Author Topic: Ai and K Nikkors 400mm f5.6 ED "non-IF"  (Read 2736 times)

richardHaw

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Re: Ai and K Nikkors 400mm f5.6 ED "non-IF"
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2021, 01:37:13 »
send it here for overhaul :o :o :o

Akira

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Re: Ai and K Nikkors 400mm f5.6 ED "non-IF"
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2021, 01:41:46 »
I have this lens as well and it is very sharp. I used it on my Nikon 1 V1 and took a picture of the back of my neighbours car, and I blew it up on my screen on the back of my camera I could read very clearly the letters on the little date sticker on the license plate. So I was very impressed with this lens. Unfortunately it’s a little hard To hand hold for my old shaky hands so I look forward to eventually using it with a Z6 with image stabilization. Is there anybody here who has tried this combination? Regards Gerry

With all respect to Matthew's info on the TC, I would also think about using a smaller format camera to extend the "equivalent focal length", given today's performance of it.


The P.C 400 focuses beyond infinity.

Thank you for the confirmation!


A tip for making focusing easier with the 400mm f/5.6 ED AI ...

Something I learned when using a 300/4.5 Nikkor-H was that one finger can be used to lift the front of the lens to make focusing easier. As the barrel is extended to focus close, pressure and leverage increases on the helical making the focus ring stiff. If one finger is used to take some weight off the helical focusing at near focus distance can be as smooth and easy as it is when the lenses is focused near infinity. This may seem awkward at first but once learned it can be done both hand held and on a tripod.

Dave

Dave, I tried the trick in my room and it seems to work.  Thank you!


I think we have many examples where the older Nikkor version is the better?
I have the "wrong" 400/5.6......the IF-version. It is best to keep a hand on camera when lens is used on a tripod. Then it can make some quite sharp images.
Most if not all of my images that are not 100% sharp using this lens is because of lens-shake on tripod or lens was not focused 100% accurate.
After all it is not very often we can blame the lens for causing the image not to be sharp enough?

My concern about the earlier IF lenses is relatively pronounced LoCA especially when the contrast of the background is high.  The non-IF lenses seems to suffer from LoCA less than the ones with the IF design.  I shied away from AF ED 180/2.8 because of that.


What I like about the 400 P.C Auto is that it is light enough to hand hold and when used with a Z series camera there is lens stabilization.
I have a 300mm f/2.8 AI-S and it is not fun to carry for long.

The absence of the mirror and the mechanical shutter altogether in SIGMA fp helps eliminate the blur caused by the camera itself.
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Akira

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Re: Ai and K Nikkors 400mm f5.6 ED "non-IF"
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2021, 01:42:26 »
send it here for overhaul :o :o :o

Thank you, Rick.  I'm seriously considering that!
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David H. Hartman

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Re: Ai and K Nikkors 400mm f5.6 ED "non-IF"
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2021, 01:52:51 »
I don't remember if the focusing ring went past infinity on the PC version.  The focusing ring going past infinity indicates the usage of ED glass.

I think I have a scan of a Nikon document that indicated that the 400mm f5.6 Nikkor-P.C (non-IF) used a fluorite element. Speculation was ED was used for the AI version.

Dave
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David H. Hartman

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Re: Ai and K Nikkors 400mm f5.6 ED "non-IF"
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2021, 02:00:37 »
I have the "wrong" 400/5.6......the IF-version.

An optically better lens won't give better images if you can't focus fast enough. Moose Peterson got his start in bird photography with the 400/5.6 ED-IF Nikkor. It's a trade off: one finger focus of the ED-IF versions v. superior optics for the non-IF versions.

Dave

I own a 400mm f/5.6 IF AI but I've never owned the 400mm f/5.6 ED-IF AI so I'm going on reputation for the latter.
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Akira

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Re: Ai and K Nikkors 400mm f5.6 ED "non-IF"
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2021, 02:03:56 »
An optically better lens won't give better images if you can't focus fast enough. Moose Peterson got his start in bird photography with the 400/5.6 ED-IF Nikkor. It's a trade off: one finger focus of the ED-IF versions or superior optics for the non-IF versions.

Dave

I guess a sharper lens is more critical about the accuracy of focus.
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David H. Hartman

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Re: Ai and K Nikkors 400mm f5.6 ED "non-IF"
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2021, 02:15:14 »
"5 elements in 3 groups, use of fluorite crystal and special rare-earth glass (ED-glass?)" from a photo of the lens linked at Roland Vink's site.

That sounds like what I read in the Nikon Nikkormat Handbook by Joseph D. Cooper back in 1973. That was a dream lens for me back then.

Dave
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MEPER

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Re: Ai and K Nikkors 400mm f5.6 ED "non-IF"
« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2021, 08:40:47 »
How would such a lens hold up against a 200-500/5.6 VR zoom if you could find a good sample?

Matthew Currie

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Re: Ai and K Nikkors 400mm f5.6 ED "non-IF"
« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2021, 15:35:04 »
How would such a lens hold up against a 200-500/5.6 VR zoom if you could find a good sample?
Pretty well on a tripod.  Here's a quick and dirty comparison, 200-500 on left, 400 on right, both at 5.6 and 400 mm. Aperture priority, ISO 100. This is straight from camera,  heavily cropped and downsized in Irfanview. There was a little wind.  The 200-500 was shot with autofocus and VR on (because I always forget to turn VR off on the tripod anyway). The 400 was hand focused, of course, and the confirmation dot on the D7100 is not very reliable with a 5.6 lens.

