Information on Nikon Series E Lenses

 
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Nikon Series E 36-72mm f/3.5s Zoom lens COMPARE THIS with the AUTOFOCUS version

A economical alternative to your normal lens and other more expensive Nikon zoom lenses.
Three popular focal length in one zoom - wideangle, normal, and short telephoto - make this zoom lens suitable for most subjects, including snapshots, portraits, scenic city life, etc. Technical Highlights: * Nikon Integrated Coating is applied for improved color rendition. * Amazingly compact and light. * Single focusing/zooming ring provides easy operation for shooting fast-moving subjects. * Takes popular 52mm filters.

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Credit: Both images of this 36-72mm f/3.5s Series E Zoom lense displayed here was contributed by " D.A. Recht ®" <drex55@ameritech.net>. Image Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.

Nikon Series E Zoom lens 36-72mm f/3.5 Ai-S lens
By the early '80, there was a very funny scenario in the development of zoom lenses. Most important was the change of attitude - users were beginning to accept zoom lenses for their photography. Nikon was sandwiched in an embarrassing situation as previous zoom lenses introduced by Nikon were very expensive. The competitions has, in an indirect way forced Nikon to re-think how to step down the prices of zoom lenses to take on aggressive competitions especially from the Canon and Minolta etc. While many third party and rivaling competitors have also started introduced many realistically priced zoom lenses for SLRs. Everybody can see the inevitable future path of zoom might, one day become the main stream optic to replace prime lenses and naturally Nikon was aware of such that change in the market place too. Although Nikkor zoom lenses were, generally rated highly in both their built and optical quality, of which Nikon usually demanded an extraordinary premium, thinking the convenience of zoom and optical performance their zoom lenses offer were still cheaper than a few prime Nikkor lenses combined.

Credit: Image(s) displayed here are courtesy of betteroffblu/Jenny® where the EBAY STORE is also one of my favorite spot to look for great images on used photographic equipment. Image(s) copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

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The debut of Series E lenses somehow has helped (or designed to 'neutralize' such situation) by "explaining" to Nikon faithful that they can now lower prices of zoom lenses and make them more affordable. Somehow I got the funny feeling (and hate to think) that the E-series zoom lenses were part of the marketing scheme being introduced to enable prices of subsequent new Nikkor zoom lenses introduced later stages can be 'step-down' and narrow the gap of prices from early expensively priced Nikkor zoom lenses to a more realistic level without hurting the feeling of previous buyers ...

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If you can still remember, during those days, a first rated zoom lenses like 35-70mm f/3.5 Zoom Nikkor and the even more popular Zoom Nikkor 80-200mm f/4.0 were selling at a price like a few prime Nikkor lenses combined. Although I have no negative feeling towards introduction of cheaper zoom lenses such as the E Series Zoom 36-72mm f/3.5 here but neither I have any good feeling with the built quality of these zoom offer. Come to think of it, this lens reminds me about the very popular 43-86mm Zoom Nikkor * lens that Nikon produced years ago which was once claimed "the world's most poplar manual focus zoom lens ever...".
Credit: Image of the 36-72mm f/3.5s Series E Zoom lense displayed here was contributed by " D.A. Recht ®" <drex55@ameritech.net>. Image Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.

