Short review Nikon Nikkor-P Auto 1: 2.8 f = 180mm (1971-74)

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Nikon Nikkor-P Auto 1: 2.8 f = 180mm

Nikon Nikkor-P Auto 1:2.8 f=180mm. increase.

In short

Nikon Nikkor-P Auto 1:2.8 f=180mm is an old fast telephoto lens for film SLR cameras. One of the best portrait lenses of all time.

Nikkor 180/2.8 series lenses have a long history and many modifications. With the advent of the mirrorless series Nikon Z there are no more such autofocus solutions and there will be no more. Worst of all, that on the cameras of the series Nikon Z autofocus does not support even the original autofocus reflex Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8D ED AF Nikkor, announced in 1994.

Nikkor class lenses 100/2.8, 105/2.5, 135/2.8 и 180/2.8 were abolished and generally replaced by class solutions TBU. Separately, there are especially fast solutions like 105 / 1.4, 105/2, 135/2 and 200 / 2.

Mirrorless digital cameras have given a second life to these old lenses.

Nikon Nikkor-P Auto 1: 2.8 f = 180mm

Nikon Nikkor-P Auto 1: 2.8 f = 180mm


  1. Nippon Kogaku Japan Nikkor-H 1: 2.5 f = 18cm (Nikon RF, aka Nikon S, and M39 version), from about 1953. It could also be used on SLR cameras using an 'N->F' adapter. It has several sub-versions with minor differences regarding distance marks and serial number.
  2. Nippon Kogaku Japan Nikkor-HC 1:2.5 f=18cm, since about 1955. The same optical design. After this model, Nikon had a long pause of almost 20 years to release a further line of similar lenses.
  3. 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.
  4. In 1971 the name was updated - Nikon Nikkor-P Auto 1: 2.8 f = 180mm, but in fact it was exactly the same 'Nikkor-P' with 5 elements in 4 groups. Produced through 1974. Overview here.
  5. 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.
  6. In 1977 came the classic AI version - Nikon Nikkor 1: 2.8 180mm (AI), which was produced until 1981. The same optical scheme was used. There are two sub-versions that are distinguished by a comfortable grip ring at the front of the hood.
  7. 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.
  8. The first autofocus 1986 / 180 was released in 2.8 -  Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor (IF MKI), which, due to a large number of complaints from photographers, was very quickly replaced by the second version. Complaints related to the focus ring and the general depravity of the design compared to the old manual options. The optical scheme has already begun to use 8 elements in 6 groups. Easily distinguished by the plastic focus ring and sleek body.
  9. In 1987, the lens was updated to version Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor (IF MKII) and was produced until 1987. The optical design is unchanged. Easily identified by the rubberized focus ring and sleek body.
  10. In 1987, the lens finally acquired a modern look. The version is called Nikon 180mm 1: 2.8 ED AF Nikkor (IF MKIII), was produced until 1995. The optical design is unchanged. It is easy to distinguish by the rough coating of the case. Review here.
  11. 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). The optical design is unchanged. Easily identified by the 'D' in the lens name. An overview can be found here.

A visual view of autofocus lens options can be found in the 'Portrait lens for Nikon cameras'.

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 optical scheme 8/6 (1986-2018)
Nikon Nikkor-P Auto 1: 2.8 f = 180mm

Nikon Nikkor-P Auto 1: 2.8 f = 180mm

Main technical characteristics of Nikon Nikkor-P Auto 1: 2.8 f = 180mm:

Review Instance Name Nikon Nikkor-P Auto 1: 2.8 f = 180mm
Basic properties
  • Cars - auto iris control
  • P (Pentax) - five lenses in the optical scheme
  • FX (for Nikon FX) - the lens is designed for full-size cameras
  • MF (Mannual Focus) - manual focus only
  • PRE AI (NON AI) - diaphragm control ring with “ears”
  • Non-g (Non gelded) - the presence of the aperture control ring
  • metal case, stylish design
Front Filter Diameter 72 mm, metal thread for filters
Focal length 180 mm

