Friday, June 26, 2020

Nikon 36-72mm/3.5 Series E

I've written before about the E series lenses from Nikon.  This is another in this consumer series of lenses.  If you'd like to read a professional review here is one from Matthew Durr.

I have found that in using these different lenses you get a feel for what they are good for.  In this case this lens works best when you are just shooting family activities.  This would have been a solid lens for instance to take on a family trip to Opryland.  When shooting people it's easy to focus and the zoom and focus movements are very smooth meaning you can get that shot of your kids as they are coming down the log plume ride.  Where this lens shows its flaws is when you want to do something more artistic.  Nature shots or architectural shots.  

Lets take a look at some photos and talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the lens.  

We'll start by focusing on the positive.  


This picture is a good example of those family pics you can take.  I was able to get a good series of photos on my D3300 using this lens and shoot some good video.  With the good lighting once I set everything up I got very consistent results no matter what zoom range I was in and so that made clicking a series of photographs quite easy.  The picture quality may be better using the 18-55 that the camera comes with, but there is something fun about using a lens like this. 

Another example of something the lens does very well is handle focus and light very consistently across the zoom range.  Here are two pictures I took with no adjustments other than the zoom. 



As I said this makes shooting those family activities much easier.  

Where I found the lens to struggle was in situations where the lighting was not consistent like this photo of a water fountain.  


No matter what I tried I could never get this picture right.  With the lighting it was always going to be a bit tricky, but I found with this lens that it does not do well at all with blended lighting.  I don't know enough about how lenses work to understand this problem, I just know when I experience it and this was a consistent problem with this lens.  

Another problem with the lens can be seen in this photo.  


It lacks a crispness that you want when shooting something where you want to capture detail.  Even though this photo is properly focused, because the lens is not very crisp the picture ends up feeling blurry or busy.  

Last let's talk about the bokeh. Bokeh is a term used to describe the foreground or background of a picture that is out of focus.  


In this example you can see there isn't much bokeh.  I found this to be pretty consistent.  That the sort of blurred effect you are looking for when trying to focus on a single subject just didn't really exist.  And often if the background was lit more brightly it would appear too washed out and distract from the picture.  

All in all I found using this lens to be very similar to what I experienced when using the Nikon 43-86.  Though I have to say I found the 43-86 to handle color a little better than this lens and to me that is an important flaw in this lens.  

I would give this a score of 6.33 out of 10. That's 5 for picture quality, 7 for ease of use, and 7 for usability. 

36-72mm f/3.5 Series-E

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