Data Sheet: Nikkor F 300 mm f/4.5 (Nippon Kogaku Nikkor-H)

Pekka Buttler, 3/2023

Pictured: Nikkor F 300 mm f/4.5 (Nippon Kogaku Nikkor-H)

Specifications

The table below summarizes the lens’ key specifications (measurements based on pictured sample):

Brand:(Nikon) Nippon KogakuLens nameNIKKOR-H Auto 1:4.5 f=300mm
Focal length(s)1300 mmAngle-of-view28°10
Maximum Aperturef/4.5In Production1969–1971
Lens mountNikon FSubfamily (if applicable)Pre-Ai (F-type)
Length3195,2 mmDiameter480,2 mm
Filter ring diameter72 mmWeight1064 grams
Lens element count6Lens group count5
Aperture blades (S/R/C)56 SFocus throw150 °
Minimum focusing distance4 mMaximum magnification1:11
Has manual aperture ringYESHas Manual focus ringYES

Further notes:
• There are several versions of the early (F-type) Nikon 300 mm f/4.5:
• 1st version (1964–69): “Nippon Kogaku Nikkor-P”, 5 elements in 5 groups,
• 2nd version (1969–71): “Nippon Kogaku Nikkor-H”, 6 elements in 5 groups (this lens)
• 3rd version (1971–74): “Nikon Nikkor-H”, 6 elements in 5 groups
• No C-type (Multicoated) version was ever made. Instead, Nikon jumped from a late F-type in 1974 to a K-type in 1975.
• On early Nikkor lenses, the letter following “Nikkor-” denotes the number of lens elements. In this case the H stands for ‘Hexanon’ (six).
• All Nikkor 300 mm f/4.5 lenses sport a built-in lens hood.

A brief genealogy of Nikon SLR lens types

Nikon is undoubtedly one of the great names in 35 mm SLR photography. The Nikon F mount has been in continuous production since 1959. During that time, the mount has developed/changed in some detail, however without ever fully sacrificing compatibility.

In short (a longer version is here), the development of Nikon’s SLR lenses can be traced as follows:
• 1959–1977: Pre-Ai. Manual focus lenses that use ‘rabbit ears’ to communicate selected aperture with the camera body. Pre-Ai lenses can further be subdivided into
• F-type (1959–early 1970s: metal focus ring and single-coated),
• C-type (early 1970s–mid 1970s: metal focus ring and multicoated), and
• K-type (mid 1970s to 1977: rubber focus ring and multicoated).
A significant share of remaining Pre-Ai lenses have since been converted to Ai-spec (Ai’d)
• 1977–1986: Ai and Ai-s. Manual focus lenses that may have ‘rabbit ears’ for backward compatibility, but are designed to communicate selected aperture with the camera body through indentations in base of aperture control ring.
• 1986–today: AF and AF-D. Autofocus lenses that do not have a focusing motor within the lens, but rely on the focus motor within the camera. All AF and AF-D lenses are simultaneously Ai-s lenses (they are Ai-s lenses extended with AF) 6
• 1996–today AF-S and AF-P. Autofocus lenses that have an internal focusing motor and do not rely on the body having a focusing motor.

Versions

The development of the Nikkor 300 mm f/4.5 lenses is summarised below:
• 1964–1969 300 cm f/4.5 (5 elements in 5 groups, 6 blades, 4 m MFD, “Nippon Kogaku Nikkor-P” (F-Type)
• 1969–1971 300 mm f/4.5 (6 elements in 5 groups, 6 blades, 4 m MFD, “Nippon Kogaku Nikkor-H” (F-Type) [this lens]
• 1971–1974 300 mm f/4.5 (6 elements in 4 groups, 6 blades, 4 m MFD, “Nikon Nikkor-Q” (F-Type)
• 1975–1977 300 mm f/4.5 (6 elements in 5 groups, 6 blades, 4 m MFD, “Nikon”) (K-type)
• 1977–1979 300 mm f/4.5 ED (6 elements in 4 groups, 6 blades, 4 m MFD “Nikon ED” (K-type–AI-type)
• 1977–1981 300 mm f/4.5 (6 elements in 5 groups, 6 blades, 4 m MFD, “Nikon”) (Ai-type)
• 1978–1981 300 mm f/4.5 IF ED (7 elements in 6 groups, 7 blades, 2,5 m MFD “Nikon IF ED” (Ai-type)
• 1981–≈1994 300 mm f/4.5 (6 elements in 5 groups, 7 blades, 3,5 m MFD, “Nikon”) (Ai-s-type)
• 1981–1999 300 mm f/4.5 IF ED (7 elements in 6 groups, 9 blades, 2,5 m MFD “Nikon IF ED” (Ai-s-type)

Adapting

There are some chances this lens can still be used natively:
• If the lens has been AI’d, this lens can be used natively on all current high-end Nikon dSLRs and several earlier medium-to-high-end older Nikon dSLRs7 as well as all post-1977 Nikon Film cameras (NOTE! Nikon never offered Ai kits for this lens, but that has not hindered many entrepreneurial lens mechanics from making Ai-modifications (such as evidenced by this sample)).
• If it is in its original Pre-Ai form, it can be used natively on the Nikon Df and on all Nikon F-mount film cameras produced before 1977.

Thanks to being a fully manual lens (manual aperture, manual focus), the lens can be adapted to all mirrorless cameras using a suitable dumb adapter (and such adapters are easy to find). Moreover, a large range of special adapters (helicoid adapters, tilt/shift adapters, speed boosters) for using Nikon F lenses on most mirrorless systems are available.

Using Nikon F lenses on non-Nikon SLRs and dSLRs is likewise a distinct possibility. Thanks to the relatively generous flange focal distance of the Nikon F mount (46,5 mm), adapter rings for all dSLR mounts are available as well as for a goodly portion of film-era SLR mounts. Such rings may not allow for auto aperture, but even then the lenses can be used in stop-down metering mode.

Footnotes

1 Focal length is (unless stated otherwise) given in absolute terms, and not in Full-frame equivalent. For an understanding of whether the lens is wide/tele, see ‘Angle-of-view’.

2 Picture angle is given in degrees and concerns the diagonal picture angle. Rule of thumb:
> 90 ° ==> Ultra-wide-angle
70–90 ° ==> Wide-angle
50–70 ° ==> Moderate wide-angle
40–50 ° ==> ‘Standard’ or ‘normal’ lens
20–40 ° ==> Short tele lens
10-20 ° ==> Tele lens
5-10 ° ==> Long tele lens
< 5 ° ==> Ultra-tele lens

3 Length is given from the mount flange to the front of lens at infinity.

4 Diameter excludes protrusions such as rabbit ears or stop-down levers.

5 S=straight; R=rounded; C=(almost)circular at all apertures.

6 There is a further sub-class of AF-D lenses called AF-I lenses that are otherwise AF-D lenses (meaning, fully Ai-s compatible), but have an internal focus motor. Only long tele lenses were made in AF-I variants.

7 As of this writing, the following Nikon dSLRs fully support Aperture priority and manual metered modes on Nikkor Ai lenses: D2, D3, D4, D5, D6, D200, D300, D300s, D500, D600, D610, D700, D750, D780, D800, D800E, D810, D850, D7000, D7100, D7200