Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII Review

Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor is an amazing lens! For its low cost, it can create photographs that only expensive optics can do.

Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII Review

Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII Review

This review presents the third version of the 180 / 2.8 class lens, with auto focus. Class 180 / 2.8 Nikon lenses have a long history:

  1. The first aperture 180 at Nikon appeared for rangefinder cameras back in 1953. It was a lens Nippon Kogaku Japan Nikkor-H 1: 2.5 f = 18cm (Nikon RF). It could be used on DSLRs with the 'N-> F' adapter. In 1956 it was updated to the Preset version without major modifications. After this model, Nikon had a long pause of almost 20 years for the release of a further line of similar lenses.
  2. Only in 1970 was the first version of the '180 / 2.8' class lens for SLR cameras introduced - Nikkor-P Auto 1: 2.8 f = 180mm Nippon Kogaku Japanbased on 5 lenses in 4 groups. The 'P' stands for 'Penta' - that is, 5 lenses in the optical design. Produced before 1971, very few of these lenses were produced.
  3. In 1971 the name was updated - Nikon Nikkor-P Auto 1: 2.8 f = 180mmbut in reality it was exactly the same 'Nikkor-P' with 5 elements in 4 groups. Produced until 1974.
  4. In 1975, the lens received special enlightenment and became known as Nikon Nikkor-PC Auto 1: 2.8 f = 180mm ('C' stands for 'Coating'), has the same optical design, and was produced until 1977.
  5. In 1977, the first AI version - Nikon Nikkor 1: 2.8 180mm (AI), which was produced in 1981. The same optical scheme was used.
  6. And in 1981, the legendary Nikon Nikkor ED 1: 2.8 180mm (AI-S). This lens has already begun to use the updated optical scheme with 5 elements in 5 groups, 1 element was made ED glass. This version was produced for a very long period along with autofocus options. It is believed that this version of the 180s was most successful at all times. Produced until 2005. My review of this model can be found here.
  7. The first autofocus 1986 / 180 was released in 2.8 -  Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor (IF MKI), which, due to the large number of complaints by photographers, was very quickly replaced with the second version. Complaints concerned the focus ring and the general design corruption compared to the old manual versions. In the optical scheme, 8 elements in 6 groups have already begun to be used. The same optical scheme is used now.
  8. In 1987, the lens was updated to version Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor (IF MKII) and produced in 1987. Optical design unchanged.
  9. In 1987, the lens finally acquired a modern look. The version is called Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor (IF MKIII), issued before 1995. Optical design without changes. Modification of MK III is presented in this review.
  10. Latest version got letter 'D' in its name and has been produced from 1994 to the present day -  Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8D ED AF Nikkor (IF MKIV). Optical design unchanged. Browse can find here.

A visual view of autofocus lens options can be found in the 'Portrait lens for Nikon cameras', and the optical scheme in the'Optical design for most Nikon FX autofocus discrete lenses'.

If we group all the lenses according to optical schemes, then we can distinguish 4 groups:

  • rangefinder 180 / 2.5 with optical scheme 6/4 (1953-1963)
  • with optical scheme 5/4 (1970-1981)
  • with optical scheme 5/5 (1981-2005)
  • with 8/6 optical design (1986-present)

It’s a pity, but almost 1995 years have passed since 20, and Nikon still has not replaced the old film Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8D ED AF Nikkor (IF MKIV) something new. Seriously speaking, the 180 / 2.8 autofocus lens has not changed since 1986, and now digital cameras rule the world, and it would be nice to release an adapted version for them.

It looks so great on the ZK

It looks so great on the ZK

Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII - very high quality made, the body is made entirely of metal with a rough, anti-slip surface. Even the built-in hood and the filter thread are metallic. Usually such a rough lens barrel is attributed only to the old professional line of Nikon lenses.

View Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII with an extended hood

View Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII with an extended hood

Even now, many photographers classify the Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF as a professional lens. True, modern professional Nikon lenses have a front filter diameter of 77 mm, and Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII uses a slightly smaller diameter - 72 mm. I have a couple polarizing and ND filters for 77 mm and in order to put them on the lens I have to use a reduction ring 77 -> 72 mm. At the same time, you cannot use the built-in hood, which upsets me a little.

Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII

Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII General Information

Auto focus speed is average, closer to slow. AF speed comparable to that of a lens Nikon ED AF Nikkor 80-200mm 1: 2.8D MKIII in 'Full' limiter mode. Internal focus.

The lens has a 'A-M' focus mode switch. I was very upset by the fact that to switch to manual focus mode, you need to set the switches on the lens and on the camera to the 'M' mode. For example on Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm 1: 1.4D just set the switch on the lens only. If you do not set the 'M' mode on the camera, but only on the lens, then the lens will continue to focus automatically, and the focus ring will rotate from the focus motor.

Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII rear view

Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII rear view

The focusing ring is wide enough, rubberized and pleasant to the touch. In 'A' mode, the focus ring is locked and cannot be rotated, but in 'M' it rotates by 180 degrees. Focusing manually is not difficult. The minimum focusing distance is only 1.5 meters. Of course, a lens of this level has a focus distance scale with designations in meters and feet, a depth of field scale for F / 16 and F / 22, and an infrared shift mark for shooting in the infrared spectrum.

View Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII

View Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII

The lens has a manual aperture ring. To be able to control the value aperture from camera or for automatic installation aperture on modern central control valves, you need to turn the control ring to F / 22 and fix it with a special lever, which is located to the right of the marks aperture. If this is not done, then on a number of cameras, the display will display an error - 'fEE' (ring is not installed aperture) Some cameras having diaphragm rheostatallow you to control the aperture using the ring aperturebut only in metering modes exposure 'M' and 'A'. You can read more about this issue in the section on Non-G Lenses. Ring aperture rotates with clicks, the values ​​F / 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22 are plotted on it; setting an intermediate value between pairs of numbers using the aperture ring is not possible. Intermediate values ​​can only be set using the camera menu.

Autofocus with Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII is only available when used on cameras with built-in motor focusing. The exact list of cameras that support auto focus with 'AF' lenses can be found in the 'Auto focus on Nikon cameras'. Also note that this Non-D type lensthat may be a problem when using the flash.

Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII with a native front cover of the old model

Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII with a native front cover of the old model

Due to the fact that the camera motor (screwdriver), the lens emits quite loud noise with auto focus.

Interesting feature the lens is a 9-blade aperture, the petals of which are located behind the last lens of the lens, because of which they can be felt with your fingers. They say that from such a device, the petals can get dirty and erase, I didn’t notice anything like that on my lens. The same aperture location can be seen at Nikon ED AF Nikkor 300mm 1: 4.

Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII Lens Aperture Petals

Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII Lens Aperture Petals

My experience

I really like the Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII drawing, so I do not change it to something else, even though there are certain flaws in my copy. As for usability on full-frame cameras, there are no problems here, 180 mm is a 'nice' focal length for leisurely shooting.

Often this lens is replaced with high-speed zoom lenses of class 70 (80) -200 / 2.8, but they are at least 2 times heavier Nikon 180 / 2.8 ED AF, and Nikon 70-200 / 2.8GII AF-S N 3 times more expensive. My copy suffers from focusing errors at close distances, and many other users write about errors in the autofocus system. Focusing accuracy issues are mainly found on MK III and MK IV. I am very sorry that the lens does not have a focusing distance limiter and therefore loses in focus speed to aperture zoom class 70 (80) -200 / 2.8. Apparently, Nikon does the same with its 180 / 2.8 line, as with 135. If you have a choice between Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor and Nikon 80-200mm f / 2.8D ED AF Nikkor MKIII, I would recommend the latter for work, since with a fix there is much more 'running around' in the literal sense of the word.