Zoom ratio 1 X (this is a fixed lens, it does not have a zoom)
Designed by for film cameras
Number of aperture blades  7
Tags A scale with a focusing distance in meters and feet, a scale is plotted on the focus ring. The depth of field scale is made in the form of multi-colored stripes, the color of which corresponds to a certain value of the number F:

  • green - F / 8
  • pink - F / 16
  • yellow - F / 22
  • blue - F / 32

There is a mark in the form of a red dot for working in the infrared spectrum

Diaphragm from f/2.8 to f/32. The aperture control ring has marks for values ​​of 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22, 32. The ring rotates with clicks. There are no intermediate values.
MDF 1.8 meters
The weight 880 grams
Optical design 5 elements in 4 groups without special elements.

Nikon 180 2.8

Lens hood Built-in, telescopic, retractable
Manufacturer country LENS MADE IN JAPAN (Japan)
Period With 1971 on 1974
Price About 300 dollars per second option

Nikon Nikkor-P Auto 1: 2.8 f = 180mm is very well assembled, with a beautiful chrome insert ring between the aperture control ring and the focus ring. The focus ring is rubberized and rotates approximately 180 degrees. The focus ring is large enough in diameter, which makes focusing comfortable.

The retractable telescopic hood has a fabric seal on its inside, it is well fixed in active and folded form. The tip of the hood has a comfortable corrugated ring.

Nikon Nikkor-P Auto 1: 2.8 f = 180mm

Nikon Nikkor-P Auto 1: 2.8 f = 180mm

Sample Photos

All photos in the review are shown without processing. Photos on a cropped camera were prepared by a photographer Natalia (Instagram). Camera used Sony NEX-6 (16 MP Sony Exmor APS-C HD CMOS sensor) and adapter FOTGA Nikon F (AI) -> SONY NEX. All photos are JPEG taken in camera. There are few photos, since the copy from the review had a very (very!) tight focus ring, it was extremely painful to shoot on Nikon Nikkor-P Auto 1: 2.8 f = 180mm.

Original JPEG images can be view / download from this link (20+ files).

Nikon Nikkor-P Auto 1: 2.8 f = 180mm

Nikon Nikkor-P Auto 1:2.8 f=180mm. Despite the serial number, the copy from the review has two rows of numbers on the aperture control scale and is an AI / AIS modification. Perhaps the ring has been replaced. Possibly a rare subversion. There are no exact data.

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Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram

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Comments: 5, on the topic: Brief review of Nikon Nikkor-P Auto 1: 2.8 f = 180mm (1971-74)

  • Natalia

    Yes, the focus ring is quite tight. But in general, when I was fond of shooting the sky, and the ring was set to infinity, the pictures turned out good) I really like the cold tone, the picture that the lens draws. In principle, I'm more inclined towards the Nikon picture, so I liked the lens;) And of course, the effect of presence in space, I took such pictures with this lens, as if I were shooting from an airplane, although I was standing on the field during sunset)

    • Rodion

      Have you ever used the original CZJ Sonnar 180/2.8 (medium format or old small format)? I have very positive impressions about the small-format version - I still use it periodically.

  • Alexander Pivovar

    Ridna Bila Church)))

  • Lensmaster

    It is a pity that solid jpegs and crop.
    The optics are legendary.
    On the film, it’s generally waste, at one time it was uncontested and as desirable as modern Batis, I guess.

  • Sergei Mikhailovich

    I have a Nikkor 2.8/180 Ai from 1981, the last year of the Non-ED version. It looks slightly different than the one presented in the review. I looked for it at one time consciously, because... I don’t like the blurry (bokeh) image of the ED version. The lens gives just an amazing picture when shooting portraits. This is exactly why it was purchased. I recommend to all.

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