Additional Information on
Nikkor Zoom 50-300mm f/4.5 lenses - Part 2

 
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Ai Zoom-Nikkor 50-300mm f/4.5

A radical change in the physical appearance as well as an important change of the lens coupling in this Zoom-Nikkor 50-300mm happened in 1977. In a broad scale Nikkor lens updating program, this magnificent Nikkor zoom lense was also being updated with an Ai lens coupling system in order to take advantage of the new full aperture metering system used on all subsequent Nikon bodies
* after 1977.

* The first phase involved Nikon F2AS, Nikon F2A, Nikon FM, Nikon EL2 and Nikkormat FT3 in 1977 and followed by Nikon FE in 1978.

During this transitional period from non-Ai to Ai, Nikkor lens family has a comprehensive line of nine zoom lenses, spanning gap between 28mm wideangle and 1200mm super-telephoto. But at the time, the Nikkor 50-300mm zoom was still remained as the sole lense in 35mm SLR photography that offered a 6X zoom ratio which provides an extreme zoom coverage ranging from 46° normal to 8°10' long telephoto. As this shift to Ai coupling did not involved any change to its optical formulation and generally, most observers believed the facelift may have been aimed to carry the purpose of easy identification from its predecessors while in the mean time, upgrading the lense with a more modern look and feel. Well, it does looks quite alike with the ED version that almost introduced at the same time. The Ai lense has a meter coupling ridge which is used for Ai Nikon cameras but it retains a slightly different looked meter coupling shoe on the aperture ring (but carries no other purpose other than verification) and it allows for non-Ai cameras to operate in stopped down metering. (in the mean time, Peter's Nikon Hand Book indicated the Ai version starts with a serial number from a high 988001 but the picture shown above was scanned from an official 1978 Nikon Sales Manual, it reads 770451, so, there is some contradicting reporting here, errr....).

50300f45.gif
Specification:

Focal length/Aperture:
50~ 300mm f/4.5
Lens construction.
20 elements in 13 groups
<<< --- Download a PDF file (61k) in relation to illustration of its 1978's optical construction. You can compared it with the earlier version.


Picture angle:
46° to 8°10'
Diaphragm: Automatic
Focusing / Zooming: Via separate rings for independent controls. Focusing by turning front ring and zoom by using the rear section zooming ring (reference markings for 50, 60, 70, 85, 105, 135, 200, 250 and 300mm)
Aperture scale:
f/4.5 ~ f/22 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scale
Exposure measurement:
Via full aperture method; meter coupling ridge provided for Ai cameras and meter coupling shoe for non-Ai cameras
Focal Length reference markings: 360; Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet from 2.5m (8.5 ft) to infinity (oo)
Weight:
2.3kg; Dimensions: 98mm dia. x 292mm long (overall); 284mm extension from flange
Attachment size:
95mm (P= 1); Front lens cap: Screw-in; Lens hood: Screw-in (MN-11); Lens case: CE-2


Ai Zoom-Nikkor 50-300mm f/4.5 ED

Well, we mentioned earlier the new look of the Ai Zoom-Nikkor 50-300mm f/4.5 has some similarity with the ED version right ? Yes. An ED version of this lense was also being launched by Nikon in 1977.

Nikkor50300mmf45EDadorama2.JPG
Credit: 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.
The lense still offers an extreme zoom coverage ranging from 46° normal to 8°10' long telephoto and also utilizing independent focusing and zoom rings to eliminate any weight shift during zooming for balanced operation and radically new handling ease. Similar to the previous non-ED version, this lense was also supplied with a 95mm screw-in front lens cap and carrying strap. However, this ED glass zoom is almost 45mm shorter than the standard version and weighing slightly lighter at 2.2kg. However, its minimum focusing distance has not been improved and retaining a similar performance where it focuses in to slightly shorter distance at 8.2 ft. where I thought it was a little disappointing.

