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Author Topic: First Impressions : AF-Micro-Nikkor 200 mm f/4 ED  (Read 3511 times)

Offline somnath goswami

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First Impressions : AF-Micro-Nikkor 200 mm f/4 ED
« on: February 23, 2014, 07:01:27 PM »
I was casually gliding through the "sell" forum of the PCI, skimming and not touching the surface. Among the myriad mundane and regular items some unusual glitter caught my eye  ;) . It was MayaV (Vivek) offering his Micro nikkor 200 at a very fair price. A few phone calls and mouse clicks later the DTDC guy delivered a heavy parcel ( 4 kgs) to my home. Vivek did a great job of packing and that ensured that the lens reached in one piece , all the way from Ahmedabad to Kolkata.

I have always lusted after this lens since I used it for a few minutes long back. Very high rating by Bj?rn R?rslett also added to that and I now have one of my own !!!  :D .

Let me share my first impressions with you all. I will mainly stick to how I do feel out of actual usage.


Build quality

(web image)


The first thing you will notice is how heavy the lens is  >:( !!!! At only 20 grams shy of 1200 grams this is one heavy lens. A classic nikkor build. Built to outlast an user  ;D. I come from the front down.


1. At the front I would have liked a detachable hood to allow me to use it and also to detach it at the time of mounting my Metz MS 1 wireless flash ( I will have to buy a 62 mm adapter for using that flash  ::)). Very bad way to cut cost at wrong place to both Nikon and Metz  :dislike:

2. Next the Filter thread . It is 62 mm solid metal and like many nikkors of that period , it is a pain to properly clip and unclip the front caps !!! The caps somehow refuse to stay stuck and often come loose  :dislike:

3. Now the Wide, well damped focus ring. It's a joy to use. Though smooth but perhaps lacks the satin smooth quality of say 105 f2.5 ais or 20 f2.8 ais. A very minor sandy resistance could be felt , which should wither away with regular use I hope. Rotation of slightly more than 180 degree gives full focus coverage. While  the focus limiter switch is on , a mere 90 degree turn covers the whole range. At two finishing points of focal range a very prominent hard stop is there ( I dont like many modern AFS lenses on that point  :dislike:).

4. Next is that typical Nikon manual to auto-focus selector ring . Though well made I have never liked them as I often have to grope for the thin metal knob to press and select the focus mode  :( . One saving grace is that this micro beast will exclusively be on MF hence not such a big downer.

5. Next the rock solid metal barrel which sports an useless DOF scale at F32 ( come on Nikon , who do you fool ? )  ::) . The reproduction ratio scale and focus scale ( in both meter and feet are useful but they are too cramped together in that glass counter. If Nikon went for a full DOF scale  on the lens barrel or somewhere else , then that could easily accomodate the reproduction ratio scale , freeing enough space in that glass display counter to boldly mark focus scale in feet and meter in BOLDER and BIGGER font. This small things just make you wonder about the design efficacy of those supposed to be great designers IMO  :)

6. The barrel also sports a focus limiter switch with very prominent clicks.

7. Next is the tripod collar and I have some issues with it. It is built reasonable well , I have black-taped it extensively to further enhance the strength . Unfortunately the shoe does not allow you to hold the lens by it properly as the gap between the foot and the lens barrel is too thin to insert fingers.It is also seems to be a captive collar hence  cannot be detached.Anyway I will use the lens mainly on tripod so not much problem there.  But I like the tripod collars to have in built notches at 12,3,6 and 9 0'clock position, so that with your eyes in the view-finder you can just feel your way through rotating the lens properly. Here , Nikon has only marked 12, 3 and 9 o'clock positions with white paints upon the adjacent aperture collars . So in order to properly align you will have to crane your neck over the body and perhaps would loose the insect  >:(. Anyway, the collar foot has two sizes of screw holes which is good and when I mount lens with D700 and then fix the system on the ballhead , it becomes pretty stable.

8. The last part is aperture collar. Nice nikon classic with full stops from 4 to 32 with a tiny aperture lock. I actually prefer to lock the collar and change aperture through D700 command dial.

9. The lens mount is very ruggedly sealed.

The lens comes with a beautifully crafted Leather made , velvet lined lens case ( CL-45) with a bundled strap , if you care  ;D

(web image)


 








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Offline somnath goswami

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Re: First Impressions : AF-Micro-Nikkor 200 mm f/4 ED
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2014, 07:03:53 PM »
Link

Ken Rockwell link : http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/200mm-micro.htm

You can get the technical details there as I will restrict myself to my actual usage feedback.

