Author Topic: Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 ED (non-if) Version  (Read 2027 times)

John Geerts

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Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 ED (non-if) Version
« on: April 16, 2023, 17:03:13 »
Last month The Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 ED (Non-IF) came across my path.  This rare lens, only 200 copies were made before it was replaced by the AI version, came with a separate focusing unit,  that Nikon used for the 400mm f/4.5, the  600mm f/5.6, 800mm f/8 and 1000 f/11 lenses.

Also the first ED lenses had that focusing unit.  This lens has the first model, the CU-1, which has the advantage of being 1 kilogramm less in weight than the later AU-1 focusing unit, but has the disadvantage of a focusring far away from the lensmount.

As with the earlier (Non IF) ED Versions of 300mm and the 400mm this lens is nearly Apochromatic and very very sharp.

More information in this FlickR group: https://www.flickr.com/groups/14828814@N20/ 

John Geerts

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Re: Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 ED (non-if) Version
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2023, 17:13:50 »
Some examples with the lens

Earlier posted in March 2023











In the Trees topic




Birna Rørslett

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Re: Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 ED (non-if) Version
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2023, 18:43:11 »
Congratulations of getting this elusive item! I'm not surprised as to its quality as the similar vintage 800/8 ED non-If is razor sharp. The 800 is even more elusive than the 600, by the way, with less than 100 units made. The non-ED 600/5.6 heads are more common and deliver sharp images as well, but the chromatic aberration is pretty obvious and can be bothersome to get rid of.

Two aspects worth keeping in mind:  firstly, these lenses are *long focal*, not telephoto, designs. Thus their overall build length is very long. Secondly, due to the weight and weight distribution, they put a significant stress on the focusing  helicoid of the CU unit. In fact, the CU is not really suited for the 800 (and 1200) lens heads as the focusing tends to bind. Thus the AU-1 is the preferred unit. With the 400/4.5 head, there is no problem and either focusing unit can be used. For the 600, the CU does the job, but the AU-1 is perhaps more suitable.

Here is the 800/8 ED + AU-1. A very sturdy tripod is mandatory and a large fluid head is excellent for support.

John Geerts

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Re: Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 ED (non-if) Version
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2023, 19:52:35 »
Thanks Birna.  !!

The AU-1 focusing unit looks more practical indeed, but those are not easy to be acquired ;)
The CU-1 unit came without the large rubber focus-ring.
I cut an part of an old rubber sunhood for the 80-200/2.8 and use that now as focus ring.

The lens is used on a Sachtler Tripod with a heavy Arca Swiss Mono ball. A sturdy combination I guess.

The 800mm is a bit longer and heavier.  Great shot of the combination.

The Photo's of the 600mm ED show the lens with the build-in sunhood in the original position.

Birna Rørslett

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Re: Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 ED (non-if) Version
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2023, 22:18:44 »
The bulky scalloped rubber focusing ring on the CU tends to become discoloured and brittle over time. So many focusing units don't have it any more. The AU has a metal-based focusing ring and also the option to insert focusing handles (these are similar to those of the 360-1200 and the first version of the 1000 Reflex).

By the way, you should edit the text on the Flickr group description to note the 600 is NOT a telephoto design. It is long focal thus its length reflects its focal length. The successors to the 400/600/800/1200 lens heads were all telephoto designs and in particular the 1200/11 ED-IF is very short compared to its focal length (just 57%).

Akira

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Re: Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 ED (non-if) Version
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2023, 22:37:51 »
Sunwayfoto makes some nice-looking focusing handles.  But I'm not sure if even the largest one can fit, or they can grip the focus ring tightly enough to rotate it.

https://www.sunwayfoto.com/e_goodsmulu.aspx?cid=58
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"Limitation is inspiration." - Akira

John Geerts

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Re: Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 ED (non-if) Version
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2023, 23:04:35 »
By the way, you should edit the text on the Flickr group description to note the 600 is NOT a telephoto design. It is long focal thus its length reflects its focal length. The successors to the 400/600/800/1200 lens heads were all telephoto designs and in particular the 1200/11 ED-IF is very short compared to its focal length (just 57%).
Thanks. Adapted. It was the description that was used on the mir.com website for the lens.  ( https://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/nikon/nikkoresources/preAI70/600mmf56ed.htm)

John Geerts

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Re: Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 ED (non-if) Version
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2023, 23:05:53 »
Sunwayfoto makes some nice-looking focusing handles.  But I'm not sure if even the largest one can fit, or they can grip the focus ring tightly enough to rotate it.

https://www.sunwayfoto.com/e_goodsmulu.aspx?cid=58
Thanks for the link Akira.  I think the largest one is too small, 102mm is the diameter of the focusring of the CU-1 unit.

