Additional Information on
Zoom-Nikkor 360-1200mm f/11 Lenses


Prior to the availability of the gigantical Zoom-Nikkor 1200-1700mm f/5.6~8s P ED-IF ultra-super telephoto zoom which announced in 1990, for quite a long spell, the Zoom-Nikkor 360-1200mm f/11(s) was used to be the world's longest* reaching true telephoto zoom lense. Blending the obvious advantages of the modern zoom lens with the powerful magnification of a whole series of ultra-telephoto lenses - all in relatively compact, fast-handling optical systems. Although its 3.3X zoom ratio may not sound too impressive in numbers but the real difference is its starting focal length that begin from a super telephoto range that makes it so distinctive. There are two main variations relate to this spectacular super zoom where the original version was introduced* during Photokina, 1974. The next major upgrade which involved radical change in its design was the Ai-S version that debuted in March, 1982 where the latter incorporated an IF (internal focus) design. Why do I skipped the Ai lens update out as a major change ? Because despite went through the Ai conversion, it doesn't seem to carry any direct benefit as users still have to handle exposure measurement via stopped down metering. The Ai-S Nikkor lens update eventually enables the advantage of full aperture viewing and metering to be truthfully carry out when use the lense with an Ai-Nikon body.

Sigma's Super Tele Zoom lens
* Currently, it was the Sigma's 350-1200mm f11 APO Super Tele-Zoom which obviously, managed to screeze 10mm shorter at the shorter focal length of the zoom to take such a claim, hehe.. and it ccame with a white finishes - so, they can also sell to Canon users, smart asss...

threetelezooms.jpg 938k) Loading ... Comparing the longest serving MF Nikkr super tele-zoom 180-600mm f/8.0 ED with the fast exit 360-1200mm f/11 EDIF and a Nikkor 300mm f/2.8s telephoto lense.

Incidentally, between 1974-1975, there were quite a number* of new exciting addition of Nikkor lenses being added to the ever growing MF Nikkor lens family. This lense was introduced around the same time with another Nikkor ED super tele-zoom, 180-360mm f/8 ED where both of these zoom lenses were the first series of zoom lenses that benefit directly with the incorporation of ED glass in their optical design. The birth of these two lenses were believed to have been well schemed as both offer 3.3X zoom ratio but step-up one another in their respective focal lengths. i.e. 180mm-360mm-1200mm. In terms of choices, lens types and varieties, the inclusion of these two superlative tele-zooms into the Nikkor lens family has widen the Nikkor lens selection which in turn building up and enhancing the undisputed leadership to make Nikon as the ultimate name at the niche professional user's market. Back in 1988 during the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting that held in Langkawi Island, Malaysia I have seen and managed to take a shot of a journalist at work with this zoom lense but never I realize one day I might have to make use of the image for a website, Err..... the negative has been displaced and lost while I was shifting office 6, 7 years ago, too bad.

* In relation to the actual production date, there are a few contradicting reports. Some reference books claimed it was introduced in 1974 (Nikon System handbook), September, 1975 (Nikon Hand Book), 1976 (Nikon Sales Manual and Nikon's "Eyes of Nikon"). So, to avoid these argument, I put the year 1974 - the year where Nikon first showcased the lense. ** Nikkor 18mm f/4.0, Nikkor 20mm f/4.0, Nikkor 28mm f/2.8, PC-Nikkor 28mm f/4.0, PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8, Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/4.0, Zoom-Nikkor 28-45mm f/4.5 and a series of SIX ED telephoto lenses: Nikkor 300mm f/2.8ED, Nikkor 300mm f/4.5ED, Nikkor 400mm f/5.6ED, Nikkor 600mm f/5.6ED, Nikkor 880mm f/8ED and Nikkor 1200mm f/11ED.

Pre-Ai 360-1200mm f/11 ED Zoom-Nikkor

At the time of its introduction, the ED Zoom-Nikkor was the newest and longest in the extensive Nikkor zoom lens lineup which comprised of wide selection of lens types, and the first anywhere to offer almost complete coverage of the standard super telephoto shooting range. Thus, this lens proves ideal for use in wildlife, sports or other demanding applications requiring that the photographer be greatly separated from the subject while shooting. e.g. hazardous subject shooting and/or events such as rocket launching, political events etc.

3601200f11EDpreAI.jpg (23k) Loading ....
<<< --- Image of this pictured Nikkor zoom was scanned from a '75-76 official Nikon Sales Manual.

