Home Forums Legacy lenses Nikon AI 300mm f/4.5 IF-ED

This topic contains 7 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by viktor pavlovic viktor pavlovic 1 year, 5 months ago.

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  • #9626 Reply

    Anthony

    Hi Viktor,

    I’ve just bought an Nikon AI 300mm f/4.5 IF-ED for use on my A7S and A7R, but I’m not sure if it’s resolution is good enough, or if my A7R is out resolving it, or perhaps my skills at focusing aren’t good (my first time with a 300mm lens).

    I was wondering if I could get a second opinion from you?

    The dealer will take it back within 10 days of purchase, but we’ve only had one day of sunshine in the whole time! Unfortunately, I need to decide what to do this weekend.

    I’ve uploaded some shots to my gallery here:

    Each pic is followed by a 100% screenshot of the part of the image in focus. All the shots were taken on a monopod. They were shot in RAW and converted in Capture One Pro 8 without any modifications.

    Any thoughts welcome.

    Anthony

    #9628 Reply
    viktor pavlovic
    viktor pavlovic
    Keymaster

    Hi Anthony,

    lens looks absolutely OK to me if the sharpness is your concern. If you want to test lens for the sharpness in the field, you basically have two options…
    a) testing it for lab like results (in the mid frame only) to see its full potential.
    b) testing it similar to the way, you intend to use it.

    While in the first case, you’ll might be able to comment on the lens sharpness in general, you’ll have to build very strict testing routine, excluding all possible variables (sturdy tripod, good light, good focus target with high contrast, good weather conditions (humidity, haze, heat etc.) different focus distances, several shots per aperture with slight shifting of focus plane, base ISO only, flare prevention and most importantly, sturdy tripod with remote triggering.

    You went with second option, trying to figure out how the lens will work for you. I can’t thus comment on the particular lens and its resolution rendering capabilities, but looking at your gallery, I don’t see any major flaws, such as blooming, explicit CA etc., things that will reduce native resolution.

    In order to find out if lens is capable of rendering full sensor resolution, you’ll need studio lab conditions and lot of experience. Maybe you can find somewhere MTF figures for your lens, which should give you an idea.
    In a normal life, there are too many aspects (slightly missed focus by 0,5-1mm e.g.) that will affect resulting image resolution, which will come before you hit lens resolving limit.

    In your case, you should also think about shutter shake being a serious threat for critical sharpness. This lens, used on monopod as you suggested is among most affected combinations for reveling this phenomenon.

    In summary, I don’t find anything wrong with the lens from your images, slight blurriness in some of the images might have many other reasons before resolving limit, shutter shake (on A7R) can be one of the main reasons why you have inconsistent results.

    Hope it helps,
    Viktor

    #9629 Reply

    Anthony

    Hi Viktor,

    thanks for checking out my photos and the analysis.

    Sadly, I can’t find any MTF charts for this lens. I’ll continue testing the lens over the weekend, but the weather’s so bad, I’ll have to setup a studio scene.

    I think you may be right about the shutter-shake affecting the images, because I had many more blur-free images from my A7S compared to my A7R.

    I had been looking into the Canon FD 300mm f/4 L as an alternative, because it’s had favourable reviews and photos on Flickr look great. However, it seems to be quite rare and currently 2.5-3x the price of this Nikon.

    Are you familiar with this Canon?

    #9630 Reply
    viktor pavlovic
    viktor pavlovic
    Keymaster

    Hi Anthony,

    I am on my tablet now, so it’s a but harder to type the answer and add links etc. but you should be able to find one of my articles where I tested Canon FD 300/4 L against Minolta 300/2.8 and Canon EF 300/2.8 L IS. Canon FD did very well in that comparison and IMHO it is very good lens overall. I have two copies of it and both are very similar, so I won’t be afraid of sample variation issues.

    I bought mine at about 500 USD each, which is not cheap but not bad for the premium quality product. I have no idea for how much they are going now, but I have seen some of the Canon FD gems such as 24-35 f/3.5 L going dirty cheap (200-250 USD), so maybe if you wait a bit, you might catch one of those 300/4Ls for a good price.

