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Nikkor 300 F4.5 AIS with extension ring.. for macro?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Thymen, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. Thymen


    Jun 18, 2007
    The Netherlands

    I can get a nice, well-built Nikkor 300 F4.5 AIS for about € 200 (US$ 300). It focusus up to 3.5 meters, giving a reproduction ratio of 1:9.

    Would it be possible to use this lens, with extension rings, for smaller reproduction ratios? Say, can I get it to 1:3 at 35mm eq., and how much extension would I need? My intended use is for butter- and dragonfly photography.

    Ofcourse, a 300 AF-S would be nicest, because it focuses up to 1.45 meters at 1:3.7, but.. the cost is much higher...

    I am aware (vis Rorslett) that this lens is not a top performer, but the sample I have seen at least is built like a tank, focuses very smoothly and has a tripod collar. All three better then the Sigma 70-300 I cvurrently use.

    (I would even consider a Nikor 70-300 VR, however that one does not have a tripod collar...)

    Any ideas about the feasibility?


    This is the lens I mean

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  2. Thymen


    Jun 18, 2007
    The Netherlands
    Fools rush in, where even angels fear to thread. But, sometimes they are just lucky... Folks, I have sinned! I have been lurking at Canon-related websites, and I found this calculator...

    Link to the Dark Side...

    It allows to make all kinds of lens calculations. S0, I found that a 300 F4.5 Nikkor, closest focusing at 3.5 meters, with a 52 mm extension, yields a RR of 1:3.7 (near focus) to 1:5.7 ( at infinity), with a depth of field of
    11.2 to 26.6 mm at F16.

    The 300 F4 AF-S focuses up to 1.45 mm, and requires no extension rings to get to a RR of 1:3.7, with extension rings 51 mm delivers a RR of 1:2.3 at closest focus, and 1:5.8 at infinity. The AI would need a 100 mm extension to get to 1:2.5

    Guess I should let this lens pass. Even with extension tubes it does not serve the intended purpose. Bettter save my pennies for the 300 F4 AF-S...


    Additional question: is there a replacement tripod collar for the 300 F4 AF-S? Björn and others state the original collar is not worth the metal it is cast from....
  3. rolsen


    Apr 12, 2008
    Hello there,

    I first had the Nikkor 300/4 non-AF-S and then switched it to 300/4 AF-S. Your lens has the same weak spot as did my first 300/4: the closest focusing distance. With Nikon PN-1 tube, or Kenko's 12-20-36 set, you only get adequate results with smallest dragonflies and butterflies. I'd suggest you to save your pennies for the AF-S version, it is a real killer even without tubes!

    First thing I did with the AF-S version, was to replace the original cr*ppy tripod collar with Kirk's equivalent - it is superior to the Nikkor's. Got mine from Nikonians Pro Shop.

    Hope this is of some help!

    Edit: Sorry, dunno why my URL's aren't working :(  You can find samples here though: http://pohjoinenvalo.blogspot.com/ Please check the Exif-info to find the 300/4 pics.
  4. Thymen


    Jun 18, 2007
    The Netherlands

    I think you are right. The 300 AF-S etc. is the best combo for the job. I just hoped that the AI, being 1/6th of the price of the AF-S, could do the job.

    I'll be saving my pennies for the AF-S.

  5. rvink


    Mar 21, 2006
    New Zealand
    Thie AIS 300 you were considering is the non IF version. The AIS 300/4.5 IF-ED is a better lens in several respects: sharper and less CA due to ED glass, smaller and easier to handle, faster to focus due to IF and focuses to 2.5m (vs 3.5m)

    The AF 300/4 (not AFS) also has similar specs but is bigger due to the 1/3 stop increase in speed. Coupling these up with a PN-11 tube will give the magnification you are after for much less cost than the AFS 300/4. Of course, if you have the cash, the AFS 300/4 would be the nicest choice.

    Sigma also made 300/4 and 400/5.6 APO-Macro lenses which give 1:3 magnifications without tubes. These turn up on ebay from time to time. These lenses have good reviews with good sharpness and control of CA, although colors and contrast of the Nikons are better. Don't get the older non-macro versions, they aren't as good.

    Since you are looking for a long, close focusing lens, have you considered the AIS 200/4 micro? It focuses down to 0.71m giving 1:2 magnifications. It's relatively small and affordable compared to the AF version, and can give good results.
  6. Nikkor AIS

    Nikkor AIS

    Jun 5, 2008
    Iv got the Nikkor 300 4.5 ED-IF AIS and the 200 micro F4 AIS. If your want to use the lens as a macro I would stick with the 200 Micro F4 AIS. Its so small and light and works great with tubes and T/Cs. The Nikkor 300 4.5 ED-IF is a really nice small telephoto. It also works great with T.C 14 B -TC 301 and tubes. Iv owned the first generation 300 F4 and the manual focus wasnt my cup of tea. I heard nikon made a ED non IF version of the 300 4.5 that is the cats meow:cool: .

  7. Thymen


    Jun 18, 2007
    The Netherlands
    I have been looking for a suitable lens at sites much like ebay ( here in the Netherlands called "Market Place"). Found the AF-S, but for 90% of the new price, I'd rather buy new. No other suitable ones currently being offered.

    However, the 300 F4.5 AIS lens I found in a second-hand camera shop in my town. The build of it feels great, large and smooth focussing ring, tripod collar. Price was about US$ 300. So, I just wondered if i can use this one with some (cheap) extension tubes. Well... NOT!

    I'll keep looking at public lens markets for some time, save my pennies and, if nothing used comes along, buy new..

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