Offline somnath goswami

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Re: First Impressions : AF-Micro-Nikkor 200 mm f/4 ED
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2014, 07:23:02 PM »
USAGE REPORT

As perhaps true with many, I started blazing away with usual coin shot, matchbox macro , unwilling subject's bored portrait etc. as soon as I opened the carton ;D . Then the excitement receded and I started using it in my rooftop garden. But lack of critters was a huge downer. Then I went to Shibpur botanical garden on this sunday afternoon. the rig was heavy . D700 plus this lens all mounted on a Novoflex Castel L macro rail and it was almost 3 kgs. I mounted the rig on steady CF legs and a manfrotto Ball head and it was stable enough. The day was partly cloudy and sunny with high breeze with spells of stillness which i tried to exploit. Amazingly no dragonfly could be seen  :( but other different insects were there . hence I started exploring the day with the lens.Now Bj?rn R?rslett has advised that F4 to F11 is the optimal range for this lens . But I have gone upto F16. Now whether diffraction is there or not is for you to judge and let me know.

Regarding flash, I am spoilt by my Metz MS1 ring flash and as the proper adapter is not yet with me I just took a SB700 with me but could not handle to use it effectively along with managing this super-heavy rig and abandoned the idea after some foiled attempts, hence the low SS achieved my me  :(. I have used a corded shutter release along with mirror lock-up.

I will say that if someone can manage the weight then this is a very capable set up. Working distance was very good but not as humongous as my sigma 180 mf f5.6 plus PN11 combo. But is the nikkor just minutely more sharp? I really don't care. If I have to keep one lens I will keep the Siggy but this nikkor is also an amzing performer. I'm now exploring the net and some Gurus' words for using this nikkor with pn11 to make a monster 252.5 mm MACROZILLA  ;) ...But that has to wait

Offline somnath goswami

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Re: First Impressions : AF-Micro-Nikkor 200 mm f/4 ED
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2014, 07:26:11 PM »
Exposure   0.017 sec (1/60)
Aperture   f/13.0
Focal Length   200 mm
ISO Speed   640



Offline somnath goswami

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Re: First Impressions : AF-Micro-Nikkor 200 mm f/4 ED
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2014, 07:29:28 PM »
Exposure   0.025 sec (1/40)
Aperture   f/14.0
Focal Length   200 mm
ISO Speed   640




Exposure   0.033 sec (1/30)
Aperture   f/16.0
Focal Length   200 mm
ISO Speed   640



Exposure   0.017 sec (1/60)
Aperture   f/14.0
Focal Length   200 mm
ISO Speed   640




Offline somnath goswami

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Re: First Impressions : AF-Micro-Nikkor 200 mm f/4 ED
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2014, 07:31:10 PM »
Would very much like to know your thoughts and questions , if any. You can click on the images to see at better resolution and bigger size.

regards

Somnath

Offline hvdatar

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Re: First Impressions : AF-Micro-Nikkor 200 mm f/4 ED
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2014, 07:38:19 PM »
superb  :like:
Some Canon Gears

Offline ashok

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Re: First Impressions : AF-Micro-Nikkor 200 mm f/4 ED
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2014, 07:58:26 PM »
Very well written.  Beautiful photos. The lens is a keeper.  ( Darn!!! Up goes in smoke my dreams of relieving it of you  :'(  )

Offline PixelHunter

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Re: First Impressions : AF-Micro-Nikkor 200 mm f/4 ED
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2014, 08:05:15 PM »
Very nice write up. Liked the photos as well.. :like:
"The best camera is the one that's with you" Chase Jarvis

Offline MayaV

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Re: First Impressions : AF-Micro-Nikkor 200 mm f/4 ED
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2014, 08:52:38 PM »
Very happy to see that lens in action, i would have not been able to do justice to quality of this lens.

Very happy for you Somnath, amazing result! Keep clicking ;-)

Offline Prabir

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Re: First Impressions : AF-Micro-Nikkor 200 mm f/4 ED
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2014, 09:43:50 PM »
Congratulations.
As I have commented in fb, would like to see more shots.
Happy shooting.
Prabir K. Bhattacharyya

[Canon 5DM2 & 7DM2, a few glass pieces, sun glasses and a lot of friends...