Complementing the outstanding zoom range is the use of ED glass for control of chromatic aberration; with ED glass, this Zoom Nikkor features exceptional reduction of the secondary spectrum, thus ensuring superb optical performance with outstanding image sharpness and contrast, even at full aperture. Chromatic aberration correction is so complete, in fact, that corrective refocusing for infrared photography is totally unnecessary with this lense. Nikon's proprietary NIC lens coating process was also applied to some of the elements of this lens to provide for control of flare and ghost, while simultaneously enhancing contrast and color rendition when using color film.

Other features include an exceptionally sturdy tripod mounting collar, minimum aperture settings to f/32, convenient focal length and depth of field, a fully automatic diaphragm and the four focusing handles which aid zoom/ focus operation. Most of these features have been retained as subsequent followed models introduced at later stages.

Specification for this Non-Ai version:

Focal Length: 360-1200mm
Maximum aperture: f/11
Lens construction: 20 elements in 12 groups
Picture Angle: 6°50'~ 2°

<<< --- Click a new browser window to see its optical construction, 17k Gif File

Distance Scale: Graduated in meters, and feet from 6m (20ft.) to infinity (OO). Focusing ring can turn past the infinity marking for compensation of focus shift due to temperature changes. Corrective refocusing for infrared Photography is NOT necessary

<<< --- Click a new browser window Selection of recommended Focusing screens (Nikon F2)*, 23k Gif File * The screen types are applicable with Nikon F3.

Focusing/Zooming control: Via single control ring; reference marking for focal length settings of 360mm, 400mm, 500mm, 600mm, 700mm, 880mm, 1000mm and 1200mm are provided. An additional ring locking screw also provided for zoom/focus lock.
Aperture scale: f/11 - f/32
Diaphragm: Fully automatic
Exposure measurement: Via stop down Method; but
meter coupling prong is NOT provided
Tripod Mounting: Via socket in tripod mounting collar; collar is rotatable on lens for vertical and horizontal format picture taking; it is click stop at each 90° of rotation, a collar locking screw is also provided.
Attachment Size: 122mm (P-1mm)
Filters: 122mm screw-in
Mount: Nikon F Bayonet Mount
Dimensions: 125mm dia x 704mm long
Weight: 7,100g
Accessories Included: Rear protective cap LF 1 (108-00 401); 122mm screw In from lens cap (108 04-400); 122mm screw in lens hood HN -17; Lens carrying strap
Optional Accessories: 122mm screw in filters, Semi soft camera lens case CZ -3612 (108-05-307)
Nikon Product Code No. 108-05-121
Note: Serial Numbers for this Pre-Ai version of the Nikkor zoom may have been started from 174031#.

Ai Zoom-Nikkor 360-1200mm f/11 ED
3601200trilenses.jpg (33k) Loading slowly now ....
By mid seventies, with the aid of some selective outstanding Nikkor zoom lenses, many photographers have began to realize the convenience and flexibility zoom lenses can offer for their photography. Basically, in one lens, it gives the photographer a variety of focal lengths without having to carry extra lenses. It also allows change of focal lengths quickly, and therefore change his coverage, without actually having to change lenses or positions. But probably an attraction is its ability to create artistry "zoom blurs". i.e. By zooming the lens during a slow shutter speed, the cameraman can impart a feeling of action to stationary subjects, and what this action does to a moving object can often be surprising and eye-catching.

<<< --- Credit: Image of a comparing view among three Nikkor super-tele-zooms. It was scanned from a Nikkor Sales leaflet published in '78. The three pictured tele-zoom lenses are 360-1200mm ED (top), 180-360mm ED (middle) and a non-ED 200-600mm lense (bottom).

While those may be some of the popular creative ways for zoom lenses used among serious amateurs and even by professional photographers, but the introduction in series of high power magnification Nikkor telephoto zooms that have truly opened up many potential photographic possibilities never been dreamed of previously prior to these lenses. At the time, the 360~1200mm f/11 ED was still unsurpassed for its super-telephoto zoom range. And cruising through the Ai lens updating program across the entire series of Nikkor lenses, these super telephoto zooms have also being upgraded with an Ai mount. But for some strange reasons, all these high power tele-zooms have not been provided with a meter coupling prong on their aperture ring and all of them have to handle in a less responsive stopped down metering mode when performing exposure measurement during shootings.

