November 9, 2009 @ 2:05 am
The 1000mm Nikkor reflex mirror lens, was at one time perhaps the most affordable exotic super telephoto available in the Nikon Manual Focus lineup. Designed to capture a very narrow 2˚30′ field of view over a full frame of 35mm film, it captures an incredible 1˚53′ (1500 mm equivalent on a Nikon SLR digital camera). Add a well matched Nikon TC-301 2x teleconverter to this lens and it it captures the astounding equivalent of a 0˚57′ field of view. That’s enough to identify people from 6.5 Km (4 miles) away. To put this into perspective:
Of course, this kind of ultra telephoto photography can be so extreme that it requires extra consideration above and beyond good long lens technique. When shooting subject at such great distances, the air — along with any moisture, temperature variance, dust, and contaminants — acts as a natural aberration which is exaggerated at such extreme. As with all other super telephotos, thermal variance — or heat waves — will distort perspectives. What additional precautions are needed to handle these lenses at infinity? For greatest clarity:
For close ups, this is a great lens to take to the zoo. It cuts through most chain link fences — like a warm knife through butter — and brings you closer than you dare to possibly come under any other circumstance. There are many applications for this lens, such as infra-red photography on a Nikon SLR digital camera, astro-photography, wild animal portraiture, environmental monitoring, and security to name but a few. This lens, while scarcer than the more common 500mm Nikkor reflex, is still possible to find second hand. The Newshound recently acquired a specimen and had Nikon clean, lube, and restore it to it’s original specs.
Note: not all mirror reflex lenses were built to the same standards, and some take short cuts that negate the quality and performance of the Nikkor reflex design. Reflex lenses are also vulnerable to rapid fluctuations in temperature, or careless handling. Good long lens technique should always be applied. When purchasing a second hand specimen, buy from a reputable dealer that allows you to test the lens and return it if you are displeased with the results. Caveat emptor.
About half a century ago — back in 1959 — Nikon (nee – kon) made history with the introduction of the new Nikon F SLR (single lens reflex). It was the right 35mm film SLR for the right time. Alongside, it had a complementary series of well engineered lenses. At that time the lens barrel used what was known as a scalloped metal focusing ring. These rugged black metal knurly lens designs lasted into 1974, when Nikon engineers started to replace them with a metal barrel and rubber focusing grip. Aside from offering tactile relief, these rubber grips had the effect of performing reliably under conditions of heavy perspiration or dampness.
Optically, each successive generation of a lens was typically much improved. However mechanically, they evolved so design compromises were necessary to balance the customers desire for lighter lenses, standard components, low cost, and new technologies. For those who have a critical preference for manual control of their optics — and there are a variety of reasons why this may be so — there is no better solution than an ergonomically designed barrel and grip. This type of exoskeleton is mandatory for optimum manual performance.
Up until a few years ago, it was not difficult nor relatively expensive to acquire a Nikon manual focus lens. However a surge of new interest in high quality mechanical designs, manual control, and their inherent compatibility with some models of the Nikon SLR digital camera, is making these lenses much more difficult to find and buy. Especially ones in prime working order. For optimum manual control, Nikon news hound strongly recommends you consider trying some of the vintage Ai and Ais lens barrel designs — or third party alternatives such as the Zeiss ZF. Knobby or knurly — don’t let the fine opportunity for manual control of your optics slip away.
Theme chosen by the Nikon News Hound. Visionary theme design by Terry Ng of Kineda.
High Paw, Two Wags!