Additional Information on
400 mm f/3.5 Nikkor IF-ED, Nikkor 400mm f/5.6 Nikkor ED, Nikkor 400mm f/5.6 Nikkor ED-IF, Nikkor 400mm f/5.6

 

Nikkor 400 mm f/3.5 IF-ED, Nikkor 400mm f/5.6 ED, Nikkor 400mm f/5.6 ED-IF, Nikkor 400mm f/5.6

The period around the late seventies saw many Nikkor Telephoto lenses appearing as it was the transitional change of the AI lens coupling system. Although Nikon took the opportunity to introduced some selective new lenses in an effort to pursued users to update their lenses; many older series of Nikkor lenses also have been given a direct conversion without any significant improvement done. That was why you may find there were many versions of a mix of old and newer series Nikkor lenses were being listed in their Sales Listing. The Nikkor 400mm super telephoto lenses was one of the typical example. During this period, there were not less than four versions of the Nikkor telephoto being marketed almost the the same time. From a professional grade at a high speed lens with maximum aperture of f/3.5, an ED version with moderately lens speed of f/5.6, a equivalent version in a revised ED glass lens with Internal Focusing mechanism and a Nikkor 400mm f/4.5 lens with focusing unit - the lineup comprised of varying lens -spec to satisfy any demanding photographer's need.

400illus.gif
<<< ---A conventional telephoto lens design with telephoto ratio illustrated. The adoption of ED glass in optical composition, Internal focus design mechanism, rear focusing lens elements at later stages to enable long tele-lenses to focus closer, smoother in handling may have affected such classic designing concept.

Dramatic 8X magnification, plus improved super-telephoto performance from previous non-AI counterparts. A few of the Nikkor 400mm lenses available during this period of time featured Nikon's Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass for superior color correction and exceptional image sharpness, these 400mm Nikkors permit even handheld shooting due to their radically compact construction—new handling ease that sets a new standard in modern ultra-telephotography. At f/3.5, the 400mm Nikkor IF-ED used to be the fastest 400 on the market during its time - incredible speed that makes it ideal for indoor sports or news photography. Nikon's Internal Focusing (IF) system also contributes to its compact, lightweight (2.8 kg) construction and to easier, balanced handling and a closer focusing distance down to 4.5m (14'). Similar lens configuration was replicated at the slower lens speed lens at f/5.6 version. Virtually all lenses have been designed with a tripod collar for the ease of manipulating horizontal or vertical format shooting. As for the high speed f/3.5 lens, preset focusing ring and a special filter holder for 39mm filters was also provided. Featuring half the weight of the ED IF high speed lens, and relatively good speed, the 400mm f/5.6 ED permits superior field operation with needle-sharp, crisp images -the perfect 400 for outdoor sports or animal photography. Further, a late inclusion was a similar lens with ED glass and IF design. Lastly, a telescopic lens hood was a standard feature found on all these lenses.

Ai
Nikkor 400mm f/3.5 IF-ED

f2as400mmf35.jpg
This Ai-Spec lens was introduced in June, 1977 with a slight cosmetic changes from the original design (the golden ED ring moved to mid section of the lens barrel). This lens was used to be the fastest 400mm telephoto lens on the market. It has an Internal Focusing (IF) design for easy handling and smooth focusing down to 14 feet (4.5m) while Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass in its optical composition provides for outstanding picture quality. Another good feature is its focusing ring provides adjustment to a particular click-stop setting for rapid refocusing.

The lens has a special slip-in filter holder accepts 39mm screw-in filters and a built-in telescopic lens hood and rotatable tripod socket collar. It was supplied with a screw-in front lens cap and hard lens case. Its exceptional high lens speed is suitable in many photographic uses include photojournalism, wildlife sports, stage shows, and available light photography.