Anyway, let us set the wild guess issue aside. This E Series Zoom 36-72mm f/3.5 here do have a few plus points in its design that deserve a mention, together with another two Series E zoom lenses which offers at longer focal length at 70-150mm and 70-210mm, the three lenses were surprisingly being designed to use one-touch zoom/focus ring design which provides a quicker, more responsive and smoother operation (A comparing, more expensive Nikkor Zoom 35-70mm f/3.5 has a dual focusing/zoom rings design). Next, all these lenses have a constant aperture of f/3.5 which is less tedious to respond to many action photography; further, the maximum aperture of f/3.5 also enables viewfinder image of many Nikon bodies to maintain reasonably bright for ease of focusing and picture composing. However, in some unfavorable situations, many users might experience blackout of the split image rangefinder. A good way to neutralize such negative phenomenon is to change focusing screen to a B or E type when you intend to use it with Nikon SLRs such as Nikon FM2/FM2n, FE, FE2 and Nikon FA. The EM, FG and FG-20 may not have interchangeable focusing feature and thus, another way is to stick closer to the viewfinder when you focus, it may help. Optically, the lens performs best at stopped down a few stops from its maximum aperture. But I have some reservation on its performance at maximum aperture and especially when use it in situations under backlit. Lastly, an icing on the cake, this lens is capable of achieving a magnification ratio of 1:5 at longer end of the zoom setting of 150mm. Along with the Series E 70-210mm f4.0, both of these zoom lenses are providing a close focus, higher magnification ratio capability.

Overall, the lens performs slightly above average optically but its built quality often makes many Nikon faithful who were so familiar with supreme quality of other Nikon products in general to think, in the first place, why would Nikon introduce the E-Series optic. But as addressed earlier, the primary target users for E-Series lenses are mainly aiming for entry SLR users who are more budget conscious, less exposed to quality of other Nikon products, whatever it is, they might still think, it is still a Nikon. However, over the years, I have seen many of these lenses landed in studio to take portraits for ID identification. So,despite of what I felt, it still lasts huh ?


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Specification of a comparing Nikon 43~86mm f/3.5-22 Zoom-Nikkor Auto (1962)

9 elements in 7 groups
53 to 28 1/2 degrees angle of view
focusses to 1.2m
accepts hood HN-3, lens case CL-32, and bubble case CP-2
52mm accessory size
65mm dia. by 78mm length, weighs 410g
Lens Hood $5.25 list (1967)
Lens Case $10.50 list (1967)
$129.50 list (1962); $179.50 list (1967)
Obviously, it is very hard to compare the Series E 36-72mm with bulky, but a very well made 35-70 f2.8 Nikkor Zoom. But if we use a modern compact AF 35-70mm f3.3-f4 varying aperture zoom lens to compare, the tiny zoom which can focus down to 0.3 m and has a magnification ratio of 1:4.4, optically has a 8 elements in 7 groups design and only weighs a mere 255g; the Series E 36-72 zoom must has even find life at used market is hard. Nikon don't produce the 2X zoom anymore and it was replaced with a wider zoom range of either 28-70mm or 35-80mm.

Specifications

Focal length/Aperture: 36-72mm f3.5
Lens construction: 8 elements in 8 groups
Focusing/zooming control: By a single control ring
Picture angle
: 62° -33° 30'; Diaphragm: Automatic
Aperture scale: f/3.5 - f/22 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales
Exposure measurement: Via full aperture method with Ai cameras; via stop-down method with non-Ai cameras.
Focal length markings: 36, 50, 72mm
Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet from 1.2m (4 ft ) to infinity (
oo); Weight: approx. 380g
Dimensions: 67mm dia. x 71.5mm long (overall); 63mm extension from lens flange
Filters: 52mm front screw-in; Front lens cap: Screw-in
Lens hood: HK-8 slip-on type; Lens case: CL-32S hard leatherette, No. 62 soft pouch, or CP-9 plastic
Usable teleconverter(s):
TC-200, TC-201, * TC-16AS, *TC-14A
Warning: Certain AE modes (Programmed AE and Shutter Priority AE) on selective Nikon SLRs will not work efficiently with older TC devices. Use an Ai-S version for better compatibility, read the respective Tele-Extender(s) sections. Note: Serial Number for this zoom lens may have been started with 1880701


Nikon Series E zoom lens 70-150mm f/3.5 by Shutterblade Team
Nikon Series E 75-150 mm f/3.5s Zoom lens

An excellent focal length for portraits, sports, and travel photography, although many may feel its focal length at both ends are neither too practical to make it a one-lens-does-all choice optic for photographers.


