Nikon 50mm f/1.8
Nikon 50mm f/1.8 Series E, first black version (4.8 oz./135g, 1979-1981). enlarge.
Nikon 50mm f/1.8 Series E, later silver version (5.5 oz./155g, 1981-1985). enlarge.
Both lenses: FX, DX and 35mm coverage, 52mm filters, 2'/0.6m close focus, about $50 used). This free website's biggest source of support is when you use these links, especially this link directly to them at eBay (see How to Win at eBay) or to them at Amazon, when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thanks! Ken.
This great little lens is a refugee from the 70s. No one wants them today, which allows you to get great performance for next to free.
With this lens and almost any 35mm or digital Nikon, it could be the only lens you'll ever need: sharp, light, fast, and devoid of distortion. Most of Nikon's most expensive zooms today are softer, slower, more distorted, and far more expensive.
It may be the lightest lens made by Nikon at only 4-3/4 oz (135g).
It is 2.5" (63.3mm) in diameter by a mere 1.3" (33mm) long.
It takes standard 52mm filters it's threaded metal front.
It has six single-coated elements in five groups.
It has a seven-bladed diaphragm that stops down to f/22.
It takes the Nikon HR-4 folding rubber hood.
It focuses as close as two feet (0.6m).
It performs very, very well and is one of the sharpest lenses you can get for your Nikon.
It has no distortion, unlike the f/1.4 Nikkor.
It has only a few ghosts. It is only single-coated, but being such a simple design does not need multicoating.
Great in center. Some falloff and coma, but still pretty sharp all over.
Better than the f/1.4 Nikkor wide-open.
As you can see, the optics of this lens are superb.
It is better made mechanically than many of today's more expensive lenses, with tighter tolerances and better materials.
It has a solid metal filter thread, unlike the $1,700 80-200mm AFS lens, or any of the under-$1,000 mid range zooms most people use instead today.
I have heard that it may have a plastic focus helicoid, which means please try to avoid dropping your camera on this lens with the lens mounted.
Since the even better made Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AI can be had for about the same price, go for the Nikkor AI version if you have the luxury. The Nikkor version is multicoated, much better mechanically, and just as optically superb.
If you don't have the luxury, don't worry about the Series E lens. For what little you pay for it you get a lens with better optical performance than most other zooms, and it's more than twice as fast as the $1,500 28-70mm AF-S.
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