Specifications

Focal length/Aperture:
400mm f/3.5 IF-ED
Lens construction:
8 elements in 6 groups
Picture angle:
6°10'; Diaphragm: Automatic
Aperture scale:
f/3.5 ~ f/22 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scale
Exposure measurement:
Via full aperture method; meter coupling ridge provided for Al cameras and meter coupling shoe for non-AI cameras
Distance scale:
Graduated in meters and feet from 4.5m (14 ft) to infinity (
OO); Weight: 2.8kg
Attachment size: 122mm (P= 1)
Front lens cap:
Screw-in; Lens hood: Built-in
Lens case:
CL-61 (provided); No. 57
Dimensions: 134mm dia. x 304mm long (overall); 296mm extension from flange


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Nikkor
400mm f4.5

Despite this lens did not featured many of the more advance features found in other prevailing lenses that surfaced during that period, it was still being marketed by Nikon. Possibly the relatively fast lens speed of f/4.5 was the reason. It fits between the fast f/3.5 and the slower f/5.6 lenses. The lens retained a classic TWO-parts super telephoto lenses design. Combining a Interchangeable 400mm super-telephoto lens head on the front and a Nikon Focusing Unit between camera and lenses. At this stage with the rapid development of telephoto lenses, the previously deemed superior design of two parts tele-lenses have shown its age but Nikon took a cautious step in ensuring there were still adequate support for such lens type and design. However, this lens was phased out from Nikon product list barely a year and a half later after official introduction of AI lens coupling system.

Although the lens head alone is quite light at 1.9 kg, but when you combining the AU-1 Focusing Unit at its rear section, this lens can considered to be quite heavy, weighing almost 4.3kg ! The lens head has a simple optical design of 4 elements in 4 groups which contributes to its excellent image quality. NIC lens coating was applied to this lens to ensure its overall high contrast, faithful reproduction of colour. The maximum aperture of f/4.5 almost provides a reasonably bright viewfinder image for precise focusing and picture composing, an important photographic handling element in successful super-telephotography. Further, unlike most modern moderate maximum lens speed Nikkor telephoto lenses which uses 39mm filters, this lens slip-in filter holder accepts standard 52mm screw-in filters. Naturally, one inconvenient point you can pickup is, when using it with an Ai-Spec Nikon SLR body, only stopped down metering is permissible.

Technical Highlights: Super-telephoto picture coverage of 6°10'. Automatic diaphragm. Detachable focusing handle with two screw-in positions for rapid focusing. Built-in telescopic lens hood and rotatable tripod socket collar. Special slip-in filter holder accepts standard 52mm screw-in filters. Supplied with a screw-in front lens cap and leather slip-on rear lens cap. Photographic uses include photojournalism, sports, and wildlife.

Specifications

Focal length/Aperture: 400mm f/4.5
Lens construction:
4 elements in 4 groups
Picture angle:
6°10'
Diaphragm:
Automatic
Aperture scale:
f/4.5 ~ f/22 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scale
Exposure measurement:
Via stop-down method
Distance scale:
Graduated in meters and feet from 5.5m (18 ft) to infinity (
oo)
Weight:
1.9kg, 4.3kg* * With Focusing Unit AU-1

Dimensions: 135mm dia. x 276 (472)mm long (overall); 464mm* extension from flange
Attachment size:
122mm (P= 1); Front lens cap: Screw-in
Lens hood:
Built-in; Lens case: CE-5*


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Nikkor 400mm f/5.6 ED

An AI-version of the
pre-AI Nikkor 400mm f5.6 ED telephoto lens that was first introduced back in 1975. The main highlight of this lens is the use of Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass in its lens composition for outstanding picture quality. It was built-in telescopic lens hood and rotatable tripod socket which is conveniently used for horizontal and vertical shooting. The lens is supplied with a 72mm screw-in front lens cap and accept 72mm filters.

400mmf56ed.jpg
Although it has a similar lens speed at f/5.6 and optical construction of 5 elements in 3 groups design with the Nikkor 400mm f/5.6 lens which was introduced earlier in 1973, and almost a stop slower than the two parts Nikkor 400mm f/4.5 telephoto lens but the use of ED glass in its design has significantly improved its overall optical quality.
This lens was a very well made lens with compactness and performance top its priority. The aperture scale stopped down to f/32 for maximum depth of field control but its close focus ability is still confined to an average performer at 5m (16ft) (the comparing ED-IF version of this 400 tele-lens close focuses at only 4m). The serial number for this AI-version telephoto lens may have been started from 261178 as it was marketed only in March, 1977. An interesting note is, despite Nikon introduced another upgrade with an IF design in this ED lens, it was sold along with the lens supposedly introduced to replace it. Eventually, this lens was officially discontinued only in 1982/3.

