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Nikon Nikkor 600mm f/4D AF-I ED-IF Test Review
© 2004 KenRockwell.com

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This AF-I lens is from the 1990s and has been replaced today by the superior 600mm f/4 AF-S II. This old AF-I lens had an electric motor inside it to help focus it.

I have not shot with this AF-I lens but I did play with it while shopping for a super-tele. I wasn't impressed. The AF was slow and the motor system sounded like a toy car's electric motor. It is slower than an AF-S and slower than the newer 400/2.8 AF-I. It was about the same as the similar 300mm f/2.8 AF-I.


This lens' slow autofocus is why most pro sports photographers converted to Canon in the 1990s.

It only works with some of the Nikon AF bodies. On others, like the N60 and 8008, it becomes a manual focus lens.

It has nice AF lock buttons on the lens.

It is very well made mechanically.

It has a kludge for an AF/MF switch, you can have it switch automatically between AF and MF, however you have to keep your finger on whatever button actuates your AF system and then turn the manual focus ring. It eventually klunks into manual focus mode, so long as you keep you finger on the AF button on the camera (usually the shutter button.) If you let up on the camera's AF button it stops manually focussing. This is better than the usual Nikon AF/MF switching system, but far worse than the AF-S lenses or Canon.


If you get a deal on a used one go for it. If you want it for sports or fast wildlife be sure to test it with your camera to ensure the AF speed will be fast enough. If not, blow $9,000 on the current new 600mm f/4 AF-S II.

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