell for less than the non-E lenses, but are they just as good?
     
  2. Thanasis

    Thanasis Member

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    IIRC, they are the cheaper version of the 'standard' non-E version. I remember reading in a few different places that they were sold more as a consumer lens. I've never used one so I can't vouch for the quality but they aren't meant to be as good as the non-E lenses.
     
  3. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Here is one, and only one, secondary experience. Back when I was managing a retail camera shop, the EM came out; one of my employees won the camera with the standard E lens in a company sales contest.
    He shot a coupla rolls then got rid of it because the lens was so bad. When ya can't give a guy a camera, it must say something, dontcha think?
     
  4. Fred Aspen

    Fred Aspen Member

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    As far as the 50 is concerned, same formula, more plastic, single coated. I have used and compared the E series and several ''regular" fifties and I couldn't see any difference up to 11x14 under normal picture taking circumstances. Actual experience, not hearsay.

    Just my .02,

    -Fred
     
  5. fotch

    fotch Member

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    As good or better than others in the same price area. While some believe that better equipment makes for better photos, it really is the skill behind the lens, IMHO.

    On the other hand, its not for heavy use.
     
  6. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    I guess this is forgotten lore, but the Nikkor 75-150mm f/3.5 Series E is a fantastic little lens. It's light and compact and I found the optical quality equal to the 80-200 f/2.8. The major drawback is the one touch zoom/focus which tended to loosen up quite a bit (but can be repaired). I believe there were one or two other Series E lenses that were considered good values as well.
     
  7. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

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    I had a 28mm f2.8 series E for a while. I sold it because I was using it on an F4 and wanted the autofocus version. The Series E is the same formula as the first generation autofocus lens, but it is a simpler formula than the AIS lens and the later AF-D lens. It was actually pretty good, but not quit as good as the AF-D lens, and it wasn't as sharp as the Olympus 28/2.8 for the OM system that I also have. It wasn't bad though, it really was quite sharp. I made good 11x14's from it.
     
  8. Chris Nielsen

    Chris Nielsen Member

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    I've recently acquired a 70-210 f/4 Series E and I couldn't be happier with it - it's light, very very sharp, constant aperture and focuses mighty close. Only thing I had to do was the Scotch Tape mod to the barrel to tighten up the slightly loose zoom. I'm very very happy with this lens, will be keeping this one for times I don't need my hulking 80-200 2.8 AF-D.
     
  9. Poohblah

    Poohblah Member

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    i do believe that galen rowell used the same 75-150 f/3.5 series E lens mentioned above.

    the series E lenses don't have coupling prongs, so they won't work with some bodies/meters like the F or F2 Photomics.
     
  10. Stan160

    Stan160 Member

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    I used to own two examples of the 28/2.8 (came attached to camera bodies I bought). The only reason I sold/gave the 28s away and replaced with a 28/2.8 AI is that the focus ring rotation is a much shorter distance on the E series, and I like to be able to use the aperture scale markings to judge DOF. Got to say I prefer the solid metal feel of the AI over the E.

    Still got a 50/1.8. I can't tell a difference in quality between that and the 50/1.8 AF-D, plus the E series sticks out a lot less from the camera body.

    Ian
     
  11. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    Kiron made this zoom for Nikon, and some of the vivitar series one types e.g. 70-150mm were also made by Kiron, also Kiron made a 70-150mm zoom....anyone making a mental calculation on how to save money?

    But in choosing a Kiron, apparently some guys say:- Kiron made a blunder of using the wrong type of lubricant for moving parts, this over time MIGHT seep onto the Iris blades....so get from a reliable seller.

    I had the Kiron 70-150 zoom (long story why I mentioned "had") and now bought a vivitar 70-150 zoom (made by Kiron) with matched vivitar 2Xs extender.....haven't tried it out yet.
     
  12. bwakel

    bwakel Subscriber

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    I've got a 28/2.8 E that was given to me by my father. I haven't got an AI/AIS 28 to compare it to but the E's performance is pretty poor compared with my other AIS lenses. I generally avoid using it as the results are always too soft for me.
     
  13. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    As others have noted, back in the pre-point-n-shoot days of the late 1970's, all camera manufacturers introduced inexpensive, entry-level SLRs to appeal to those folks who wanted to move up from the disastrous Instamatic disc format but who were not prepared to deal with the complexities of real cameras. Nikon's entry was the EM, and they also had a line of inexpensive lenses (the "E series") to accompany it.

    At the time, the story I heard was that E-lenses used essentially the same glass as Nikors, but used an engineered plastic housing rather than brass or aluminum.

    My own experience was limited to the 100mm Series E lens that I picked up at a flea market for $50. One of the best buys ever! I've used this lens both as a portrait lens (for which it is ideal) and in combination with bellows or extension tubes for macro work. Have been very pleased with the results.
     
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  15. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    This is the one that I remember becoming a bit of a cult lens at the time, regarded as a real "sleeper" (an unexpected achiever of success) by many Nikon shooters. I've never used any of the E series Nikon lenses.

