Additional Information on
Nikkor AI 600mm Telephoto lenses - f/4.0 ED-IF, f/5.6 ED-IF and f/5.6


Ai Nikkor 600 mm f/4.0 IF-ED

Nikkor 600mm f/4.0 was first introduced in July, 1977. Naturally, it was debuted as an Ai-Spec telephoto lens in nature. In fact, a dedicated TC-14 teleconverter was included with the package to enable its high maximum lens speed to be interpreted as a super 840mm f/5.6 ED IF lens. In many ways, it was a hit among many sports, news and wildlife photographers when it was introduced during that period of time. The lens has a presettable focusing ring which provides for rapid refocusing at a specific distance. With its Impressive 12X magnification of the subject when compared with a normal lens and a strong optical characteristic of compressed perspective, this lens was often used even for creative field such as fashion and travel or even for surveillance photography. The Internal Focusing (IF) system eliminates traditional heavy, bulky Helicoid, providing silky-smooth focusing without any extension in the lens barrel while the use of Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass insures unprecedented image quality which makes this lens a hallmark status lens for Nikon photographers. The early version of this lens has not provided with any extension hood such as those find in the later versions. However, the lens hood is a built-in screw-in type with click stop. It takes front and rear filters where the front attachment size is a massive 160mm front screw-in dedicated gelatin filter holder also supplied while a convenient slip-in filter holder accepts 39mm screw-in filters. Further, the lens is also provided with a removable 360° rotatable tripod socket collar.

600mmf4side.jpg 600mmf4optic.jpg

The serial number could have been started from 176121. There was an upgrade for this lens which occurred in 1982 where other than adding the Ai-S lens coupling system, further refinement were being made to its rich features listing. See the updated Ai-S lens section of this high speed Nikkor lens.

Specifications of AI Nikkor 600mm f/4.0 IF-ED telephoto lens

Focal length/Aperture: 600mm f/4.0
Lens construction: 8 elements in 6 groups
Picture angle: 4°10'; Diaphragm: Automatic

Aperture scale:f/4.0~f/22 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales
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 6.5m (25ft.) to infinity (
OO); Weight: 6,300g
Dimension:177mm dia. x 460mm long (overall) 452mm extension from lens flange
Filters (Rear/Front): 39mm screw-in via slip-in filter holder/160mm front screw-in; dedicated gelatin filter holder
Lens cap: Screw-in; Lens hood Built-in telescopic type with click stops
Lens case: CL-601 Trunk Case
Usable teleconverter:TC-200* TC-300 or TC-14; *Usable, but there is occasional vignetting

Nikkor 600 mm f/5.6 IF-ED

The original version of the Pre-AI Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 ED lens was introduced in 1975/76 along with few other exotic class lenses, namely Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 ED, 800mm f/8.0 ED and 1200mm f/11.0 ED - these were the first batch of Nikkor lenses that utilized ED glass for correction of chromatic aberrations The Internal focus version was only made available in 1977 (Along with the Nikkor 400mm f/3.5 IF ED) - where both of these two lenses represented the first two Nikkor lenses that employed with an IF (Internal focus) design.

Powerful 12X magnification with full-aperture thru-the-lens metering. Nikon's advanced Internal Focusing (IF) system and Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass have combined to give the 600mm IF Nikkor the best telephoto ratio (0.69) of all Nikkor telephotos (except reflex lenses). Lens length measures only 374mm from lens mount.

With the IF system, only the central lens group moves back and forth during focusing resulting in balanced, steady handling at all times due to the absence of any lens barrel movement. Focusing is easy and rapid - less than a 180° turn of the focusing ring changes your focusing point from infinity to 5.5m (20'). Other convenient features include a preset focusing ring for faster focus operation and a special filter holder for mounting optional 39mm units in the lens barrel. The 600mm f/5.6 Nikkor IF-ED is a truly rugged, unique ultra-telephoto ready for the most demanding professional coverage of news, wildlife or surveillance photography. Lens is also equipped with a rotatable tripod socket and a built-in telescopic lens hood. In the telephoto design, the distance from the outermost lens surface to the focal plane is much shorter than the lens' focal length, resulting in light weight and compactness. Incoming light is converged by the front group of lens elements and this convergence is reduced by the rear diverging lens unit to shorten the overall length of telephoto lenses. With the Internal Focusing System only the central lens group shifts during focusing with no change in the lens' physical length.

