Tochigi or Nikon 300mm f/2.0

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by vaughnbrines, Nov 21, 2010.

  1. Hello,

    Does anyone know where I could buy a Nikon 300mm f/2.0 or the same, similar version that Tochogi made? Although I am a college student, it is for a very specialized project that I am conducting this summer, for which I need this long focal length and the fastest aperture I can find.
    Thank you so much,
    Vaughn Brines
  2. lists one for about $700. Bargain condition, some filter ring damage. I've never bought anything from them, so I don't know just what that means, but I assume it won't take a filter.
  3. Where did you see that link?
  4. KEH is a great store but their search is not good.
  5. The listing is for a 300/2.8.
    The Nikon 300/2 shows up once every two to three years at a cost of $8000 to $15000. The last one I saw was online in an English store. The Tochogi ones are generally only available with a video camera mount, so completely impossible to use on film bodies. The last two I saw about 2 years ago sold for around $3000 if I am not mistaken.
    Your best bet is a Nikon 200/2 or Nikon 400/2.8 either of which can be easily found for under $2000 USD. Depending on what camera set up you need you could consider the Canon FD 200/1.8 or Canon EF 200/1.8, either of which is more difficult to find and will cost well over $2000 USD.
    You might find an Olympus 250mm f2 before you would find a Nikon 300mm f2.
  6. Any idea as to the best place to find an Olympus 250mm f/2? Any idea what price I might find it?
    As a matter of fact, what is the best place to find any of these?
  7. There is no "best place" to find any of those. The Nikon 300mm f2 and Oly 250mm f2 are so specialized that one comes up on the market every couple of years, so you literally have to search everywhere, or advertise for "lens wanted" and hope that someone who has one is in a selling mood.
    Do you, either through the school or on your own, have the $10,000 that one of these extremely rare lenses is going to cost you?
    Can you explain the project that you are working on? Is it film or digital? Do you need the fast aperture for shallow DOF, or for the low light ability?
    If it's a shallow DOF problem and you can tolerate film, an older medium format lens may be just the ticket. A 600mm f4 on a 6x7 medium format has exactly the same perspective and DOF as a 300mm f2 on 35mm. I've seen those lenses surprisingly cheap.
  8. Pentax also made an 800mm f/4 for the 6x7, and they aren't that hard to track down, at least compared to the Nikon and the Olympus. It was actually a current production lens until recently. There is one on the 'bay right now, for about a third of the Nikon and half of the Olympus.
  9. Vaughn, I bet we could narrow it down for you if you give us an idea of the money you have to spend (a range is fine). That way we could work the formula the other way around<g>. It is amazing what you can buy if you have enough money.
  10. John: You're right. I mis-read the listing in the KEH site. There was one on flickr, but it was a couple years ago, and pricey.
    Looks like a really rare item.
  11. Aperture ( are still listing their Nikkor 300 f/2 at 7900ukp/8900ukp depending on where you look on their site. Since they double as a cafeteria and get a bit of business from Nikkorphiles who come to gawp, I don't know how serious they are about selling it any more, just as Grey's seem to have given up on selling their 6mm f/2.8. It'll be a shame if it does go, because it's quite nice to see something so rare, but I have to admit that they're not exactly using it - and it's dwarfed by the 1000mm f/6.3 that's next to it. I find it a little hard to believe it's worth anyone's price/performance to need this lens, though - a 300 f/2.8 or 200 f/2 is much cheaper (frankly, so is a 600 f/4, which has the same size front element as the 300 f/2) and the modern ones will, I'm sure, be much better optically than the 300 f/2. And if you just want a large lens with a big physical aperture, it's scary how much cheaper a telescope is... Still, good luck - I'm intrigued to know what you'd be wanting to do with it.

