Additional Information on
Nikkor Telephoto Lenses at 300mm focal Length - f/4.5

 
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The Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 was first introduced in 1964 as a 300mm f/4.5-22 Nikkor-P Auto lens. As it evolved over the last few decades, resulting it to have three main versions along with numerous updates - a normal version, an ED-only and finally, an IF-ED version with a constant maximum aperture of f/4.5. However, the maximum aperture of f/4.0 was only available in the autofocus lens type, which also carries an IF-ED lens specification. The last two version of this lens was an Ai-S Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 introduced in December, 1981 and an Ai-S Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 IF-ED which introduced in December, 1982.


300mmf45side.jpg 300fmm45edif.jpg
Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 & Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 EDIF

Comparative Chart

300mm

Overall Length
(A)

Flange Back
(B)

A+B

Focal Length
(C)

Telephoto Ratio
(A/C)

f/4.5 EDIF

200mm

46.5mm

246.5mm

300mm

0.821

f/4.5

203mm

46.5mm

249.5mm

300mm

0.831

At one time it was automatically accepted by designers that there had to be 300 millimeters between the lens and the focal plane in a 300mm lens design. The lens mount also accounts for part of the overall size. The distance from the lens mount surface to the focal plane is called the flange back. All Nikon SLR has a constant distance of 46.5mm. Subtracting 46.5mm from 300mm means that a 300mm lens normally would be 253.5mm long. As you can see from the table, all Nikkor 300mm lenses are shorter than 253.5mm thereby increasing handling ease. The telephoto ratio is the overall length of the lens in relation to its focal length. The smaller the ratio, the smaller the lens.

Depending on individual requirement and budget, these two equally high performance Nikkor telephoto lenses are good alternative to the far expensive and heavier Nikkor 300mm f/2.8s EDIF. They offer advantages in a more compact size and lighter weight design with many other considerate features to enhance their handling for handheld photography. For an instance, the Nikkor 300mm f/4.5s IF-ED weighs 1,080g (earlier AI version is even lighter at 980g) and the Nikkor 300mm f/4.5's 1,200g is almost halved the weight of the Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 EDIF ! The weight factor may be double, but unfortunately, the prices of these optic do not follow the equation proportionally along with their weight, for example, the 6th edition McBroom's Bluebook indicates a mint condition Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 EDIF may cost between USD2,700-00 to USD2,900-00 a piece, while a corresponding Nikkor 300mm f/4.5s IF-ED costs between USD700-00-USD800-00; the non-ED lens can even be cheaper at USD400-00-USD500-00. This has made both the slower Nikkor 300mm telephoto lenses a more attractive option especially when taking their high portability factor into a purchase consideration.

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The Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 ED-IF was introduced by Nikon in August, 1978. It was seen as an direct lens upgrade from the earlier Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 ED. The Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 has a longer development history than comparing optic which can traced back as early as mid '60. It has evolved not less than a few rounds of known upgrades.

Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. W.J. Eichner Lynch <guessmyhobby@prodigy.net > www.blackandwhitevisions.com © Image Copyright 2003. All rights reserved.

The last version which introduced in December, 1981 carries an Ai-S lens specification. Although Nikon retains the 6 elements in 5 group optical design but it has a revised optical formula which saw the arrangement of lens elements being altered which Nikon claimed to have improved its overall optical performance. Further, the tripod collar design found on the similar ED-IF version was also being adopted and the minimum aperture can stopped down to a smaller f/32.

300mmf45nonEDai2.jpg
Both the IF-ED version and normal Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 telephoto lenses have top quality exterior finishing with a sturdy and secure removable tripod mounting ring for quick shooting at either vertical or horizontal format. Both lenses share a common 72mm front filter attachment size and a built-in telescopic lens hood design which surprisingly provides quite an effective lens shade with its moderately long extension.

Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Jean-Louis <jlbeek@iafrica.com > © Image Copyright 2003. All rights reserved.

Comparative Chart

300mm

Closest focusing distance

Min Aperture

Filter Thread Dia.

Construction

Filter

Weight

f/4.5 IF-ED

8.2 ft

f/32

72mm

7/6

Front attach

990g

f/4.5 AI

11.5 ft

f/32

72mm

6/5

Front attach

1,200g

f/2.8 IF-ED

13 ft

f/22

122mm

8/6

39mm Drop-in

2,400g

f/2.0 IF-ED

13 ft

f/16

162mm

11/8

52mm Drop-in

7,500g

AF f/4.0 IF-ED

8.2 ft

f/32

72mm

8/6

39mm Drop-in

1,330g

f/4.5 NON-AI

13 ft

f/22

72mm

6/5

Front attach

1,100g

300f45edifoptic.jpg
<<<--- Comparing the optical construction of both versions of the Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 with the IF-ED at the top is significantly more compact in size and much lighter in weight (990g). The darker blue piece is location of the ED lens element. The larger pieces of lens elements used and conventional Helicoid system used in the normal version has contributed to its heavier weight of 1,200g (see chart above)
300mmf45optic.jpg

Both are great lenses for a wide varieties of photographic application. The effect of compressed perspective and shallow depth-of-field is beginning to be apparent with 300mm telephoto lenses. It is a good choice for action based sports, nature, news, landscape and even fashion photography. However, as long focal lenses tend to magnify camera movement, always use a shutter speed about equal to or faster than the reciprocal of the focal length of the lens in use e.g. 1/250 sec and faster is always recommended to avoid camera movement

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Copyright-free images collection © 2002 
As there are four versions within the Nikkor lens family with varying maximum apertures and lens specifications of f/2.0, f/2.8, f/4.5 IF-ED and f/4.5 to choose from, which versions best suit your needs may boil down directly to their respective prices. Generally, most would think the Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 ED-IF lens is a better buy than any of the two faster counterparts. The use of ED glass has contained the chromatic aberration to absolute minimal level and the Internal Focusing design facilitates excellent human engineering while keeping the lens compact. The Nikkor 300mm f/4.5, on the other hand provides an economical entry into super telephotography with assurance of a consistent Nikkor quality.

