Thursday, November 7, 2013

Nikon 100mm f/2.8 E Series

Another E Series lens for Nikon. In case you didn't know, "E" stands for "Economy" - these were meant to be lenses that were more consumer-oriented (=cheaper, supposedly not so great). That was back in the days when lenses were made with the highest standards of quality, and were meant to last a lifetime. Fast-forward to today, and those "E Series" lenses can definitely hold their own, in terms of construction quality, and - mainly - in terms of optical quality. This great little short tele is no exception.

+ Small, light, fun f/2.8 short tele lens
+ Excellent resolution and contrast in all apertures
+ Great value - it really doesn't cost much, and it can deliver great results.

- not as sturdy as AI-S lenses (then again, equal or better than many modern lenses)
- a bit of chromatic aberration wide-open (to be expected), nothing to worry about.
- small size & weight can also be problems (susceptible to blur when handheld)

Great lens for urban shots in low light

Intended Users
Great for:
  • Low light urban shots
  • Fantastic portrait lens (as long as we're talking about static subjects)
  • Dark clubs, theaters, indoor sports (but you need to be close to the action)

Not for:
  • (Fast-)moving subjects. Manual Focus
  • Entry-level camera users - manual focus, manual exposure... You'll be less frustrated with something like the AF-S 85mm f/1.8 (which is ~$300 more expensive though)
  • Tight spaces, obviously enough. 100mm is long even on FX

Final Verdict
It's cheap and it's awesome, like all E Series lenses. Optical quality on very high levels, small and light (although that makes it a bit susceptible to blur when handheld), and pretty good ergonomics, too. This can make a swell portrait lens for FX and DX alike, as long as you can live with the limitation of manual focus - should be fine for (semi-)static subjects. If your camera does not support metering with these lenses, your workload increases. It would still make a sweet little lens, but you should also consider whether a modern autofocus fast prime would be a better option - albeit, a much more expensive one.

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