Part IV Current version of the AF Nikkor 180mm f/2.8D IF-ED telephoto lens
Year Introduced: end of 1994; Discontinued: Current (as at 12.2006)
While the 2006 shocking announcement by Nikon on discontinuation / exit on film based business products, some lenses were inevitably also being phased out (examples are excellent Nikkor classic such as AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4.0 IF ED, AF Nikkor 18mm f/2.8D ultrawideangle and the fast speed AF Nikkor 28mm f/1.4D wideangle etc.). The AF 180mm f/2.8D IF ED was spared from this unfortunate broad scale cleaning up exercise. So, it means the focal length 180mm to 300mm is left with a vacuum now that missing an alternative for a prime telephoto lens (except for the ultra-fast speed AF Nikkor 200mm f/2.0G IF-ED VR telephoto lens which costs a bomb in USD).
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Optically, the AF Nikkor 180mm f/2.8D ED-IF telephoto lens shares most of the features with the non-D predecessor As you can note, this update was occurred in 1994 and the lens was introduced as a D-Spec AF Nikkor during that time where it simply involved integration of a distance chip within. So technically, the lens is virtually the same with the previous MK III version, but for those who can't live without camera aided metering / exposure control, the inclusion of the distance chip inside the lens may means a world of difference to aid for a more positive result. The lens was introduced in conjunction with the three dimension exposure and flash reading metering control first deployed on the Nikon F90(x) series bodies. For Nikon SLRs such Nikon F5 or F6 (and/or other Nikon mid range spec models as well as other variants such as Kodak DCS-7XX series, Nikon Digital SLRs etc.) which may be using far advance Matrix meters such as 3D RGB Color Matrix Metering*); communication between lens and camera body will then requires feedback of focusing distance information for camera's computer circuitry to perform a more precise metering calculation. In order for enabling all the sophisticated process to take place, the lens would require a distance chip incorporated within. So, the most significant difference between this AF-D 180mm f/2.8D EF-IF with the previous version was the incorporation of the distance chip; other than this, the lens virtually is the same with the non-D counterpart. In fact, physically, the D-chip powered AF 180mm f/2.8D IF ED virtually looks identical with the earlier Non-D version except the weight has been slightly increased by about 20g (0.7 oz). * Note: RGB Color Matrix was not available on most early series of Nikon SLR camera models.
Cave temples built at the distance mountain range of Jiu Hua Shan, a sacre Buddhist and Taoist hot spot in the mainland China where many of the legend were told by locals. Telephoto pulls in the distance detail and isolate a portion within the compositing frame in your finder.
Interim photo ONLY. Looking for contributing image to replace this.
It is a beautifully designed telephoto. Good looking at exterior and performs truly like a classic Nikkor optically which has made its name since the old days. Unless you are in credibly fussy, one just simply cannot pick on anything from its very high built quality as well as excellent lens handling it provides on the field. The f/2.8 aperture remains constant throughout its entire focusing distance and to many photographers who has keen interest on telephotography, makes it a perfect telephoto lens for a wide varieties of picture usage. I always prefer lenses with straight forward design. I do know many would rather prefer the versatility of a fast speed tele-zoom such as the Nikon's classic zoom AF-S Zoom Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED-IF, but a prime lens is a prime lens, it has its appeal as a prime telephoto lens for photographers who still prefers a fixed focal length optic. I would like to raise a debate but personally I belong to this group of user as well. Basically, what it cannot compete with a zoom lens is only confined to versatility in permitting photographer with an easy changing of picture angles and continuous changing of perspective, but from a view point of practicality and mobility - it excels. Just take the example of the hefty dimensions of the AF-S Zoom Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED-IF, it measures approx. 88mm dia. x 207mm length; while the AF 180 measures 78.5mm dia. x 144mm (approx. 5.6") and weighs much lighter at approx. 760g while one of the comparing AF-S Nikkor zoom weighs approx.1,580g (3 Ibs 8.7 oz body only; 1,440g (3 Ibs 2.8 oz without tripod Collar). This makes handheld photography a much easier task with more assuring results, minus the fact you won't feel so fatigue over a long session shootings.
To differentiate the previous version from the D-Spec lens, just locate an alphabet "D" after the lens data plate that sits above the aperture ring. Next, the serial number of the lens has been placed slightly lower near the rear lens mount section, and we assume ALL the D-version of the AF 180mm f/2.8D IFED bear a starting serial number of 400001 onwards.
The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Abdullah Badawi, in a casual mood during a press conference after an international meet.
Scrambling to take photos on political figures in a press conference is not an easy task. JOHN W. Ishii, took this with a telephoto from a distance away from the crowd in available lighting.
