March 9, 2010
This review includes the Nikon Nikkor-P 600mm f/5.6 Pre-AI with the Nikon focusing unit CU-1. The lens can not be used without the focusing unit thus both are shown together here. On the lens side Nikon made a 400mm, 600mm, 800mm and 1200mm that can be used with the focusing tube CU-1. The lenses are screwed into the focusing tube, this allows the lens heads to be swapped. The Nikon 600mm f/5.6 that is reviewed here was made between 1972 - 1974. At one point in time this was the lens for sports and wildlife photography.
|| 5 elements in 4 groups
|| 4°10 (35mm/FX)
|Minimum focus distance:
|| 11m /35 ft
135 x 509mm (incl focus unit)
|| 9 straight blades
- Sharp. good sharpness even wide open.
- Build quality, usual old Nikkor quality built to last a lifetime or two.
- Compact for being 600mm
- Lens head can be exchanged
Nikon Nikkor-P 600mm f/5.6 Pre-AI with CU-1
- CA, lots of it un till you stop down to f/11, you need to stop down to f/16 for the best results though.
- Focusing with the CU-1 is not as smooth as I like it. To much force is needed to focus the lens.
Nikon CU-1 Focusing Unit
The Nikon 600mm f/5.6 shows quite good sharpness even wide open, but images are ruined by the amount of CA. At f/11 CA is under ok control and removing it in post processing is not a problem. If you are a BW shooter then you will not have any huge problems with this lens at all. Luckily lens designs have improved quite a bit since this lens was discontinued, it is impossible to compare this lens to the newer replacements because they are 100 times better.. That said of course you can take good pictures with the lens, you are left to do a bit of post processing to get them there though. To this date the best moon picture I have taken is taken with this old dinosaur of a lens.
Picture taken with 600mm f/5.6, Nikon D3 and TC-20E II
Purchasing items through these links helps me adding more content to this website. The links takes you to B&H's website, which is my recommended store to get equipment from. I've used B&H personally since 2005, and I get all my equipment from them these days(including the lenses used for these reviews). Thanks for your support, Fredrik.
Tamron SP AF 200-500mm f/5-6.3 Di LD IF Price: $899.95 USD
Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM APO Price: $999.00 USD
Sigma 50-500mm f/4-6.3 EX DG HSM Price: $1,059.00 USD
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4G ED VR Price From: $7,999.00 USD
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 600mm f/4G ED VR Price From: $10,249.95 USD
*Prices and rebates are subject to change. Listed price is from March 9, 2010
Images have been imported to photoshop CS4 through Capture NX 2 thus leaving the original image settings as shot, I. E white balance, sharpening, etc .etc.Full resolution sample images are in RGB color mode. Check out my copyright page for information about usage of these images.
Note; some of the Extif information is not correct in the sample images(one image states that image is taken with 70-300mm D ED which is not possible as I sold that lens about 5 years ago). As the lens does not have an aperture ring that is coupled to the camera, all images is recorded as f/5.6