Medium focusing speed, focusing accuracy issues, lack of stabilizer, wacky 'A-M' switch, mediocre backlit performance and strong ghosting around contrast elements in photographs (frizzing) on ​​the Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII are usually reasons to buy high-aperture heavy zooms for replacement. Modern zooms still go through a number of modifications and improvements and are devoid of some of the above disadvantages. Add to this the usability factor and the same aperture F / 2.8.

Compared to some high aperture zooms, the Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII wins with virtually zero distortion, neutral color accuracy, less vignetting, and less drop in sharpness from the center to the edges of the image. It so happened that the 180 / 2.8 is a certain borderline between the optics of the middle and high price categories. More 'strong' native prime lenses than 180 / 2.8 can be called only 200 / 2.0 or 300 / 2.8, the prices of which are much higher.

On Nikon DX cameras EGF such a lens will be 270 mm (!), which will allow using it as a lens for hunting photos at short distances, as well as for reporting shooting at a sufficient distance. But I still think that using Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII on cropped cameras is not convenient.

As for sharpness, then on F / 2.8 in the center of the frame, the sharpness completely suits me on cameras Nikon D700 и Nikon D80. On f / 4.0, sharpness becomes perfect. I have no complaints about sharpness.

Aperture F / 2.8 helps achieve short excerpts and I have no problem shooting handheld. Even on cropped cameras, I can normally shoot on shutter speed no longer than 1/160 second. But when you have to close the diaphragm, the stabilizer in the lens would be just a great addition.

Sample photos on Canon EOS 5D (used with Nikon mount F - Canon EOS adapter):

Sample photos on Nikon D700:

The parameters shown in the photo gallery:
Everything is filmed on Nikon D700. On camera JPEG L (compression 'optimal quality'), without treatment (on 2 photos the traces of dust on the matrix are removed). Functions: Control vignetting, ADL, noise reduction at slow shutter speeds, noise reduction at high ISO - were off. Everything was shot in SD (standard mode): contrast correction - 0, brightness - 0, saturation - 0, hue - 0, sharpness - position 5 out of 10. The size of the photos has been reduced to 3 MP.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.4G SWM and Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.4G SWM and Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII

More examples of photos on film can be found in the review. Nikon F6.

Enlightenment of the front lens of the Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII lens

Enlightenment of the front lens of the Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII lens

On sale Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII is not new to find. I recommend a newer model for use Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8D ED AF Nikkor MKIV, prices for which you can see hereor in the price block located below:

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Video review can be viewed at my new YouTube channel - subscribe and like!

Conclusions

Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII is a good lens with a nice pattern and light weight, it can serve as an excellent portrait lens on FX cameras, in fact it is considered inexpensive option for fast fixed telephoto. I want to separately note the excellent Japanese assembly. The conclusions do not want to write about the shortcomings, but they are also present.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval... Look for me on Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter.

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Comments: 38, on the topic: Review Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII

  • Denis

    AF-S Nikkor 70-200 f / 2.8G VRII also has a tendency to often make mistakes in focusing, especially on low-contrast objects and on small focal lengths 70-100… 130 mm.

  • chlorat

    The picture is just awesome! I fell in love with this glass. Too bad the price is biting (

    • Yaroslav

      The price is not very biting, it is quite comparable to the 85 1.8. pops up often at Japanese auctions in good condition for 13-17 kopecks. A new “cheap” costs about 24 in a Russian store.

      • chlorat

        Thanks for the tip. In our "village" he stands 27.

        • Yaroslav

          I generally mine for 10.5 k, excluding delivery on ebee grabbed. But I have MkI in a different case.

          • kiev_poznyaki

            Yaroslav, can you provide links to these same Japanese auctions? Or is it about ebay?

        • Yaroslav

          Japanese Auk - Yahoo. but they don’t send them to Rashka. So you need to use a proxy.
          The most suitable one is Yaharu (and we type it in a search engine, it will give it right away).
          But Japanese auction pain and torment, so I advise you to just follow on ebay for lots.

