Additional Information on
Pre-AI Nikkor 400mm f/5.6 ED Telephoto Lens

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400mm f/5.6 ED Nikkor (non-Ai)

The 400mm f/5.6 ED-Nikkor telephoto lens was introduced in March, 1975 to replace the Nikkor 400mm f/5.6 lens. The lens also served as a stepped down affordable version of the companion high speed 400mm lens of f/3.5 with an equivalent ED glass lens spec which contributed to an outstanding optical performance and compact lens size that make for unexcelled telephoto performance. As with other lenses in the ED-series, this unit features the use of Nippon Kagaku's unique "Extra-low Dispersion glass" for control of chromatic aberration; with this lens, ED-glass is used to achieve reduction of the secondary spectrum across the an tire visible spectrum, providing outstanding sharpness and contrast at even at its full aperture. Further enhancing performance is the use of NIC on air-to-glass lens surfaces to control ghost and flare for outstanding results under most all shooting conditions. Essential to the design of this lens is the incorporation of features aimed at providing easy operation, even including hand-held shooting; these include a fully rotatable tripod mounting collar, the built-in lens hood, the automatic diaphragm and meter coupling prong to be used on all AI and non-Ai-Spec Nikon SLR bodies. Further, it has the capability to easily compensate for focus shift due to thermal changes. Lastly, take a note at the aperture ring of this 400mm f/5.6 ED-Nikkor lens, where a modern diamond textured aperture ring was in placed.

400mmf56EDpreAI.jpg 400mmf56EDpreAIoptsml.gif
The optical formula for this ED version was a 5 elements in 3 groups design and the aperture stopped down to f/32 for a broader range of depth of field control.

This lens has a equivalent AI version when Nikon introduced the revised lens coupling system in March, 1977. However, when Nikon introduced another upgrade with an Internal Focus design, Nikkor 400mm f/5.6 ED-IF in 1978, this lens seemed lost its marketing grip, although it has remained in Nikon Sales Listing for quite sometime until 1983.

Download an Optical Construction file in new browser window: 21k Gif

Nikon guide to compatible focusing screen(s) selection, Depth of Field calculation chart and also tables of magnification achievable when used with various Nikon close-up attachment accessories with this 400mm telephoto lens.
Download a file (82k Gif) in a new browser window 88k.Gif. Content is mainly extracted from Nikon Sales Manual(s) between 1974-1976.


Focal length:
Maximum aperture: 1:5.6; Lens construction: 5 elements in 3 groups
Aperture Scale: f/5.6~ f/
32; Diaphragm: Fully automatic
Lens Coating: Multicoated with NIC; Picture Angle: 6
° 10'
Distance Scale: Graduated in meters and feet from 5m (16ft.) to infinity (
OO); infrared index is not provided. Focusing ring can turn past infinity marking for compensation for temperature changes.
Exposure Measurement: via full aperture method; meter coupling prong provided
Meter coupling prong: Integrated (fully open exposure metering)
Tripod Mounting: Via
tripod mounting collar, collar rotatable on lens to permit vertical and horizontal format picture taking, click stops provided at 90° of rotation, collar locking screw provided
Attachment size: 72mm (P=0.75mm)
; Filters: 72mm Screw-in
Lens Mount: Nikon bayonet mount; Dimensions: 83mm dia. x 263mm long; Weight: 1,400g
Accessories Supplied: Rear protective cap LF-1(108-00-401); 72mm screw-in front lens cap (108-02-400); hard lens case CL-27A (108-04-305)
Optional Accessories: 72mm screw-in filters, Gelatin filter holder AF-2 (108-02-700). 86mm screw-in lens hood HN-13 (108-02-203), Pistol Grip Model 2 (100-00-941)

Nikon Product Code for this discontinued item is No. 108-04-148; Content appeared in this section is largely extracted from Nikon Sales Manual, 1974/1976;
Note: Serial number for this non-AI lens could have been started from 260001, the subsequent AI-version could have S/N started from 261178

Pre-AI version of the Nikkor 400mm f/3.5 ED-IF

The lens was officially displayed at Photokina in 1976 and rocked the photo community by storm. It has a Nikon pioneering Internal Focusing design with ED glass specification. The early displayed model has the golden ED ring and lens data printed on the outside section of the lens barrel encasing the large front lens element. The
actual production units after 1977 with the AI lens coupling system were believed to have the golden ring moved between the focusing ring and the built-in lens hood.

Nikkor 400mm f/2.8s ED-IF | Nikkor 400mm f/3.5s ED-IF | Nikkor 400mm f/5.6s ED-IF | Nikkor 400mm f/3.5 ED-IF | Nikkor 400mm f/5.6 ED-IF | Nikkor 400mm f/5.6 ED | Nikkor 400mm f/4.5 | pre-Ai Nikkor 400mm f/3.5 ED-IF | pre-Ai Nikkor 400mm f/5.6 ED | Non-Ai Nikkor-Q 400mm f/4.5 | Non-Ai Nikkor 400mm f/5.6 | Nikon Focusing Unit AU-1 | Original Focusing Unit |

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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number: by: my friend, Rick Oleson by: Hansen, Lars Holst

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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.