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Nikon 180mm f/2.8 ED
NIKKOR (1983-2006)
© 2005-2012 KenRockwell.com

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Nikn 180m f/2.8 ED

Nikon NIKKOR 180mm f/2.8 ED AI-s (FX, DX and 35mm coverage, 72mm filters, 28 oz./800g, 6'/1.8 m close focus, about $500 used). enlarge. My biggest source of support is when you use any of these links, especially this link directly to them at eBay (see How to Win at eBay), when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thanks! Ken.

August 2012   Nikon Reviews   Nikon Lenses    All Reviews

Nikon 180mm f/2.8 History

The 180mm ED AF is the autofocus version.

 

Introduction

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The legendary NIKKOR 180mm f/2.8 ED is a superb manual focus lens. This manual focus lens has much rightly deserved folklore behind it as being very, very sharp. You can read more here about its development.

When it was introduced in the early 1980s it superseded the non-ED AI version. By reducing the secondary chromatic aberration it became much sharper then the other 180, and offered what at the time was previously unseen performance in a very fast tele.

It is not an internal focusing (IF) lens. It focuses conventionally by moving the entire lens assembly in and out as you turn the focus ring.

See Nikon 180mm f/2.8 History for perspective of where this fits into Nikon's product line.

 

Specifications

It has five elements in five groups, one big one of ED glass.

It has a nine-bladed diaphragm stopping down to f/32 (the AF version only goes to f/22).

It has a built-in telescoping hood and takes 72mm filters.

It is 3.1" (78mm) around and 5.4" (138mm) long. It weighs 28 oz (800g).

Close focus is 6 feet (1.8m).

 

Performance

It's sharp at f/2.8 and every other aperture. As all Nikkors, it has some light falloff wide open that mostly is gone at f/4 and is completely gone at f/5.6, on FX and film cameras.

It has no distortion.

 

Recommendations

Again, there is very little to say about a great lens. It, along with the 105/2.5, has been replaced in most pro's bags by an 80-200 f/2.8 zoom for the sake of convenience. In the old days (1980s) you'd find one in every news photographer's bag.

They are still not that cheap to buy second hand and they are heavy. You can still get them new for $750.

You may want to consider the lighter and less expensive AF version which, being IF, focuses much faster. The AF version is a completely different lens.

And of course, since it seems that the 180mm is still no bargain, you may just as well go for an 80-200/2.8 zoom. The zoom can be as sharp, but will have more distortion, more falloff, maybe more ghosts and possibly less light transmission.

If you've found the time and expense I incure to research ad bring this all to you for free, my biggest source of support is when you use any of these links, especially this link directly to them at eBay (see How to Win at eBay), when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thanks! Ken.

 

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