  • Yaroslav

    Thanks for the review, it was interesting to see examples from the third generation and compare with the first. As expected, there is no difference)

    Now there will be a long comment, because I myself am crazy about this glass. I hope this is not bad at all with the links to the photo

    As for the open aperture blades, it does not get dirty, but there may be too much dust on old copies. When I was looking for where to buy myself, I talked with a couple of Japanese that they were selling. They showed me in detail the specimens that were once workhorses. There is too much dust, though. As a result, I bought myself MK I from America in a state as if it had never been used at all.
    As for the criticized first version in terms of design, the lens looks much better in real life than in the photo. The semi-gloss finish looks cool and expensive (I personally like the later ones even more, because of the deep black color of the case). But there are also disadvantages - fingerprints are very visible and the built-in hood glides more strongly due to this coating.
    The ring is narrow but comfortable. And yet, there is also a minus, a window with a distance scale is too close to the ring, and it happens that you cling to a plastic glass with your fingers and snap it off.
    About the very use of glass: because of the construction, in which all the lenses are in the front of the lens, the carcass with this glass noticeably "bites". It was unusual to use the first couple of days, a zoom of a similar weight felt much more pleasant and convenient when shooting. BUT this is no baht block. One had only to attach it, and everything fell into place. The lens became a real continuation of the carcass, it became much more convenient to hold and shoot (I felt this only with all sorts of monster 80-200 and 70-200).

    About autofocus: it's controversial, but not slow. More precisely, not so. It is slow at close range in the MDF area. When shooting objects at a distance of 1.5-3 meters (especially if the lens is pointed at infinity before focusing), focusing is uncertain, in large, but still steps (like contrasting AF, not phase). If the subject is further than 7 meters from the photographer, the AF just comes to life and is quite comparable in speed to 70-200. Roughly speaking, on this frame ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/izlomdoc/11311973633/ ) was induced, well, very long and painfully, but on this ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/izlomdoc/11311973503/ ) instantly in the servant and at the same time I went to meet. By the way, I should note that this glass really does a very good job of tracking af (just recently I took off aikido training, it pleased the glass).
    But I did not notice problems with focusing accuracy (if you wait for it, of course). Even at distances close to MDF ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/izlomdoc/11455319293/ )
    The sharpness is indeed very high, at an open sharpness of Nikonov apt fifty dollars at 2.8, for example, at 5.6 even sigma makrik begins to outperform in sharpness (unexpectedly), though diffraction quickly occurs (it is already noticeable at f10). And yes, it is noticeably sharper on the open in comparison with the same zoom 80-200 (usually compared with him, judging by the Internet).

    Well and yes, after I got this glass, all the other glasses began to seem so pale and soapy. Especially at half speed 1.4d I was disappointed, yeah (

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Thanks for the interesting addition about MKI.

  • Artem

    “… For film central locking centers”. "C" is superfluous. Thanks for your review.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Thanks, corrected, this is a typo.

  • Valery

    Good review, interesting lens! Thanks!

  • anonym

    Colorful review)

  • Roma

    And just a week ago I bought this glass on ebay. Now I can’t wait :)
    Straight hands itch)))

  • Vasiliev Ivan

    thanks for the interesting review
    180 for the company - for the company - the letter "m" is missing.
    Arkady, tell me, did you think about the system as on the website of Dmitry Yevtifeev ctr + enter and information about the error is sent?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Updated. There will be time, I will.

  • Roma

    Is the lens hood removed?

  • pasha

    In your opinion, what is better than Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor MKIII or Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED Nikkor ???

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Understand the 180 model range, the description is at the beginning of the review. Better, of course, the last modification.

  • pasha

    Will they fit the Nikon D7100?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Yes, they do.

  • Anatoly

    They will come up, but they will no longer be 180 mm, but 270. For a crop, 100 mm is better, portraits are just a song :) 270 mm, as Arkady said, is more for hunting. I tried 180 and 100 I left myself a "hundred", although at concerts from hall 180 a wonderful lens. If possible, test before buying, personal experience is better than online reviews.