Offline Bharat Varma

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Re: First Impressions : AF-Micro-Nikkor 200 mm f/4 ED
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2014, 09:51:52 PM »
Lots to see and assimilate from your posts here, Somnath.

Hence, I'll just put down my observations and queries point by point for clarity and to be systematic....

1. The built-in, telescoping in hoods are the best ones - Micro Nikkor 105 F4, Canon 400 F5.6. Wish this was standard on more lenses. The 62mm rubber hood ought to work well with this. What are the specs of the Metz flash? Can you mount it with the hood installed? Which lens cap do you have - center pinch or not? If not, get a center pinch one - much more convenient to operate with a hood installed.

2. A good quality filter would be highly recommended. You absolutely don't want to brush against a branch and possibly scratch the lens coating.

3. What's the problem with the tripod collar? Some give in it? How does "black-taped it extensively to further enhance the strength" help? You could look at getting some hard rubber cut in a wedge shape and jamming it between the collar and the lens body for further rigidity. Be sure to put some tape (Gaffer tape or any reasonably thick tape) at the points of contact so as not to abrade the paint.

4. I find that some shake is introduced when using a wired remote. Even the unit itself, dangling from the camera, can cause some movement. A Radio trigger would work much better than a corded remote. Surprised that the D700 doesn't support a simple IR remote. The Canon 5D II does.

Quote
Working distance was very good but not as humongous as my sigma 180 mf f5.6 plus PN11 combo.
:'(

Quote
The lens is a keeper.  ( Darn!!! Up goes in smoke my dreams of relieving it of you  :'(  )
:'(

When you or Ashok get too busy with work to put the Sigma to productive use, think of me please.
Ashok, get yourself a copy of this 200mm lens please. See, it's a Nikon, it's the best Nikon macro lens, it shoots 1:1, it's nice and heavy (you'll look more manly shooting with it). Give up the Sigma (you know Sigma stands for "Sig"nificant "Ma"lfunction, don't you?)
 :)
« Last Edit: February 22, 2016, 01:54:47 PM by Bharat Varma »

Offline somnath goswami

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Re: First Impressions : AF-Micro-Nikkor 200 mm f/4 ED
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2014, 10:35:58 PM »
Thanks everyone ...

@Bharat

1. Yes the built in telescopic hoods were the best .But sigh ...they no longer make them. The Hoya rubber hood is doing it's job. The metz flash has adapter bundled for 49mm,52mm and 58 mm . We are supposed to buy the others (20$ around per piece  ::)) I'm using both types of caps but not getting smug fit. The outer rim has no dent too...I'm amazed.Can't make out the reason.

This is the flash : http://www.wexphotographic.com/buy-metz-15-ms-1-wireless-digital-macro-flash/p1029398

2. I usually don't use UV filters . The hood should do the job .... and has to be careful  ;). May be my lesson is on the way  :P

3.The tripod collar has NO play. I taped it to render it some more materials strength by binding hard. May be a foolish idea? ;D

4. I am satisfied with corded release .It connects to a 10 pin port. I hold the switch. with mirror lock up the first press of switch locks the mirror up, I then wait a few seconds to cut the vibration and then just press once more to release the shutter. Allows satisfactory result. IR remote , yes could be handy  :) ...but don't miss it too much.

Thanks for the time you have spent on this thread ,  :)

cheers

somnath
« Last Edit: February 24, 2014, 09:47:43 AM by somnath goswami »

Offline Madhav Bhakta

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Re: First Impressions : AF-Micro-Nikkor 200 mm f/4 ED
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2014, 11:41:50 PM »
Killer shots.

Sent from my GT-N7000 using Tapatalk 2
Canon 7D, Canon 100mm f2.8 USM Macro, Tamron 17-50mm f2.8, Canon 55-250mm IS, Vivitar 28mm f2.8, Opteka 6.5mm f3.5 Fisheye Lens, Raynox DCR 250, Benro 1980F, Fancierstudio 6664 Ballhead, 4 Way Macro Rail.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/m_bhakt/

Offline somnath goswami

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Re: First Impressions : AF-Micro-Nikkor 200 mm f/4 ED
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2014, 03:46:16 PM »
Thanks Madhav
Cheers
Somnath