Nikon Series E musings

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Ian Rance, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. Having most of the Series E lenses (which I use for travel and some more serious work) I would appreciate your input on some questions I have.
    At what point did the rubber focus ring nubbins change to the waffle design? Was there a change to the optics of any of the lenses at this point? Coatings?
    I have only ever seen the 'nubbins' type - the waffle type remains elusive, and was wondering if perhaps it was not sold in the UK.
    When were the series E lenses discontinued?
    Concerning the coatings of the 50mm E, are they the same type as the pre-H.C Nikkor (single) or some type of simplified multi-coating specially created for the 50mm E?
    I note that the 50mm E has less barrel distortion than my 50mm f1.8 Ai - why would they give better optics to the 'economy' lens?
    Lastly, I often note some tiny black dust particles in 50mm E's - not like normal dust, but inky black. As the cell is sealed, I wonder if this dust was there from the start, or if perhaps it is particles of internal blacking migrating to the glass.
    Any other Series E info welcomed - and especially about the 28mm E and 36-72mm E - I have never seen them and am interested in user experiences and feedback.
  2. The change in design happened in 1981. At least the initial 35, 50, and 100 are single coated (not sure if that changed with the design update), the rest is multi-coated. All Series E lenses were discontinued in 1985.
    I only owned one - the 75-150 - purchased long after they had been discontinued and sold a few years later since it hardly saw any use.
  3. I too have enjoyed using the E Series lenses in the past. I especially liked the 100mm, 75-150mm, and the 50mm. The latter for its pancake size. The 36-72mm was a good walk around lens. I used these lenses back in the early 80s on an EM, FG and F3.
    A good online source of info on the E Series is here:
  4. Dieter, I have read a little in 'Eyes of Nikon', but other genuine factory info is scant.
    BW, thanks for the link. I have enjoyed reading through that in the past few weeks and I was hoping some P Net members might have some additional info. I have the 100mm and agree it is a fine lens. I have never tried the 75-150mm, but I have not given up looking. The 36-72mm seems to be ultra-rare and I wonder if that is because it is so good people are hanging onto them? I have just picked up an EM and it is waiting to be re-foamed (not easy with 3 sections of mirror foam).
  5. umd


    I have the 100mm E, sharpness is ok but contrast is low and bokeh is ugly. I considered buying the 75-150 which is highly praised for its optics but could not find one without the zoom creep problem, which is annoying. High quality and low cost is a very rare combination.
  6. I have the 50mm 1.8 Series E, the later type with the metal ring, and it is a fine performer in my experience. I also have the 50mm 1.8 AI, the 50mm f1.2 AIS, and the 50mm f1.8 AF-D. Also have the 55mm f2.8 AIS Micro-Nikkor. Maybe I should have another shoot out at the OK Corral? In my experience the Micro-Nikkor is the best, followed closely by the 50mm f2 AI (which I sold).
  7. The 28 pops up regularly in eBay (at least the German eBay is a lot better stocked than the UK one), so I don't consider it rare. Bjørn Rørslett has rated it worse than the 35 and I don't feel like buying one since older 28 mm AI lenses can be had very inexpensively.
    I would not expect anything great from the 36-72...normal zooms of that era were in general not that good and normal zooms tend to benefit heavily from good coatings, something that was not so special in E series lenses.
    I have a 75-150 and do use it mainly as a travel lens. It cost less than a Nikon branded hood and performs quite nicely, although backlit subjects are its weakness. As with most telezooms, performance goes down towards the long end, but it's quite usable so I'm ok with it. It has a creep, but I use it handheld anyway. A repairman said that it would easily cost more than the lens to have it relubed. I'm waiting for Nikon to come out with some equivalent to the Canon 70-200/4 IS, but in the meantime, I have my 75-150.
  8. I have the Series E 50/1.8 (later model with metal grab ring) that I use for my D40 and FM. It's a great little lens that gives me excellent results in low light. It's really tricky to get focus correctly at f/1.8 (especially on my D40 where it's an effective 75mm). Bokeh has distracting defined edges until you stop it down to f/2.8 where it becomes much nicer.
    I also just bought a 28/2.8 on eBay, which I have yet to receive. I'll let you know my impressions when I have it my hands.
  9. I really like the 100 E for landscapes and low-light telephoto stuff. Mine is a 'chrome-ringed' version that I got for about $70. I could not see a difference in sharpness and contrast when compared with a 105 f2.5 at most apertures, so I kept the E for its compactness.
  10. I have a 75-150 and do use it mainly as a travel lens. It cost less than a Nikon branded hood and performs quite nicely, although backlit subjects are its weakness.​
    This is actually quite the opposite of my experience with my copy of the 75-150. Backlit subjects are actually one of the situations where I grab my 75-150 because it does not show color fringing in out of focus areas and purple fringing like the lovable 105mm f/2.5 may do.
    As with most telezooms, performance goes down towards the long end, but it's quite usable so I'm ok with it.​
    I agree to that, it has to be stopped down to f/8 from 105mm and above for good corner performance . It is excellent at 75mm wide open.
  11. I have the 75-150 and the creep can be reduced by placing a piece of black electrical tape on the barrel, one with the zoom ring all the way in, and, one with the zoom ring all the way out. It's not perfect but it helps! Not sure where I read that but it works well for me.
  12. Oivind, my dislike of using the 75-150 for backlit subjects is due to its propensity to flare and lose a lot of contrast. I tested it by taking a night shot of some distant street light with it and a 105/4 micro and the 105/4 made a much detailed and crisp image, whereas the hard backlight resulted in a somewhat muddy image on the 75-150.
    I don't remember seeing purple fringing with the 75-150, but nowadays I'm using a D300, so puprle fringing and CA is lot less of an issue.

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