Nikkor AIS 50-135 mm f/3.5 or 75-150 mm f/3.5 Series E

Started Mar 9, 2006 | Discussions
frankflachs
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Nikkor AIS 50-135 mm f/3.5 or 75-150 mm f/3.5 Series E
Mar 9, 2006

Dear people here at dpreview.

I know that this is not the most often asked question in times of an 18-200, but nevertheless:

Which of these two lenses would you rather go for (in order to use them on a D70s):
The Nikkor AIS 50-135 mm f/3.5
or the 75-150 mm f/3.5 Series E?

As a matter of fact I am saving money for some serious lens upgrade, but that is a matter of quite a few months and for now I would like to add something sharp, (relatively) cheap and not necessarily af, ie one of these mf lenses.

I plan to use them mainly as a lens that is smaller than my 70-210/4, maybe even sharper and used more for things like portraiture, flowers and to some extent as a lens i will have on my d70s while walking the dog or spending some time with wife and kids in the zoo. the 210mm is useful (but i do have a lens that would cover that) and most of the time i am in the 70-150 area.

Both lenses are on ebay at the moment but i have no idea what to expect (in terms of price) and of quality.
Bjørn Rørslett rates both of them very high:
http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_zoom_02.html#MF50-135
http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_zoom_03.html#MF75-150

However I am still very much interested in your opinion! I know that tao.design quite likes his 75-150, but I guess that there are more people in this forum with experience on one (or both) of these lenses.
Already many thanks for your kind help.
Frank

MWeston
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Re: Nikkor AIS 50-135 mm f/3.5 or 75-150 mm f/3.5 Series E
In reply to frankflachs, Mar 9, 2006

How are you going to meter? I know the E lens, and it works great- sharp as heck, great bokeh, almost no CA.

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aroundomaha
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See my thread
In reply to frankflachs, Mar 9, 2006
 aroundomaha's gear list:aroundomaha's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Nikon D7000 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G +3 more
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Haruna
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Re: Nikkor AIS 50-135 mm f/3.5 or 75-150 mm f/3.5 Series E
In reply to frankflachs, Mar 10, 2006

I'll put in a plug for the 50-135mm. I got it on a lark after finding a good copy for a very cheap price. While the manual focus requires a bit more effort, the images are excellent, and I would agree with Bjorn Rorslett's evaluation-- at least on a digital camera. It is a bit heavier, though, than the 75-150, and it may cost a bit more. Then again, the build is also better, and the front does not rotate (if that is more than a minor inconvenience to you.) And, of course, either you use a D200/D2X, an external light meter, or guestimate-histogram process, to meter. (I, too, have a D70, and opt for the latter method.) I do not use this for speed-oriented work, but with a little foresight and experience, it does work well with more static subjects. This last observation would apply to the 75-150mm as well, and both would work with the subject matter you list below.

I got mine out of curiosity, but do find the focal length to be very useful in urban shooting where I do not have to switch between a 50mm prime, and a telephoto for not-too-distant shots.

I do not know what your budget or timing is, but be aware that Tokina is going to put out an AF 50-135mm f2.8 lens this summer/fall. You would want to wait for reviews/impressions, but that might be a good bet to consider.

frankflachs wrote:

Dear people here at dpreview.
I know that this is not the most often asked question in times of
an 18-200, but nevertheless:
Which of these two lenses would you rather go for (in order to use
them on a D70s):
The Nikkor AIS 50-135 mm f/3.5
or the 75-150 mm f/3.5 Series E?
As a matter of fact I am saving money for some serious lens
upgrade, but that is a matter of quite a few months and for now I
would like to add something sharp, (relatively) cheap and not
necessarily af, ie one of these mf lenses.
I plan to use them mainly as a lens that is smaller than my
70-210/4, maybe even sharper and used more for things like
portraiture, flowers and to some extent as a lens i will have on my
d70s while walking the dog or spending some time with wife and kids
in the zoo. the 210mm is useful (but i do have a lens that would
cover that) and most of the time i am in the 70-150 area.
Both lenses are on ebay at the moment but i have no idea what to
expect (in terms of price) and of quality.
Bjørn Rørslett rates both of them very high:
http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_zoom_02.html#MF50-135
http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_zoom_03.html#MF75-150
However I am still very much interested in your opinion! I know
that tao.design quite likes his 75-150, but I guess that there are
more people in this forum with experience on one (or both) of these
lenses.
Already many thanks for your kind help.
Frank

