If you strip an E they have an excellent build standard.
You mean the JCII inspection sticker?
Series E lenses were excellent compared to say, random department store third party lenses, but doesn't feel nearly as nice as a Nikkor. Also, not multi coated?
The words you most frequently run across when referring to the coatings on the Series E is "simpler coatings". It doesn't necessarily mean "not multi coated".
The prime lenses optical design were all simpler 5 or 4 elements. The revered 100mm f/2.8 is only a 4 element design. They all have a purplish coating colour. The zooms had more elements in their designs and the colour of their coatings were a mix of green mainly on the front elements and purple in others.
No where in Nikon literature I could find a reference to their coatings. You make your mind if they are multi coated, or not.
The Series E lenses are all well build and have survived for the last 30 years. In the UK, even the normal 50mm f/1.8 still fetches a high price, normally between £50-65.
The 5cm was a 6 element double Gauss 1,1,1,2,1 construction similar to its predecessor and successor Nikkors.
If you buy a series E 5cm on a FG-20 or EM in a charity shop you may get the package cheap.
Nikon needed the series E for the cheapo EM, FG, and FG-20 sales, but they still needed people to buy the AI-S Nikkors. The Nikkors were designed to ignore a high speed drive and 250 back day in day out with Teflon bushes on all moving parts. kuncka, kuncka, ... kuncka.
Don't try stripping an E unless you know how.
'if you use ether in cleaning the lens, a smudge sometimes appears on the surface of a multicoated lens. If this happens wipe it again with a cotton cloth moistened with alcohol'
The lens is a pig to clean like the MC filters I use.
I have an earlier '79 5cm E and it is similarly difficult but butt ugly all black plastic.
I re-checked my Series E 75-150mm leafleat and it actually says "Multilayer Nikon Integrated Coating (NIC) on the air-to-glass lens surfaces helps to minimize ghost images and flare..." It is dated 80.3.E.
So, I stand corrected. There is now document evidence of multi coating.
Thanks for your brief, mine all look multi coated but it might not have been NIC. There is no detectable difference in performance between the E and the AI-S 5cm, apart from the absence of rabbits ears and weight difference of the longnose.
They all flare occasionally, low sun in frame, but that is probably the uv filters.
I have an AIS 50mm f/1.8 version that was produced for the Japanese market. It is a pancake lens, very similar design to the Series E, apart from the rubber focusing ring and it focuses down to 0.45. The colour of the coatings are also different, but performance is about the same. I can't see a difference.
Red means run, son,
Numbers add up to nothin'