Despite their long maximum focal length, they have automatic diaphragm mechanisms (no meter coupling device is provided), and convenient single focusing/zooming rings insure extra handling speed. Both the 180-600mm and 360-1200mm lenses feature Nikon ED glass for incredible contrast and color rendition. The 180-600mm and 360-1200mm focus to 2.5m (8.5ft.) and 6m (20ft.) respectively - incredibly close for ultra telephoto optics (the non-ED 200-600mm needs an aid in an accessory close-up attachment in order its helical focusing distance at close range 4m (13ft.) be reduced to 2.3m (7.5ft.).). Similarly, the 360-1200mm zoom has a built-in cantilevered rotatable collar for balanced tripod mounting in either the vertical or horizontal format positions but the main difference is its combined zoom and focusing ring has a 4 screw-in handles for rapid response which is missed out in the 180-600mm lense. The Nikkor zoom lense is supplied with 122mm screw-in front lens cap and hood, carrying strap, and hard lens case.

The Ai stage of the Zoom-Nikkor 360-1200mm lense carries the following specification:

Focal length/Aperture: 360 ~1200mm f/11
Lens construction:
20 elements in 12 groups
Picture angle:
6° 50'~ 2°
Aperture scale:
f/11~ f/32 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scale

3601200f11F2A.jpg (18k) Loading ..
Exposure measurement: Via stop-down method
Distance scale:
Graduated in meters and feet from 6m (20 ft) to infinity (oo)
If you wish, this illustration was based on a 1978 copy, you can still download and make comparison with earlier one.

<<< --- Click for a 50k PDF File
Weight: 7.1kg
125mm dia. x 704mm long (overall); 696mm extension from flange
Attachment size:
122mm (P= 1)
Front lens cap:
Lens hood:
Screw-in (HN-17)
Case: CZ-3612
Note: This lens is only available by special order. Rotatable tripod collar provided.

Ai-S Zoom-Nikkor 360-1200mm f/11s ED

The longest super-telephoto zoom lens in 35 mm photography (the record held up to 1990) was finally upgraded with an Ai-S lens coupling system in March, 1982 (Similarly, the 180-360mm and 200-600mm super tele-zooms have the same coupling during this update). At the time, Nikkor lenses have the widest angle of view (the true ultrawideangle
Nikkor 13mm f/5.6s and circular Fisheye-Nikkor 6mm f/2.8s), longest focal length (Reflex-Nikkor 2000mm f/11s) and also the longest zoom in 35mm SLR photography.
3601200f11EDs.jpg (18k) Loading ..
This Nikkor zoom offers a monumental super-telephoto zoom coverage that provides truly impressive magnifications with razor-sharp images free of chromatic aberration, due to adoption of Nikon's Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass technology in its optical design.

Most of the basic features found in previous versions are retained such as single focusing/zooming ring and 4 screw-in handles put you in total control of any situation. a minimum focusing distance down to an equally impressive 6m (20 ft.); a customary designed 180° rotatable cantilevered tripod socket collar allows balanced tripod mounting with quick change from horizontal- to vertical-format shooting, or can be removed.

But the main difference that has made it separated from previous versions is perhaps the incorporation of Ai-S coupling which, firstly, permits the lense to be operating freely with other automatic exposure control modes such as "Intelligent" auto switching Programmed AE, Shutter Priority AE that started to appear in many Nikon SLRs during this period. Next important feature is, full aperture metering/viewing can now finally be operable with any Ai Nikon body. Thirdly, it is now be able to use the Tele-Extenders such as TC-200*, TC-201**, TC-300, TC-301 or TC-14 to double or 1.4X to its primary focal length. Lastly, an ingenious Internal Focusing mechanism is incorporated in this version to ensure silky smooth, none physical lens extension during focusing. These improvement has truly opens up many possibilities in applications such as sports, wildlife, scientific research, solar and lunar observation and other extra-long distance photography. The Ai-S update has made it the best version thus far.

<<< --- Credit: Image of a comparing view in size and form among all available Nikkor wideangle-medium-supertelephoto zoom lenses during early '80. Scanned from Nikon's "Eyes of Nikon", 1982.

This lense was believed to have been produced in in limited quantity. In fact, in a Nikkor Sales Guide published in 1985/6 it has not been featured nor pictured at all in a Nikkor lens group view. Slugguish sales and its high price tag could well be the main reason for its early discontinuation. On the other hand, the availability of the
Zoom-Nikkor 180-600mm f/8.0 ED has remained in all those official sales references up to year 2000.