But given how close these are, I imagine it's not hard to understand that since I got that 200-500 I don't use the old 400 much.

edit to add:  if you zoom even further in you will see a couple of differences.  The old 400 has some pretty noticeable color fringing, uncorrected here, and the 200-500 has a somewhat stripey bokeh.  You get one or the other, but neither is very serious unless you look pretty closely.


MEPER

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Re: Ai and K Nikkors 400mm f5.6 ED "non-IF"
« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2021, 16:41:13 »
Thank you for the comparation.
I can see some green LoCA in the background bokeh fromt he 400/5.6 and maybe some red in the foreground?
The 200-500 has a very "clean" bokeh free from LoCA.
Regarding sharpness the 400/5.6 has be better sharpness......it is just a tiny bit more sharp?
But as it is snapshots we should probably not conclude anything abut the sharpness of the two lenses?

Did you get the 200-500 from new and did you get a good sample first time?
If I should have one I would try it out outside the shop and only buy it if it was tack sharp at 500/5.6. I assume a good shop would accept this.

Matthew Currie

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Re: Ai and K Nikkors 400mm f5.6 ED "non-IF"
« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2021, 17:24:47 »
I think in truly ideal circumstances the old 400 is probably a wee bit sharper,  but the 200-500 is much easier to use and can get close even hand  held. And, of course, there is a little post processing one could do that would likely make the difference appear even less in an actual print or posting.  Both the images above were cropped in Irfanview, which doesn't do quite as good a crop as View NX-2.  I think the Nikon program gets better definition from crops, perhaps because it either crops before converting to JPG, or converts a little better.

My sample of the 200-500 was bought new from an actual store, so I was able to test it on site.  It's one of the first batch (6006xxx serial number).  When I first tried it, it had just come out.  I tested it on a D3200, and the focus issue for which it was soon recalled occurred, so I gave it a miss.  A few months later I was back at the store, and there it still was.  I asked if it had had the recall, and it had.  So I bought it then, figuring it had been pretty well gone over. I think it's a pretty good sample, and have been generally pleased with it. 

Roland Vink

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Re: Ai and K Nikkors 400mm f5.6 ED "non-IF"
« Reply #26 on: March 20, 2021, 21:34:56 »
I think I have a scan of a Nikon document that indicated that the 400mm f5.6 Nikkor-P.C (non-IF) used a fluorite element. Speculation was ED was used for the AI version.

Dave
I think the old literature mentions a "Fluorite-like"  element, in other words an ED element. The term "ED" hadn't been invented yet so it is not engraved on the P.C version, but it is on the K version like Akira's. The optical schemas of the P.C and K/AI versions are identical as far as I can tell so I regard them as the same lens with different outer appearance. I imagine the inner mechanics are very similar, for example both versions take the same AI conversion kit.

I have the AI version, a nicely built lens. The closest distance on the focus scale is 5m which gives 1:9.1 magnification, but it actually focuses a bit closer to about 4.8m with magnification better than 1:9. In comparison the IF-ED version focuses to 4m for 1:8.8 magnification, so both lenses give about the same magnification even though the focus distance is different - this shows the effect of IF causing the focal length to reduce at close range.

The non-IF version shows traces of LoCA but it is not bad. Focusing is on the heavy side as to be expected, but it is smooth and even. It would have been nicer if the aperture had more than 7 blades as the 7-sided blurs are very noticeable in the background with this focal length, but these are minor cons on a very good lens.

Akira

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Re: Ai and K Nikkors 400mm f5.6 ED "non-IF"
« Reply #27 on: March 20, 2021, 21:47:33 »
I think the old literature mentions a "Fluorite-like"  element, in other words an ED element. The term "ED" hadn't been invented yet so it is not engraved on the P.C version, but it is on the K version like Akira's. The optical schemas of the P.C and K/AI versions are identical as far as I can tell so I regard them as the same lens with different outer appearance. I imagine the inner mechanics are very similar, for example both versions take the same AI conversion kit.

Is that the same glass used in the Nikkor-H 300/2.8 developed for the Olympic games in Saporo?  The special glass was made by Schott and not developed or made by Nikon, which is the reason for Nikon not to mention the use of it.
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Gerhard2006

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Re: Ai and K Nikkors 400mm f5.6 ED "non-IF"
« Reply #28 on: March 20, 2021, 22:30:37 »
Today I was struck with a hunch, ran into a second-hand camera shop in Shinjuku and bumped into this lens.  :)

It is a very simple 5E3G design.  As the sun was about to set when I came home, so I could only do a quick'n' dirty test to make sure if the sample is troubled.  But the result seems to be promising.  My sample have some scuffs here and there on the lens barrel but fortunately no dints, and the optics is clean.

I had Ai 400/5.6 ED IF in the past and used it with D610.  Given the AA filter in D610, the image quality of non-IF looks noticeably better.

I wonder which lens is made of ED glass (hopefully the third one, the single convex element).


I checked the Nikon handbook by moose Peterson, and it’s actually the first element that’s ED glass. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Akira

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Re: Ai and K Nikkors 400mm f5.6 ED "non-IF"
« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2021, 02:59:22 »
I checked the Nikon handbook by moose Peterson, and it’s actually the first element that’s ED glass. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Thank you, Gerhard, for the confirmation.  I would have to be careful even when I need to clean the front element, but it isN7t necessarily bad news.  It's good to know the truth...
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