Early version of this lens may have a f/22 minimum aperture. This Ai-S version has an updated lens coupling system and some minor improvement done in 1982 and further with additional refinement being added in 1985. See the Nikkor 600mm f/5.6s ED IF Ai-S lens section.

Specifications of Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 IF-ED

Focal length/Aperture: 600mm f/5.6
Lens construction: 7 elements in 6 groups
Picture angle: 4°10'; Diaphragm: Automatic

Aperture scale:f/5.6 ~f/32 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales
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 5.5m (20ft.) to infinity (
OO); Weight: 2700g
Dimension:134mm dia. x 382mm long (overall) 374mm extension from lens flange
Filters (Rear/Front): 39mm screw-in via slip-in filter holder/122mm front screw-in; dedicated gelatin filter holder; Lens cap: Slip-on
Lens hood Built-in telescopic type
Lens case: CL-62A hard leatherette or No. 57 soft pouch
Usable teleconverter:TC-200* 300 or TC-14
* Usable, but there is occasional vignetting; Note: Serial Number for this AI version lens started from 176091
<< --- PDF File (56k)

600mm f/5.6 lens head and AU-1 Focusing Unit

The period between 1976-1978 saw many oif the two parts super telephoto lense were selling along with the more modern Nikkor super telephoto lenses. Among them, in focal lengths from 400mm to 1200mm were the 400 mm f/4.5 Nikkor, 600 mm f/5.6, 800 mm f/8, 1200 mm f/11 Nikkor & Nikkor ED. For convenience and economy, all seven Nikkors are used with the Nikon Focusing Unit AU-1 which also incorporates automatic diaphragm mechanism plus a special slot accepting Nikon 52mm filters for use with any of these TWO parts lenses which may have been supplied in both standard and ED versions. (The latter identifiable by the gold ring engraved around the lens barrel.) The 600mm f/5.6 Nikkors have a moderately good lens speed for this focal length - a welcome convenience in focusing and in permitting use of faster shutter speeds. The dimisnishing interest of two part telephoto lenses saw the lenses eventually being subsitituted by other Nikkor super telephoto optic but on and off, you still can see these kind of lenses surfaced on the used equipment market, the only set back in lens handling with AI Nikon bodies is, metering with these series of lenses confined to stopped down metering. Next, you would need to invest into a working Focuing Unit inorder they can be used.

Interchangeable Super-Telephoto Lens Head Using Nikon Focusing Unit

Technical Highlights
* Super-telephoto picture coverage of 4°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, wildlife, and special effects.


Focal length/Aperture: 600mm f/5.6
Lens construction:
5 elements in 4 groups; Picture angle: 4°10'; Diaphragm: Automatic
Aperture scale:
f/5.6~ f/22 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scale
Exposure measurement:
Via stop-down method; Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet from 5m ( 16 ft) to infinity (oo)
2.4kg, 4.8kg
* * With Focusing Units AU-1

Dimensions: 135mm dia. x 297 (517)mm long (overall); 509mm* extension from flange
Attachment size:
122mm (P= 1)
Front lens cap:
Screw-in; Lens hood: Built-in; Lens case: CE-5*

<<----- PDF File (56k)

Nikkor 600mm f/4.0s ED-IF | Nikkor 600mm f/5.6s ED-IF | Nikkor 600mm f/4.0 ED-IF | Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 ED-IF | Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 | pre-Ai Nikkor 600mm f5.6 ED | Non-Ai 600mm f/5.6 Nikkor-P Auto | Focusing Units

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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

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