    Lee
     
  16. Denis P.

    Denis P. Member

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    THIS is a good resource on all things Nikon - the link will take you straight to Series E lenses.

    As others have said, they were introduced as "consumer" models, together with the cheapest Nikon camera at the time - the "EM".

    However, the lenses, IMHO, are not bad at all - at least for the price you usually pay secondhand. The 75-150/3.5 zoom is particularly handy. The 50/1.8 is even said to have somewhat nicer bokeh than other 50mm Nikon lenses... I can't testify to that, since I don't have that one.

    The 100/2.8 is also compact and lightweight - not bad at all. I like the results I get from it.

    The 28/2.8 isn't that good - but it may just be the sample I have (got it for free, with stuck diaphragm...). But, I've never heard high praise for that particular lens.

    In short, they are VERY good when you want to go light - that's probably why the late Galen Rowell liked his 75-150 Series E so much.

    I'd avoid the 36-72 zoom - the general concensus seems to be that it's not as good as the others.

    Denis
     
  17. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    When I need to carry a zoom instead of my 85mm and 180mm lenses, I use the 75-150mm f/3.5 Series E. I vouch for this sharp, portable, inexpensive, and easy to use lens.
     
  18. spark

    spark Member

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    As others have said, at the time they were first made (late 1970's) the Series E lenses were looked down on as being cheaper in construction than the standard Nikkors. Compared to some of the lenses made now they're tanks! I've got the 75-150 mentioned and outside of the looseness (kind of a trademark of this lens) it's excellent. You can also have a coupling prong mounted and use it on the pre-AI cameras.
     
  19. Hotpot

    Hotpot Member

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    The 100mm is generally regarded as a very good lens. The 35mm f2.5 is pretty decent too at middle apertures. I use both alongside AI/AIS lenses without any reservations. Clearly, with all lenses you have to judge their strengths and limitations in relation to your needs and aims. -A-
     
  20. kswatapug

    kswatapug Advertiser

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    I also own the 75-150mm which I often use with the TC-14 (1.4X teleconverter) which bumps the focal length up to 105-210mm.

    I've also got a 52mm lens reversal ring which works well for macro in conjunction with this lens, since it is so much easier for critical focus by zooming the reversed lens than adjusting the position of the tripod.

    But, as mentioned earlier, the focus/zoom mechanism was somewhat loose, and I have to use rubber bands to keep the zoom from creeping when the lens is pointed downward.

    And, yes, Galen used that lens for perhaps his most famous image of the rainbow over the Potala Palace, if I am not mistaken.
     
  21. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I got my hands on a 50 f/1.8 series E lens with an FG that was headed for the dumpster. The body was not worth fixing, but I kept the lens. It's a good performer, if a little less nice to handle than the more expensive models. Up to 8 x10, I can't see any appreciable difference outside of a little extra flare in difficult lighting conditions. I don't usually print larger than that from 35mm negatives, so the rest I can't say. The flare is easily controlled with a lens hood unless you're shooting straight into a bright light source. But isn't that the case with most lenses anyway? I don't see it as a reason to avoid one.
     
  22. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    I own and use the 50/1.8, the 100/2.8 and the 135/2.8. Personally I like these three better for travel than their AIs counterparts on size/weight issues alone, although my 105/2.5 is possibly the finest chunk of glass I own. My current 135 is the third one I've owned since 1982. I've owned a couple of 135/2.8 AIs as well but I always keep going back to the E series.
     
  23. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    I've used 35mm F2.5 and 50mm F1.8 E series lenses, and optically they were okay. But the built quality was not something I'd prefer. So, I got rid of them, and as a replacement for the 50 I got the "Japan-only" AiS version, which almost has the same built quality as the regular AiS lenses, and I'm pretty happy with it.

    This lenses is sharper and better than the E Series one I had, and it focuses down to 45cm, not 60cm that the "export version" does, so there's just a lot more use in general photography.
     
  24. Nigel

    Nigel Member

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    I have (in ascending order of focal length) the 28mm, the 35mm, two 50mm (one newer design, one older), and the 70-210 zoom.

    The two 50mm are great. The older one feel like it has a bit of play in the focus, but it isn't anything that has ever impacted image quality. The 35mm is perhaps my favorite. A bit wide, but not tooo wide and no optical distortion that I have ever seem. The 28mm is my least favorite; I have never done any measurements to look for distorion, but things never look quite right. It could also be that I don't like anything quite that wide. The 70-210 is a beast. It is big and heavy. I find that it is quite useable, but I find the camera + lens simply isn't comfortable to hold, not because of weight, but because of balance. My usual use then is on a tripod and it gives very good results there.
     
  25. Tom Reardon

    Tom Reardon Member

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    I've used the 50 and 100 with good results
     
  26. bob100684

    bob100684 Member

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    From when I had an Fm2, I have a 20x30 inch print of the london eye made with plus-x. Grainy at that size, but damn was that lens sharp.