Nikon MICRO Nikkor 200mm F4 AI/AIS (MF)

Started Aug 31, 2009 | Discussions
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jfirneno Regular Member • Posts: 180
Nikon MICRO Nikkor 200mm F4 AI/AIS (MF)

Has anyone got experience with these old MF macro lens. I've seen a few around on ebay for about $300 - $400. Are they very sharp? Do they compare favorably to the modern AF lenses in the 150 - 200mm macro range?

Thanks in advance

John

Toermalijn
Toermalijn Forum Pro • Posts: 13,632
Re: Nikon MICRO Nikkor 200mm F4 AI/AIS (MF)

jfirneno wrote:

Has anyone got experience with these old MF macro lens. I've seen a few around on ebay for about $300 - $400. Are they very sharp? Do they compare favorably to the modern AF lenses in the 150 - 200mm macro range?

Thanks in advance

John

Bjorn rates it less good as the af version, The newer version is superb, the older mf one is less good.

The 200mm f4 af-d micro nikkor is one of the best around, together with the zeiss 100mm f2, the sigma 150mm and the 90mm from tamron.

Toermalijn
Toermalijn Forum Pro • Posts: 13,632
Re: Nikon MICRO Nikkor 200mm F4 AI/AIS (MF)

Toermalijn wrote:

jfirneno wrote:

Has anyone got experience with these old MF macro lens. I've seen a few around on ebay for about $300 - $400. Are they very sharp? Do they compare favorably to the modern AF lenses in the 150 - 200mm macro range?

Thanks in advance

John

Bjorn rates it less good as the af version, The newer version is superb, the older mf one is less good.

The 200mm f4 af-d micro nikkor is one of the best around, together with the zeiss 100mm f2, the sigma 150mm and the 90mm from tamron.

looked at bjorn's site:

manual focus 200mm 3,5-4 points.

af-d version 200mm 5 points!

So yes, obviously the af version is much better then the older one.

jfirneno OP Regular Member • Posts: 180
Re: Nikon MICRO Nikkor 200mm F4 AI/AIS (MF)

Toermalijn:

Thanks for your feedback. Based on that rating would that lens be worth $300 - 400?

I'm also looking for any experience with this particular lens (impressions, macro-shots, etc.). So if anyone out there has used it I'd be happy to hear about it.

Regards
John

D Knisely Senior Member • Posts: 2,015
Re: Nikon MICRO Nikkor 200mm F4 AI/AIS (MF)

It is well worth $300-400. I bought that lens first, and then bought the AF version. No doubt the AF version is a gem and is a better lens, but it is also quite a bit heavier. In some ways, I like the AIS version better. The tripod collar works very well, and it has a built-in lens hood of sorts. It is a unique and cute lens. I recommend it. The AF version would be more than twice as much.

Unfortunately, I sent my lens mount portion of this lens away to Rolland Elliot to be chipped, and he turned out to have abandoned all of his jobs. So I'm out a lens and $120 that I sent to him. He used to do great work, but at some point he stopped responding and left people high and dry with lenses that they had sent him. What a shame.

Doug

 D Knisely's gear list:D Knisely's gear list
Olympus E-M5 II Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4D ED-IF Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm 1:2 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro +3 more
Kitacanon Senior Member • Posts: 2,802
Re: Nikon MICRO Nikkor 200mm F4 AI/AIS (MF)

The pre-AI 200mm/F4 NON-micro (7' MFD version) is a FINE lens, even if I have to contradict the ratings by Mr. Bjorn....an excellent value at $50.

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jfirneno OP Regular Member • Posts: 180
Re: Nikon MICRO Nikkor 200mm F4 AI/AIS (MF)

Doug and Kitacanon:

Thanks for the replies. I'm glad to hear that these old MF lenses are useful. They fit my budget better than the new Nikon AF models (although I am sorely covetous of those, if truth be told).

Regards
John

Kitacanon Senior Member • Posts: 2,802
Re: Nikon MICRO Nikkor 200mm F4 AI/AIS (MF)

jfirneno wrote:

Has anyone got experience with these old MF macro lens. I've seen a few around on ebay for about $300 - $400. Are they very sharp? Do they compare favorably to the modern AF lenses in the 150 - 200mm macro range?

Thanks in advance

John

I don't know which Nikon body you have but if yours need to be AI or AIS then considering a PRE-AI lens means modifying the rear end of the aperture ring by cutting a knotch into it...not the hardest thing to do, and good repair shop will do it for $30-50...so consider that $$$difference when looking at pre-AI lenses....

