Additional Information on
85mm f/1.8 Nikkor-H Auto

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Non-Ai 85mm f/1.8 Nikkor-H Auto telephoto lens

Note: Similarly with the more known 10.5cm f/2.5-22 Nikkor-P telephoto lens, Nikon had quite a interesting and eventful background with their RF lenses at 85mm focal length. In fact, the first 85mm Nikkor telephoto lens that has a f/2.0 maximum lens aperture was introduced back in 1948 ! They have even another FASTER lens at f/1.5 version introduced in 1951 with a different optical formula. This reflex version of the short telephoto lens for 35mm Nikon SLR photography was first introduced in August, 1964. The fast f/1.8 aperture of this lens was once the fastest lens among many Nikkor telephoto lenses introduced during that period. The relatively large maximum aperture of this lens facilitates easy focusing under poor light conditions and is especially suited for indoor and night photography.

Shown at far left couyld be the earliest version one can traced in a reflex mount Nikkor 85mm telephoto. Not marketed broadly though.


NOTE:- Refer to the Rangefinder Nikkor lenses section for more info

: Image of the Rangefinder Nikkor 85mm f/2.0 lens displayed at far left courtesy of Mr. IGOR® <> Copyright © 2003.

The "moderate" 85mm focal length and the convenience of direct single lens reflex viewing with SLRs provides proper image magnification and natural perspective, making this lens among few favorite optic for those who often covers half length portraiture, theatrical photography and as well as in photojournalism. Many Nikon faithful have rated this lens highly for its high resolution and outstanding contrast produce across its entire aperture settings and focusing range but personally, I thought the Nikkor 85mm f/2.0 introduced at later years was even better - although the replacement lens in 1977 has a marginally slower maximum lens speed and that has apparently upset many stomachs who initially downgraded rating of that lens which supposedly aimed to replaced the older f/1.8 lens.

: Image of the Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AI modified lens displayed in this site courtesy of Mr. Biddle Worthington® <> Copyright © 2003.

85f18g.JPG (23k) Loading...
A symmetrical-type design was used in this 85mm f/1.8 Nikkor-H lens which aimed to ensure satisfactory results be achieved even for close-up photography. There may have at least three known versions in this lens. The earliest version has as chrome lens barrel with a deeply ridge scalloped type focusing ring while the aperture ring is a finely ridged type of design (see picture at left). This was followed by another two subsequent versions with and without lens coating indicator "C" after the NIKKOR-H engraved inside the filter ring while another known version has the lens data inscribed at the outer rim while the focusing ring has a wider grip design.

Credit: Image of the Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AI modified lens displayed in this site courtesy of Mr. Biddle Worthington® <> Copyright © 2003.

However, all these versions used a similar 6 elements in 4 groups optical design and exterior cosmetic doesn't really matter in this respect except the coated lens should has a higher premium over those that don't. Subsequently, prior to its discontinuation, this well built Nikkor telephoto lens went through another round of upgrade which saw many other physical changes to its exterior and most importantly, NIC lens coating process was featured in their production, it occurred in 1975 (see below for more info).

80mmf18.jpg af85mmf18optic.gif
Comparing the old non-AI 85mm f/1.8 and the current AF 85mm f/1.8 D which has a 6 elements in 6 groups, Rear Focus (RF) optical design and the 6 elements in 4 groups of the older Nikkor lens.

Credit: Image coutesy of "Ebay - Mathew Duren" <ebay@adorama> URL:, who also operates a popular Ebay Store. Image Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Adorama Inc. also can be contact at: Used & Collectible Ebay Department Adorama® Inc. 42 West 18th Street New York, N.Y. 10011 1-212-741-0052 1-830-223-2500 Option 55 Ext.119 FAX: 1-212-675-8715

Focal length:
Maximum aperture: 1:1.8
Lens construction: 6 elements in 4 groups
Picture angle: 28° 30'
Distance scale: Graduated both in meters and feet up to 1m (3.5ft)
Aperture scale: f/1.8 - f/22
Aperture diaphragm: Fully automatic

85f18c.JPG 85f18d.JPG
Meter coupling prong: Integrated (fully open exposure metering)

Front/Back view and an odd Container that holds the lens.

: Images of the Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AI modified lens displayed in this site courtesy of Mr. Biddle Worthington® <> Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.

