Additional Information on
Nikkor 18mm lenses

 
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Ai & Ai-S Nikkor 18mm f/3.5 lenses

Strangely, once you are into ultrawides beyond the more popular 20mm focal length, the next nearest focal length you would consider is a 15mm but seldom you will see photographers owning both 20mm as well as 18mm lenses. Probably because the 20mm's 94° picture angle can only see a significant increase in its perspective with picture angle of 110° in a 15mm lens. It is just like if your next wideangle is a 24mm lens which has a angle of 84° you may feel a 28mm's picture angle provides a more significant difference than a 24mm. So, In this case, the wide-vision of 100° presents in a 18mm Nikkor ultra-wideangle lens may satisfy owners of 24mm rather than owners of a 20mm lens.

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That partly explains why the 18mm lenses are not as popular as other Nikkor ultra-wideangle lenses. Well, the last decade, we saw the emerging awareness of photographers who are seeking for extraordinary view and perspective projects by ultra-wideangle lenses. The spectacular visual effect by a 18mm was equally amazing and there are signs that users are slowly moving back with demand for this kind of lenses. Thus, in October, 1993, Nikon introduced an AF-D Nikkor 18mm f/2.8s to fulfill such needs. Interesting enough, the AF ultrawide incorporates a moulded (not grinned and polish) glass aspherical lens element in order to counter various optical aberrations and enabled it to maintain a compact size.
Credit: Image 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. Adorama Inc. also can be contact at: Used & Collectible Ebay Department 42 West 18th Street New York, N.Y. 10011 1-212-741-0052 Option 55 Ext.119 1-880-223-2500 Option 55 Ext.119 FAX: 1-212-675-8715

Nikkor 18mm f/3.5s Ultrawide Frot section Nikkor 18mm f/3.5s Ultrawide REAR LENS mount section

Credit: 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.

Adopting a similar design used in all current prime Nikkor ultrawide lenses, the 18mm AF lens also has an extremely well physical design with an industrial looked crinkle finishing. It comes with a rather complex optical design in a 13 elements in 10 groups optical formula.

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However, with the latest development of a very well -spec AF-D Nikkor 14mm f/2.8ED, along with two ultrawide Zoom-Nikkor lenses being introduced. The decade old 18mm AF ultrawide may again find it hard to call for a justification presence in the AF Nikkor lens family and even it might be facing a high possibility of being phasing out in the near future due to obvious commercial reason in its viability. That is a sad state, huh ?

Nikkor 18mm ultrawide lens came behind the Nikkor 15mm ultrawide as the second Nikkor lens that stepped beyond the 20mm limit in the ultrawide angle range. The Non-Ai Nikkor 18mm f/4.0 was introduced a year later than the 15mm lens in November, 1974. The 18mm Nikkor lens has a field of view 2.25X that of a 50mm lens, and it has an outstanding characteristic in which it is free of rectilinear distortion despite its extremely wide coverage.

This original Non-Ai version of the 18mm Nikkor lens lacks a CRC system to maintain its optical performance at its close focusing range. The same lens was believed to have an upgrade, AI-Nikkor 18mm f/4.0 when the entire series of the Nikkor lens series went through the transitional change from Non-AI to AI coupling in 1977. The eventual upgrade only occurred sometime in February, 1982 with a revised optic, an Ai-Nikkor 18mm f/3.5 with a marginally faster lens speed and the longed CRC system was finally being incorporated into the design in order to improve the optical performance at close focusing distancewhile the lens can close focus to a minimum distance at 0.25m. The lens uses a HK-9 slip-on type which is thin, narrow and often let you wondering does it really serves its purpose when mounted onto the lens, ha!

Similarly, in a lens catalogue published in 1985, the similar lens does seemed to have a replacement lens with a Nikkor 18mm f/3.5 Ai-S lens coupling system where optically, remained similar and seemed like a direct upgrade from the earlier Ai Nikkor. Both Ai and Ai-S 18mm f/3.5 lenses has an improved optical design and physical appearance with its 11 elements in 10 groups arrangement as compared to a more complex 13 elements in 9 groups design used in the slower f/4.0 version. The 18mm Ai-S lens has a 72mm filter size and believed to have its starting serial number from 188051. Whatever it is, on a practical usage, although lenses at 18mm can not be considered as an all round wideangle lens for day to day use, but it is still very useful to a wide variety of photographic applications such as for architectural photography, journalism, scenic, travel and even for fashion photography.

