Author Topic: Micro Nikkor 200mm AIs vs AF  (Read 1764 times)

aerobat

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Micro Nikkor 200mm AIs vs AF
« on: February 23, 2021, 05:53:43 »
I've been looking for a longer Micro lens compared to my AF-S 60mm Micro. I wanted to check out the Nikon lenses first. As AF isn't important for my mcaro work I more interested to get the bette optical quality between the AIs and AF. Which one do you guys prefer?
Are there any other brands in the region of 150mm to 200mm to consider?
Daniel Diggelmann

Birna Rørslett

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Re: Micro Nikkor 200mm AIs vs AF
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2021, 06:49:22 »
The 200/4 AI/AIS is lightweight and even appears small compared to the AF 200/4 Micro ED. However, the nod for image quality goes to the latter.

The Sigma 150mm f/2.8 is about the same size as the 200/4 ED and likewise has very good image quality. As to its robustness I cannot tell as I only used it a few times. The 200 ED is a true "field lens" and can withstand field challenges with aplomb.

The only issue with the 200ED apart from its age is the A/M ring which can break from a hairline crack. This was a common issue with several Nikkors of the same vintage.

rosko

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Re: Micro Nikkor 200mm AIs vs AF
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2021, 09:19:57 »
I have used the Sigma apo macro 150mm few years and I was satisfied about sharpness, colour, image quality handling.
 
AF was efficient although I didn't use it very often for macro work.

I tried it for landscape but it was surpassed by my CV 125mm f/2.5

I finally re sold it because no point to keep 2 similar specialised lenses.

In my opinion, this Sigma is still one of the best long macro lenses in the market.

Some samples bellow :

Francis.
Francis Devrainne

Birna Rørslett

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Re: Micro Nikkor 200mm AIs vs AF
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2021, 11:14:53 »
Glad to learn others found the Sigma 150/2.8 appealing.

Akira

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Re: Micro Nikkor 200mm AIs vs AF
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2021, 11:31:22 »
Armando (armando_m) has posted some excellent images shot with SIGMA 150/2.8 (non OS version).
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longzoom

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Re: Micro Nikkor 200mm AIs vs AF
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2021, 14:51:18 »
To the OP. There are 3-4 independent 150mm macro lens manufacturers, including Sigma, Iris, Viltrox, some more. The market is full of such glass. Do not make a rush, just try all of them, if possible, of course. There are a lot of tests and topics on that matter. Good luck!  LZ

richardHaw

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Re: Micro Nikkor 200mm AIs vs AF
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2021, 15:26:17 »
several people mentioned that the 200ais isnt as sharp as it should. what a shame, could have been a great lens. :o :o :o

hope i win the junk being auctioned ::)

Gerhard2006

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Re: Micro Nikkor 200mm AIs vs AF
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2021, 17:48:38 »
The 200 ai or Ais with a 3T or 4T is a great combination and gives lots of working space.

David H. Hartman

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Re: Micro Nikkor 200mm AIs vs AF
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2021, 18:42:03 »
The 200mm f/4.0 IF Micro-Nikkor came in an AI and an AIS version. The lens collar of the AI version place the lens at a slight angle pointing downward. I find this quite incontinent. If buying a 200mm f/4.0 IF I would only buy the AIS version.

Nikon recommended using a TC-300 teleconverter for focusing closer than 1/2 life size. I found the TC-300 and 300/4.5 ED-IF very unstable and required two tripods. Without two tripods a gap opened between the TC-300 and 300/4.5 ED-IF when a Nikon F2 was used (no motor drive!). I traded the TC-300 within a week and never used it with a 200/4.0 IF Micro. I'm sure a lens cradle would be required and that angle on the 200/4.0 IF lens collar would cause problems.

I tried extension tubes but can't say how good the optical performance was. It's only air right? Moving the 200/4.0 IF Micro that far from the film plane may cause optical problems. I limited my use of the 200/4.0 IF Micro to 1/2 life size. Probably a TC-3 or TC-4 close-up lens would be a better choice than extension tubes but then the free working distance is compromised.

If you look at the 200/4.0 IF Micro it looks like a paper towel tube. The 52mm front attachment dictates an entrance pupil that is too small. The result is significant vignetting when using the 200/4.0 IF Micro as conventional 200mm telephoto at f/4.0. For me stopping down to at least f/5.6 is mandatory. In this respect the 200/4.0 IF Micro is not like the 105/2.8 AIS Micro-Nikkor which can stand in for a 105/2.5 AIS.

In summary the 200/4.0 IF Micro-Nikkor is a beautiful lens in many ways but I find it less than desirable at distance and f/4.0 and at image ratios greater than 1:2 (half life size). For me it cannot stand in for a 200/4.0 conventional telephoto or for a 180/2.8 ED. The 200/4.0 IF Micro-Nikkor should have had a 62mm front element and ED glass. I haven't use my 200/4.0 IF AI much since I bought a 70-180/4.5-5.6 ED Micro-Nikkor.

