Friday, January 13, 2017

Nikon 35/2.5 Series E

It's been so long since I've done one of these entries I don't really remember my tone or what I was going for, so here goes.

In the late 70's Nikon decided they wanted to go after the consumer market and so they came out with two critical things.  One was the N2000 camera body.  It was affordable, had a motor drive for progressing the film, but not for rewind, and had limited features.  But for someone who wanted an easy to use SLR camera it was a great camera body.  Of course if you were a consumer you also needed an affordable lens and so they came out with the Series E lenses.  They had a few 50mm, 35mm, 28mm, 75-150mm, etc.  All were made with plastic bodies, instead of metal, and had light entry level feel.  In some cases the lenses have good reputations in others not so great.  Either way the plan for Nikon seemed to have worked and there are many of these lenses out there today being sold at places like ebay at a very affordable price.  So if you have an interest in trying your hand at a manual focus, fixed lens they are a cheap place to start.  The Series E will fit most if not all modern Nikon digital camera bodies and on some will work in aperture mode.

OK enough of that, let's talk a bit about the lens.  If you read reviews of the lens there are some consistent issues.  One is the sharpness of the lens.  At the middle apertures the sharpness is better, but there are complaints about it always being soft around the edges.  Second is poor quality bokeh.  Bokeh is a term used to describe the foreground or background of a picture that is out of focus.  You generally want that out of focus space to add something to picture but not distract from your focused object.  If you look at the picture below the complaint here would be that the background is too busy and doesn't allow the flower to stand out enough for the viewer to really focus on it.


In this next picture you can see how the sharpness works.  This was taken in low light so with the aperture wide open.  The center part of the picture is pretty sharp, but as you move out of the center it quickly gets soft.  Now if the aperture had been around 8 or 11 the sharpness would have been better and would have carried a bit further.  As it is in this picture I think the softness adds something to the picture.  


In my case the lens I have also has a little haze to the lends so that is softening things up as well I'm sure, but all in all I found the lens to be easy to focus, lightweight, so easy to carry around and allowing you to have a lot of options.  

You can get a nice wide shot like the one below. 


Or you can come in for some good close shots as it will focus down to a foot. 


All in all I found the lens to take good pictures and be fairly easy to use.  Anytime you have to do everything manually it makes it a bit more complex.  It does make me want to go out and buy a nice new auto-focus 35mm and I enjoy the fun you get in trying to move around to get the best shot you want.  A zoom is great when you have to be static, but with a small lens like this you can be so mobile it makes things fun.  

I would give this a score of 6.33 out of 10.  That's 6 for picture quality, 6 for ease of use, and 7 for usability.  

Here is the full gallery.

35mm f25 Series E

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