Attachment size: 52mm (P=0.75)
Lens Hood:
Built-in telescopic type
: 52mm screw-in
Dimensions: 72mm dia. X 70mm length (2-27/32 in. X 2-3/4 in.)
Weight: 420g (14.8 oz)

85mmf18b.JPG (21k) Loading ...
Accessories: 52mm Snap-On front cap (108 - 00 - 400), rear cap type F (108 - 00 - 401), 52mm screw-in lens hood (108 - 02 - 201, accepts hood HN-7), leather case (108 - 02 - 304), plastic case type S (108 - 00 - 300), flexible pouch No. 52 (1 08 - 02 - 302)

Nikkor lenses of yester-years may be heavy but they has excellent built quality which is hard to compare by many modern lenses. See the satin chrome lens barrel of this image, you can almost feel the robust physical construction. Come to think of it, sometimes, why are people keep complaining a tiny wideangle is too heavy? Nikon probably is happy to learn that fact and replied with many plastic lenses to shut their mouths now...

: Image of this Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 lense was contributed by Mr. Yakidiyak® <>. Image Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.

Note: Michael Liu believes that there may have been an early 5 element, 3 group version Lens Hood $5.25 list (1967) Lens Case $10.50 list (1967) $199.50 list (1965); $189.50 list (1967) Note: Production serial numbers may have been started from 188011 for this early non-Ai 85mm f/1.8 version

Product Code No. for this lens: 108-02-100

The 85mm f/1.8 Nikkor believed to have been gone through a lens updating process which occurred around the mid-seventies. The refinement made has enabled this non-Ai lens focuses closer and its appearance has a more typical modern Nikkor lens look. The built-in hood feature has been eliminated in this version. Like the 105mm f/2.5 Nikkor, this telephoto lens uses a symmetrical-type design which, despite its large maximum aperture of f/1.8, minimizes image deterioration at close distance and provides outstanding images even when closed-in-to 0.85m (3 ft). This version may bear serial number 390001.

more info at NEXT section of Pre-AI Nikkor 85mm telephoto lenses

Comparing the Specifications:

Focal length: 85mm
Maximum aperture: 1:1.8
Lens construction: 6 elements in 4 groups
Picture angle: 28° 30'
Distance scale: Graduated both in meters and feet up to 0.85 m and 3 ft
Aperture scale: f/1.8 - f/22
Aperture diaphragm: Fully automatic
Meter coupling prong: Integrated (fully open exposure metering)
Attachment size: 52mm (P=0.75)
Lens Hood: HN-7
: 52mm screw-in
Dimensions: 70mm dia. x 70mm length (2-3/4 in. X 2-3/4 in.)
Weight: 430g (15.2 oz)
Accessories: 52mm Snap-On front cap (108 - 00 - 400), rear cap type F (108-00-401). Lens Cases: CL-32, No 55, CP-1

85mm focal length Manual Focus Nikkor Lenses: Manual Focus Nikkor Lenses at 85mm focal length :
Early non-AI versions | pre-AI versions | Late 1970 | Early 1980 - present: 85mm f/1.4 ; 85mm f/2.0 | AF-Nikkor 80mm f/2.8 for F3AF
| Back | to Main Index Page of Manual Focus Nikkor lenses at 85mm focal length

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Credit: MCLau®, who has helped to rewrite some of the content appeared this site. Chuck Hester® who has been helping me all along with the development of all these Nikon websites; Lars Holst Hansen, 'Hawkeye' who shares the same passion I have; Ms Rissa, Sales manager from Nikon Corporation Malaysia for granting permission to use some of the official content; Ted Wengelaar, Holland who has helped to provide many useful input relating to older Nikkor lenses; Some of the references on production serial numbers used in this site were extracted from Roland Vink's website; Hiura Shinsaku from Nikomat Club Japan. Lastly, to all the good people who has contributed their own expeience, resources or kind enough granted permission to use their images of their respective optic in this site. It is also a site to remember a long lost friend on the Net. Note:certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets & brochures published by Nikon and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their work for educational purposes. The creator of the site will not be responsible for may discrepancies arise from such dispute except rectifying them after verification. "Nikon", "Nikkormat", "Nippon Kokagu KK" & "Nikkor" are registered tradename of Nikon Corporation Inc., Japan. Site made with an Apple IMac.