Photo Experience



Nip. Kogaku

400 mm F4



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Nikon F & 400 mm F4 AIS Lens


Introduced in 1963, this lens remained in production till 1977.  The design consists of 4 elements in four groups with F stop setting from 4 to 22.  Mechanically, the lens sports a pull out lens hood and is light weight relative to its size.  This makes the lens a delight to hand hold.


Optically, the lens does not produce the tact sharp images that more recently designed lenses produce which contain low dispersion glass.   However, the less than tact sharp image rendition can be quite effective in outdoor portraiture.  The lens can render portraits smooth with pleasant coloration.  


The original version of the 200 F4 (shown at left) was very popular in its day and can be found readily available in the used equipment market.  The used price is quite reasonable since most photographers prefer zoom lenses in the 200 mm range.  


I've come to appreciate the finish of the lens being a combination of metal and plastic. I have used this lens more often over a longer period of time and the lens looks almost perfect.  Even the finish on my so-called pro lenses hasn't stood up as well.  I try to take care of my equipment so I don't abuse it as some pros might, and I wouldn't expect the mechanical integrity of the lens to stand up to a pro lens.  But it does look a lot better after a lot of careful use.