Nikon 200mm f2 AI

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by iversonwhite, Apr 2, 2018.

  1. Hello all,

    Anyone have this lens and miss not being able to use filters? Hope to hear from you soon.

  2. I've not used one, but all the AI and AI-s versions(along with the current AF versions) have some provision for filters. Most of them have a rear filter drawer that will accept a 52mm screw-in(Nikon brand or other thin mount filter) or gel. I'm assuming it's like other big lenses with a rear filter in that you should always have some sort of filter(even if just clear glass).

    I think the very earliest version did have front filter threads.
  3. The 200mm f2 AIS accepts filters in a rear drawer; the AI does not. I have the AI. Front filters in that size (122-138?) are probably impossibly expensive.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
  4. For what it's worth, I have the mk1 AF-S VR version of this, and I bought the polariser drop-in (which is a little odd because it has a wheel for rotating the polariser). Other than a test, I don't think I've ever used it, though the lens gets plenty of use. I consider this to be mostly a portrait lens, and it's been known for polarisers to do slightly funny (although occasionally helpful) things to skin reflectivity. I'm not normally trying to use it for landscapes or wildlife, where messing with the sky and water make a difference - I'm actually normally indoors with it, and want all the speed I can get.

    So if I had this, I wouldn't miss the absence of filters. :)
  5. I don't have this lens, but if I'd had it, I'd miss being able to put filters, mostly for B&W film photography. However, since the lens is not practically able by design (>77mm filters are insanely priced), there is little that can be done.
    Maybe I don't get what you hope to achieve here; to be honest, if YOU miss the ability to use filters, you've got to make up your mind whether that is annoying enough to upgrade to the AiS (or later) version, or downsize to something like a 180mm f/2.8. Whether anyone else misses the ability to use filters, doesn't change much for your situation after all.
  6. Ah. Yes, for film, Wouter has a good point, and I guess film is more likely given the vintage of the lens. I don't think mine has ever been on my F5. You could tape a filter to the back of the lens if you felt keen! (I have various colour filters that I've used on film, but very rarely bother for a DSLR.)
  7. Thanks everyone for you perspective. Andrew's most of all. Yes, Wouter I was trying to make up my mind whether to keep it. I bought the lens primarily for video and the narrow depth of field and because the price was too good to pass up. As most of you probably know you only have one shutter speed in video and you need NDs to pre-select your f stop if it's too bright outside. I've decided to keep the lens and rent a 6.6" matte box when necessary as I already have a full set of 6.6" NDs.

    The lens is sharp enough wide open and very sharp at 2.8.

    Thanks again.
  8. Ah! Yes, NDs are another good reason to worry about filters. I have one variable ND (IIRC in 82mm), and that was expensive enough. I shudder to think what it would have cost to fit the front of a 200 f/2!

    Enjoy the continued time with your glass. I'm very fond of these lenses.
  9. "As most of you probably know you only have one shutter speed in video.."

    - Really? Even old cine cameras allowed you to change the exposure time with a sector shutter.

    FWIW, the Samyang 135mm f/2 is near to optically perfect, fully useable wide open and has a practical 77mm front filter size.
  10. I assumed that was a generalisation. :) There's certainly an argument that an inappropriate relationship between shutter speed and frame rate (and yes, there's a term for it, but I'm tired and don't shoot enough video to remember or look it up) looks funny, so you're a bit restricted. Generally I'd be more worried about the reverse relationship - not having enough time in the frame to allow enough light capture. But then I'm far from a pro video (or stills) shooter.

    Generally good things are said about that Samyang (I've considered one, although my experience with the 85mm encouraged me to go autofocus for longer lenses). It won't lose the background like a 200 f/2 (wide open), but to be honest I eventually resorted to a 150mm Sigma f/2.8 and then a 70-200 for a more "portable" long portrait lens, so I accept that carting a 3kg prime around isn't for every day. (My 200 f/2 was a "throw money at it" reaction to my unhappy relationship with my 135mm f/2 DC.)
  11. I've seen several references to the 200/2 for use as a portrait lens. Longer than I'd have expected but if it works...I'd give some thought to the 180/2.8 as well and I have the 135/2 and 105/2.5 both of which can absolutely lose the background with just a little care.

    Rick H.
  12. It is a bit long for a conventional portrait lens, although I consider the flattening effect of being "too telephoto" to be relatively subtle. Honestly, I use mine mostly for candids - either at weddings (where it does, I admit, get a bit heavy) or, more usually (for me), at tiddlywinks tournaments, which tend to have ugly piles of chairs in the background, and for which it is helpful to be some distance away from people trying to concentrate on their shots so you don't put them off. I'd previously used the 135mm f/2 DC, but honestly the LoCA was, for me, horrendous, and tiddlywinks is basically a sport consisting of small dark bits of plastic with shiny highlights, with a large white area of mat that's often surrounded by a relatively dark room. For a lens with bad LoCA, it's a pathological case. I also need good sharpness out to the edges of the frame since there's often something on the focal plane out there - though to be honest that's mostly put me off lenses like the 85mm f/1.4 AF-D. The 200/2, at least the AF-S versions, are almost apochromatic (although, to be fair, so is the 150mm Sigma, and the recent 70-200s aren't bad).

    Anyway, there are certainly more conventional (and cheaper) lenses if you just want portraiture. Even with the 135mm I've sometimes had to walk inconveniently far away to take a quick snap. But the 200/2 does lose the background more than almost any alternative (unless you have, say, a 400 f/2.8 and very precise geometry, or something exotic like a 300/2). I found the 135mm DC loses the background beautifully (though less than the longer glass), but the transition zone behaviour ruled it out; others seem to do better with theirs. The 180mm had a mythical reputation, but - except for portability - I don't think it holds up as well as the zooms in that range. There's always the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 (or the Mitakon 135mm f/1.4) if we're considering alternatives. I agree that even the 105mm f/2.5 can soften the background to a reasonable extent - it's the extent to which an awful background can be made to disappear by a large absolute entrance aperture that costs the big bucks.

    I do wish Nikon would do a 135mm with an apodisation element in it, though. Preferably with LoCA control as good as the Laowa 105mm STF's, but with a much stronger filter (like the Sony 135).
  13. "apodisation"

    - And the winner for least apocryphal (ab)use of language is...
  14. Care to elaborate, Joe? I'm always keen to know when I'm abusing terminology. Wikipedia suggests that there's actually a good reason behind this one...

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