Nikon 35mm 2.5 Series E and Nikkor 2.8 Ai-s

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by tom_s_santos, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    I already have a Nikkor 50mm 1.8 Ai-s, and now I am looking for a 35mm focal lenght.
    I found these two lenses Nikon 35mm 2.5 Series E and Nikkor 2.8 Ai-s. The 2.5 serie is smaller and cheaper than the 2.8. Which one has better optical quality?
    I am afraid about the 2.5 series e construction quality, all in black plastic. Does anyone have it? It's ok, as the actual auto focus lenses? I can buy it for 75€ here in Europe? Does it worth buying for this price?
    And how about the Nikkor 2.0 Ai-s, is it much better than these two lenses?
    Thank you.
  2. Your questions are pretty much answered on Bjorn's site here: I don't personally have experience with any of these except the Series E lens, which was on a "family" camera back in the 80's. Personally, I use the 35 f/1.4 AIS, it is a fantastic lens.
  3. Definitely 35/2 AI-S is the best option from the three. I have little idea about the 35/2.5 Series E but I tested once 35/2.8 AI-S and I found it mediocre. Optically 35/2 AI-S is equal or better than my 35/2 AF-D and has a nice build quality.
  4. My review of the 35 Series E:
    Optically it is fine; typical bit soft wide open, sharp one stop down. I wouldn't worry about the construction. Build quality is better than some of the current AF kit lenses. Note that there are two versions of the lens. One all black plastic, original version (very common). The other (rare) with the signature Nikon chrome ring which gives it a more traditional Nikkor lens look to it.
    From f/4 onwards center sharpness is comparable to the 35/2 AF in my test. On full frame extreme corners are a bit softer compared to the 35/2 AF. Do not have the 35 AIS to test. The 35/2 AF focuses closer than either the AIS or E lenses.
    Have not compared it head to head with it's 28 Series E brother. A bit of apples-oranges given their different focal lengths. They both share the same minium focus distance so the 35 will give you a greater reproduction ratio, if that matters to you.
    If you are using this on a DX Nikon body, I'd save for the 35/1.8 DX lens. Although considerable bigger and more money, it's more convenient in use with AF, and full exposure controls.
  5. Thank you.
    Yes, I am using a dx camera. I thought about buying the new 35mm 1.8, but it would be a 100€ saving, if I buy an old one. I do not have problems using an old lenses, with manual focus and metering, but naturally I would prefer the automatic.
    I have never tested an current lenses, despite the 18-55, that I hate using. I suppose this 35mm 1.8 is much better to use.
    Talking about optical quality, the 35mm 1.8 is much better than the series e? And the 2.0 Ai-s? And these lenses three are much better than the 18-55, when 35mm?
  6. @ Tomas
    If manual focus and metering is not an issue, the 35mm f/2.5 is probably a decent inexpensive option for a prime lens. Compared to the 18-55 kit lens any Nikon/Nikkor manual focus lens will seem much better in terms of handling, build, and size. I think 75€ is a bit high (102 US at current rates) for the all black plastic version; good for the chrome ring. Here in the US could probably be found for a third less.
    At equivalent 35mm setting on the 18-55, the Series E will be obviously smaller/lighter, but probably also less distortion, maybe sharper, would gain a real focus ring and distance scale, plus a faster maximum aperture (f/2.5 vs f/5.0 - about 2 stops) for better focus isolation and higher shutter speeds (ie 1/60 sec vs 1/15 sec)/lower ISO requirements (ie 800 vs 3200).
    Nikon also made a 35mm f/2.8 AIS Nikkor which has better build than the Series E, but I have no first knowledge of it's optical qualities.
    In spite of it's size and extra costs, I still think the 35 DX is a good bang-for-buck among current new lenses for Nikon DX DSLRs.
  7. The plastic bodied Series-E lenses always gave me the creeps.
    If you can stand looking longer, the earlier six-element K/Ai 35/2.8(previous model to the five element AiS) is the superior lens. It was made from about 1974 to about 1979, so it crossed from pre-Ai(K) to Ai during it's production run. I'd guess it's less soft wide open at f/2.8 than the Ai(S) 35/2 is at f/2.8, though I've not owned both at the same time. Bokeh is a little 'busy', though.
  8. That 35mm 2.8 K is optical superior than the series e? Why was regression in the next 2.8 Ai, then?
    Yes, I know 75€ is a bit expensive, but I have to buy it on the internet, and that is the low price I found...
