Fuji X-E1 plus 28 year old £35 Nikon Series E 50mm f/1.8 lens





This second version of the Series E 50mm f/1.8 was made between 1981 and 1985, so if it's one of the last made the lens is at least 28 years old. It produces ridiculously sharp images, even wide open.






So 32 years ago Nikon designed a small light (135g) 'pancake' type standard lens for 35mm film cameras. The lens delivers great results even after all this time. So I guess I have to ask the question, just how far has lens development come in that time? In terms of lens quality, and of course durability, the answer is pretty much, not that far at all. Yes lenses now have AF motors in them, but apart from that, what exactly are we paying for? Yesterday there was lots of internet comment on a new lens from Fuji. The 23mm f/1.4 from Fuji. And its $899 / €899. I'm sure its a good lens, but its very expensive. 

Somebody asked me on Google+ why I use Nikon primes in preference to other lenses. Well one of the answers is years of using them (Since 1991) and years of getting great pictures. I'm not saying every lens they make is brilliant, that certainly isn't the case, but in my experience they do consistently make lenses that rival and in many instances better similar products from any other lens range. And many of them are, in terms of the competition, not that expensive. If you are prepared to look around at second-hand examples as well then you can also get some great bargains. Of course, if you use these on non-Nikon cameras then you are getting manual focus only and to many that would automatically rule them out. But for those who are happy without AF then they are a great option. 

I've been using Nikon primes for years now, on a variety of cameras, and I see no reason why I won't continue doing that for years to come. I've tried lots of other lenses and yet I always keep coming back to Nikon. When I used Canon DSLR's, when I didn't need AF I used Nikon primes, when I discovered m4/3 with the G1 I used Nikon primes, I've used them on NEX cameras, Fuji X cameras, Samsung NX and even on a Leica M9. I've shot stills and video with them and have only very rarely been disappointed with the results. I've expressed the opinion many times before that Nikon has the best lens range of all the manufacturers and the 50mm Series E just confirms that opinion again.



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