The lens offers GREAT system compatibility between new and older Nikon SLR camera bodies. Take the example of a Nikon D80, the 3D color matrix metering ONLY will work with a G-series AF Nikkor OR an AF-D type Nikkor ONLY. And when D type lenses is used, the depth of field preview button enables depth of field preview which partly compensates the lack of depth of field visual reference on the lens. In short, virtually all functions are supported with a typical Nikon Digital SLR camera currently offers in the market now. That is not all, it works with older AF Nikon SLRs in their respective metering function and bridging itself across to manual focus Nikon bodies as an Ai-s Nikkor lens as well. So, in terms of a broad scale system compatibility, an AF-D version of this lens group should always be your priority should one day, you migrate yourself up to a newer Nikon SLR camera.
Further, use of a D-type Nikkor also maximizes the potential of Nikon's Creative Lighting System when used with specific Nikon flash such as Nikon SB-800, SB-600 or the Wireless close-ups Speedlight Systems. The non-D AF 180mm f/2.8s IF ED we discussed earlier may miss some of the features in the newer Nikon F/D-SLR models (such as color matrix metering II) but most of other basic functions should work equally well. NOTE: AF Nikkor other than D-/G-type: 3D Color Matrix Metering and 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash is not possible
With magnification that fills the 35mm frame with an area 1/18th of that covered by a 50mm lens, the 180mm figuratively reaches out to create eye-arresting images. This optical behavior provides the lens with a moderate reach that is good for isolating a particular section in a wide filed of view. NOTE: picture angle of the 180mm delivers approx. 13° 40' (Nikon DX digital SLR format cameras narrow it down to a tighter 9°). Further, the native optical characteristic of the lens provides a tighter compression of perspective which is pronouncing; making it a strong creative tool for taking compelling images where typically the foreground and background appear to be drawn together. Both of these can be potentially good for visual expression if you know how put them to good use. The ED glass, typically renders sensitive color spectrum red and blue are most reactive as the chromatic aberration is commonly found on longer focal length lenses. For scenes that contain these elements, pictures usually exhibit very rich and distinctive colors. Next, the maximum aperture of f/2.8 for this AF Nikkor 180mm f/2.8D IF-ED lens is reasonably good enough for low light shooting, thereby making it a very good lens choice for stage, fashion, portraiture, sports, news, travel, journalism or other kind of available light photography.
The close focusing ability which delivers a magnification ratio of approx. 1/6.6. I know it may not be particularly impressive in this area esp. if compares it with a dedicated tele-MACRO lens such as AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4.0 IF-ED or the AF Micro-Nikkor Zoom 70-180mm f/4.0~5.6 ED-IF but as a non-dedicated close-up telephoto lens, the reproduction ratio and its overall close focusing performance should present as an alternate way for you to explore its potential. Well, I guess no matter what kind of optic or lens type, it requires the user to interpret his own visual expression in a creative way. This AF 180mm tele-Nikkor lens possesses many strong elements to serve a thinking photographer. So, if you still don't take good photographs, don't blame it on the lens. To me - this is simply a fabulous telephoto lens in the Nikkor lens group and it is very inviting to people like me.
Ghosty Cruise at harbour, Sydney, Australia
Credit: Image courtesy of Mayka G (Agro) from Australia, where I found this lovely shot from his online PORTFOLIO. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
OFF TOPIC:- Is there anything with this lens that I am not too happy about ? Err .. almost none. Well, there are some points that be improved upon such as the aperture ring should have been improved with a better choice of material used. It looks a little fragile and the less rigid click stop is a little irritating (and this applies to all other Nikkor lenses in general as well). Somehow, it doesn't gel itself very well with the overall top grade built quality of the lens. Next, the limiting depth of field scales of f/22 and f/16 should have been added with another two mid aperture values. Although some of you may think I am being too fussy and may say " leo...where the hell people use this now ?..". Well.. probably you are technology dependent and so you don't but I do. Well, to be fair, it is all depend on the type of photography you are more engaged to. Just for an example, when shooting at close range, the depth of field is at its maximum effect and may cause the AF system hard to detect focusing. So, most people would rather revert back to manual focusing. And since NOT all Nikon bodies offer a DOF preview feature, a well illustrated depth of field scales printed onto lens often be used as a quick visual guide on the approximate to determine the zone of focus. Well, as this lens is designed as an AF lens and thus, very few people complaint but it helps and doesn't cost another hundred more USD to offer this, right ? peace...
