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Side view with extention.jpg     

AF Zoom-Micro Nikkor 70-180mm f/4.5-5.6D ED

I wonder does Nikon's marketing guys knew this: the designation for newer range of Nikkor lenses was far too long...now this latest inclusion is referred as such (See header). Fortunately (or unfortunate), it is not a IF-S + P designated. If not, it could be:

AF-S Zoom-Micro Nikkor 70-180mm f/4.5-5.6D P IF ED
... (wow !)
Leave the one in bracket out, it was a joke: that was how I felt. Couldn't there be a better way to express that ? Anyway, I leave that to them to scatch their head, may be the Japanese like those more.

To deserve a mention of breakthrough in modern lens technology - it is diffficult. From the early days, Nikon, in stages of its lens development, introduced their NIC (Nikon Ietegrated Multi-Coating Process), ED (Extra Low Dispersion Glass), the IF (Internal Focusing), CRC (Close Range Correction System), P (programmed), of late the D - remitting data on distance info from the lens to camera's CPU to total exposure evaluation and the new AF-S, Silent Wave Motor technology which converts "traveling waves" into rotational energy to focus the optics; all these are significant Nikon's pioneering lens technologies. Basically, these technologies afffect when a lens was in the drawing board stage, where optical engineers have to decide whether which are the essential elements to be included when a new lens was designed. It affects optical design and moreover, the manufacturing process as a whole, which in turns, involve with capital outlay, financials on return on investment on a new lens. That's why you won't find many new crops of lenses which dare to claim a breakthrough.

Now, they have a new lens who claimed another "breakthrough".
A zoom. A
Micro Nikkor based zoom lens to be exact.
It is a ED designated lens, note the exact location of the ED glass (Marked and colored in light blue).
(Nikon has another two more new lenses coming up: (late but better than never) their first 28mm-200mm f3.5/f5.6 Zoom IF AF Nikkor (US$650 & weighing: 555g) and another being a 70-300mm (US$420-00) Zoom.

It is a D type AF Zoom-Micro Nikkor lens with a built in CPU, maximum aperture is restricted to a variable values of f4.5 to f5.6 (not a fixed aperture and changes in accordance to the zooming ratio). Lens construction based on 18 elements in 14 groups, with variable angle of view form 34° 20' to 13° 40'. Takes in 62mm filters, weighing 990g.

When mentioned Micro Nikkor, we can't leave maximum reproduction ratio out, the maximum ratio is 0.31 at 70mm to 0.75 at 180mm focal length. While closest focus distance is appro. 37cm throughout the zoom range. More blades were added within the diaphragm opening (like the new Nikkor AF-S) and make out of focus elements more natural looking. Since it is a zoom lens in nature, you can also adjust these values by zooming - without moving the camera, quite versatile in that sense. Also, by adjusting the camera's position while zooming, a photographer can get a range of perspective of the same subject at the same reproduction ratio.

Optical construction

Other convenience features like, tripod mount is provided and for those who wishes to have a life-size (1:1) magnification, you can use the close up attachment lens No.6T to achieve that at focal length 180mm. Only things to note is, for the F4 users, when using the matrix or center-weighted metering system, you need to do a little compensation for more precise exposure metering by setting the exposure compensation dial for focusing screen to - 1/2.

Physically, it falls shorter than the new mighty long Micro-Nikkor 200mm F4 D IF ED, but longer than the AF Micro 105mm f2.8 D. I was quite tempted by the 200mm when it was changed and upgraded to the ED version - even though it is a stop smaller in the maximum aperture. But, the lens is just too long for my comfort and eventually, I gave up. But, on technicality and specifications, should be more versatile for a second lens. But for this lens, was slightly bogged down by its maximum aperture (Not so much on the macro side - since for greater depth of field, you have to stop down the lens to smaller values), but on how versatile it can bea all-purpose lens. Though this is highly debatable, it depends on individual preferences if you consider applications other than macro works.

But for those who involves heavily in macro works indoor or fieldwork, this lens can be a logical choice. It encompasses some of the best available optical technologies from Nikon, who has long been associated with producing reputable high performance lenses like their fixed focal length Micro-Nikkors and further, the longer but variable focal lengths of this lens also provide safer and comfortable working distance macro photography for specific works.

A Zoom Mikro Nikkor ?
Nikon Optical engineers deserve a pat on their back.

* View shown here is with the inverted lens hood attached in front.

70-180 big view.jpg (29k)

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