Nikkor 500mm F4.0 glass drop-in filters

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ATpix Forum Member • Posts: 55
Nikkor 500mm F4.0 glass drop-in filters

I recently bought used Nikon 500mm f4.0 in like new condition. I think it may have been the last manual focus lens besides the 50mm 1.2 they offered.  It uses 2 different drop in filter holders, either gel or a 39mm screw in glass filter holder. The glass filter holder came with a Nikon L37c. I assume that is a UV filter?

I would really love a couple of  ND filters. I ordered  2 from GOBE. Unfortunately the Nikon screw in filter has an odd shape. The threaded section of the filter has a wider diameter than the actual glass portion. The filters I order have a more common wider diameter lens portion and narrower threaded portion. That wider lens flange area won't allow the filter to screw into the drop in holder.

Does anyone know of a source for these specific Nikon 39mm filters to fit the drop-in holder?

You can find very expensive and likely very old Wratten filters on eBay but I can't imagine that a gel filter is going to do much for the image quality. Is anyone still making optical gel filters?

Thanks for any feedback.

dave gaines
dave gaines Veteran Member • Posts: 9,603
Re: Nikkor 500mm F4.0 glass drop-in filters

" ... The glass filter holder came with a Nikon L37c. I assume that is a UV filter? ..."

You can search for that filter on the Nikon USA website or on any retail website that sells filters. Once you find the type of filter you can read the description.

I think any 37 mm round threaded filter should fit the holder. You can remove the L37c and measure the filter threads with a metric scale. If it's close to 37 mm then it's 37 mm threads. If you can't find new filters consider buying used filters.

Can you still find the 37 mm filter holders? You may want a 2nd filter holder so you can easily and quickly change filters.

I am having trouble finding a 52 mm filter holder for the 300 mm f/2.8 lens, which also fits one other telephoto lens. Nikon doesn't carry them any longer and B&H doesn't/can't get them in stock.

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just Tony
just Tony Veteran Member • Posts: 3,355
L37c does not mean 37mm
1

An easy misunderstanding. Nikon had numeric designations for their different filter colors, and the mild uv blocker ended up with “37”. I have some dusty examples of them in 52mm in a box somewhere, I can probably find a 72mm as well.

Old super teles had 39mm drop-ins and the newer ones have 52mm.

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Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 21,995
Re: L37c does not mean 37mm

just Tony wrote:

Old super teles had 39mm drop-ins and the newer ones have 52mm.

Fast forward - the recent FL super telephotos and the 180-400 have 40.5mm.

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Leonard Shepherd
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dave gaines
dave gaines Veteran Member • Posts: 9,603
52 mm threaded drop-in filters

dave gaines wrote:

I am having trouble finding a 52 mm filter holder for the 300 mm f/2.8 lens, which also fits one other telephoto lens. Nikon doesn't carry them any longer and B&H doesn't/can't get them in stock.

After searching for months I gave up trying to find a 52 mm threaded drop-in filter holder. I just bought the gel filter holder on eBay. It fits the above lens plus 5 or 6 other super telephotos. I see Fred's Camera and B&H both have this gel filter holder, used for under $50.

I plan to use it for ND filters in telephotos that it fits. Does anyone know if the gel filter inserted in the back of the lens will affect IQ?

The 52 mm drop-in polarizer filter is still available. I have one and it provides 1 to 1&1/2 stops of reduced exposure, like a ND filter does.

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just Tony
just Tony Veteran Member • Posts: 3,355
Re: 52 mm threaded drop-in filters

dave gaines wrote:

Does anyone know if the gel filter inserted in the back of the lens will affect IQ?

For what this comment may be worth, the moderate quantity of gelatine filters that I have used have had rather impressively good optical quality considering what they are made of. Of course the Eastman Kodak manufacturing staff were exemplary.

Just stay away from the cheaper "theatrical" gels which are intended for light sources not lenses.

I will caution against careless swapping in and out of the lens on any day with a possibility of a drizzle. One little drop and the sheet warps horribly, I learned that when using gels at the fronts of lenses. The interior location on the super tele is the best.

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Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 21,995
Re: 52 mm threaded drop-in filters

dave gaines wrote:

The 52 mm drop-in polarizer filter is still available.

Agreed.

However it is not the same as the 39 mm size that the OP is looking for.

My impression is the OP wants a holder for filters other than a POL with a rotating mechanism.

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OP ATpix Forum Member • Posts: 55
Re: 52 mm threaded drop-in filters

I have both holders. One for gels, one for screw in 39mm filters. The problem is with the design of the screw in filter holder. The original Nikon filter threads have a wider diameter than the rest of the filter. Typical screw on filters are a little wider diameter than the actual threaded portion. A typical 39mm filter will not fit into the holder. At least not the couple I had ordered.

Michael Benveniste
Michael Benveniste Veteran Member • Posts: 5,733
Re: Nikkor 500mm F4.0 glass drop-in filters

Nikon did make a 39mm ND4 for this lens.  It’ll occasionally come up for sale on fleaBay, either separately or as part of a set with red, orange, and yellow filters designed for B&W film.

B&H still has a one stop wratten ND at a price which will make you wince.  Otherwise, haunting camera shows, Lee, or Rosco may be your best bet.

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