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D Knisely Senior Member • Posts: 2,015
Re: Nikon MICRO Nikkor 200mm F4 AI/AIS (MF)

I don't know which Nikon body you have but if yours need to be AI or AIS then considering a PRE-AI lens means modifying the rear end of the aperture ring by cutting a knotch into it...not the hardest thing to do, and good repair shop will do it for $30-50...so consider that $$$difference when looking at pre-AI lenses....

I would stick with the AIS version, personally...

Doug

 D Knisely's gear list:D Knisely's gear list
Olympus E-M5 II Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4D ED-IF Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm 1:2 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro +3 more
noegd
noegd Senior Member • Posts: 1,240
Re: Nikon MICRO Nikkor 200mm F4 AI/AIS (MF)

I got one of those recently for 200€. I use it on my D300. It is really pleasant to use, AF bringing very little for macro work anyway.

It may not be the sharpest/contrastiest lens I own, but it is pretty good at apertures typically used for macro.
--
Equipment in profile...

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Toermalijn
Toermalijn Forum Pro • Posts: 13,632
Re: Nikon MICRO Nikkor 200mm F4 AI/AIS (MF)

I only have experience with the 200mm f4 af-d type of lens and it is superb. As good as bjorn's rating suggest. Easally one of the best macro lenses around.

personally i consider the 200mm f4 af-d and the zeiss 100mm f2 one of the best around. it also works great as tele!

jfirneno OP Regular Member • Posts: 180
Re: Nikon MICRO Nikkor 200mm F4 AI/AIS (MF)

On a side note, where are the best places to get a good deal on used lenses?

mzwang Junior Member • Posts: 44
Re: Nikon MICRO Nikkor 200mm F4 AI/AIS (MF)

ebay is pretty good. Just stay with those sellers with positive feedback and who provide images of the lens.

Speaking of Micro 200mm f/4 AIS, I used to have one, but was very disappointed. Low resolution and contrast at all apertures. The handling of lens is excellent, the best among AIS. It's relative small with build-in hood. It has an excellent tripod collar. The internal focus is silk smooth. Basically, everything is perfect except image. Eventually, I sold it.

jfirneno OP Regular Member • Posts: 180
Re: Nikon MICRO Nikkor 200mm F4 AI/AIS (MF)

mzwang:

Thanks for the feedback. Did you replace it with some other macro lens?

Regards
John

Riccardo Polini Senior Member • Posts: 1,391
Re: Nikon MICRO Nikkor 200mm F4 AI/AIS (MF)

jfirneno wrote:

Has anyone got experience with these old MF macro lens. I've seen a few around on ebay for about $300 - $400. Are they very sharp? Do they compare favorably to the modern AF lenses in the 150 - 200mm macro range?

Thanks in advance

John

I do not understand why people start a thread on a price basis. You've found a 300-400 $ MF 200 Macro. And so what?

Do you need 1:1 or 1:2. Do you use AF or not? Would you use that lens for distant subject or for close-ups only? which is the final use of your pictures? Do you sell 70x100 cm prints? Do you look only at 100 % corps: please, excuse me for this questions but I don't know you, I only read your post at the beginning of this thread.

Anyway, I've not understood if you select lenses on the basis of their cost or by taking into account their features and your photographic needs. Tell us more about why you need a macro lens, the final use of the pictures and we can give you a serious feedback.

If your budget allows you spending 600-700 US $, I'd suggest a new Sigma 180/3.5. It has larger working distance than 150/2.8 and very good IQ (see http://www.juzaphoto.com/eng/articles/sigma_180mm_macro_review.htm ).
Regards,

Riccardo

P.S.: I've used in the past the AI Micro-Nikkor 200/4 IF, AIS 55/2.8, AIS 105/4, AIS 105/2.8, AF Sigma 180/3.5 EX, AF Sigma 105/2.8 EX & AF Tamron 90/2.8; now I own and use the AF 60/2.8D. AFS VR 105/2.8, AF ED 200/4 & 85/2.8 PC.

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RudivanS Veteran Member • Posts: 4,437
Sigma apo 150mm dg

The 150mm looks interesting too and it's DG (if that matters):
http://www.sigmaphoto.com/lenses/lenses_all_details.asp?id=3283&navigator=5
--
Rudi - freelancer

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mzwang Junior Member • Posts: 44
Re: Nikon MICRO Nikkor 200mm F4 AI/AIS (MF)

I planed to have a budget Micro lens to explore micro world. So I acquired the 200mm AIS. I am using 55mm f/3.5 AI for some micro work. As you know, it's only suitable for static, short distance objects. Speaking of image quality, it's an excellent lense. The 200mm one is not close to it.

jfirneno OP Regular Member • Posts: 180
Re: Nikon MICRO Nikkor 200mm F4 AI/AIS (MF)

mzwang:

Thanks for the info.