    Alternatively, wait long enough and I'm sure one will turn up on eBay.
  12. I found a 6x7 600mm f/4.0 for $1,400.
    The problem is that I need to work with the files digitally.
    6x7 digital camera bodies aren't available at the moment, correct? What would it work like to shoot on a 645 digital body? Could the 6x7 lens be used? What would it be equivalent to, in terms of field of view?
    At the moment, I'm thinking somewhere in the range of a 250mm to 300mm 35mm-equivalent FOV would be ideal, with an equivalent aperture at or near f/2.0. What would be equivalent to this on 645? I found a Mamiya 500mm f/5.6 for near $500; how would that equate in 35mm terms?
    How would that 800mm f/4.0 even look? It is enticing. Perhaps I'll look into it again someday when 6x7 digital bodies are made.
    And yes, I'm interested in this for the shallow DOF implications; I'm stitching together photos to make wide fields of view but with shallow depths of field. Then I'll be moving their elements and animating them in a stop-motion short film.
    I can spend $4,000 max, but would prefer to spend less, obviously. I'm likely to be awarded a $2,500 grant from my school; beyond that would be out of pocket expenses, but I can always sell the equipment after the project is finished.
    Because DOF is my concern, it almost makes sense at that point to go with a Nikon 400mm f/2.8 for 35mm. Not quite 300mm f/2.0, but close. I would definitely prefer a shorter focal length--250mm.
  13. In response to the 200mm f/2.0 suggestion--
    I'm already planning to use a 85mm f/1.2 for closer shots of the subject. The longer lens is for when the subject is farther away--I'd prefer something a little longer than the 200mm, as it has some overlap of usefulness with the 85mm, in my estimation.
    My goal is to isolate the subject, not just in a small field of view, but in a large one.
  14. Also, I hear the 600mm f/4.0 from Pentax suffers a lot of chromatic aberration. Anyone's experiences?
    I'd love to see samples from either the 800mm f/4.0 or the 600mm f/4.0?
    Another question: how much would a tripod cost to mount these lenses?
  15. Vaughn - it sounds to me as though hiring something would be a much better idea than buying it, so long as you can restrict yourself to the less exotic glass; but then I don't know what kind of timescale you're looking at. I've never even seen one reviewed, but if you can find anywhere that hires it (and that might be a big "if"), don't forget the Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 if you want some flexibility. In theory - if what you're shooting is static - you could also consider a large format scanning back and some very long glass for less depth of field, but you'd be going some to find a large format lens with the physical aperture of a big 35mm supertelephoto. I imagine there might be an IMAX lens out there somewhere that's huge - I've no idea of the coverage of the 1000mm f/6.3 in Aperture, other than that it was a film lens.

    As for digital backs on a 6x7 camera... I've no idea how many frames you're thinking of shooting, but don't rule out scanning film. It sounds like an interesting project, anyway. Good luck with it.
  16. All I know about the Pentax 600 f/4 is in this review. It does talk about tripod and the LoCA issue. Impressively big bit of kit...
  17. Andrew Garrard writes
    "Aperture ( are still listing their Nikkor 300 f/2 at 7900ukp/8900ukp depending on where you look on their site. Since they double as a cafeteria and get a bit of business from Nikkorphiles who come to gawp, I don't know how serious they are about selling it any more"
    Well, it's hardly a big deal to phone them and ask.
    What's the idea of slagging Aperture/Camera Cafe? Personally I've only ever bought one lens from them but I've eaten a few inexpensive and tasty bowls of noodles in there and found the place run by civilised human beings. Compare and contrast.
    As for "Nikkorphiles", their stock is predominantly Leica as far as I can see. I sometimes gawp at it whilst eating the noodles in the cafeteria (sniffs haughtily).
  18. I just did a bit more reading. The fact that the suggested software (whose functionality is in Photoshop these days) can fix the chromatic aberration in the way described - and the sample images - suggests that the primary issue is not longitudinal chromatic aberration as described, but lateral: different colours are enlarged differently on the focal plane, as opposed to colour fringes around out-of-focus areas. Although the sample images don't really show enough bokeh to see whether both issues are present. You can sort-of fix up lateral chromatic aberration in software by splitting the colour channels and scaling them; I've yet to see an easy way to fix up longitudial chromatic aberration (I do it, sort of, with a smear tool in the chroma channels of the LAB colour space, but in the end I bought a lens which was roughly apochromatic). That's not to say that you won't have trouble, but at least some of it can be fixed in software workflow without too much interaction. I hope that helps.