    Cheers,
    Viktor

    #9631 Reply

    Anthony

    Hi Viktor,

    Don’t worry about the links, I found the review. I’m amazed at how poor the Minolta was considering the 200/2.8 APO is supposed to be excellent. The difference between the EF 300/2.8 and FD 300/4 L is quite big…but unfortunately so is the weight and price. I’ve heard from one person (who owned both lenses) that the FD 300/2.8 L is even better than the EF version. Any thoughts on that?

    Regarding the FD 300/4 L, I’ve not seen this at any UK dealer in the last 6 months, and on eBay very seldom. There’s one currently available for £499, but he says he’ll take £450…seems too much to me. What do you think? Perhaps prices are going up, because more mirrorless folks are going manual focus?

    I’m intrigued about this FD 24-35/3.5 L. How does it compare to the FE 16-35? It’s focal length fits in okay with my plans for an SEL10-18.

    #9632 Reply
    viktor pavlovic
    viktor pavlovic
    Keymaster

    Hi Anthony,

    FD 24-35L is not a replacement to FE 16-35, especially not in the corners. But in the mid frame, lens is quite sharp with excellent contrast, well controlled CA and good sharpness. It represent IMHO great value for an WA all rounder, considering above mentioned IQ aspects, very good build quality and affordable price.

    I don’t have experience with FD 300/2.8 L but it would be hard to believe that is on par or even better than EF version which was simply outstanding. I replaced it with EF 200/2 L IS and 400/2.8 L IS II, which combined with Canon EF TC’s are covering all the range that I might ever need. But if I wouldn’t get stunning deal on both of those lenses, I would keep 300 and be happy as well.

    £450 might be slightly over, but it will depend on the lens condition… It is indeed very good lens.

    Cheers,
    Viktor

    #9633 Reply

    Anthony

    Hi Viktor,

    I’ve just come across your test shots of the FD 24-35 L taken from your roof. I see what you mean about the corners (also the edges). I was quite impressed with the way you cleaned up the images of the FD 20-35 L. That seems to be a better lens and not much more expensive.

    Thinking it through, I think I’ll be fine with just the SEL1018 giving me 15-27mm on an A6000, then using a 35 or 40 along with my other primes on my A7R.

    Do you take your 200/2 and 400/2.8 out at the same time? That’s nearly 6.5 kgs on their own! I think I could manage that for a day trip, but not sure if I could do that for a couple of weeks. That’s why I’m looking at 300 f/4 lenses.

    By the way, you’re right about my Nikon AI 300/4.5 IFED suffering with shutter shock on my A7R. My tests are conclusive. Anything from 0.5 secs to 1/100th gets terribly blurred. I’ve not yet worked out the upper speed that still suffers from it. But longer exposures of 1.5-30 secs are fine.

    Wide open at f/4.5 the lens is blurry soft (unusable IMHO), but it’s sharp enough at f/5.6 and satisfyingly sharp at f/8 on my A7R. With a TC-14A, I have no hesitation of using it at f/8 (f/11) and f/5.6 is okay if not pixel-peeping, but forget f/4.5.

    I’ve not yet checked its bokeh, CA or fall off, but I like its saturated colours. I’ve decided not to send it back, because I got it very cheap and should make money on it. For the time being, it will suffice, while I wait for a reasonably priced Canon FD 300/4L to turn up.

    #9634 Reply
    viktor pavlovic
    viktor pavlovic
    Keymaster

    Hi Anthony, FD 20-35 f/3.5 is sharper in the covering range and it is very nice landscape lens at apertures arround f/8-f/11. But it is usually more expensive. (if in really good condition).

    Shuter shock on A7r is a tricky issue, hard to predict when and where it will occur.

    I am keeping my fingers crossed for your search of Canon FD 300/4L for a reasonable price.

    Cheers,
    Viktor

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