I’ve been casually looking at prime Nikkor lenses for my Nikon SLRs, hoping to find a bargain on a 50mm f/1.4. Along the way I found a 50mm f/1.8 Nikon Series E lens. It probably doesn’t let in enough extra light over my 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor to matter, but it was only $30 — and it came attached to this Nikon N2000 body. So I bought it.
I favor all-metal, all-mechanical SLRs from the 1960s and 1970s, but this 1985 N2000 appealed to me anyway. The 80s were years of transition among SLRs — to plastic parts, to auto-everything, to electronic control. The N2000 shows that transition, with its plastic body, automatic winder, and program modes — but old-school dials (rather than menus), manual focus, and no built-in flash.
This camera ushered in a number of Nikon firsts: first plastic body, first automatic winder, first DX film decoding. It features a metal focal-plane shutter that operates from 1/2000 to 1 sec., single-shot or continuous (at about 3 frames per second) shooting modes, aperture-priority autoexposure and two program modes (regular and “high” for moving subjects), and a hot shoe. Its DX decoder recognizes films from ISO 25 to 4000, or you can manually dial in ISO from 12 to 3200. (I wonder why the ranges are different.) The N2000 runs on four AAA batteries, and is useless without them.
When new, the N2000 came with the 50mm f/1.8 Series E lens. These lenses were apparently looked down upon for being made with plastic components. Indeed, this lens doesn’t feel as high quality under use as my all-metal f/2 AI Nikkor. But it’s thin and light, making it a great companion for this light body. And optically, it’s outstanding.
I started with a roll of Fujicolor 200 and took some of my typical test shots. I liked how the N2000 handled — light and easy, yet entirely familiar to me after shooting an F2 all year. Controls all fell right to hand. I tried program mode for a couple shots, but didn’t usually like its exposure choices. I switched to aperture-priority mode and never went back.
Just look at that Series E lens’s ability to resolve detail.
I thought the N2000’s autoexposure system handled challenging situations pretty well, such as resolving the light vs. the shadows on this scene of the 14th fairway behind my house.
Even when the light wasn’t very dynamic, that Series E lens returned good contrast. I daresay I like it better than my 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor. The N2000 can take that lens or any other AI or AI-S Nikkor.
I took the N2000 along when Margaret and I walked through Garfield Park a few days before Halloween. Autumn colors were near their peak.
Garfield Park features a 10,000-square-foot conservatory and a sunken garden, which we toured.
Our day continued in Crown Hill Cemetery. By this time, I’d finished the roll of Fujicolor and had loaded some Ektar 100. You know I’m really enjoying a new-to-me camera when I load more film immediately after finishing the test roll. This view is from the tallest hill in the city.
The sun finally came out that afternoon, warming the colors up considerably. Even on a cloudy day, though, the Ektar outclasses the Fujicolor.
The letters on that marker are so sharp, they could cut. I’m just sold on that Series E lens.
See more photos in my Nikon N2000 gallery.
The N2000 is a good camera, especially coupled with that Series E lens. It handled easily, read exposure sensitively, and returned one great shot after another.
Do you like old cameras? Then check out my entire collection.