Dave
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aerobat

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Re: Micro Nikkor 200mm AIs vs AF
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2021, 21:10:32 »
Many thanks for all the inputs - much appreciated.
Thanks for the superb photos Francis.
Daniel Diggelmann

John Geerts

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Re: Micro Nikkor 200mm AIs vs AF
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2021, 21:15:38 »
I had both Nikkors: the Micro 200mm/4 Ai and Ai-s.  The advantage is the compact size compared to the magnificent Nikkor 200/4  AF-D.  The problem with the Ai and Ai-s was the presence of lots of LoCa.  And the AF-D is very close to the APO status...

So in the end I stayed with my 200/4 AF-D  ;)

rosko

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Re: Micro Nikkor 200mm AIs vs AF
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2021, 22:25:20 »
You're very welcome, Daniel ! ;)
Francis Devrainne

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Re: Micro Nikkor 200mm AIs vs AF
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2021, 01:37:01 »
I used the AIS 200/4 micro for many years when shooting film. I never found any reason to complain about its sharpness at close range or far distances. I remember doing a brief comparison with my non-macro AIS 200/4 at far distances and couldn't see any difference in the results - sharpness was the same and I don't remember seeing any dramatic differences in vignetting. That was using film, I guess more sensitive digital sensors would make any differences clearer.

This lens is built to be used on a tripod, it has one of the best tripod mounts of any lens, especially the AIS version, the AI version has a narrower tripod collar so is not quite as solid. In fact I don't remember ever shooting it hand-held, with the tripod collar removed it is not heavy but the focus ring is inconveniently placed far to the front making it difficult to hold the camera/lens steady. I mostly used this lens for closeups with or without a no 3T closeup filter and/or PK-13 extension tube. And I mostly used it stopped well down for greater DoF so I don't have much experience with performance at wider apertures, or at far distances. But at close range the performance was always excellent, and the extra long working distance is wonderful.

I have not used it much on digital cameras, mostly because I have had less time for dedicated macro photography, and I guess its poorer reputation put me off too, but the pictures I have taken with my D600 seem fine. I have not compared it with the AF ED version which is much bigger and much more expensive.

David H. Hartman

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Re: Micro Nikkor 200mm AIs vs AF
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2021, 01:56:59 »
...I don't remember seeing any dramatic differences in vignetting.

As I remember vignetting of the 200/4.0 IF Micro was not an issue close-up, rather at normal distance and out to infinity. I wanted a 200mm close-up lens that doubled as a standard 200mm telephoto.

I'm guessing to much here but I think stopping to f/5.6 is quite helpful and f/8.0 fixes the problem.

I mostly used this lens for closeups with or without a no 3T closeup filter and/or PK-13 extension tube.

I made a lens cradle to use the 200/4.0 IF Micro with a PN-11. Due to the angle of the AI version's tripod collar I could not tighten the system too firmly. I can't remember specifically but I probably didn't tighten the PN-11 collar fully. I may have use a 1/32" automotive gasket material on the leading edge of the lens tripod collar to align the group better and reduce binding. Anyway I will only recommend the AIS version.

The problem with the Ai and Ai-s was the presence of lots of LoCa.

Using Panorama Tools with Photoshop 7 cleans up the CA issue completely or pretty well. (I'm going on memory here :). I can't remember developing NEF from my 200/4.0 IF Micro with Capture NX-D. NO SUCH LUCK: The cleanup today might be automatic in CNX-D. I need to give the 200/4.0 IF Micro a spin on my D850.

My feelings towards the 200/4.0 IF Micro are generally good. Focusing with the If was great, just a touch with the finger tip was all that was needed. Portability of this lens is great.

Dave

---

I forgot this (4T v. TC300/301)...

"It's much better, and simpler, to use the close-up lens 4T for attaining this magnification. Note however that 4T must be mounted in a reverse position in order to give good image quality (the AF Micro 105 behaves in the same way). This is easily achieved by mounting 4T onto a 52/52 mm thread reversal ring." --http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_spec.html

"The reason why reversal gives better quality is likely linked to improved control of spherical aberration. Alternatively, the close-up lens is designed to correct field curvature, but a Micro-Nikkor is designed as a flat-field lens so adding a close-up lens might overcorrect thus creating unsharp corners. Try out for yourself." --http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_spec.html

There is a wealth of information at http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_spec.html I've consulted these pages many times before buying a lens.

Dave

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Bill Mellen

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Re: Micro Nikkor 200mm AIs vs AF
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2021, 18:35:19 »
I have an older Sigma 150mm f/2.8 AF Macro, not the optically stabilized newer version.  It makes very nice images but no longer autofocuses on my D4, doe autofocus on my D500 and never autofocused on my Z6 with FTZ Adapter.  Used to work fine on the D4 but a Nikon Firmware update seems to have stopped that :-)

While auto-focus may not be useful to many, I liked having it.
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