Nikon 100mm E lens - am I expecting too much?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Ian Rance, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. I took a selection of manual Nikon glass with me on a trip to the coast last
    week. Got the results back and am happy with them in general, but the 100mm E
    lens has not done as well as I had hoped.

    I used the dedicated hood, no filters and shutter speeds around the 500th mark
    with my F100. Compared to the other lenses used it seems 'diffused'. I always
    used it around the f5.6-f8 range to give it a good chance.

    These shots are not of the same thing, but they were on the same day, with the
    same film and same 100% view applied. All the 100mm photos showed this
    diffused look. The lens is clean and was focused on infinity (ground-glass and
    focus conformation both showed correct focus).

    Firstly results from my 28mm f3.5 Nikkor-H:

    This is a distant scene with huge enlargement, but despite haze and grain, it
    is crisp - I can see individual cars on the road on the far let.

    Secondly results from my 45mm P:

    Again - grain and haze, but still sharp. I can see the window clearly on the
    distant white building.

    Lastly the 100mm E:
    I don't like this very much - nothing is sharp to me.

    Any opinions or ideas - if this is typical, then I will carry the heavy 105mm
    f2.5 next time.


    Ian, UK
  2. This sounds like a problem with your lens. I used the 100mm E for a few years, and the results harmonized with my chrome barrel Nikkors.

    This particular E lens was always well regarded, and good used samples were hard to find before the AF glass took over.
  3. It's not typical - my 100mm is very sharp. It only gives relatively poor performance wide open, and is much better closed down even 1/2 stop. I replaced my 105mm 2.5 with it for size and weight issues, and a comparison test indicated no real difference in quality.
  4. Sorry, some of my links seemed broken.

    Firstly results from my 28mm f3.5 Nikkor-H:

    Secondly results from my 45mm P:

    Lastly the 100mm E:

    Good to hear that this is not typical of this lens.

  5. The lens may have light fungus on one of the interior elements, or the lens may have been knocked hard at one time. Either case would make the lens not quite right.
  6. One of the lemons I ever bought. I was so unhappy with it that I decided to smash the glass.

    The focus mount now houses a splendid lens and is extremely useful! :)

    My suggestion: Do not use it.
  7. All of the images you have posted look very sharp, including the one from the 100/2.8 E lens. They also look very grainy. I suspect this has something to do with your scanner or scannng technique. The E lenses are supposed to be "single coated" rather than multi-coated. This can cause a loss of image quality if you are shooting in high flare situations like aiming in the direction of the sun. Otherwise the E lenses are mostly supposed to be decent and the 100 very good. I have four 105/2.5 Nikkors. One is a P lens in F mount, one a P lens with factory AI conversion, one a black P with the larger rear element and one an AI. The black P lens has the same optical design as the AI and its coating is different from that of the older P lenses. In practice all of these 105s are very nice. The newer design 105s (black P, PC, AI and AIS) are supposed to be a little sharper close up. If you look at the negatives/slides shot with the 100 E lens with a magnifier you may see that they are good after all. There is a ready market for the 100 so if you don't like it just sell it or trade it and get a 105.
  8. The one I used was excellent; it had a tad of illumination dropoff at the edges more than the 105MM 2.5 when wide open; the mount is thrifter too.
  9. The pic looks like it's not properly focused. Maybe it has taken a knock or you misfocused? Haven't used the lens, but my 75-150 Ser E is razor sharp in the center, so I wouldn't expect the 100/2.8 to be that bad.
  10. I agree with Jeff. Something is getting lost in the scan or post-processing part of things. We'd have to see the latent 'chrome.
  11. I don't see a problem with the 100mm shot - the sharpness is constent with the distance, grain and degree of enlargement. Atmospheric conditions become more significant when using longer lenses. You would get better results with a tripod, regardless of shutter speed (or focal length).

    Perhaps your expectations are unreasonable. It takes more resolution to recognize facial features than the presence or absence of a car on the horizon.
  12. Thanks for the replies.

    Just to add, the original pictures are 2751x1380 pixels. I cropped to 1000x500 pixels - so they will look a bit grainy as you are only seeing a bit of the photo. They are standard lab scans.

    So, as I understand it my 100 is performing OK - and may do a bit better still with a tripod. I will try again with my F6/tripod/MLU and see what happens.

    Vivek - what was wrong with your 100? Soft or something else?

    Gerald - upon shining a torch through, I do see some light dust on one of the internal elements.


  13. I've got a couple of E lens but they are 50mm, so this might be unfair.

    But checking out the scan and the size of the crop that you did...I would say that is quite typical for an E Lens...Sorry!

    I found them adequate, until I upgraded abit and was pleasantly surprised.

    On a more positive note though..the processing side things really counts for so much. I have to say from what I can see of the scans the processing quality could be alot better. Maybe it's the scan itself though..I don't know.
  14. Thanks Michael.

    Don't get me started on processing - the problems I have had are enough to wear me down.

    Film was Fuji Superia 200 run through a Frontera machine.

  15. Vivek - what was wrong with your 100? Soft or something else? Ian, It was not soft. Way too contrasty and not much details. The 105/2.5 is a gem (any version). There are others who swear by its 'performance'. I say more power to them! :)
  16. If you could borrow a DSLR, then it would make testing easier as you could check the results immediately and rule out processing.
  17. Yes, I very much would encourage trying them out on a DSLR. It's given my Nikkor 200mm f4 manual, a new lease of life.
  18. Your shot has good resolution. On my monitor (which is Eye-One
    calibrated) there seems to be veiling or internal flare - odd with
    this lens and it's simple design. There is a resultant loss of contrast which affects the apparent "sharpness" of the image.

    Someone suggested "misfocus" as a factor (camera/lens or scanner).
    There's some of that too. But not much. Fungus, drop-kicking and
    glue unsticking may all be contributing factors.

    If this lens is past its (ahem) prime you can probably pick up
    another, better one for $120 or so.

    I bought one for my FTN years ago and just recently gave it to a
    friend who still shoots with an FTN. It was a wonderful lens then and
    it performs well now. I always liked it.
  19. Maybe hot air from the sand made this!? Don't know the right term in English.
  20. You only have to pick up an 'E' lens to know it cannot be the same quality as a Nikkor lens. They are mostly plastic, whereas the Nikkors are metal. They cannot possibly withstand the wear and abuse that a Nikkor can take.
  21. Golden Cap?
  22. umd


    I bought this lens with high hopes, was dirt cheap and glass was clean inside; but I was disappointed. I compared it to my AF 105/2.8 Micro and unlike Vivek, I found this lens to have low contrast and poor color. At least I expected a smooth background blur, but no, 105 micro was better which is not a boheh champ either. Though 100 E was not soft on D70 (6mp).
  23. Thanks for all the answers. It seems that my lens is perhaps not performing as well as other copies. I did get it from a local trader at a 'bargain' price so perhaps he knew of some slight alignment problem and adjusted the price accordingly.

    Clive - sharp eyes! No it is not Golden Cap, but the hill next to it (Stonebarrow Hill). Look at this photo - Golden Cap is the second hill from the left. It used to be much more 'golden', but it has a fair amount of scrubby growth now.


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