Additional Information on
Nikkor 400mm super telephoto lenses - Part I

 
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With an angle of view of 6°10' and 8 times the image magnification of a "normal" 50mm lens, lenses at 400mm focal length proves excellent for sports, news and wildlife photography. Occasions or events that may prevent a photographer from getting close are cases where the use of a super telephoto lens is necessary. Such situations may even prohibit the use of flash as well. Naturally, high speed long telephoto lenses are indeed an advantage for those assignments as relative high shutter speed are made possible. Nikon has quite a few alternatives offered at this focal length. For quite a long period the maximum aperture of their 400mm super-telephoto lenses was f/3.5, with alternatives at f/4.5 and f/5.6. The extraordinary high speed Ai-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 ED-IF lens was introduced in 1985, barely a year ahead of another exotic Nikkor super telephoto lens, Ai-S Nikkor 800mm f/5.6 ED-IF of 1986.

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Credit: Image of the Ai-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 ED-IF lens courtesy of Mr. Odilys Gonzalez® <odilys@hotmail.com> copyright © 2003. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

A remarkable characteristic of 400mm Nikkor lenses is their ability to offer uniform outstanding optical excellence with compact lens size that make for unexcelled telephoto performance. With the exception of a few lenses of slower lens speed and specification, most of the 400mm Nikkor are denoted "ED", and thus features Nippon Kogaku's "Extra-low Dispersion glass" for control of chromatic aberration resulting in a reduction of the secondary spectrum across the entire visible spectrum, thereby providing outstanding sharpness and contrast at even full aperture. Further, NIC is used on air-to-glass lens surfaces and Internal Focusing is employed providing easy operation and responsive handling in handheld shooting. Other secondary features are a fully rotatable tripod mounting collar, a built-in lens hood, an automatic diaphragm and meter coupling prong, and the capability to easily compensate for focus shift due to thermal changes.

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Those days, the gap between 300mm and 600mm Nikkor telephoto lenses was only filled by the 400mm focal length (the first true telephoto at 500mm focal length was an Nikkor 500mm f/4.0P ED-IF, introduced 1988). Lenses at 400mm inevitably became an important step-up focal length in-between the 300mm and 600mm. The latest versions of the Nikkor 400mm super telephoto lenses are Ai-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 ED-IF, Ai-S Nikkor 400mm f/3.5 ED-IF and Ai-S Nikkor 400mm f/5.6 ED-IF. Except for the ultra high speed lens of Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 EDIF which effectively has a shorter history, all remaining MF Nikkor telephoto lenses have quite a long history.

<<< --- Diving, Commonwealth Games, 1998. Picture Courtesy of John Ishii®. Image Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.

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The pre-production model of this tele-Nikkor lens differs slightly in its exterior from the eventual production lens " .... According to the "Network Management Sec." [SMTP:cs.info@nikon.co.jp], this is a prototype of the NIKKOR*ED 400 mm 1:2.8 introduced at the 1984 Photokina in Cologne. It strongly resembles the NIKKOR* ED 300 mm 1:2..." - Hansen, Lars Holst - Creator of the Nikon Lens Repair Group. See more info

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The filter holder accepts all 52mm filters. Note the small depth-of-field scale.

Credit: Image of the Ai-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 ED-IF lens courtesy of Mr. Odilys Gonzalez® <odilys@hotmail.com> copyright © 2003.

The Ai-S Nikkor 400 mm f/2.8 IF-ED was introduced very late in 1985. This super telephoto lens was long awaited by many professional photographers who felt Nikon lacked a high speed lens at the 400mm focal length. That was not surprising as Canon had produced an equivalent high performance MF super telephoto lens, Canon FDn 400mm f/2.8L during the FD lens mount era back in 1981. The high speed Canon lens, along with a few other high speed super-telephoto lenses at 500mm and beyond, was one of the many prime factors making professional photographers consider Canon as their ultimate sports SLR camera system. Anyway, both of these lenses have remained the world's fastest MF 400mm telephoto lenses.

MF400mmf28IFEDsml2.JPG MF400mmf28IFED3.JPG MF400mmf28IFED4.JPG MF400mmf28IFED.JPG

Credit: CLICK on thumbnail t see ENLARGED VIEW. Images courtesy of Adorama® Inc. "Ebay - Mathew Duren" <ebay@adorama> Webisite URL: Adorama.com, who also operates a popular Ebay Store. All images appeared herein are Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Nikkor400mmf28 by Digitize FUTURE@Ebay

Resr Section View

Credit: ALL image(s) displayed herein courtesy of all the nice folks from Taiwan's Digitize-Future@EBAY®. Some of them are extracted from their very popular online EBAY STORE. The Company also has a website on their own at shueido.com Image(s) copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.


