The non-AI Nikkors are not obsolete
As mentioned previously, the non-AI Nikkors can be adapted to Canon and micro four thirds mounts with lens adapters.
In this demonstration:
- the Canon 5D Mark II was on a tripod
- both lenses were set at f/5.6
- both focused on the same point and
- both lenses zoomed to their maximum focal lengths.
The 80-200mm lens had a new lens coating in 1973 denoted with a “C” on the lens. The 70-210mm lens had a new “NIC” multi-layer coating in 1982. Which lens has more contrast and better bokeh?
In 1973, the 80-200mm f/4.5 non-AI zoom Nikkor sold for $705 or $3,800 in today’s dollars after you adjust for inflation. The 70-210mmm f/4 Series E AI-s Nikkor sold for $430 in 1982 or about $1,000 in today’s dollars.
The non-AI Nikkors are super cheap because Nikon users can’t use them on their digital cameras without converting them to AI. I bought the 80-200mm f/4.5 non-AI Nikkor on Ebay for $20 in 2016. I got the 70-210mm f/4 Series E lens from a local camera dealer in 2010 for $75.