  9. Hi Tomas, I'm not sure why you're only considering the 35mm f/2.8 and Series-E lenses. The f/2 Ai-S is a better lens IMHO, and only slightly bigger and heavier than its slower cousins. As far as price is concerned the f/2 doesn't cost much more used than either of the other two lenses. The optical design of the f/2 35mm lens wasn't changed from the Ai version, which might be even cheaper than an Ai-S version. By all accounts the AF 35mm f/2 is better optically than its MF predecessor, but personally I'm doubtful that such a simple 5 element lens can outperform the 8 element design of the older lens.
    However, if you can afford a little more money and want one of the best 35mm lenses ever made, and also don't mind carrying a big and heavy lens, then consider the Samyang 35mm f/1.4. Wide open at f/1.4 it beats any of the previously mentioned lenses at their maximum aperture and gets even better as it's stopped down. At f/5.6 the image quality is just about perfect from corner to corner of the frame.
  10. Thank you.
    I want a small and cheap lenses, to save money, instead of buying the actual 35mm 1.8 DX. The offer on the europe internet isn't very vast, but I am looking for the best opportunity.
  11. @ Tomas -
    Just as an additional piece of information, Bjørn Rørslett rates the 35mm Series E slightly higher optically than the 35/2.8 AIS.
    @Rodeo -
    Yes, the 35/2 is better optically, but still about twice the price of the 35 Series E, depending on condition. Besides the vast size (83mm vs 35mm) and weight (420g vs 150gr) difference, I would not consider the Samyang 35mm f/1.4 at $500 US "a little more money". It is a good value in a fast aperture wide angle, but still above the OP's budget.
  12. You know in considering all these lenses, I understand your interested in the 35mm focal length, but if optical quality is important, see what a 28mm F/2.8 AIs lens would cost, its optics are still legendary today, and it has no optical distortion, and has really close focusing. Its still sold new from Nikon for around $500, but they sell used for around $200, maybe less.
  13. Keith B is right. The six element 2.8 is a different lens, one that even Bjorn missed (he notes the later Ais 5 element and the earlier 7 element non-Ai). I love mine, its a nice compliment to my 35mm 1.4. Low distortion, good bokeh.
  14. The 'E' series lenses are all simplified (read: cheaper) versions of the AiS lenses. As a rule, expect more distortion and CA, especially wide open, due to fewer elements and slightly worse coatings. Otherwise, the E lenses will generally take the same photos as the AiS versions if you're not shooting them wide open.
    I would not buy a new AiS lens that doesn't say "50mm" on the barrel. The 28mm may have less distortion than the new one, but there's much more potential for flare/ghosting/CA, especially with the most recent generation of cameras. That's acceptable with the 50mm lenses (the 50mm AiS is my go-to studio lens - much sharper than the new ones), but wider lenses will generally be used outdoors where CA is more likely to occur, and I don't think that a little improvement in field curvature is worth the other disadvantages that would come with it; especially since it's not that much cheaper than a newer-design lens with more modern coatings.
  15. I think the 35mm E is a great little lens. They have gone up in price recently - they always used to sell used for around $35 on eBay but now nearer to $100. That is too much perhaps...
    Anyway, the results are certainly 'classic Nikkor' and it works well at close distance and a little softer at infinity (as most lower end 35mm lenses are). Here is a full frame shot that shows the lens good colour and contrast. It is a very natural lens.
  16. shot this with the 35mm f2.5 E. I've had the lens for a while now and have been very pleased with it. It is very small and works well with my FM2.
  17. Go for a manual 35mm/2! If the AiS version cost too mutch, take a Ai, they are identical.
    I made a little comparison between my AF-S 35mm/1.4G and my old Ai'd Nikkor 35mm/2 OC Auto from 1978. The old 35/2 is nearly as good!
    You can see for yourself:
  18. It is good to remember that "AI-s" designation does not refer to the series of Nikon lenses but to the aperture coupling/indexing
    technology. All "Series E" lenses are AI-s lenses, too.

    I must have had a good 35mm f/2.5 Series E sample because it outperformed most of my other 35mm primes ( I don't like to think that all my
    other 35's are bad samples).

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