The Nikon 70-210mm E series
To start, this is a massive beast of a lens. It’s got a sturdy metal construction and it feels good in the hands. I borrowed this lens from a buddy a couple weeks ago, and if I recall correctly it’s an 70-210 zoom lens. The E series lenses were manufactured by Nikon in the mid to late 80’s and consisted of about 7 budget lenses. Budget meaning cheap. I’ve shot my 50mm prime almost exclusively, and it cost me 40USD. It’s cheap, low quality, skimpy lens coatings...but for the price it’s a super powered rocket on its way to mars.
I liked my little 50, though it wasn’t sharp, it surprised me time and time again with close focusing. Stop it down past f4 and you’ve got something pretty darn decent. The 210, another E series worth about $80 seemed like it should be of similar quality. I’ll cut to the chase, it looks impressive, it handles like a Russian tank powered by a golf cart engine. The focus and the zoom is really smooth, and the out of focus areas are buttery soft, but the image lacks sharpness and the color is riddled with chromatic aberration and other issues. And the size....wow.
Compared to my 50mm E series
It’s a massive lens. It’s heavy and unweidly. My very first shot with this lens was of a guitar player. I loaded Ektar 100 and aimed carefully. One half second wide open. What...? I double checked. Slowness didn’t even begin to describe it. I had no tripod, I had no cable release...so I shot anyway like any self respecting photographer would do. After I finished I looked back towards my subject again (who was about 30 feet away on the lower level...I was on a balcony) and behind him sat a lady who was very creeped out by this dude with a massive lens pointing at her. She sank down in her chair and hid behind her book. Awkward.
My second target was the Blu-Jay on my patio. He was a greedy little sucker who would hoard entire peanuts bigger than his head. I set up my tripod and clicked away. I developed my C-41 like usual, in the sink in the basement, spilling and dumping and splashing and cross contaminating like a mad scientist with an IQ of 5. Then I loaded HP5. Wooooow. Black and white really masks the chromatic errors, and the rich grain hid the fuzziness. I stood in the middle of a fierce April snowstorm and shot some photos of two doves sitting on a railing. I was cold and shivering, but I was confident. The shots came out better than expected, and I was able to stop down to f5.6 while maintain shutter speeds above a 250th to freeze the falling snow and assist in handheld shooting.
I didn’t shoot a lot with the lens, but what I did shoot I was mostly happy with. Nobody cares about the specs, the diameter, the minimum aperture (F3.5). What really counts are the results. So I’ll stop spewing and start showing.
Look at that gorgeous blur
I’ll be making two prints in the chemical darkroom to sell on Etsy.
There is no guarantee that I’ll make more silver prints, but I may make some digital ones.
One is posing to look good, the other doesn’t care and looks fat....