Technical highlight of Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 IF-ED

Exceptionally compact and light for a 300mm lens; Spectacular telephoto effects with compressed perspective and extremely shallow depth of field; Internal Focusing (IF) design permits easy handling and quick, accurate, and silky-smooth focusing down to a close 2.5m (10 ft.) without any extension in the lens barrel; Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass enhances the correction of chromatic aberration for improved definition, contrast and color balance.

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Very light - weighs only 990 grams; Built-in telescopic lens hood minimizes flare when shooting against the light; 360° rotable tripod socket collar allows secure tripod mounting with quick change from horizontal- to vertical-format shooting or can be removed when hand-holding the lens; Infrared index provided; Useful for travel photography, fast-moving sports, stage shows, and wildlife.

Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. W.J. Eichner Lynch <guessmyhobby@prodigy.net > www.blackandwhitevisions.com © Image Copyright 2003. All rights reserved.

Specifications :

Focal length/Aperture: 300mm f/4.5
Lens construction: 7 elements in 6 groups (w/ an ED lens element)
Picture angle: 8°10'; Diaphragm: Automatic
Aperture scale: f/4.5~f/32 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales
Exposure measurement: Via full aperture method; meter coupling ridge provided for AI cameras
Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet from 2.5m (10 ft,) to infinity (
OO); Weight: 990g
300mmf45nonEDais.jpg
Dimensions: 80mm dia. x 200mm long (overall); 192mm extension from lens flange
Filters: 72mm front screw-in
Front lens cap Screw-in

Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Jean-Louis <jlbeek@iafrica.com > © Image Copyright 2003. All rights reserved.

Lens hood Built-in telescopic type with click-stops
Lens case CL-36 hard leatherette; Usable teleconverter TC-200*, TC-300 or TC-14;
Note: Serial Number for the Ai-S version could have been started from: 210001; * Usable But there is occasional vignetting.

Technical highlight of Nikkor 300mm f/4.5

A powerful telephoto in a portable package Narrow picture coverage of only 8°10' allows you to fill up the frame with distant subjects. Takes 72 mm filters. Built-in telescopic lens hood minimizes flare when shooting against the light.

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Close minimum focusing distance of 3.5m (12 ft.) and small minimum aperture (f/32). Rotable tripod socket collar allows secure tripod mounting with quick change from horizontal- to vertical-format shooting, also removable when hand-holding the lens. For travel photography, sports, zoo animals and wildlife, and stage shows.

Credit: Image of the Nikkor 300mm f/4.5s courtesy of "Biggs Camera" <info@biggscamera.com> Copyright © 2002

Specifications :

Focal length/Aperture: 300mm f/4.5
Lens construction: 6 elements in 5 groups
Picture angle: 8°10'; Diaphragm: Automatic
Aperture scale: f/4.5~f/32 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales
Exposure measurement: Via full aperture method; meter coupling ridge provided for AI cameras
Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet from 3.5m (12 ft,) to infinity (
OO); Weight: 990g
Dimensions: 78.5mm dia. x 202mm; 194mm extension from lens flange
Filters: 72mm front screw-in; Front lens cap Screw-in
Lens hood Built-in telescopic type with click-stops; Lens case 20A hard leatherette
Usable teleconverter TC-200* 300** or TC-14;
Note: Serial Number for the Ai-S version could have been started from: 173101 * Usable, but there is occasional vignetting ** When used at apertures smaller than f/1t with fast abutter speeds, there is occasional uneven exposure. Warning: Certain AE modes (Programmed AE and Shutter Priority AE) on selective Nikon SLRs will not work efficiently with older TC devices. Use an Ai-S version for better compatibility, read the respective Tele-Extender(s) sections.

Nikkor 300mm f/2.0s EDIF | Nikkor 300mm f/2.8s EDIF | Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 EDIF | Pre-Ai Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 ED Preset | Non-Ai Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 Preset | Nikkor 300mm f/4.5s EDIF | Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 EDIF | Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 ED | Pre-Ai Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 ED | Nikkor 300mm f/4.5s | Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 | Pre-Ai Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 | Non-Ai Nikkor-H 300mm f/4.5 | Non-Ai Nikkor-P 300mm f/4.5 | Nikon Focusing Unit AU-1 | Original Focusing Unit | Relative: 25cm f/4.0 RF Nikkor-Q

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MF Zoom-Nikkor Lenses: 25~50mm | 28~45mm | 28~50mm | 28~85mm | 35~70mm | 36~72mm E | 35~85mm | 35~105mm | 35~135mm | 35~200mm | 43~86mm | 50~135mm | 50~300mm | 70~210mm E | 75~150mm E | 80~200mm | 85~250mm | 100~300mm | 180~600mm | 200~400mm | 200~600mm | 360~1200mm | 1200~1700mm

Tele-Converters: TC-1 | TC-2 | TC-200 | TC-201 | TC-300 | TC-301 | TC-14 | TC-14A | TC-14B | TC-14C | TC-14E | TC-16 | TC-16A | TC-20E

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
http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/nikonfmount/lens2.htm
http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/serialno.html

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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.