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frankflachs
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Re: Nikkor AIS 50-135 mm f/3.5 or 75-150 mm f/3.5 Series E
In reply to MWeston, Mar 10, 2006

thanks for your reply! i guess none of these would be a wrong choice...

i'll try to meter (with my d70s) simply with the histogramm. not the fastest method (especially as i'm not used to it) but i have to admit that i'm tempted to give it a try.
how much did you pay for your lens (if i may ask)?

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frankflachs
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Re: Nikkor AIS 50-135 mm f/3.5 or 75-150 mm f/3.5 Series E
In reply to Haruna, Mar 10, 2006

many thanks for your detailed answer. i have to admit that the more i think about it the 50-135 also seems the better (if only slighter) of those two for me, especially in terms of focal length. the 75-150 acution will end earlier, so i guess i'll see how much that one will be and then i decide.

i have heard about the tokina (and in general i'm very happy with my tokina 100-300/4) however i doubt that it's going to be a cheap bargain. this mf lens is a little bit for fun (and maybe some beginning of lld?) - anyway, i don't want to spend too much on the mf as i'm saving for some upgrade. i haven't decided yet which way to go. 70-200 sounds very tempting, but so does the 85/1.4 and the 17-55. and there's still the 18-200 which in terms of usability has an advantage (have you ever tried to photograph your 18month old twins with the 18-70 or the 70-210... you really wish for one lens instead of two. well , my bank account says that i don't have to decide right now;)

so i guess mf will be fine for now: guess it's not bad to learn to meter with the histogram and quality-wise it doesn't sound like it'd be a disappointment

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frankflachs
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Re: See my thread
In reply to aroundomaha, Mar 10, 2006

many thanks for that hint. when searching here i found tao.design's thread, though not yours. hmmm. at the point where i have decided to go for the 50-135 (because of it's focal length) you definitely show very nice arguments for the 75-150.

i guess i'll see how the auction develops and them decide spontaneuously. 75-150 will be first so i'll let you know on sunday night!

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Haruna
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Re: Nikkor AIS 50-135 mm f/3.5 or 75-150 mm f/3.5 Series E
In reply to frankflachs, Mar 10, 2006

Not sure if you mean me, but I paid about $110 (it was 13,000 yen). Loose zoom, but clean glass. I have seen these going for $200+ at KEH, so I am not complaining. I remember one e-bay auction ended with a $160+ price..
Haruna

frankflachs wrote:

thanks for your reply! i guess none of these would be a wrong
choice...
i'll try to meter (with my d70s) simply with the histogramm. not
the fastest method (especially as i'm not used to it) but i have to
admit that i'm tempted to give it a try.
how much did you pay for your lens (if i may ask)?

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Haruna
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Re: Nikkor AIS 50-135 mm f/3.5 or 75-150 mm f/3.5 Series E
In reply to frankflachs, Mar 10, 2006

Not at all. If the 50-135 had been higher, and I have seen them going for 18,000 yen (about $150) I would have hesitated more.

Just beaware that the push-pull zooms on these lenses can be loose, and while I have a good tripod, getting a shot with the lens set at an angle requires more effort on my part. I do contemplate taking it in to the Nikon service center to see if they can tighten it up.

Also, just to be balanced, check the Nikkor lens forum at Nikonians.org. There was a similar comparison, and one respondant placed the 75-150 over the 50-135.

