Hours of Idleness-A Photographer's Journey in St. Louis

Nikon 50mm f/1.8E Lens

Posted in photography, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on May 10, 2010

Say what?! A Pentax lens on a Nikon F Mount? Nah, I just use a Pentax lens cap that I found to protect my 30 year old, Nikon E Series 50mm (cheaper than buying a Nikon one). This lens may be old, and manual focus, but it is definitely not obsolete optically. I’ve already gushed about how great a value the “Nifty Fifty” is, this because of its price versus performance ratio, but this little Nikon might be even better. I know that I prefer it optically over the Nikkor D lens (on paper it’s hard to pinpoint why, since they appear virtually identical), so really the only reason why it doesn’t stay on my camera bodies instead of the later version are 1. no AF (necessary when shooting events) and 2. it only meters on one of my current, digital bodies (the D300). That said, I do still take it out a great deal on shoots for when I have the time to gather the shot (more a lack of trust in my manual focusing capabilities than in the lens’).

Anyway, the E Series was released simultaneous to the Nikon EM, and it was meant to sell to a more casual caste of photographer. For this reason, the E Series lenses were the first to feature large portions of plastic in their makeup, among other concessions from the established Nikkor prototype. This is why this lens is a “Nikon” versus a “Nikkor”. However, don’t let that fool you; in today’s camera market, plastic has long had a place in even lenses that are considered “professional” and Nikkor no longer reserves its nomenclature for those with strictly an all metal makeup. Fact is, this is a tough lens, and it feels that way (especially up against the current “Nifty Fifty”).

All shots Nikon D300 with Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G Lens.

More shots and stats after the jump–>

Lens w/o the Pentax cap:

Top View at Closest Focus:

Top View at Infinity:

Full Name: Nikon 50mm f/1.8 E Series
Max/Min. Aperture: 1.8/22
Diaphragm Blades: 7
Lens Configuration: 6 Elements in 5 Groups
Filter Size: 52mm
Magnification Ratio:
Focuses Beyond: 24″

Side View:

Aperture Ring View:

Some pics that I have taken with this lens:


5 Responses

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  1. […] some creative decisions. Instead of bringing my 17-55 and 80-200, I took my Nikon 105mm f/2.8G, 50mm 1.8D, 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G, and Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. The 105mm ended up being the best choice for the […]

  2. Alex Dickson said, on September 1, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Hey I know this post is very old but I was wondering if you could post a picture or email me one of the E Series next to a AI-s or AF-d 50mm if thats possible.

  3. Jason Gray said, on September 4, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Hi Alex.

    I’d love to oblige your request (and may someday), but I am just too busy at the moment. I will say this about the two lenses though:

    1. Stopped down, the lenses are nearly indistinguishable in terms of sharpness, out of focus area, and contrast.

    2. Wide open, the D lens seems to be just a hair sharper in the center, but the out of focus area is not quite as pleasing.

    3. In terms of colors, the E lens seems to reproduce more vibrant (accurate) colors.

    It should be noted that I have an NC Filter on the D and nothing on the E, which shouldn’t cause any visible differences, but you never know. Also, the E lens does not have the multi-coating that the D lens has, which might account for the less vibrant colors in the D/less contrast in the E (which is, I suspect, why the D lens looks fractionally sharper wide open).

    Hope this helps!

  4. […] Nikon 50mm f/1.8E […]

  5. […] this Photo Flood, I used my Nikon D300 with the Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 AIS and Nikon D200 with Nikon 50mm f/1.8E.  This set-up, an alternative to my 24mm f/2.8D and 50mm f/1.8D, is my favorite manual focus combo […]

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