Technical Specifications of Ai-S Zoom-Nikkor 360-1200mm f/11s ED

Focal length/Aperture: 360-1200mm f/11
Lens Mount: Nikon F-Bayonet Mount
Coupling: Ai-S
Lens construction: 20 elements in 12 groups
Picture angle: 6°50' ~2°
Focusing/zooming control: By a single ring
Diaphragm: Automatic

3601200rolandlinks.jpg (23k) Loading ...
DO me a favour, read this !

<<< --- Credit: Image was part of a segment from a FABULOUS picture hosted in Roland Wink's website. The ENTIRE view of a large blow up shot can be accessed by | CLICKING HERE |.

More importantly, I think everyone should also try to contribute something to Roland's painstaking effort by aiming to compile a useful database on Nikkor lenses produced thus far for all to refer. Contributions can be in the form of images or SERIAL NUMBER of the version/ lens type that you currently owned. Please refer to the current
LATEST compilation and see if yours are within the range. If it/they is/are not, please send your relevant data such as serial number(s) (preferably with an accompanying image(s) to him to UPDATE the database. Roland is a a courageous and a dedicated guy and I'd really like what he has done thus far. I have done my part because this website is also essentially a contributing effort from my end to supplement and support his current on-going project. WHAT ABOUT YOU ?

Aperture scale: f/8.0~f/32 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales
Exposure measurement: Via full aperture method; meter coupling ridge provided for Ai cameras
Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet from 6m (20 ft.) to infinity (
Focal Length reference markings: 360mm, 400mm, 500mm, 600mm, 700mm, 880mm, 1000mm, 1200mm
Weight: 7,900g; Dimensions:125mm dia. x 704mm long (overall); 696mm extension from lens flange
Tripod Mounting: Via socket in tripod mounting collar; collar is rotatable on lens for vertical and horizontal format picture taking; it is click stop at each 90° of rotation, a collar locking screw is also provided.
Front lens cap: Screw-in; Lens hood: HN-17 screw-in type; Filters: 122mm front screw-in
Lens case: CZ-3612 hard leatherette; Usable teleconverter(s):
TC-200*, TC-201**, TC-300, TC-301 or TC-14; * Usable, but there is occasional vignetting. Certain exposure modes with selective Nikon SLRs bodies will not work efficiently. ** Usable, but there is occasional vignetting.

Note: Serial number(s) for the Non-Ai version was unknown the far; the Ai version could have a starting number that began from 174041#; the Ai-S lense may have been started from 174701# and this zoom lense is only available based on a special order basis.
3601200f11EDoptic.jpg 918k) Loading ..
# Source: The fee reference books provide a differing views: "Nikon system hand book" indicates 170431 for Ai lense, 174701 for Ai-S. Peter's "Nikon Hand book" provides 174031 for non-Ai version and 174701 for Ai-S. Roland Wink's compilation of serial numbers are as follow: 174031 - 174033 - 17412711 1975 -1977 ; unknown for Ai version and 174701 - 174706 - 174757 Ai-S version.

Nikon's own version can be very stiff in price. An alternative is a Sigma 350-1200mm f/11 APO (MORE images .....)
Credit: Image courtesy of Emanuele "ebay-camera$®" <> who operates a popular Ebay Store. He can also be contacted by calling 213 446 1771. All images appeared herein are Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
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Micro-Nikkor Lenses - 50mm~55mm -60mm 85mm -105mm 200mm Micro-Zoom 70-180mm
Perspective Control (PC) - 28mm 35mm PC-Micro 85mm
Dedicated Lenses for Nikon F3AF: AF 80mm f/2.8 | AF 200mm f/3.5 EDIF
Depth of Field Control (DC): 105mm 135mm
Medical Nikkor: 120mm 200mm
Reflex-Nikkor Lenses - 500mm 1000mm 2000mm
Others: Noct Nikkor | OP-Nikkor | UV Nikkor 55mm 105mm | Focusing Units | Bellows-Nikkor 105mm 135mm
Nikon Series E Lenses: 28mm35mm50mm100mm135mm | E-Series Zoom lenses: 36~72mm75~150mm70~210mm

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: by: my friend, Rick Oleson by: Hansen, Lars Holst

Recommended Reading Reference on Nikon cameras and Nikkor lenses | about this photographic web site

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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.