Haruna

frankflachs wrote:

many thanks for your detailed answer. i have to admit that the more
i think about it the 50-135 also seems the better (if only
slighter) of those two for me, especially in terms of focal length.
the 75-150 acution will end earlier, so i guess i'll see how much
that one will be and then i decide.
i have heard about the tokina (and in general i'm very happy with
my tokina 100-300/4) however i doubt that it's going to be a cheap
bargain. this mf lens is a little bit for fun (and maybe some
beginning of lld?) - anyway, i don't want to spend too much on the
mf as i'm saving for some upgrade. i haven't decided yet which way
to go. 70-200 sounds very tempting, but so does the 85/1.4 and the
17-55. and there's still the 18-200 which in terms of usability has
an advantage (have you ever tried to photograph your 18month old
twins with the 18-70 or the 70-210... you really wish for one lens
instead of two. well , my bank account says that i don't have to
decide right now;)
so i guess mf will be fine for now: guess it's not bad to learn to
meter with the histogram and quality-wise it doesn't sound like
it'd be a disappointment

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Slough
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Re: Nikkor AIS 50-135 mm f/3.5 or 75-150 mm f/3.5 Series E
In reply to Haruna, Mar 10, 2006

I have the 75-150 and thus far it is my miracle lens. Small and light and with a TC14A it reaches beyond 200mm with excellent quality. I'm sure it can handle A3 enlargements on APS digital without issues. Sharp and almost no CA. I'm told that with a diopter it does good close ups too.

Don't bother wasting money paying to have the zoom tightened. Just wrap some masking tape round the barrel, and it will be ugly but fine.

Leif

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frankflachs
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Re: Nikkor AIS 50-135 mm f/3.5 or 75-150 mm f/3.5 Series E
In reply to Slough, Mar 10, 2006

hello slough, and thanks for that tip about the masking tape. as the 50-135 has already reached 150 euros with more than 4 days still to go, things look more like the 75-150 atm... bit of a shame as the 50-75mm is quite a useful focal length

hello katuna. yes, i completely forgot to check the nikonians. just in case somebody else might be interested here is the thread from over there:

http://www.nikonians.org/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi?az=show_thread&om=15503&forum=DCForumID6&viewmode=all

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tao.design
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Series E 75-150: portrait lens
In reply to frankflachs, Mar 10, 2006

Hi Frank,

Yes, I will admit that I like my 75-150/3.5, but I must also confess that I don't use it that much on digital. I used to use it all the time on film, but that was with the better focusing screens and brighter viewfinders.

When I do use it, it's as a lightweight alternative to my 70-200/2.8, for which this works out well, granted one has the leisure to focus manually.

The 75-150 was great for portraiture on film, which is what I bought it for -- I'd say it's almost an ideal range for a dedicated portrait zoom for me. It's wide enough nice head and shoulders work, but goes in to provide the tight framing that I enjoy.

Contrast and colors are good, and sharpness is pretty good at f/3.5. By f/4, the images are looking pretty great.

I think the 50-135/3.5 would be a nice range and speed for digital, basically like the 75-150/3.5, and in a Nikkor, no less. But the Series E lens is super cheap these days and would be a very inexpensive option for travel and such.

Todd

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frankflachs
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Re: Series E 75-150: portrait lens
In reply to tao.design, Mar 10, 2006

thanks for joining. your comments have always been very helpful!

i hope you're right with your last statement. a cheap 75-150 would definitely convince me. the 50-135 sounds (at 150 euro and 4 days to go) not this much as a possible bargain. if it stays at that price, well... but i doubt that.

could anyone comment on whether the 75-150 is a worthy improvement to a 70-210/4, please?

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emax
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Re: Series E 75-150: portrait lens
In reply to frankflachs, Mar 10, 2006

I've only compared the 75-150 and 70-210 f/4 (MF and AF versions) on film, with the 75-150 being the clear winner (better sharpness and contrast).

I've compared the 70-210 f/4 AF against the 80-200/2.8 AF on a D70, and the 80-200 was the clear winner.

When I get a D200, I'll better be able to test MF lenses.

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Slough
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Re: Series E 75-150: portrait lens
In reply to frankflachs, Mar 10, 2006

I used to own a 70-210 F4 AF lens. It was sharp with modest distortion but I found it hard to get decent pictures. The contrast seemed a but low, and CA was oppressive on an F80. In terms of handling it was quite large and heavy, and the lack of a tripod mount caused me grief. I mounted it on an F80 on a tripod and I could see the base of the F80 warping. I suppose it might be okay on a metal body. It also has a small focus ring at the front which I found irritating.

