The second 2x zoom in the “consumer” rated Series-E lenses by Nikon, the 36-72mm E comes in as the most compact zoom of the three, thanks to its pancake design. When at 72mm (collapsed), the lens is actually about the same size as the 100mm E. Despited my general dissatisfaction with zoom lenses, the convenience they offer to photographers by having multiple focal lengths in one lens makes traveling light easy, and, theoretically, more shots are possible at any given time since composition can be more flexible. In my case, personal habits acquired from shooting prime lenses still carry over even to zooms: I either use this lens at the wide or tele end. Rarely do I zoom to get a shot. As such, I treat it as two prime lenses in one.
As many know, features such as fast maximum apertures, non-distorted lines, and close-focus abilities are often sacrificed to gain convenience, especially in the smaller zooms. The question here then is does the compactness and generally useful focal range (on APS-C) of the 36-72mm E outweigh likely performance drops? Let’s find out! Continue Reading