Nikkor 200mm F4 AI and Nikkor 200mm F4 AF. Are they the same?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by jerry_schuler, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. Does the old Nikkor prime lens 200mm F4 AI which goes for $100 to $200 on ebay in mint condition have the same optical quality as the new Nikkor prime lens 200mm F4 AF which sells for $1400.00?
  2. Jerry I don't know the answer but I have one and it's very sharp. I sort of think there are 2 or 3 formulations if I remember correctly.
  3. The good news is the old 200-4 is a gem of a lens and it's of a build quality you won't find anymore this side of Leica.
  4. Just remember that depending on your camera, the older AI version might not meter.
  5. These two lenses are completely different. The 200/4 AF you mention is a macro lens. There was an earlier manual focus version of this lens and it's very expensive too. The 200/4 AI is a conventional non-macro 200. Optically the 200/4 AI and 200/4 AIS are the same. There was also a 200/4 'K' lens which had the same optical formula as the AI and AIS models. The 'K' lens is the last pre-AI version and had a rubber coveed focusing ring. All of these lenses had the 5 Element/5 Group design. The earlier 200/4 Nikkors had a 4 Element/4 Group design and were longer. In my collection I have a 20CM/4, 200/4 Q, 200/4 QC and 200/4 AI. I know the AI lens is supposed to be better but my favorite is the 200/4 QC. It has excellent coating and feels much lighter than it looks.
  6. The Nikkor 200mm f4 AI is a stellar performer. The lens it replaced, non-AI, was a dog. Make sure you don't have the old one that has been Ai'd.
  7. I just checked this very informative site. Seems nikon snuck a non-AI in with the 5/5 optical formula for two years while I wasn't looking. I was meaning that the non-AI 4/4 formula was a dog, but it looks like Jeff will disagree with me. I remember the early 4/4 designs being very well made and pretty, but soft. Lenses with serial numbers at or above 670001 are the 5/5 design that I liked.
  8. Thank you guys. This has helped.
  9. I have the Ai and AiS versions of the 200/4 and also the Ai 200/4 Micro -- they are all fantastic performers. I tested all three and the Micro was a little softer but not by much. I'm selling on the Ai non-Micro just to clear out redundant lenses but the AiS 200/4 and the Micro 200/4 are definite keepers. Only reason I decided to sell the Ai is that it's a little older and focus ring a tiny bit loose compared to the AiS. The non-Micro is excellent for walking about with, very small lens for its focal length whereas the Micro is long and thin and stands out in a crowd :) but the Micro is amazing, sharp and easy to focus from almost nothing to infinity!
  10. I have the AI version 5/5 of this lens and it is great for the price. Optically it is good enough that you can match and exceed a 300mm f/4.5 non-AI (I have it and it is a dog) by just cropping the image from the 200mm f/4 down to 300mm.

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