Well, I think quite a number of Nikon faithful are equally very easy to satisfy - it was all started with a lens test published by 'Popular Photography' back during early '80 which it has reported some favorable results achieve by the lens. The review has made many users thinking Nikon has produced another 'legendary" status lens. (Frankly, I think even Nikon was surprised and embarrassed by such positive respond in a Series E zoom lens instead of a Nikkor). If a test report is solely used as a yardstick to judge such a status, Canon could have a few bucketful of legendary lenses because any seasoned users/readers will notice Popular Photography rarely reviewed lenses made by Nikon during that time; even if it has, while you can see most of content were using careful choice of words which often contradict with lens test results in data sheet. Further, many lens tests of Canon optic published usually scored highly and brilliantly in lab and on the field test. So, I think to see such overwhelming reaction from Nikon users was truly amazing and it might even went beyond its creator's expectation.
 

Credit: Image courtesy of Laura Kornylak ® <shutterblade@comcast.net> from shutterblade*com where the Company has a website on its own. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Generally, zoom lenses within on these focal length are much easier to design without overcoming too much optical aberrations, they usually performs much better than lenses of shorter focal lengths. There are two versions of this lens being produced throughout its entire product cycle. The earlier version has a lens fastening ring in black plastic while later version was changed to a metal (Aluminum) lens mounting ring. It has a extra broad focusing ring which provides secure, firm focusing and zoom action. However, the lens has a few great designing elements to term it as a good zoom lens. It features a one touch zoom/focusing ring design which is very useful for telephotography; it has a constant aperture of f/3.5 which is equally favorable by many photographers.

Nikon Series E zoom 70-150mm f/3.5
The lens indeed balances very well when mounted on camera (especially with a motor drive attached). Optically, it never disappoint either, perhaps with NIC which has greatly contains internal reflection among the lens elements within, images produce are uniformly quite sharp for a zoom lens at all apertures and color fidelity is very stable. The lens exhibits a slightly higher contrast (for a zoom lens), where it also provides excellent depth of field scales (lines) which are brightly coloured to illustrate their curves while it zooms/focuses. Overall, since the lens was designed within a focal length generally very useful (and practical) for medium telephotography such as half length body portraiture, scenic/landscape to isolate a specific area of interest, family pictures and even a great choice for indoor studio photography. However, similar to other Series E lenses, the lens is not provided with a meter coupling prong and when use it with any Non-AI Nikon bodies, you have to be aware that it may not be able to provide proper open aperture metering guide. Another slight drawback is its rectangular grip for the aperture ring has a very strong, fragile plastic feel.

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of Bert Furnari ® where I found the image(s) from his excellent Ebay Store. All image(s) appeared herein are Copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
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As with any other medium telephoto lens you can find on the market, shooting portraits with aperture between f/8.0 and f/11 with flash, should produce excellent photographic results with this lens. Over the years, just like the shorter 36-72mm lens featured earlier, I noticed many of this zoom lens are also being used "in front of the curtain" at many of the One Hour Color Lab for taking passport or B/W ID photo).

I am not here trying to upset some stomachs by making such a remark here. Actually, depending on your expectation and in what situation you are using them, most modern lenses are more than sufficient to generate an above average optical result - if you are very particular about factors such as resolving power etc...at every aperture it provides, then it is too unfortunate.

Nikon Series E 70-150mm f/3.5 Ai-S zoom lens
I remembered one of my good friend who has read that lens test and Photostat a copy for me. He was so convinced with the report and thought that was the one last good lens Nikon has ever produced and eventually bought one himself (I presumed there are many others just like him). I did borrowed the lens fro him, used it for quite a while and overall, I was quite happy with the results it generates. However, my experience with the lens made me concluded it was a good lens, but it is nothing near such 'legendary' quality as others claimed.