Specifications

Focal length/Aperture: 400mm f/5.6 ED
Lens construction:
5 elements in 3 groups
Picture angle:
6°10'; Diaphragm: Automatic
Aperture scale:
f/5.6 - f/32 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scale
Exposure measurement:
Via full aperture method; meter coupling ridge provided for Al cameras and meter coupling shoe for non-AI cameras
Distance scale:
Graduated in meters and feet from 5m (16 ft) to infinity (
oo); Weight: 1400g
400mmf56ed.gif
Dimensions: 83mm dia. x 263mm long (overall); 255mm extension from flange
Attachment size:
72mm (P = 0 75)
Front lens cap:
Screw-in; Lens hood: Built-in; Lens case: CL-27A


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* Rotatable Tripod Collar Provided.



400mmedif1stversion.jpg
Nikkor 400 mm f/5.6 IF-ED

For some strange reason, barely a year after Nikon introduced the Nikkor 400mm f/5.6ED lens, the Company introduced a Nikkor 400mm f/5.6ED-IF lens in quick succession in 1978. As the name indicated, it has an Internal Focusing design along with the use of ED glass in its optical composition which now revised as a 7 elements in 6 groups design. The radical change not only confined to optically but also in its overall appearance. It has a removable tripod collar ring, built in telescopic lens hood and a slender overall lens barrel with the front section retained in a bigger 72mm diameter for improved light gathering power.

Weighing at only 1,200g, this Nikkor 400mm f/5.6 ED-IF telephoto lens was also one of the lightest Nikkor 400mm's around. The IF design could have improved its close focusing ability down to 4m. Another technical highlight is its focusing ring allows adjustment to a particular click stop setting for rapid refocusing. This lens has all the advantages in its compact design, light weight, built-quality and optical performance to call it as an all round top rated Nikkor telephoto lens performer. The serial number for this lens could have been started from 280001. The lens was revised as an Ai-S version in 1982.

Technical Highlights
* Super-telephoto picture coverage of 6°10'. * Internal Focusing (IF) design for easy handling and smooth focusing down to 15 feet (4m). * Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass for outstanding picture quality. * Focusing ring allows adjustment to a particular click stop setting for rapid refocusing. * Built-in telescopic lens hood and rotatable tripod socket. * Takes 72mm filters. * Photographic uses include sports, wildlife, photojournalism, and travel photography.

Specifications

Focal length/Aperture: 400mm f/5.6
Lens construction:
7 elements in 6 groups
Picture angle:
6°10'; Diaphragm: Automatic
Aperture scale:
f/5.6 ~ f/32 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scale
Exposure measurement:
Via full aperture measurement; meter coupling ridge provided for Al cameras and meter coupling shoe for non-AI cameras
Distance scale:
Graduated in meters and feet from 4m ( 15 ft) to infinity (
oo); Weight: 1,200g
400mmf56ifed.gif
Dimensions: 85mm dia. x 262mm long (overall); 254mm extension from flange
Attachment size:
72mm (P = 0.75mm); Front lens cap: Screw-in
Lens hood:
Built-in; Lens case: CL-27A


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* Rotatable Tripod Collar Provided.

Nikkor 400mm f/2.8s ED-IF | Nikkor 400mm f/3.5s ED-IF | Nikkor 400mm f/5.6s ED-IF | Nikkor 400mm f/3.5 ED-IF | Nikkor 400mm f/5.6 ED-IF | Nikkor 400mm f/5.6 ED | Nikkor 400mm f/4.5 | pre-AI Nikkor 400mm f/3.5 ED-IF | pre-AI Nikkor 400mm f/5.6 ED | Non-AI Nikkor-Q 400mm f/4.5 | Non-AI Nikkor 400mm f/5.6 | Nikon Focusing Unit AU-1 | Original Focusing Unit |

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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number:
http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-153.html by: my friend, Rick Oleson
http://www.zi.ku.dk/personal/lhhansen/photo/fmount.htm by: Hansen, Lars Holst
http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/nikonfmount/lens2.htm
http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/serialno.html

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leofoo.Gif Co-developed with my web buddy, Rick Oleson® & LARs.Gif Denmark, Creator of the Nikon Repair Group Mailing-List; A contributing effort to Michael Liu's Classic Nikon SLRs and Nikkor optic site.

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.