Akira

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Re: Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 ED (non-if) Version
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2023, 01:04:47 »
Thanks for the link Akira.  I think the largest one is too small, 102mm is the diameter of the focusring of the CU-1 unit.

Oh, sorry about that.  But there could be a fitting one that uses flexible band made of polymer that is designed for the large cine lenses.
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Roland Vink

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Re: Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 ED (non-if) Version
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2023, 02:44:50 »
The NIKKOR*ED 600/5.6 has a weak telephoto design, the distance from the front element to the image plane is 506 + 46.5 - 6.8 = 545.7mm, so the lens overall is about 50mm shorter than the focal length. The lens has a 5-element design which is typical of long focal length lenses at the time, with a three-element configuration at the front (convex, concave, convex) and a cemented doublet at the rear. The rear lenses probably correct aberrations such as field curvature and acts as a weak teleconverter, resulting in a shorter lens (enough to cross the line between "long focus" and "telephoto" ?)



The NIKKOR*ED 400/5.6 has a very similar design. In this lens the front element is 254.5 + 46.5 - 4.9 = 296.1mm from the image plane. In this case the rear doublet has a stronger telephoto effect, resulting in a lens which is overall about 100mm shorter than the focal length.
See: https://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/nikon/nikkoresources/late70nikkor/telephoto/400mmf56ed.pdf

The 400mm is a good lens but is not apochromatic, with purple and green fringing in the foreground and background in areas of high contrast.

Birna Rørslett

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Re: Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 ED (non-if) Version
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2023, 10:51:19 »
The 600/5.6 is 56cm long to the focal plane, the 800/8 is 75cm. Thus any telephoto effect is hardly noticeable. I have only seen the 1200/11 lens head once or twice, but the appearance is almost ridiculously long like a stove pipe.

Nikon had a true telephoto series of Nikkors for the large format cameras, 4x5" or larger. They were denoted Nikkor-T*ED and came in various focal lengths from 270 to 1200mm.

To reach infinity, the 360mm f/8 T*ED required a minimum bellows draw of 16cm, the 600mm f/9 T*ED 26cm, and the 800mm f/12 T*ED 39cm. Thus they were  much shorter in overall length than the corresponding Nikkor*ED lens heads, simple because the large format lenses were true telephoto designs. The reason for their more modest max. aperture is the limitations of the Copal shutters available.

I used the 270/6.3, 360/8, and 500/11 T*ED lenses in my view camera period. They had a unique rendition with a combination of high colour fidelity and medium contrast, to give the image a delicate appearance. The ED non-IF lens heads in fact carry that aspect further, but perhaps image contrast is slightly higher with these designs? Hard to tell without direct comparison.

Akira

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Re: Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 ED (non-if) Version
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2023, 12:05:23 »
As explained in this Thousand and One Night article, the design of the 400, 600, 800 and 1200 tele-lenses were very challenging not only for the optical quality but also because of the limitation of the use of the common focusing unit and "aperture behind-the-lens" design:

https://imaging.nikon.com/imaging/information/story/0050/
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Birna Rørslett

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Re: Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 ED (non-if) Version
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2023, 12:30:49 »
The 400/4.5 Q is a strange lens. It is very sharp, but at the same time chromatic fringing is troublesome and even with advanced post-processing, can be hard to get rid of. The usual remedy is to stop down to f/11, to reduce the annoying red fringing of the foreground details. I see that the 1001 Tales comes with the similar recommendation.

The official declaration that none of these lenses can be used with modern cameras is funny and of course, not true. What one won't get is automatic aperture coupling, but that is hardly a barrier to their use. I put CPU chips in the focusing units, and a switch to allow the 400 and 600 heads to be used with the same focusing unit. The longer 800 head really needs the AU-1 in order for smooth focusing to be manifested so has its own CPU.

Erik Lund

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Re: Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 ED (non-if) Version
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2023, 13:08:58 »
Reposting;

For reference for more info on these lenses, CPU chipping and the like, enjoy this thread  8)
https://nikongear.net/revival/index.php?topic=5202.0
If you want to skip to chipping the AU-1 / CU-1
https://nikongear.net/revival/index.php?topic=5202.msg82572#msg82572
Erik Lund

Birna Rørslett

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Re: Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 ED (non-if) Version
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2023, 15:02:34 »
The 'magical' switch .....