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The Zoom-Nikkor ED reflects some of Nikon's latest lens technology at the time - the application of ED glass in its front element has made the lens 45mm shorter than the standard version, while also significantly improving color rendition and image sharpness. And due to its all new internal zooming system (front lens group used only for focusing, and zooming with optical compensation by middle lens group) the ED zoom virtually eliminates any weight shift during zooming for radically new handling ease and holding balance. Strangely, both the standard Ai and ED versions have no colour-coded apertures to indicate depth of field scales but the ED version has an extended f/32 minimum aperture for greater depth of field control.

Whatever it is, this is an ideal all-around zoom for sports and photojournalism because of its exceptionally wide zoom coverage ranging from 50mm normal to 300mm telephoto and both of the Nikon's standard and ED 50-300mm Zoom-Nikkors used to be one of the most versatile lense in 35mm photography - and the most ideal all-round zooms for photojournalism because of its versatility plus good resolution and contrast. Incidentally, both of these Ai standard and ED zooms (has a gold ring on the front section) still provide with a built-in rotatable tripod socket which will rotates a full 360° with click-stops every 90°; and it is also removable for hand holding the lens. With full-aperture metering/viewing add to the performance of these versatile 6-to-1 Nikkor zooms that are ready to move-in on all the sports, news action, wildlife, stage shows, fashion, surveillance and/or creative effect in artistry zoom blurs.

50300mmED3sml.jpg 50300mmED2sml.jpg
Click for an enlarged view (66k & 48k Jpeg) of two fabulous views of this ED Zoom-Nikkor lense.

Credit: Both images courtesy of Mr. Arnd Janus <Ajanus@versanet.de>. All images Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer. If you intend to use this image for commercial purpose, a written permission from the creator is always encouraged.

Ai-S Zoom-Nikkor
50-300mm f/4.5s ED This great Nikkor zoom lense was subsequently upgraded with an Ai-S type lens coupling system in 1982 to enable newer series of Nikon SLRs to utilize the lense in programmed AE and Shutter Priority AE exposure control modes. Along with this update, Nikon optical engineers managed to "screeze" its weight down to 1.9kg from 2.2kg on the original ED version.

Specifications of zoom 50-300mm f/4.5(s) ED

50300mmoptic.jpg
Focal length/Aperture: 50-300mm f/4.5(s) ED
Lens construction: 15 elements in 11 groups
Picture angle: 46°~ 8° 10'; Focusing/Zooming Control: By separate rings
Diaphragm: Automatic

Aperture scale
: f/4.5 ~f/32 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales
Automatic: Via full aperture method; meter coupling ridge provided for Ai cameras and meter coupling shoe for non-Ai cameras
Focal length Marking: 50, 60, 70, 85, 105, 135, 200, 300mm
Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet from 2.5m (8.5ft.) to infinity (oo)
Weight:
2,200g for earlier version, 1,950g for Ai-S version; Maximum Reproduction Ratio: (Macro Setting): 1:6.9 (Ai-S)
Dimensions 98mm dia. x 247mm long (overall); 239mm extension from lens flange

50300mmshade.JPG
Focal length/Aperture: 50-300mm f/4.5(s) ED
Lens construction: 15 elements in 11 groups
Picture angle: 46°~ 8° 10'; Focusing/Zooming Control: By separate rings
Diaphragm: Automatic

Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Mike <Rectaflex@aol.com>. All images Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

50300f45.gif
Filters: 95mm front screw-in
Front lens cap: Screw-in; Lens hood: HK-5 slip-on type

<<< --- Download a PDF file (61k) in relation to illustration of its 1978's optical construction.

Lens case: CL-64 hard leatherette or CE-2 hard leatherette
*; Usable teleconverter(s): TC-200**, TC-201s; * Houses the camera body together with the lens. ** Some specific exposure control such as Program AE and Shutter Priority AE modes with certain Nikon SLRs may not function efficiently.; Note: Serial numbers may have been started from 175111 for the original Ai -ED version while the Ai-S lense could have been started with 188001

Nikkor50300mmf45EDadorama3.JPG
Credit: 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.


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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.