Nikon 100mm Series E

The review (at last!) by M

Wow, what an amazing little lens! When I say little, I mean little at only 57.5 mm long!
So how come this lens is so small? It’s down to its construction really. It’s made up with 4 elements in 4 groups. Compare that to your modern lens! So is it the simplicity that gives this lens its edge? Well I think so, not just because I own it, but also because I have owned and used many lenses over the years to compare it to.
Don’t be fooled by its size – this is one very sharp and contrasty lens. In fact I would say it’s one of the sharpest lenses I’ve ever owned! That is, as long as I focus it correctly. The lens has a fast F2.8 aperture making it very bright in the viewfinder or in live view mode. And if that’s not enough, then there is a Depth of Field guide clearly painted on the top of the lens barrel, as well as a scale in feet, marked with yellow paint, and in metres, marked in white paint, for you to use. There are also markings for F11 in blue paint and F22 in orange. These are all markings that most modern lenses don’t have which, being “Old school”, I miss.

As it’s a small lens it does not weigh much. At only 215g it’s very easy to carry around with you, but somehow it does not “feel” very plasticy, which is good. This cannot be said of some modern Nikon lenses I have used or owned. I do wonder if those lenses will still be working as reliably as the above lens at 30 years old!
As maybe you can tell by now, I am a Big fan of this lens. There’s so much to like! If you are a “Bokeh fan” then this lens is also great at that too. You will be enjoying your out of focus backgrounds as well.
It has a 52mm filter size for your filters and for the much needed lens hood (the same as many fixed prime lenses of this age). More on that later, the lens hood that is.

Well this lens is a great all rounder lens, given that it can be focused down to 3.5 feet or 1 metre which comes in very useful at times.
Many people see a 100mm lens as a “Classic” focal length for portraits as well. If that’s your style, then it would be great for that too.
If you want full information with your Nikon files, you will have to set this up via your camera’s menu. It does not take too long to do at all, and you will be given a reminder of what lens and aperture combo you used.
It’s hard to find anything about this lens that I don’t like. Given the fact it was made in the 1980s as a cheaper priced lens over the standard cost of any Nikkor lens at that the same focal length, this is excellent value for money. The only thing I dont’ like about this lens is “Lens flare”.
Back to that lens hood, which is a simple add-on to this lens, you just screw it on to the front filter thread. It’s needed because these lens elements are not as well coated as modern lenses. This would have been part of the cost cutting process to make these cheaper to make and buy back in the day.
So if you can manually focus a lens and put a lens hood on the front of it, you have a sure winner in this lens. It’s really a no brainer!
It’s not an easy lens to find out there in the second hand market. I think a lot of these lenses may have been finding their way to m4/3 camera owners as it is a fast F2.8 and small 200mm for them. It would be a great lens for them also.

If you can find one, a good one, buy it!

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