John

jfirneno OP Regular Member • Posts: 180
Re: Nikon MICRO Nikkor 200mm F4 AI/AIS (MF)

Riccardo, thanks for the reply.

I do not understand why people start a thread on a price basis. You've found a 300-400 $ MF 200 Macro. And so what?

If the lens is of a comparable resolution to a $1,500 AF macro then $400 would be a very attractive price. If the quality is low then it isn't money well spent

Do you need 1:1 or 1:2. Do you use AF or not? Would you use that lens for distant subject or for close-ups only? which is the final use of your pictures? Do you sell 70x100 cm prints? Do you look only at 100 % corps: please, excuse me for this questions but I don't know you, I only read your post at the beginning of this thread.

1:1 would be great but 1:2 is acceptable. This would be primarily for closeups. I'm mostly photographing reptiles, amphibians and bugs.

Anyway, I've not understood if you select lenses on the basis of their cost or by taking into account their features and your photographic needs. Tell us more about why you need a macro lens, the final use of the pictures and we can give you a serious feedback.

So from my comments above you see I'm looking for a high quality macro but am willing to buy an older MF lens if it provides good resolution

If your budget allows you spending 600-700 US $, I'd suggest a new Sigma 180/3.5. It has larger working distance than 150/2.8 and very good IQ (see http://www.juzaphoto.com/eng/articles/sigma_180mm_macro_review.htm ).
Regards,

Riccardo*

If I don't find a MF that provides a quality substitute then I'll have to decide between the Sigma 150, 180 and the Nikon AF 200. Thanks for the link on the Sigma 180. I'm looking for all the feedback I can get

P.S.: I've used in the past the AI Micro-Nikkor 200/4 IF, AIS 55/2.8, AIS 105/4, AIS 105/2.8, AF Sigma 180/3.5 EX, AF Sigma 105/2.8 EX & AF Tamron 90/2.8; now I own and use the AF 60/2.8D. AFS VR 105/2.8, AF ED 200/4 & 85/2.8 PC.

Great! I have the AIS 105/2.8 and like it pretty well. Is the AI Micro-Nikkor 200/4 IF as sharp as the AIS 105/2.8? And how would you rate each of those with respect to the 200 AF?

Regards
John

Riccardo Polini Senior Member • Posts: 1,391
Re: Nikon MICRO Nikkor 200mm F4 AI/AIS (MF)

Hi John

If the lens is of a comparable resolution to a $1,500 AF macro
then $400 would be a very attractive price.
If the quality is low then it isn't money well spent

The AF 200/4 is better than MF 200/4 IF.
It's up to you if the IQ difference is worth 1000 $ or not.

1:1 would be great but 1:2 is acceptable. This would be primarily for closeups. I'm mostly photographing reptiles, amphibians and bugs.

For reptiles and amphibians 1:2 could be enough although sometimes I've photographed reptiles at 2:1 on DX! For small bugs 1:2 is not enough most of the times.

So from my comments above you see I'm looking for a high quality macro but am willing to buy an older MF lens if it provides good resolution

The AI(AIS) 105 f/4 is a good solution. High resolution, but WD at 1:2 is 27 cm (with the MF 200/4 IF, WD @ 1:2 is 48 cm); to get 1:1 PN-11 ext tube is required, and WD is 19 cm. Not so bad if compared to AF Sigma 150/2.8, whose WD at 1:1 is just 20 cm (due to the shortening of focal length at close distances).

However, the 105/4 has a drawback: it's "dark" (f/4 at infinity, f/5.6 at 1:2 and f/8 at 1:1). For the sake of comparison, the AF ED 200/4 is f/4 at infinity, f/4.8 at 1:2 and f/5.3 at 1:1. The MF 200 macro behaves similarly up to 1:2.

Is the AI Micro-Nikkor 200/4 IF as sharp as the AIS 105/2.8?

More or less. However, the 105/4 is better at close distances.

And how would you rate each of those with respect to the 200 AF?

The AF ED 200/4 is the winner. The AF Sigma 180/3.5 is not bad at all, and you can buy a used sample in Exc++ conditions at the same price as the MF 200/4 IF.

A defect of the MF 200/4 IF is the tendency to get the multicoating layer of the front group attacked by humidity and/or fungi. I've seen several samples with this problem. I would buy the lens only if I could scrutinize it.

Regards,

Riccardo

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