  • Oleg

    I have the first version (the same MK1) with a plastic case and the same focus ring. I bought it on Ibei for 150 bucks thanks to a friend who often monitored Ibei. I cleaned it, lubricated it. It works like a clock. It’s accurate at any focusing distance. version. He also wants to miss in the range of 1,5-10 meters.

  • Victory -

    Thanks for the review, Arkady. I’m reading your site with great interest, by the way, and Fujik about 5, and I selected some lenses for it based on your reviews, and I have no regrets about it :)
    As for this lens, as for me, Nikon Nikkor ED 1: 2.8 180mm (AI-S) gives a much more beautiful picture, but without autofocus.
    I absolutely agree with you - there are no bad lenses, each is designed for specific tasks. For leisurely shooting, I would recommend the old Nikon AI-S fixes. Well, for reports or when there is no time at all - of course autofocus. Although I was always surprised how people lived without autofocus and shot on film.
    Thank you for this site, good luck and all the best.

  • Ruslan

    Good day to you, Arkady.
    First of all, of course, I would like to thank you for the huge number of reviews of Nikon and manual lenses .. And especially for the article about Nikon CLS. It helped me a lot :)
    And as for the lens, its blurring is just incredible somehow :) Now it is leading in my personal bokeh rating, having moved 135 f2 DC to second place.

    But, I have a D5200. That is, I need AF-S lenses. Could you tell me some AF-S lenses with a similar soft design?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      300mm f / 4 af-s, 300mm f / 2.8 af-s, 200 mm f / 2 af-s, 80-200 mm f / 2.8 mkIV.

      • Ruslan

        Thank you, 300 F / 4 also really liked.
        Now I’d just have to find one .. Yes, and I’m wondering how inconvenient it would be to be worn with such a monster on the light D5200 .. but beauty requires sacrifice :)
        Thanks again for the recommendations, where do you like here? :)

        • Arkady Shapoval

          New Nikon 300mm f / 4.0E PF ED VR AF-S Nikkor It’s small in itself, but it’s still hard to find. Just publish this review on your social network, green buttons at the end of the review.

          • Ruslan

            Unfortunately, I am not in any of these social networks (yes, people like me also :)). But, I liked the video review. I still have it on youtube.
            The only thing that upset in the video review was too quiet a voice against the background of too loud music ... It's strange, you have to listen ... but this is your business, as they say :)
            Do not judge strictly for criticism. In any case, you are doing a very good and useful thing, keep it up!

  • Yura

    powerful glass !!! Objects as if selects. it’s a pity you just have to go far. but it’s nothing, the lens is excellent.

  • Olga

    Arkady, thanks for the review! I am currently considering purchasing this used lens. Found on Avito two options. Both look the same. I can’t really understand how to distinguish externally the MKIII and MKIV versions? I look at the photos of both versions and I see no differences. Is it written somewhere on the case? Or maybe some details are different? How to visually distinguish them? Thank you in advance!

    • B. R. P.

      Quote from the review: “The latest version received the letter 'D' in its title and has been in production since 1994 to this day.”

  • Michael

    I read somewhere that this lens does not allow more than 12 mega pixels? Is this so, will it work fine on the Nikon D7200 with 24 mega pixels? thanks

    • Michael

      You can work with anything, some individuals also take pictures of Helios with a breath. If we are talking about pixel-by-pixel sharpness, then it will not be

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Close the aperture to F / 5.6-F / 8.0 and get a decent result

  • Nik

    What do you think is better for a full frame this 180 2.8 even if IV or Sigma 85 1.4?

  • Nik

    Trying on. Yes. Sigma 85 1.4 - you won't have to run far).
    And the average 180 is better than the average 80-200 ...
    Well, thanks for the lack of an answer.

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