    For what it's worth, I've heard it said that the manual focus Nikkor 400 f/2.8 also has a bit of chromatic aberration. Again, I believe it's largely lateral rather than longitudinal - I'd quite like to know, because at some point I may be shopping for one, and I don't mind fixing lateral CA, but if I ever have to deal with someone's green hair and purple earrings again I'll lose the remnants of my sanity.
  19. Sorry, Roy - I'd not intended to sound as though I was criticising Aperture. I'm a Nikkorphile, and I went there expressly to gawp at the 300 f/2 (and think about buying a 20mm f/4, which sadly had gone before I got there); I believe I bought a drink from them, and would gladly do so the next time I go near the British Museum. I'm sure leicaphiles go there too, but presumably not primarily to look at the big Nikon lenses - although I, too, was interested in the non-Nikon kit they had.

    I merely thought that they might find having it in the window to be good for business (they seemed used to photographers going "ooh"), and be less keen on selling it than might be the case for most companies with a web site listing lens prices. However, I've no evidence to back that up other than that Grey's came to the same conclusion about their 6mm (at least, so they told me) and the 300 f/2 has been in Aperture's window for a while. Aperture may well feel that anyone turning up with eight grand is welcome to it; a lot of people would have to not come and buy coffee to make up for that.

    I'd find it a shame not to be able to go and see this piece of history, but I wouldn't want my comment to lose them money - I in no way speak for them, and there's certainly no harm in asking. As you say, the staff was civilised (and friendly); if I suggested otherwise, please put it down to a failure in my communication skills, not any deliberate slight.
  20. Does anyone have examples from a 600mm or higher on a 4x5?

    Also, how much is a 4x5 scanning back?

    I'm going to ask for some kind of conclusive answer:
    If I am looking for the most shallow depth of field possible, at the equivalent of 250-400mm for a 35mm...

    ...what option is my best one for $1,000 or less?

    For $2,000 or less?

    For $3,000 or less?

    For $4,000 or less?