Technical Specification for AF Nikkor 180mm f/2.8D IF ED telephoto lens:-
Type of lense: Autofocus Nikkor fixed focal lens with built-in CPU and Nikon bayonet mount
Focal length: 180mm; Maximum aperture: f/2.8; Minimum Aperture: f/22
Lens construction: 8 elements in 6 groups; Internal Focus Design
Picture angle: 13° 40' Nikon DX digital SLR format cameras: 9°; (approx. 270mm based on 1.5X lens factor)
Diaphragm: Fully automatic,
Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet/inches from 1.5m (7.5') to infinity (OO)
Distance information: Output into camera body with CPU interface system IS POSSIBLE with this version; Option for manual focus provided
Aperture scale: f/2.8 to f/22 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales
Mount: Nikon bayonet mount with CPU contacts; Attachment size: 72mm (P=0.75mm);
Meter Coupling Prong: NONE; Infrared compensation scale: Provided
Depth of Field Scales: provided for f/16 and f/22 only
Reproduction ratio: 1:6.6X maximum
Minimum aperture lock: Provided; slide switch type
Lens Coating: SIC (Nikon Super Integrated Lens Coating)
Lens Hood: Built-in, pull and slide type
Exposure measurement: Via full-aperture method for Ai cameras or cameras with CPU interface system with distance information relay system to Camera body for metering, exposure and flash Matrix metering system deploy on compatible Nikon SLRs
Dimensions: Approx. 78.5mm dia. x 144mm (approx. 5.6") ; 153.5 from the lens mounting flange; Weight: Approx. 760g
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A country House
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The lens has a built in lens shade, simply pull it out and the extension is not particularly good but should be adequate
Nikon confidently published their MTF graph to let users evaluating its optical excellence.
8 elements in 6 groups; Internal Focus Design. The ED glass element is placed as the second element.
* Others: System compatibility:- Circular polarizing filter: Usable; Circular polarizing filter II: Usable (also with built-in lens hood)- Usable; AF-3: Usable. (5); AF-4:- Usable. (5): Indicates maximum number of usable hoods (HN-36 for AF-3/HN-37 for AF-4).AF Nikkor 180mm /2.8 IF-ED came with an all metal black crinkle finish lens barrel, hard rubberized manual focusing ring: Serial number traced could indicate it started from 400001 < 400669-418916 > as of Dec. 1994 Reference: Roland Vink's lens data sheet.
<<<--- The rear section of this beautifully crafted tele-Nikkor lens still features an all metal lens attachment mount. The AF Contacts are quite delicate and should always be taken care of during lens changing. Various features at the rear (outlined in red) sections are genetically making it as an AI-S lens in nature. So, the lens can be used for any manual focus Nikon SLR since 1977 and without any backward compatibles issues or whatsoever.
Conclusion: This is a lovely high performance telephoto lens in top quality finishes. Similarly, when use it creatively, it can offer top quality photographic results. Consider it modest retail price, and easily can be regarded as a poor man ED prime lens. The biggest advantage is with its fairly large constant aperture of f/2.8, the Distance information relay capabilities make it fully compatible with any of the current Nikon SLRs and retaining full functions in camera control, exposure reading and even the latest flash technologies the Company offers in their camera models. The decision point on investment is whether you believe a prime has its optical excellence over a comparing high performance and more versatile zoom lens type such as the AF-Nikkor Zoom 80-200mm f/2.8 IF-ED.
Candid. Nicole Hu, China carefully scanning reference materials at her house renovation site, 2007.
Interim photo ONLY. Looking for contributing images to substitute this.
| Back | 3/3 to the Non-D version of the AF Nikkor 180mm f/2.8S IF-ED telephoto lens
Version history, Original and MK II version | AF Nikkor 180mm f/2.8S IF-ED New (MK III) | AF Nikkor 180mm f/2.8D IF-ED
RELATIVE:- Early generation of AF Nikkor lenses; Ai-S Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 ED; Ai-Spec Nikkor 180mm f/2.8; Non-Ai Nikkor-P 180mm f/2.8 Auto; Micro-Nikkor Zoom 70-180mm f/4~5.6 IF-ED; AF-Nikkor Zoom 80-200mm f/2.8 IF ED lens group;
External LINKS:- Discussions at Photonet forum on this lens Segment A (compatibility with DSLRs | Segment B (Macro Application); CPU Nikkor lenses listed by LensID; Photozone Reviews: Earlier Non-D version | D-Spec lens; Kenrockwell, Australia own opinion on the lens; Nikon Imaging Site formal listing; A quick price search on AF Nikkor 180mm at Epinion Price Comparison; New or Used prices at Ebay of various AF 180mm lenses
SIGMA 180mm f/3.5 EX DG MACRO APO
Carl Zeiss T* Olympia Sonnar 180mm
Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L USM MACRO
Leica Elmarit-R 180mm f/2.8 APO
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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number:
http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-153.html by: my friend, Rick Oleson
http://www.zi.ku.dk/personal/lhhansen/photo/fmount.htm by: Hansen, Lars Holst
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