Additional Information on
Nikkor 180mm f2.8

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Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 (Ai) telephoto Lens

An updated version of the popular 180mm f/2.8 telephoto lens with an Ai-Specification which was generally believed to have happened in 1977. The optical construction was similar to earlier version which has a 5 elements in 4 groups design. This version has a closer focusing capability to 1.8m (70.9"), thus - tightly-cropped portraits can be taken from a comfortable working distance. Optically, the lens was composed with a similar 5 elements in 4 groups design, and offers lens apertures that stopped down to f/32 for maximum depth-of-field control. It has a similar lockable built-in telescopic lens hood which was quite a popular design among many medium range telephoto lenses during that era and it came with a large attachment size which accepts Nikon 72mm filters.

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Credit: Image ( left) of the Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 AI Telephoto lens displayed in this site courtesy of Mr RON® <> Copyright © 2003.

One way to differentiate the lens from older versions of the 180mm lenses is by observing the new design of the focusing grip as well as the aperture ring. Also note the lens hood of the early version of the lens is textured and can be pull out and it is lockable.

Subsequent version has eliminated such lens hood design. But there was apparently a follow-up version which means the Ai-Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 actually has two versions prior to the eventual update of the 5 elements in 5 groups Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 ED lens in 1981. Note the improved aperture ring from the NON-AI to early AI lens shown at left. The AI version was slightly bulkier than the earlier version and we believed its optical performance at close focus distance (6 feet or 1.8m) has been improved with this version. The lens has similar specification such as it can stops down to f/32 for additional depth of field control, takes any 72mm screw-in type filter.

Credit: Image (t left) of the Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 AI Telephoto lens displayed in this site courtesy of Mr RON® <> Copyright © 2003.

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One version of of this AI Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 lens, has a built-in lockable telescopic lens hood has been replaced and the aperture ring has been redesigned and close reassemble to a more modern Nikkor lens look and feel at later stage.


PDF file (103k)

Focal length/Aperture:
180mm f/2.8
Lens construction:
5 elements in 4 groups
Picture angle:
13°40'; Diaphragm: Automatic
Aperture scale:
f/2.8 ~ f/32 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scale

Exposure measurement: Via full aperture method; meter coupling ridge provided for Al cameras and meter coupling shoe for non-AI cameras
Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet from 1.8m (6 ft) to infinity (oo); Weight: 880g
82mm dia. x 141mm long (overall); 132.5mm extension from flange
Attachment size:
72mm (P = 0.75); Front lens cap: Screw-in
Lens hood:
Built-in; Case: CL-35A (provided); No. 63;
* Production Serial Numbers for the lockable lens hood series are believed to have started from 350001 for the NON-Ai-Spec lenses and 360001 for the Ai-Spec lenses of same basic lens specification.

180mmsetgray.jpg (9k) Loading... 180mmlens.jpg (13k) Loading... ai18028.jpg Roland Vink Loading.

The last version of the Ai-Spec non-ED Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 version is shown above. Credit: Josh Meltzer" <>. The picture at right was actually downloaded with kind permission from Roland Vink which was retouched, restore to its original color and scaled to fit in this website (Original Image can be accessed by Clicking HERE), it has a different lens mount section from the picture supplied by John Metzer has taken for his Nikkor lens. Can anyone help to examine and see if the lens was actually a modified AI lens ? I was puzzled by the illustration and kept wondering was there actually "another interim" 180mm lens prior to availability of the revised AI-lens that hit the street later in 1977.




200mm F2.0 EDIF

Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 ED
Nikkor 180mm f/2.8
180mm f/2.8 Auto

Nikkor 200mm f/3.5 ED IF

Nikkor 200mm f/4.0s
Nikkor 200mm f/4.0
Pre AI -
Nikkor 200mm f/4.0
200mm f/4.0 Auto

Nikkor 200mm f/2.0s ED IF

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