    For $5,000 or less?
    If the depth of field is shallow enough, the 35mm-equivalent focal length doesn't have to be between 250-400mm. What I'm really looking for is the most shallow depth of field possible at the shortest focal length possible, when the subject is between 40-80 feet from the lens.
    Thank you so much everyone,
  21. Mmm, might a Nikkor 500mm f4 P if-ed P F4 work ? Its reasonably good at F4, ( DOF something 0.25ft at 40ft. before and behind subject)
    Just aaw one on ebay ....
  22. You can play around with this depth of field calculator to get an idea of what different lenses on different formats: , and this field of view calculator for what lenses equal what on different formats: (scroll to the bottom).
    4x5 scanning backs, new, start at about $7000. ( You might be able to find a used one for a couple thousand. In addition, if you are set on using 35mm, you can mount the 600/800mm Pentaxs in a kind of long way with commerical adapters. Get a 67 to 645 adapter, then a 645 to Pentax K mount, then either use a Pentax DSLR or get a Pentax K to Canon EF mount adapter.
  23. How big is the subject?
    DOF and composition go hand in hand. There's a reason I recommend 6x7.
    Low cost (That's $10-15,000) MF backs have 55mm diagonal sensors, their "magnification" relative to 35mm (43.3mm diagonal) is only 0.78x. The $20-25,000 MF backs have 60mm diagonal sensors, their magnification is 0.72x. And there's a couple of insane MF backs, $30-40,000 with 68mm diagonal sensors, which is still 0.64x. "Real" medium format, 6x7 film, has a diagonal of 86.6mm, twice that of 35mm, and half that of 4x5. That's why they call it "medium format", it's exactly half way between "small" and "large" format. It has a magnification of 0.5x relative to 35mm.
    Here's the lenses you listed...
    600mm f4
    • 35mm equivalent on a 55mm $10-15k back, 470mm f3.1
    • 35mm equivalent on a 60mm $20-25k back, 430mm f2.9
    • 35mm equivalent on a 68mm $30-40k back, 380mm f2.5
    • 35mm equivalent on 6x7 film, 300mm f2.0
    That lens works well on film (as Andrew said, scanning isn't that expensive or that hard). On the most expensive MF backs, it would perform an awful lot like a 400mm f2.8 on a FF camera. You might as well go the FF route.
    500mm f5.6
    • 35mm equivalent on a 55mm $10-15k back, 393mm f4.4
    • 35mm equivalent on a 60mm $20-25k back, 360mm f4.0
    • 35mm equivalent on a 68mm $30-40k back, 310mm f3.5
    • 35mm equivalent on 6x7 film, 250mm f2.8
    On the most expensive MF backs, it performs like a common, inexpensive 300mm f4 on FF. Again, not worth screwing around with MF. Even on 6x7, it does something that's easy to do on FF.
    The reason the 600mm f4 works out well is because it's a huge piece of glass. Not "long", but "wide". It's 150mm in diameter (600mm/f4). That huge diameter is what gets it the shallow DOF. But to get a 150mm diameter on FF, you need the elusive (and expensive) 300mm f2. To get the 150mm diameter on 6x7, you only need the fairly common 600mm f4. And to get it on a "low cost" $10-15,000 MF digital, you'd need a 400mm f3, and I don't think anyone has ever made anything quite like that.
    500mm f5.6 is only 89mm in diameter. Sounds huge, but for what you're doing, it's just a toy. You can't solve your problem here for $500.
    Forget large format. The large format scan back is a little smaller than 4x5, it's actually just over 3x4, and the 150mm diameter lens you'd need is an 840mm f5.6. I've never heard of a lens like that. You'd also need a LF camera with an extended rail and bellows, because you need a full 1m (3ft 4 inch) rail to focus that lens. Because the lens is over 6 inches in diameter, you'd need to use an 8x10 view camera, with a 4x5 "graflock" back adapter. You're talking about equipment so exotic and technique so difficult that it's a path to almost certain failure.
    Based on what you've told us, so far, there's only two remotely possible solutions.
    • Buy a 300mm f2, use it on a FF digital, sell it when you're done. Because you need to get a rare lens quickly, and probably then sell it quickly, you're going to take a loss of a couple of thousand dollars.
    • Buy a 600mm f4, use it on 6x7 (that's the only size that works for this, really, truly), scan the film, and sell the lens when you're all done. Because 6x7 gear moves a bit quicker, I'd bet your losses will be under $500.
    You're trying to push the boundary on DOF farther than pretty much anyone ever does. What you've said is, essentially, "I need to win at Indianapolis. How do I beat racing teams with million dollar cars, when my budget covers a used Yugo". The answer is, you probably can't. But you still haven't described exactly what the heck you're trying to do, so we can't be sure what you want to do is actually impossible. If you want any really useful help, you're going to have to describe the project. Not just "the subject is 40 or 50 feet away".
    • How big is the subject?
    • What is the subject, how deep is it?
    • How shallow do you need the DOF to be?
    • How blurred do you need the background to be?
    • Why do you need shallow DOF? Is there some other way of isolating your subject?
    You are aware that a 300mm f2.0 on FF, or a 600mm f4 on 6x7, has a DOF of
    • 7.5 inches at 40 ft
    • 12 inches at 50 ft
  24. What would be the equivalent of a 85mm f/1.2 for 35mm?
    On 6x7, that is.
  25. Sorry, Vaughn, I don't feel like answering any more questions.
