Nikkor AF 180mm 2.8D ED

Started Aug 20, 2022 | Discussions
Igor Sotelo Contributing Member • Posts: 923
Nikkor AF 180mm 2.8D ED
1

I have the excellent Nikkor 180mm 2.8 ED AI-S, and was wondering if to get also the Nikkor AF 180mm 2.8D ED at a fire sale.

I tried the lens few years ago when was buying my Nikon Df and was very impressed by the built quality. Unfortunately didn’t take pictures that time.

It has a different much more complex optical formula and was wondering if it’s worth trying it?

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Michael Benveniste
Michael Benveniste Veteran Member • Posts: 6,728
Re: Nikkor AF 180mm 2.8D ED

Igor Sotelo wrote:

It has a different much more complex optical formula and was wondering if it’s worth trying it?

I don't remember if I used the 180mm f/2.8 AI-s or the AI version.  Either way, it's literally been decades.

I do still own the 180mm f/2.8D.  Unlike the manual focus lenses, it's an internal focus lens, which accounts for the different optical formula.  in 100% crops from a modern dSLR, it shows the expected behavior from a film-era design.  It's a bit soft wide open and at least my copy shows noticeable chromatic aberration.

Is it worth trying?  I'd say yes, under the following conditions:

  • You plan on staying with a dSLR for the foreseeable future.  On an adapter you won't retain autofocus operation, and the manual focus action on the 180mm f/2.8D is sloppy compared to most dedicated manual focus lenses.
  • You won't incur a lot of extra shipping charges should you decide it's not for you and "flip" it.
  • You enjoy shooting with a 180mm prime.  Perhaps that's obvious, but sales of 180mm primes fell off a cliff soon after the 80-200mm f/2.8 AF was released.  In the 25 year run of the 180mm f/2.8D, Nikon only sold about 100 a month.
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Stan Disbrow Veteran Member • Posts: 8,069
Re: Nikkor AF 180mm 2.8D ED
1

Hi,

I have the AI 180/2.8 from the FE days. I picked up an AF 180/2.8 when I bought my D1 back in 2000. I haven't used the AI one since. Including on the Df. Poor old lens isn't of much use today. The helicoid grease has greatly stiffened up. That's a problem with the manual focus 180/2.8....

Stan

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John Crowe
John Crowe Veteran Member • Posts: 3,961
Re: Nikkor AF 180mm 2.8D ED

AF could be very useful in this focal length. According to Bjorn Rorslett the AF version is slightly better in all respects.

The AF is not great for manual focusing but you will have the original for that.  Apparently both are a little soft wide open but I find that hard to believe.  All lenses sharpen up one stop smaller.

Give it a shot and let us know how you make out.

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OP Igor Sotelo Contributing Member • Posts: 923
Re: Nikkor AF 180mm 2.8D ED

Hi,

I kinda like manual focus lenses. Used them for many decades. Hopefully will continue using the AI-S version.

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OP Igor Sotelo Contributing Member • Posts: 923
Re: Nikkor AF 180mm 2.8D ED

Will give it a try, the offer was too good to pass, something around $250 shipping included and the lens seems in excellent condition.

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OP Igor Sotelo Contributing Member • Posts: 923
Re: Nikkor AF 180mm 2.8D ED

Michael Benveniste wrote:

Igor Sotelo wrote:

It has a different much more complex optical formula and was wondering if it’s worth trying it?

I don't remember if I used the 180mm f/2.8 AI-s or the AI version. Either way, it's literally been decades.

I do still own the 180mm f/2.8D. Unlike the manual focus lenses, it's an internal focus lens, which accounts for the different optical formula. in 100% crops from a modern dSLR, it shows the expected behavior from a film-era design. It's a bit soft wide open and at least my copy shows noticeable chromatic aberration.

Is it worth trying? I'd say yes, under the following conditions:

  • You plan on staying with a dSLR for the foreseeable future. On an adapter you won't retain autofocus operation, and the manual focus action on the 180mm f/2.8D is sloppy compared to most dedicated manual focus lenses.
  • You won't incur a lot of extra shipping charges should you decide it's not for you and "flip" it.
  • You enjoy shooting with a 180mm prime. Perhaps that's obvious, but sales of 180mm primes fell off a cliff soon after the 80-200mm f/2.8 AF was released. In the 25 year run of the 180mm f/2.8D, Nikon only sold about 100 a month.

Too bad the 180 D isn’t an AF-S lens. But I still have to upgrade to the Nikon D850, so I think will stay with DSLR’s for my Nikon system for long time, God willing.

