30 comments on “Lens Review–Nikon 28mm f/2.8 Series-E

  1. Hi Matthew,
    Great review again, thanks for sharing. Mind you, isn’t the E 28 version made of 5 blades instead of 7 blades?

  2. Just want to say your article is astounding. The clarity is just great and i can suppose you’re knowledgeable in this subject. Fine together with your permission allow me to take hold of your RSS feed to keep updated with imminent post. Thanks a million and please keep up the enjoyable work.

  3. Just bought the 2nd version of one of these after letting my af version go a couple of years ago (same optical formula on the af 1st version). I really valued it’s smooth tones and nice bokeh. Interesting that it’s a poor performer on the NEX7, I loved the AF version on my D2Hs and D200, and Nikon software fixes the CA in the corners (but of course the af version is multi coated, so better against the light…) Looking forward to trying it on my film Nikons, where of course there is no CA problem ;). Will definitely use a hood after your comments!

    • Keep in mind that (if you’re speaking of the Series-E, not the AI-s, 2nd version) performance on film will probably be much better, since the effective resolution of film is around 18 MP, and there’s no problem with microlenses, etc. that make lenses a tough sell on the NEX-7. Hope it all works out!

  4. Hi, just wanted to ask cos i have no clue but i just got one of these lenses and use it on my old nikon film camera but would love to use it on my dslr canon. Only problem i have no idea what im looking for in terms of a converter/mount to put it on my canon, would you know what its called so i can look around. Any help would be awesome thank you.


    • Assuming you have a Canon EF mount camera, you will want to look for a Nikon F–>Canon EF adapter. Check on B&H Photo, Adorama, Amazon, or even eBay. There should be a bunch to choose from. Good luck!

  5. Hi Matthew, i just want to ask about old type lens just like nikon 28mm f/2.8 series e stated above, is it can be autofocus on Sony alpha camera? Or by manual focus ?

    • Hi Aniq, this lens can be used on any Sony e-mount camera through the use of a Nikon F–>Sony E adapter (no adapter can get it to mount onto a Sony a-mount camera, though). Old lenses like these are manual focus only regardless of adapter or camera used. The wider the focal length, however, the less you need autofocus, so don’t let that put you off. However, the optical performance of this lens was far from stellar, so I would look at other versions aside from the Series-E of the 28mm design from Nikon.

  6. I got 1 of these on ebay recently for £26 inc shipping and after spending a week or 2 using it i must say i love it, it is not a sharp lens by any means but the bokeh is lovely and smooth and there is just something about the way it renders images that i just love.

    • Very nice shot Mark, I agree about the rendering. I still own the lens despite shooting faster 50mm’s more often. It’s a very unique and compact lens.

  7. HI Matthew, I got this lens in 1975 when I bought my first Nikon (FM). I understood it was the “cheaper” line and never care too much for it. I used the Micro-Nikkor 55 mm instead all time. I still have it and will like to used it but I do not think the lightmeter will work. Can I turn it into a macro somehow?

    • Hi there Dani, sorry for the late response. I have read around the internet that many of the AI-s 24mm f/2.8 and 28mm f/2.8 lenses make for extremely nice macro lenses only when used with a reverse adapter (where the rear element is in the front and vice versa). I am completely unsure how well this works, but the results I have seen suggest it can be amazing if done right. That said, it will be something for you to try to see if the 28mm f/2.8 E can work well as a reverse-macro.

  8. Hi, I am bit confused about this:
    is Nikon 28mm f/2.8 AI-s and NIKON SERIES E 28mm AIS AI-S f/2.8 the same? I mean the mention of ‘Series E’ makes me bit confused. It would be really great if you could help me out. Thanks.

    • Hello there Noni. The 28mm f/2.8 Series-E and 28mm f/2.8 AI-s are not the same lens. In fact, the Series-E is optically inferior to the AI-s in most ways. Be wary of e-Bay sellers trying to upsell the Series-E variant as being optically high-performing like the AI-s version is.

  9. This is a horrible lens and I paid too much for it… Totally useless! Don’t buy this lens please!!! Great review… To bad I didn’t read it before I bought mine.

    • Hey there Stefan, sorry to hear you got ripped off. This lens unfortunately is often up-sold to unwary buyers who don’t know the differences between the Series-E and AI-s versions.

  10. Hi Matthew. Thanks. Really nice review. It helped to decide to buy this lens – for exactly the same reasons that you decided to get rid of yours. It’s perfect for shooting portraits on a Nikon Df (which has about the same as 35mm film). I really like the veiling at wide apertures, the bokeh and the rainbow flaring without losing contrast. Perfect my purposes. Nikon knew how to make characterful lenses once 🙂
    However, “characterfulnes” doesn’t show up much in sharpness tests.
    But Nikon are smart enough to know this. So they keep making camera bodies which can make full use of their old lenses.

    • This is true, the character of lenses is something I never have taken into consideration all that much, possibly aside from my 50mm f/.95 Noktor review. On APS-C though, you don’t get to take advantage of the separation you could get from full frame, so a lot of the potential character is lost on the NEX-7.

  11. Great and thorough review, but I’m a little confused. You said at first that the 28mm on FX behaves like 18mm on ASP-C, but that it performs like 42mm? What does this mean exactly? All of my research tells me that the FoV should be the same with 28mm on FX as 18mm on DX

    • Hey there Kristine, I looked back at that paragraph and the wording is a little confusing. The lens itself is a 28mm, and has that field of view when used on a full-frame camera. When on a DX/APS-c camera, the field of view of a 28mm lens is equivalent to a 42mm lens on a full-frame camera.

  12. Hello Matthew. Aside from the Series E 28mm lens, do you have any other recommendations of a wide angle prime (in the range of 18mm to 35mm) that is around the size of Series E?

    I bought the Series E 100mm and I am very very pleased with it, but I’ve read several articles saying the 28mm is not very good. I have the Series E 50mm as well, and I really have to stop down to f/2.8 to get good image quality.

    • Hello! For 28mm if you want to stay manual focus, the Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 AI-s (not the series-E variant) is a good one to look at, though it usually runs relatively high on eBay for the performance you can expect to get. Wider angle telephotos are a little harder to come by for price/performance. Depending on your camera, you may just have to look at some of the modern autofocus variants that are sold out there. I know Nikon’s and Sony’s 28mm primes are top-notch, though they do come in significantly higher than the AI-s lens.

  13. Thank Matthew for your great review. I am considering to buy a 2nd Nikon 28 2.8 Serie E for my old Nikon FE. I used AIS before and I think that is a great prime wide len Nikon ever made but it’s so expensive for me. So I start looking for an alternative. I tried 28-105, 28-85 afd… those lens are great too but a litte too big for me to carry them running around.I notice that you said this Nikon 28 2.8 seri E will work well on film camera so I think I wil try one.

  14. Hello
    I have a question
    Does the lens connect to the Nikon d3300?
    And if it connects with adapter or without ?

    • Hey there Zavosh, apologies for the late response. The lens will mount to the 3300, but you will not have automatic metering. Will have to shoot in manual. Great way to learn exposure and other settings if you’re just starting to dabble with manual lenses.

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