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I love Nikon E-Series lens!

I know alot of people complain about the lack of auto focus but I love the E-Series glass from the old days of Nikon. They offer some great optic, at amazing apertures and they don’t cost much. Some may call them “poor man’s lenses” but I will take a similar image quality for 90% less anyday.

I have owned many of them over the years. I loved using the Nikon E-series 100mm (2.8) even if the focal length is a challenge to work with. I also have used the 50mm and 35mm versions as well. In fact, I was using the 35mm one as recent as a week ago.

Nikon made many of these to sell cheaply back in the days of film. I know of the following:

-Nikon 28mm (2.8)
-Nikon 35mm (2.5)
-Nikon 50mm (1.8)
-Nikon 100mm (2.8)
-Nikon 135mm (2.8)
-Nikon 36-72mm (3.5)
-Nikon 75-150mm (3.5)
-Nikon 70-210mm (4.0)

Personally, I do not own very many zoom lenses. (I am a prime guy) However, I have used most of the primes in the series and I have to say that they are some of the best bang for the buck that I have seen to day. They clearly give Samyang some competition for people who can find these golden oldies.

Nikon E-series using practically

I used them mainly for street photography in Manila, Philippines and with moving parts, no auto focus, and dialing in the settings; you will blow exposure and focus. For a beginner (that is broke) using them, my suggestion would be to worry about focus more than exposure. The reason being when you are shooting raw; you can bring alot of information back. In my opinion, shooting dark (under exposure) is better to work with in Adobe Lightroom for someone just starting to shoot.

Another simple hack for someone who has not used manual focus lens before would be to set the aperture to around 5.6 to get started. Learn how that focal length and the depth of field relate to what you are shooting. Once you realize what the hell you are doing, start trying the 2.8 aperture for that amazing bokoh.

That leads me to the next piece of advice, always shoot aperture priority when you are not in a controlled environment like a studio. To be honest, I probably shoot in it more than I shoot in manual still to this day. I do not mind shooting fully manually at all but doing it just to pet my ego that it was manual doesn’t really make me get my rocks off.

One other practical tip that I would give people would be to make sure if you are using liveview on your camera, have it attached to a mono pod unless you know how you camera reacts to movement pretty well. If you are shooting traditionally using the viewfinder, this should not be a concern for the most part.

Remember, saving money on lens normally means manually overcoming challenges that newer and more expensive offering was made to fix!

Nikon E-series lens are great for studio work!

If you have them on a solid tripod, where you know the focus and the aperture; they can be real beauties. I personally have not used them in the studios. I am not much of indoors photography guy to be honest. However, they do work great for those who are.

Here is some of the shoots with each focal length from Flickr that I liked. Note that these are not my images and you can click through to see the original upload from the person that used the Nikon E-series lens.

Nikon 28mm (2.8)


Nikon 35mm (2.5)

Have a colourful 2016 y'all!

Nikon 50mm (1.8)

Christmas Spirit

Nikon 100mm (2.8)

... rentre bredouille... (3/3)

Nikon 135mm (2.8)

Street music

3 replies
  1. Douglas Gitt
    Douglas Gitt says:

    Thirty years ago I bought a Nikon EM with the series E 50mm 1.8 lens. It was a very good aperture priority camera, light and compact for my climbing trips and general shooting. I do use the old series E lens today on my D7000, particularly reversed for macro.

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