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Personally, among the many optical characteristic present in an typical ultra-wideangle lens is, it can help to project a sense of spaciousness in a photograph. Both series of the Ai and Ai-S come with a minimum focusing distance of 0.25m (0.82 ft.); by combining its wide perspective and extended depth-of-field will produce unusual images when shooting at close range. Successful ultrawideangle photography often requires experience, creativity, careful use and arrangement of subjects in the photograph to project maximum visual impact. Very often, try to get in closer to minimize unwanted objects appearing in your composition will help to enhance your topic more clearly. Precise focusing is not always imperative, so this lens is particularly helpful when there's little time to focus, such as when photographing fast action or sudden events which is not too unusual in photojournalism.
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Strangely, the lens has not been faithfully gaining its worthy presence by many reviews that appeared in public forum or reading reference. Some Gurus have downgraded its usefulness as well its performance but I felt rather confusing as I find the Nikkor 18mm f/3.5 is in fact, a superb ultra-wideangle lens to use with. Well, if someone wants to argue over greater degree of distortions it may present when compares to a moderate ultrawides or pinpointing its low light handling capacity or other secondary points such using an uncommon filter size - I might be able to agree with them but that was not the case where how I have experienced and thought those negative remarks need some justifications. Further, other than the exceptional optical performance it can offers, this lens has top rated physical built and lens handling is equally great. Optically, this lens also never disappoint either, images taken are consistently offering crisps, sharp, high contrast images across its entire focusing range and aperture settings.

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Credit: Image courtesy of Laura Kornylak ® <shutterblade@comcast.net> from shutterblade*com where the Company has a website on its own. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Manual focus Nikkor 18mm f/3.5 AIS Ultrawide
Anyway, provided you know how to handle its optical behavior and limitations it has, I so think this lens deserves a more serious consideration than just using third party reviews to influence your mind set. Sensibly, despite of what I have heard and read thus far, I am not as convinced and would still like to rate this lens highly. While I don't like to offend anyone and respect individual comment but everyone should entitle to express own views whenever relating to a discussion for a special lens type and I still want stick to what I have commented earlier - this is another marvelous Nikkor lens to own, use and work with.

Credit: 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.

Well, come to think of it - Why are we so attracted to ultra-wideangle lenses ? Human eyes can adjust and varying focus depending on our mind. we often tend to concentrate on what is attracted by our mindset vision in front of us. A super wide-angle lens allows us to see the world with a more encompassing view. While our vision has limitation in angle of view, vision provides a subjective view of the world around us or at longer focusing distances to get a more objective view. So, we sees a different dimension via these lenses. Since most people may not have this kind of lenses and very often we see a different elements and thought this is special. This has keep us very busy over and over again to explore new possibilities in angles and perspectives while keep on interpreting what we saw via a two dimensional photographs.

Manual Focus Nikkor 18mm f/3.5 wideangle lens
* Ultra-wide 100° picture coverage with edge-to-edge sharpness. * Bright f/3.5 maximum aperture insures rapid composing and accurate, pinpoint focusing even in dim light. * Close-Range Correction System gives you close focusing down to 0.25m (0.82 ft.) without any loss of sharpness. * Extremely wide field coverage, depth of field, and freedom from distortion make this lens an excellent choice for architectural and scenic photography as well as for picture taking in cramped quarters. * Special lens hood minimizes flare when shooting against the light.

Credit: 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.

Specifications of 18mm f/3.5 (Should be applicable to both Ai and Ai-S)

Focal length/Aperture: 18mm f/3.5
Lens construction: 11 elements in 10 groups
Picture angle: 100°; Diaphragm: Automatic
Aperture scale: f/3.5 ~ f/22 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales

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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 0.25m (0.85ft.) to infinity (oo)
Weight: 350g; Dimensions: 75mm dia. x 72.5mm long (overall) 61.5mm extension from lens flange

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Maximum Reproduction ratio: 1:8.3
Filters : 72mm front screw-in
Front lens cap: Screw-in Lens hood: HK-9 slip-on type
Lens case: CL-37 hard leatherette
Usable teleconverter(s):
TC-200, TC-201, TC-14A 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. NOTE: Serial Number believed to have been started with 188051 for Ai version but unknown for the later Ai-S version.

Nikkor 18mm f/4.0 non-Ai & Pre Ai | Nikkor Ai 18mm f/4.0 | Nikkor Ai & Ai-S f/3.5 |

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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
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.