What I find strange is that an awful lot of people rave about this lens. Needless to say I soon got rid of mine. Was it a lemon? Maybe, but Bjorn Rorslett also hates it, and his opinions are well respected.

I have a TC14A to use with the 75-150 and see little degradation of image quality (on a D200) depite Nikon's recommendations not to use that TC on a zoom > 100mm.

Also check out reviews by Bjorn Rorslett, Thom Hogan and David Ruether & Grover Larkin.

Leif

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G.H.Wilson
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Re: Nikkor AIS 50-135 mm f/3.5 or 75-150 mm f/3.5 Series E
In reply to frankflachs, Mar 10, 2006

One thing not mentioned so far is color rendition. I owned a 75-150, and when testing it alongside my other nikkors noticed it was quite a bit more on the blue side than, for example, the 35-70mm 2.8. I haven't owned the 50-135, but seem to remember reading that it's colors are warmer; more in line with your other nikkors.

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frankflachs
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Re: Nikkor AIS 50-135 mm f/3.5 or 75-150 mm f/3.5 Series E
In reply to G.H.Wilson, Mar 11, 2006

emax and slough, many thanks for your remarks! so even if i already have the focal lenghts covered i would still get a worthy lens (qualitywise). also thanks for the hints to David Ruether & Grover Larkin. I've known Bjørn Rørslett and Thom Hogan before (and of course Ken but those two have sites worth remembering, too.

To be honest, I am quite happy with my 70-210/4. Having said that, one might have to mention that I bought it after having sold my Tokina 70-210/4-5.6 and I guess most lenses will be a pleasant surprise under these conditions. A little bit of a problem is my 50/1.8 because it always demonstrates the possibilities of a good, sharp lens. And it also is the very reason for me looking for (cheaper) alternatives to my zoom. Nevertheless I like the focus ring and I don't mind the weight. To some extent I rather prefer it to some lightweight, flimsy lenses (I personally think that it helps reduce handshaking slightly).

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frankflachs
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Re: Nikkor AIS 50-135 mm f/3.5 or 75-150 mm f/3.5 Series E
In reply to G.H.Wilson, Mar 11, 2006

Thank you, G.H. Wilson! With postprocessing this would not be the most problematic thing, but, of course, one still tries to get the best lens possible for the money spent. The 50-135 doesn't seem to turn out a bargain, but is still affordable (well, still 3 days to go) and the 75-150 will end tomorrow evening.

I just hope that not both lenses will rocket skywards - so far nobody has said anything negative and also on the rest of the internet reviews have been positive throughout.

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Haruna
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Re: Nikkor AIS 50-135 mm f/3.5 or 75-150 mm f/3.5 Series E
In reply to frankflachs, Mar 11, 2006

At 150 euros for the 50-135mm (what is that in dollars? about $180?) the price is getting up there, and it is for an old lens that you will not be able to test before purchase. Even with my liking of the lens, I would think for a second on this one. I would post a shot for comparative purposes, but do not have a site up and running yet. Sorry

Not to flame, troll, or change the subject too much, but do the lens forums for other systems have these favorable discussions of older manual lenses? [I barely have the time to hang out here, so I claim only ignorance about the habits of Canon, Pentax, and Oly users.]. Some might say that we Ai/Ais users are living in the past, but I take the comments in the preceding posts, and in similar threads on manual lenses, as reflections of praise for the designers of these items. In some ways I feel that the manual Nikkors are examples of industrial art, and we all owe then a great debt.

Haruna

frankflachs wrote:

Thank you, G.H. Wilson! With postprocessing this would not be the
most problematic thing, but, of course, one still tries to get the
best lens possible for the money spent. The 50-135 doesn't seem to
turn out a bargain, but is still affordable (well, still 3 days to
go) and the 75-150 will end tomorrow evening.
I just hope that not both lenses will rocket skywards - so far
nobody has said anything negative and also on the rest of the
internet reviews have been positive throughout.

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Haruna
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I forgot to add ...
In reply to Haruna, Mar 11, 2006

This is another site with info on the manual zooms.

http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/nikon/nikkoresources/zoomsMF/index.htm

Haruna

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