    You've asked a lot of questions, and several people gave you good answers. Several people asked you for more information on what you're doing, and you danced around them and just threw out more questions.
    It sounds like your "project" has more to do with "testing" us than getting any sort of photography done. Either that, or you really are doing something photographic, you've got a "problem" of some sort, and some preconceived notions of what the "solution" to that problem should be, and you won't admit any possibility that it's not the right solution, so you spin anything that anyone tells you until it becomes part of whatever it is that you believe so vehemently in. The dancing around is really quite maddening.
  26. Agreed with Joseph. I was willing to help for the first part of this thread, but by the time I got to the end I thought Joe's assessment was bang-on.
    At the distance you're going to be, you can't get any shallower DOF than what was suggested, short of using 4x5 or 8x10 view cameras and extremely rare lenses. Even then, it won't be much shallower. But you're a film student, so you know better.
    Let me ask you a question to put it all in perspective: what are the chances that you can actually operate this equipment? All the money I have says that if you just gave somebody a setup with a DOF that shallow and as short a time as you have to practice, they'd bomb it. I've been using a Hasselblad and a 150 f/4 for portraits for some time now, and even with probably 60 rolls of film shot with that combination JUST THIS YEAR, I still botch the focus pretty regularly when my DOF is measured in inches. Do you honestly expect you're just going to pick this up and be greeted with anything other than massive failure? Because I have a hard time believing anyone is skilled enough with this equipment to go around sandbagging people's attempt to help.
  27. My eyes are bleeding after reading Joes post. Excellent work, though.
  28. Nikkor 300/2 on FF for stitching, 4x5" scanning backs, 600/4 CA problems, digital 6x7... ... ... thanks God my life is easier (and cheaper).
    This kind of work cannot be done using software? Good Photoshop technicians make wonders, even for less than $5000; I bet they (or even many users here) can simulate any kind of blur. Someone could say it is not the same but, is it unacceptable?. How you will be "moving their elements and animating them in a stop-motion short film... "? Maybe with photoshop? Printing and cutting it out for filming? IMAX full sized projection? Full HD? YouTube... ?
    I`m obviously not qualified to answer in this thread but maybe with a 300/4.5 and a little more or less PP work you will save a lot of $$$ to you and/or to your school. Please excuse me if I`m wrong, I always tend to simplify things... :)
  29. Vaughn, shouldn't your college tutor be helping you with these questions? One of the required elements for most assignments is that you discuss and agree the practicality, viability and cost-effectiveness of the project with your tutor. That, after all is what he or she is being paid for.
  30. Awesome--thank you guys for all of your suggestions and warnings. There is definitely a lot to contemplate here, and your help has been completely useful.
    Thank you,
  31. Vaughn - one more bit of input. Without knowing more about what you're doing... if you want a narrow DoF relative to the scene, the easiest way to do it is to manipulate the scene. If there's a big distance between the foreground and background, the background will obviously be more out-of-focus; if you can manipulate the scene so that the background is more out of focus than the viewer would expect, it'll look like a large aperture. Or, of course, you could use green screen and blur the background digitally. If you can recreate any of the scene in model form, filming it with a macro lens makes it much easier to get a huge apparent aperture (hence the "macro look"). The other way of going about this is to use a tilt/shift lens and use tilt to throw everything but the subject further out of focus. None of this helps if you actually need a small DoF aligned to the focal plane in a distant, real scene - but sometimes cheating is the way to do it. (After all, if you can do the whole thing in CGI, a lens with a 2m aperture is easy to simulate.)

    Best of luck. I hope you'll let us know when you've finished your project - I'll be interested to see what all this was about!
  32. I believe the lenses for the Pentax 67 can be used on Pentax 35mm cameras. Eight hundred on 35 would be a powerful setup.
  33. Just to avoid confusion... Red - you can put a Pentax 67 lens on a 35mm camera, but then the 600 f/4 would behave like a 35mm 600mm f/4 (albeit with pretty good vignetting characteristics). If Vaughn wants the equivalent of a 300mm f/2, he needs the larger frame of 67 format to get the same field of view out of a 600mm lens. If he just wants a 600mm f/4 lens, they're more easily available (at least for hire, since they're not cheap). Likewise 800mm, although I believe you need Sigma or Canon if you want autofocus these days. A 300mm f/2 on 67 format would work as a 300mm f/2 on 35mm with an adaptor - but there is no 300 f/2 for anything but 35mm.
  34. If anyone's curious, I found one of these 300/2's, modified for cinema use with many thousands of dollars of investment into it (including for a rotating filter stage) for $6,500. It comes with custom case, PL/PV mounts, filters, etc. It's in good shape--not perfect, but not any noteworthy flaws either.

    If you're looking for one, keep your eye out and you will find it.

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