Additional Information on
Nikkor 600mm super-telephoto lenses - Part II

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Nikkor 600mm f/5.6s IF ED Super Telephoto Lense

The original Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 IF ED lens was first introduced in April, 1976 as a Non-AI Nikkor Optic. The lens has an optical design of 7 elements in 6 groups which literally has remained unchanged over all these years except in its appearance and some minor added on features. However, this lens was sold along with other two parts Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 telephoto lenses (Nikkor -P.C 600mm f/5.6 lens head and the Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 ED) that carried with a different configuration and lens spec until late the '70. Unlike the other two two parts lenses, this was designed from scratch as a true reflex super telephoto lens. The last of the version carried with an Ai-S lens coupling system which was first introduced in 1982 but again it has gone through a lens revision in 1985. The updated Ai-S lens has a rubber front ring and a 122mm replaceable front protective dust proof UV filter which serves t protect the precious large ED glass elements (First and second lens elements are ED glasses). Further, this refined telephoto lens has also improved 1st closest focusing distance to 5m (16.4ft) from the 5.5m (20 ft) found on the previous equivalent Ai-S lens.
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Top and inverse views of this gigantic super telephoto lense with a HE-4 Extended Lens Hood attached. Credit: Both images courtesy of John & Molly Kaye ® <> © Image Copyright 2001. All rights reserved.
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Both the Ai-S lenses have an extended aperture range which has its minimum aperture stopped down to f/32 and further, a gelatin filter holder was provided. These few features mainly distinguish the Ai-S versions from the previous Ai and non-Ai Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 IF ED lenses.

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The Nikkor 600mm f/5.6s ED-IF was a step down version of the MF 600 mm super-telephoto lens with a smaller lens speed of f/5.6.

Serial number started with 2000xxx indicates this is a late Ai-S version.

: A sharp image of the Ai-S 600mm telephoto lense by John & Molly Kaye ® <> © Image Copyright 2001. All rights reserved.

As compared to the more bulkier and pricey Nikkor 600mm f/4.0s ED-IF, this alternative is a powerful super-telephoto in a relatively smaller package. The main technical highlight is its combination of Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass that offers unprecedented image quality with Internal Focusing (IF) system that eliminates the heavy, bulky Helicoid, providing silky-smooth focusing without any extension in the lens barrel and also enables it to be very compact and light for its long focal length - with a telephoto ratio of only 0.69. The built-in telescopic lens hood reduces ghost images and flare but when you use the extended Hood HE-4, it is even more effective. The 360° rotatable tripod socket collar is also removable. The mid-rear section hosts the convenient slip-in filter holder accepts 39mm screw-in filters; dedicated gelatin filter holder also supplied. It is an deal lens for sports and wildlife shooting, especially when combine it to use with a 1.4X and 2X teleconverter. (with a TC-301s it may be converted into a 1200mm f/11 super telephoto lense).

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Focal length of 600mm is almost like a standard lens for wildlife observation. A rare King of Proboscis Monkeys in Borneo Island, East Malaysia by Michael Patrick Wong, the Awards winning Video/Photographer contributing some of his images for my Khatulistiwa@Malaysia <> Project - a self-funded environmental caring website.

Similarly, the second Ai-S revision has a front dust proof optical UV filter in its optical construction, compared the optical layout with the previous version.

" ..... 600mm f/5.6 ED-IF AIS manual focus lens SN 179xxx with built-in hood, CL-62 leather case, correct leather front lens cap, Nikon rear lens cap, 39mm UV filter and holder, Bower scope adapter to convert to an exceptional spotting scope of (I think) about 60x. Nikon's most compact and lightest (6 lbs, 15 inches long) version of the 600mm f/5.6 lens, less than half the weight of the f/4 lenses. Nikon Compendium shows this lens introduced in 1982. Ideal surveillance or wildlife lens.

Glass is excellent, no significant marks. I see on close examination no more than 6 pinpoint-sized coating marks which may or may not be something that would clean off - I haven't tried. One or two of these may be marks in the glass, but none appear to be. With a lens more than 4 inches diameter, these pinpoint marks have no impact on images. No significant dust inside or any marks that would indicate the lens has been opened up and the interior surfaces touched. Mechanics is excellent, everything works as it should - mounting, tripod mount rotation, focus preset click stop, filter insertion and removal, focus, diaphragm, lens hood extension all work well with no hint of any mechanical problem. Diaphragm looks perfect, no oil or abrasion markings. Except for one major and a couple of small scrapes on the end of the lens hood where the lens was brushed against a white surface and exchanged paint but suffered no deformation (see photo), the lens shows almost no signs of use. Tripod mount surface shows bright marks where lens was attached to tripod. Close examination shows that there are a few shiny marks in the black crinkle finish, and a few small marks where something has rubbed off into the finish, but no places other than the hood where the finish appears to have been damaged. Case is in good functional condition and nice inside, but has some surface indentations and a few short tears in the surface of the leather...."
<<< -- Extracts of Patrick's original description at Ebay auction sale of this lense.

Credit: A few additional contributing images of the Ai-S 600mm telephoto lense by Mr. P. Patrick Mann ® <> © Image Copyright 2001. All rights reserved. All images have been scaled and retouched slightly for broadcasting here in this site.


Specifications of 600mm f/5.6s IF-ED

Focal length/Aperture: 600mm f/5.6
Lens construction: 7 elements in 6 groups (with one optical filter at the front)
Picture angle: 4°10'; Diaphragm: Automatic
Aperture scale: f/5.6~f/32 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales
Exposure measurement: Via full aperture method; meter coupling ridge provided for Ai cameras and meter coupling shoe for non-Ai cameras
Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet from 5.0m (18.1ft.) to infinity (
Maximum Reproduction ratio: 1:7.3; Weight: 2,700g
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Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. P. Patrick Mann ® <> © Image Copyright 2001. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the photographer.
Dimension:132mm dia. x 387.5mm long (overall) 374mm extension from lens flange
Filters (Rear/Front): 39mm screw-in via slip-in filter holder/122mm front screw-in; dedicated gelatin filter holder
Lens cap: Slip-on; Lens hood Built-in telescopic type with HE-4 Extension Hood as standard accessory
Lens case: CT-603 or No. 59 soft pouch; Usable teleconverter:
TC-300** , TC-301** or TC-14B** **Usable, at aperture smaller than f/11 there may be occasionally 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. Note: Serial Number for Nikkor Ai-S f/4.0 ED-IF started from 178501 and 176091 for the earlier Ai version.

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Nikkor 600mm f/4.0s ED-IF | Nikkor 600mm f/5.6s ED-IF | Nikkor 600mm f/4.0 ED-IF | Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 ED-IF | Nikkor 600mm f5.6 | Pre-Ai Nikkor 600mm f5.6 ED | Non-Ai 600mm f/5.6 Nikkor-P Auto | Focusing Units

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