Despite a weight slightly over 5 kg (falling short of another equally gigantic Ai-S Nikkor 300mm f/2.0 ED-IF which weighs 7.5 kg !) and a quite bulky shape requiring a sturdy support during any photo session, it handles surprisingly well. Especially worth noting is its smooth focusing as Nikon has designed it to employ Internal Focusing. This exotic lens has a minimum focusing distance of 4 m (13.1 ft) and uses 52 mm drop-in filters. The front section is a protective optical filter which is replaceable to ensure its precious large piece of front optical glass is constantly protected (the 1st and 2nd lens elements in its 8 elements in 6 groups optical design are ED glass). Nikon has also designed an oversize, rotatable tripod collar which has an extension that serves as a sturdy carrying handle. The top rated lens has a customary HE-3 extension lens hood, supplied as a standard accessory. It is one of the few high speed Nikkor optics that has enjoyed very good reviews by many professional photographers and it is rarely seen for sale used.

In 1994, Nikon introduced an AF equivalent, AF-I Nikkor 400mm f/2.8D ED-IF*. It has a different optical formula from the MF version (more complex 10 elements in 7 groups design). The AF lens also has improved its close focusing capability to just 3.3 m (10.8 ft) but it is heavier at a massive 6.3 kg !

afs400f28edif.jpg
Credit: Image downloaded from Nikon USA website.
In 2001 Nikon released the AF-S 400mm f/2.8D IF-ED II in a magnesium die-cast body design (available in either black or light gray colour). It weighs 4.4 kg (9.7 lbs) including an oversized tripod mounting foot. Naturally, Nikon's Silent Wave Motor is used to provide high-speed and accurate autofocus along with quiet operation. Other features include M/A mode providing instant switching from autofocus to manual focus even during AF servo operation. Its optical design features three high performance Extra Low Dispersion (ED) optical glass elements. Closest focusing distance during AF operation is approx. 3.5 m (11.4 ft); which provides an impressive reproduction ratio of 0.13.

Specifications of Ai-S 400mm f/2.8s IF-ED

Focal length/Aperture: 400mm f/2.8
Lens construction: 8 elements in 6 groups with one optical protective glass in front
Picture angle: 6°10'; Diaphragm: Automatic
Nikkor400mmf28Shu7.jpg
Aperture scale: f/2.8 -f/22 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales
Exposure measurement: Via full aperture method; meter coupling ridge provided for Al cameras and meter coupling shoe for non-AI cameras


Credit
: All Images of this Nikkor super telephoto lense are contributed by http://www.nikkor.us. All Images apeared herein this site Copyright © 2004. Mr. Shu also operates an Ebay Store where ocaationally he sells some unique photo products. Please respect the visual property of the owner.

Distance scale: in meters and feet from 4m (13.1ft.) to infinity (oo); Weight: 5,150g; Maximum Reproduction ratio: 1:8.3

400f28AISe.jpg 400f28AISf.jpg
Credit: Two views of the lens accessories and a TC-14B contributed by "Igor Reznik" <igorcamera@adelphia.net> © Image Copyright 2001. All rights reserved.

Nikkor400mmf28Shu9a.jpg
Credit: All Images of this Nikkor super telephoto lense are contributed by http://www.nikkor.us. All Images apeared herein this site Copyright © 2004. Mr. Shu also operates an Ebay Store where ocaationally he sells some unique photo products. Please respect the visual property of the owner.
Dimensions: 163mm dia. x 378.5mm long (overall); 296mm extension from lens flange
Filters (Rear/Front): 52mm screw-in via special slip-in filter holder; Front lens cap: Slip-on
old400mmf28.jpg
Lens hood: Built-in telescopic type with click-stops with HE-3 Extension Hood as standard accessory
Lens case: CL-400 hard leatherette or No. 59 soft pouch
Usable teleconverter: TC-200
* , TC-201*, TC-300** , TC-301** or TC-14B * Usable but not recommendable and there is occasional vignetting. ** Usable, at aperture smaller than f/11 there may be occasionally uneven exposure.

<<< --- A side view of a prototype Ai-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 ED-IF lens presented at the 1984 Photokina in Cologne

Nikon's AIS Nikkor 400mm f/2.8s ED IF super telephoto lens CLICK FOR EXPLOSIVE VIEW(s)

Credit
: ALL image(s) displayed herein courtesy of all the nice folks from Taiwan's Digitize-Future@EBAY®. Some of them are extracted from their very popular online EBAY STORE. The Company also has a website on their own at shueido.com Image(s) copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Ais Nikkor 400mm f/2.8s IF-ED

Ais Nikkor 400mm f/2.8s IF-ED with lens pouch

Front section view

Lens mid section with lens hood

| NEXT | 1/2 Additional information on Nikkor 400mm f/3.5 ED-IF, Nikkor 400mm f/5.6 ED-IF and Nikkor 400mm f/5.6

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 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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Micro-Nikkor Lenses - 50mm~55mm -60mm 85mm -105mm 200mm Micro-Zoom 70-180mm
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Others: Noct Nikkor | OP-Nikkor | UV Nikkor 55mm 105mm | Focusing Units | Bellows-Nikkor 105mm 135mm
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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.