Credit
: Image(s) displayed here are courtesy of betteroffblu/Jenny® where the EBAY STORE is also one of my favorite spot to look for great images on used photographic equipment. Image(s) copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

75150mmEb.jpg
I remembered one of my good friend who has read that lens test and Photostat a copy for me. He was so convinced with the report and thought that was the one last good lens Nikon has ever produced and eventually bought one himself (I presumed there are many others just like him). I did borrowed the lens fro him, used it for quite a while and overall, I was quite happy with the results it generates. However, my experience with the lens made me concluded it was a good lens, but it is nothing near such 'legendary' quality as others claimed.

Credit: A well captured image of the 75-150mm f/3.5s Series E Zoom lense displayed here was contributed by "The Earl of Duke" ® . Image Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.
Anyway, it is all right to use lens test as a buying guide, but I always discourage blind followers which may even mislead others to join in the buying queve. Come to think of it, if some form of media was being abused slightly with a different objective, manufacturers stand to gain the most. But personally, I would not think it was that bad as I would imagine that such things will happen because, generally, media operators usually maintain a high professionalism attitude in their works, it was only individual interpretation and lack of actual product knowledge that may twist such a thought. The best way to judge is to borrow a lens if you can, use it for your personal photography and determine if it is useful and practical for your kind of photography. Personally, the focal length the lens encompasses is more interesting (practical) - with an additional bonus it offers be able to work in at close to macro setting (1:5 magnification ratio). But if you try to pay a premium on a presumably ' legendary status' where the sellers demand it was, then just forget it. I would rather save my hard earned cash for something else.

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Technical Highlights: * A versatile zoom lens offering focal lengths from medium long to a full 3X telephoto. * Focuses down to a close 1m (3.5 ft.) at all focal lengths; a magnification ratio of 1:5 is possible at the 150mm focal length.

* Well-corrected aberrations as well as Nikon Integrated Coating provide high contrast at every focal length from wide open to completely stopped down. *Single (One-touch) focusing/zooming ring provides a more responsive operation. * Uses 52mm filters. *Stops down to f/32 for additional depth of field. *Excellent for candid, head-and-shoulder portraits, travel photography, and sports.

Specifications:

Focal length/Aperture: 75-150mm f/3.5
Lens construction: 12 elements in 9 groups
Focusing/zooming control: By a single control ring
Picture angle
: 31°40' -17°; Diaphragm: Automatic

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Aperture scale: f/3.5 - f/32 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales
Exposure measurement: Via full aperture method with Ai cameras; via stop-down method with non-Ai cameras.
Focal length markings: 75, 100, 150mm
Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet from 1m (3.5ft.) to infinity (
OO)
Weight: 520g


Credit: A well captured image of the 75-150mm f/3.5s Series E Zoom lense displayed here was contributed by "The Earl of Duke" ® . Image Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.

Dimensions: 65mm dia. x 125mm long (overall); 117mm extension from lens flange
Filters: 52mm front screw-in; Front lens cap: Snap-On; Lens hood: HN-21 screw-in type; Lens case: CL-13 hard leatherette, No. 63 soft pouch, or CP-9 plastic
Usable teleconverter(s):
TC-200, TC-201

Warning: Certain AE modes (Programmed AE and Shutter Priority AE) on selective Nikon SLRs will not work efficiently with older TC devices. Use an Ai-S version for better compatibility, read the respective Tele-Extender(s) sections. Note: Serial number for the earlier series of this zoom lense was believed to have been started with 1790801 and followed by 1850001for the subsequent version.

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Nikon Series E lenses:- 28mm | 35mm | 50mm | 100mm | 135mm | 36-72mm | 75-150mm | 70-210mm

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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number:
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http://www.zi.ku.dk/personal/lhhansen/photo/fmount.htm by: Hansen, Lars Holst
http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/nikonfmount/lens2.htm
http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/serialno.html

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