The 5 Best Nikon FE2 Lenses

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: April 12, 2020
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Best Nikon FE2 Cameras Lenses

The Nikon FE2 is a terrific film camera. This article will talk about the 5 best lenses for the Nikon FE2, as well as a few alternative lenses.

More info is further down, but if you're limited on time, below is the list:

  1. Kit Lens - Nikon 50mm f/1.8 Series E
  2. Wide Angle Lens - Nikon Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 Ai
  3. Portrait Lens - Nikon 100mm f/2.8 Series E
  4. Zoom Lens - Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5
  5. Macro Lens - Vivitar 90mm f/2.8

The top Nikon F-mount lenses are categorized by cost and type of photography. There are lots of excellent camera lenses to select from that are in price ranges appropriate for the value of a FE2.

Standard Prime Lens

A 50mm lens is an excellent choice for a wide range of photography. The areas of photography include everyday use, travel, landscapes, portraits, street, and architecture. This is the most frequent focal length that is used on the Nikon FE2.

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 Series E

If you do not already own it, a good first lens for the FE2 is the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 Series E. The 50mm f1.8 is readily available, has excellent photo quality, is a bargain, compact, and lightweight.

Make sure to buy the second version of the lens, which has a chrome ring around the body of the lens. It is made of aluminum, whereas the first version is made from plastic.

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 Series E

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 Series E Lens

  • One of the most popular 50mm lenses Nikon ever made.
  • Terrific value.
  • Small, compact, and light.
  • 52mm filter threads.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

The 50mm Series E lens is known as a pancake lens because of how thin it is. When mounted on the FE2 it will barely stick out. This is useful for carrying the camera under a coat so you're able to keep a low profile.

Nikon also manufactured a variety of other 50mm manual focus lenses for the F-mount.

Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1.4

Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1.4

  • Outstanding optics.
  • Optical multi-coatings to reduce chromatic aberrations.
  • Many copies are available.
  • Comparatively low-priced.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

The Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 is 2/3 of a stop faster, at the added cost of weight and size. It is a bit higher priced than all of the f/1.8 or f/2 50mm lenses.

Voigtländer Nokton 58mm f/1.4 SL II AI-S

Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f/1.4

Voigtländer Nokton 58mm f/1.4 Lens

  • Outstanding optics.
  • Has a Meter Coupling Prong.
  • CPU Contacts.
  • Can be purchased new.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

Nikon produced a 55mm f/1.2 and 50mm f/1.2, but the value for money is not good. Due to the age of the lenses, you should be wary of the lubricant in the focusing helicoid drying up, spoiling the experience of using the lens.

The Voightlander 58mm f/1.4 is all-around a superior choice for a high-end lens. The lens has the smoothest focusing ring I have ever used on a manual focus lens. The Voigtländer is a complete joy to use.

Plus, the lens provides compatibility that spans all Nikon F-mount cameras. It has a CPU contacts, Meter Coupling Prong, Ai Meter Coupling Ridge, and has a switch for electronic control of the aperture. You can seamlessly swap the lens from a Nikon DSLR to a Nikon film SLR.

Alternative Standard Lenses

Below are other quality lenses that are comparable options.

Nikon 50mm f/1.8AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
Nikon 50mm f/2AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
Nikon 35mm f/2.5 Series EAmazoneBayKEHAdorama
Nikon 28mm f/2.8 Series EAmazoneBayKEHAdorama

Wide Angle Lens

Nikon Nikkor 24mm f/2.8

Nikon Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 Ai Lens

  • Great combination with a 50mm lens.
  • Optical multi-coatings to improve performance.
  • Easy to find.
  • Comparatively low-priced.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

The Nikon Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 is a good selection for a wide-angle lens. It is ideal for landscape or architectural photography.

There are quite of few wider focal lengths to select from, but they are frequently are significantly more expensive or show noticeable amounts of barrel distortion. Third-party lenses have clearly lower image quality than Nikkor lenses.

Nikon 28mm f/2.8 Series E

Nikon 28mm f/2.8 Series E Lens

Nikon 28mm f/2.8 Series E Lens

  • Great when paired with a 50mm lens.
  • Optical multi-coatings to reduce flare.
  • Widely available.
  • Bargain-priced.

Also found at: eBay and KEH

A lower-priced alternative, the Nikon 28mm f/2.8 Series E, is a border-line wide-angle lens. It is attractive to use with the FE2 due to the affordable price and ease at which the lens can be found.

Alternative Wide Angle Lenses

In terms of price, the correlation is simple. The wider the field of view, the pricier the lens will likely be. Faster versions also go for a whole lot more.

Nikon 8mm f/2.8 FisheyeNikkor 13mm f/5.6
Nikkor 15mm f/3.5Fisheye Nikkor 16mm f/2.8
Nikkor 18mm f/3.5Nikkor 20mm f/2.8
Nikkor 24mm f/2

Portrait & Telephoto Lens

Nikon 100mm f/2.8 Series E Lens

Nikon 100mm f/2.8 Series E Lens

Nikon 100mm f/2.8 Series E Lens

  • 85mm substitute.
  • Good value for the performance.
  • Comparatively low-priced.
  • Widely available.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

The 85mm focal length was not as widely used as it is today in 1983 when the MMDOEL was initially produced. 100mm or 135mm focal lengths were more commonly used thanks to their cheaper price.

Just like all the other Series E lenses listed, the 100mm f/2.8 hits the right balance of usability, price, and performance. That's why the lens was very popular when introduced and why a great number of copies are offered on the used market.