It seems AI-S are better than screw drive AF lenses for mirrorless since were designed for manual focus. Perhaps Nikon will release an FTZ adapter with a built in motor. I think Sony has one of those for their A screw drive lenses.

Another option are Techart AF adapters Z to M adapters with an additional M to F adapter, but that only works with lighter lenses.

The 180mm 2.8D has some advantages over 70/80-200mm 2.8 lenses, it could make sense to have one of those. Specially since the lens is highly regarded by many people.

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Stan Disbrow Veteran Member • Posts: 8,069
Re: Nikkor AF 180mm 2.8D ED

Hi,

I did as well. However about the time I could  get a D1 -same issue then as the Z9 now- I also got hot and heavy into circle track racing. I could always make MF work on road course tracks, but it was a really tough row to hoe at the Friday/Saturday night bullrings.

So I went for a new 80-200/2.8 zoom. AF fixed one issue, but that lens is too unwieldy to shoot thru then corners from the infield. Hence switching to the AF 180/2.8 instead. Works great, and has all these years.

Stan

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Kazmarov Senior Member • Posts: 1,327
Re: Nikkor AF 180mm 2.8D ED
1

My two pennies worth (mind you pennies are no longer valid currency).

Well made, good value for money lens if the focal length works for you. High CA at wider than 4.5 so you will need to stop down for those situations or mask & deal with fall-off in post processing. I tend to use it for widefield astro so don't have much daylight stuff. Do not agree with comment by poster on hard to focus manually - at least my copy works well for astro which is quite demanding on focusing - I do use a Bahtinov on it for that application. AF is a bit clunky in keeping with its venerable age. All in all, the 200mm f/2 is in my view, a better lens but much more expensive and harder to source here in the UK.

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Van Griff Senior Member • Posts: 1,938
Re: Nikkor AF 180mm 2.8D ED

Igor Sotelo wrote:

I have the excellent Nikkor 180mm 2.8 ED AI-S, and was wondering if to get also the Nikkor AF 180mm 2.8D ED at a fire sale.

I tried the lens few years ago when was buying my Nikon Df and was very impressed by the built quality. Unfortunately didn’t take pictures that time.

It has a different much more complex optical formula and was wondering if it’s worth trying it?

Igor

Here is a link from Gary's thread where I posted some sample images . . .

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/66413641

. . . fab lens . . . relatively lightweight and portable . . . tack sharp . . . great bokeh and isolation wide open . . . does suffer from CA issues when shooting into bright light . . . but with the correct framing and orientation it can be killer . . . relatively inexpensive at 300 bucks or less . . . highly recommended!

Best,

V G

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rscott900ss
rscott900ss Regular Member • Posts: 496
Re: Nikkor AF 180mm 2.8D ED
3

I have the AF ED IF version from sometime around 1990 and it's a lens I won't part with.  It's one of those Nikkors that has that little something extra you can see in your images.

It scores poorly on lens tests, but ranks high in my heart.  Some refer to it as "legendary."

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Richard Dutton Contributing Member • Posts: 989
Re: Nikkor AF 180mm 2.8D ED
1

Igor Sotelo wrote:

I have the excellent Nikkor 180mm 2.8 ED AI-S, and was wondering if to get also the Nikkor AF 180mm 2.8D ED at a fire sale.

I tried the lens few years ago when was buying my Nikon Df and was very impressed by the built quality. Unfortunately didn’t take pictures that time.

It has a different much more complex optical formula and was wondering if it’s worth trying it?

I have that AF Nikkor and used to use it a lot on a D7100/D500 but not for some time.

No idea how it compares to the ai or ai-s versions bu the fast AF is certainly useful if you want to do any sports/action stuff.

There seem to be mixed views on the chromatic aberration:  most say that lateral is low and axial is very low.  I don't remember much of an issue with either.

I have used it a bit on a Z6 in MF obviously and it works very well but I suspect it depends  on whether  you have a newer copy with a helicoid in good shape.  On mine it is very smooth and there is no hysteresis/backlash.

I mainly used it with a Kenko pro300 DG 1.4X tc but then switched to 300/4 primes hence little use recently.

OP Igor Sotelo Contributing Member • Posts: 923
Re: Nikkor AF 180mm 2.8D ED

Curiously I use the AF 180mm 2.8D ED IF a lot. It cost not too much (neither did the 180mm 2.8 ED AI-S, that also use a lot). Very fast AF, fine overall rendering, good bokeh.

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