Nikon 50-300mm f/4.5 Manual Focus Lens (Non-AI) 35mm Zoom

Nikon 50-300mm f/4.5 Manual Focus Lens (Non-AI) 35mm Zoom 


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[Jun 29, 2009]


It's an old school solid metal lens, with it's own tripod mount. Today they're often missing these but they usually came with a sling and protective cover.

The aforementioned constant zoom and focus. As long as you have time to focus on your subject this is a very handy feature to have.

Pictures have that nice, contrasty, saturated look that screams film even if you're shooting on digital.

F4.5 is fast even today, and stopped down it's very sharp. I wouldn't say tack sharp but good.

Used correctly this lens can produce fantastic photos.

It goes without saying the newer lenses are better, with ED glass and the NIC coatings. NIC coated lenses look the same as modern lenses, with a rainbow green/red/blue coating, older lenses just have an amber coating.

It looks cool.


A tripod is mandatory, and no I don't care if you think you can hold it rock steady at 300mm. They put the mount on there for a reason.

As with older lenses LCA (Lateral Chromatic Aberration or "purple fringing") and flares can be a problem. In particular with lenses of this age internal dust is usually present.

It's manual focus and has no CPU. People have "chipped" these but you're better off using a body that can meter with manual focus lenses, such as the D1, D200, D700, etc.

The lowly D40 can mount this without issues, but if it's still a Pre-AI mount on the lens DO NOT mount it on newer digital bodies. You will break your camera.

The lens was popular enough to have AI Conversion kits sold for it, so you can sometimes get a bargain with a Pre-AI lens and either converting it yourself or sending it out.

A lot of people selling these think they have a valuable collector's item, so it takes digging to find one at a good price.

Probably the first question most people would ask is why get one of these lenses when something like the 70-300mm covers almost the same zoom range, is slower but has autofocus?

Well, there is the caveat of having a big black lens that tells people you mean business. But it's more what the lens does the newer ones still aren't as good at. It's a constant F4.5 throughout the zoom range, and at 300mm that's nothing to sneeze at, and if that wasn't enough it holds the same focus throughout it's zoom.

Many of the early lenses were converted for use on TV studio cameras for precisely these characteristics.

This lens was a technical development from the earlier 8.5-25cm (yes--centimeter!) and was made with revisions from 1968 (some places say 1966) until at least 1999.

My particular example is from either 1974 or 1975, just before AI and not quite new enough for NIC (Nikon Integrated Coating.)

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Similar Products Used:

Over 40 Nikon and Russian lenses.

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