Friday, March 22, 2013

Nikkor 75-150mm f/3.5 Series E

While preparing the next article for the Composition series, I'm giving you a review that was written quite a while ago, but lacked the photos for it - it was hard to dig out the relevant examples from my hard drive.

The 75-150 f/3.5 is a cheap manual focus tele zoom. Being only a 2x zoom, you'd expect pretty decent image quality. Is that the case?

+ a cheap tele zoom lens with constant aperture
+ f/3.5 at 150mm is always a good thing
+ very good image quality wide-open and superb at f/8-f/11

- manual focus means no fast moving subjects
- limited zoom range
- a tad susceptible to flare

Wide-open it's still very good, resolving quite fine detail
Stopped down to f/5.6 it gets even better

Intended Users
Great for:
  • good tele lens for landscapes. Good image quality, light and relatively small
  • constant aperture f/3.5 + good image quality = good candidate for teleconverter or video use with a mirrorless
  • a very good (static) outdoor portrait lens.

Not for:
  • fast moving objects
  • limited range means this is not a general lens (not even tele; it's too short for many things)
  • ultimately, a cheap modern autofocus (like the AF-S VR 55-200) is better in every way.

Final Verdict
It's cheap, it's superb, and it's reasonably fast (f/3.5 @ 150mm is not bad at all). The zoom range is somewhat limited - in many ways I'd see this lens as a flexible prime rather than a true zoom. All in all, this is a great lens but in marketing terms it is a bit obsolete. For just a bit more money, you can get a good deal on a used AF-S VR 55-200 which gives you better range, autofocus & VR, and very similar optical characteristics (especially stopped-down a bit)

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