Nikon Nikkor 135mm f/2.8 Lens

Nikon Nikkor 135mm f/2.8 Lens

  • 85mm substitute.
  • "Classic" portraiture rendering.
  • Easy to find.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

The "vintage" look of the Nikkor 135mm f2.8 stems from the focal length combined with the lens only containing 4 elements.

The first version of the lens was released in 1965. There's a total of 6 versions of the lens, with only the last two being compatible with the FE2.

If you go to buy a copy of the lens, the compatible lenses will be listed as Ai or Ai-S.

Alternative Telephoto Lenses

There's an abundance of additional telephoto lenses to choose from. The 85mm lenses and focal lengths longer than 135mm will be pricey.

Nikkor 85mm f/2Nikkor 105mm f/1.8
Nikkor 105mm f/2.5Nikkor 135mm f/2
Nikkor 135mm f/2.8Nikon 135mm f/2.8 Series E
Nikkor 180mm f/2.8Nikkor 200mm f/2 ED
Nikkor 300mm f/2 IF-EDNikkor 300mm f/2.8
Nikkor 300mm f/4.5Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 IF-ED
Nikkor 500mm f/4 IF-ED PMirror Nikkor 500mm f/8
Nikkor 600mm f/4 IF-EDNikkor 800mm f/5.6 IF-ED

Nikon FE2 Zoom Lenses

In the early 1980s, before cameras had autofocus, there were a few lenses built by third-party manufacturers that were optically superior to Nikkor lenses.

Many of these lenses would be released under the Vivitar brand name. Camera lenses that have the Vivitar Series 1 branding on them will have excellent optics..

Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5

Vivitar 70-210mm f/3.5 Zoom Lens

Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5 Zoom Lens

  • Covers a useful focal range.
  • Excellent for wildlife or portrait photography.
  • A rare example of when a third-party lens is the best.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

Alternative Zoom Lenses

Unfortunately, shorter focal range zooms have problems making them a poor choice to use with the Nikon FE2. Age along with wear and tear has caused many Nikon zooms to become borderline unusable.

The single lens I would suggest looking for is the Vivitar Series 1 VMC 35-85mm f/2.8 (Also found on KEH). Be warned, the lens can be tough to find.

Vintage Zoom Lens Problems

The lens that could've been the front-runner, the Nikon Zoom-Nikkor 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5, is, unfortunately, a push-pull zoom. Rather than having a zoom ring, the focus ring is pushed or pulled to control the zoom range.

The grease in just about all push-pull zooms has broken down to the stage where the zoom mechanism will not hold itself up. Because of that, the lens will have small changes in focal length when trying to focus the lens. This will be made worse if the lens is pointed up or down.

Nikon Macro Lenses

Vivitar 90mm f/2.8 & Vivitar 55mm f/2.8

Vivitar 90mm f/2.8 Macro Lens made by Komine

Vivitar 90mm f/2.8 Macro Lens

  • My favorite vintage macro lens.
  • Was produced in lots of different camera lens mounts.
  • Awesome value.

Also found at: KEH, Adorama

Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro Lens manufactured by Komine

Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro Lens

  • The second best vintage macro lens I've used.
  • A very good lens for close-up photography.
  • Can reach 1x magnification without needing an extension tube.

Also found at: KEH, Adorama

Komine produced both of the two suggested macro lenses in Japan. The lenses were also released under many different brand names. Elicar, Quantaray, Panagor, Spiratone, and Rokunar are brands that also sold the lenses.

There is a Vivitar 90mm f/2.8 Macro Lens Review and a Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro Lens Review.

For capturing images at 1x magnification, the 90mm lens will be the better pick due to the fact that it has a larger working distance.

The 55mm macro lens is a good choice for close-up and table-top photography.

Alternative Macro Lenses

Micro Nikkor 55mm f/3.5AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
Lester A Dine 105mm f/2.8AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8AmazoneBayKEHAdorama

Used Nikon Camera Lens Prices

The prices of camera lenses change all the time based on availability and interest in manual focus lenses. Over the past several years, film photography was seeing an increase in interest, which has pushed prices higher.

Economic conditions are constantly changing, and unforeseen changes can quickly lead to price changes. Even so, the difference in prices between lenses should be expected to stay the same.

Check several websites to get a good idea of what market prices are. If you're fortunate enough to find a great deal, immediately buy it, because the best deals do not last long.

What Lens Mount Does the Nikon FE2 Use?

The Nikon FE2 has a Nikon F-mount. Launched in 1959, the F-mount is still in use. Changes have been made over time to add CPU contacts, electronically controlled apertures, metering information, and autofocus.

For the FE2, you want lenses that are manual focus and are either Ai-S or Ai. The meter coupling ridge built into those lenses allows the camera to meter accurately.

For an explanation F-mount lenses, here is a page that explains Nikon F-mount lens and camera compatibility.

Standard Lens Cap Size

The standard filter ring thread and lens cap diameter for just about all vintage F-mount lenses is 52mm. Keep in mind that, lenses with large front elements will use larger lens caps and filters.

Employing a standardized filter thread diameter is beneficial as you only need to buy only a single set of lens filters.

Non-Ai vs Ai & Ai-S Lenses

A Meter Coupling Prong was used on early Nikon cameras. The Nikon FE2 uses a Meter Coupling Ridge.

Lenses manufactured during the time when Nikon moved to Ai lenses may have both types of meter coupling.

Older lenses that only use a Meter Coupling Prong can damage your FE2 if you attempt to put one on the camera.

More Nikon FE2 Resources

There is no more info on the best Nikon FE2 lenses. When new info is added to the site, links can be found below.

Best Nikon FE2 Film

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