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Brian Vuillemenot
5-Feb-2004, 09:59
Does anyone out there have any experience with using a barrel lens such as an Apo Nikkor? How do they compare as far as sharpness and contrast? They seem to be quite inexpensive on the online auction site, and I'm tempted to pick up one in the 450-600 mm range and have it installed in a shutter. Thanks!

Frank Filippone
5-Feb-2004, 10:07
You might want to talk to Grimes first.... the choice of a shutter is not so easy. These lenses are pretty huge.

Nick_3536
5-Feb-2004, 10:11
I have a 360mm. The nice thing is they use 67mm filters. If you need/want a shutter personally I'd suggest looking for something else. If you can live without a shutter then they can be cheap but consider the cost of the shutter and mounting.

J Conrad
5-Feb-2004, 10:16
The lenses themselves perform quite well, sharp, coated and have nice contrast and I believe them to be real sleepers for the money. I have a couple of 480's and a 600mm APO Nikkor all have very large coverage and the 480 covers my 12x20 with some movements. The 480 will fit into a modern copal 3 which is nice and the large lenses 600 & 610 fit into an Ilex #5. They are large lenses so be prepared for that. As suggested see SK Grimes for mounting.

Bob Fowler
5-Feb-2004, 10:23
I use a 305mm f/9 Apo-Nikkor with 4X5 and 5X7 - it's a VERY nice piece of glass. As for a shutter, I front mounted sync'd #6 Packard. The lack of a full range of fast shutter speeds is no big deal as I use it in the studio with electronic flash. I use the same shutter set up with a 9" f/5.6 Ilex Copy Paragon - works like a charm.

Rob Tucher
5-Feb-2004, 11:19
I have 305mm, 480mm, 600mm, and 1210mm and they are unparalleled in sharpness. I'm always shocked by how well they perform, especially for the money they command these days. But I'd avoid the shutter route. Very expensive and there are better ways to use them and spend your money. I've designed an interchangeable board system so I can mount them in from of a large Packard and a Sinar Norma shutter (not the 1210) and it works very well for me. You have to stop down quite a bit to avoid vignetting with the Sinar shutter but I do anyway.

Wayne
5-Feb-2004, 12:11
I have a 480 that SK put into an Alphax 4 (that I provided) for about $250, IIRC. Worth every penny if you ask me (I got the lens for my favorite price-free-so that made mounting more palatable!). I'm all for Rob's system too though.

I'm very happy that others are happy with theirs, I've had the lens for over a year and havent used it yet! They are huge, mine barely fits into my extra-large iris diaphram. They are even bigger before SK gets hold of them though.

Peter C. McDonough
5-Feb-2004, 17:26
I have the 240mm f/9 that I use on my 8x10. It covers with a little to spare and is very sharp and snappy. Steve Grimes front-mounted onto a #3Melles Griot shutter. Works fine. Peter

Michael S. Briggs
5-Feb-2004, 20:19
If you want a lens in a shutter (not in front of a Packard), before you buy a barrel lens, think through the total cost (lens, shutter and custom machining) of putting the lens into a shutter and compare to alternative lenses that are already in a shutter. For focal lengths 600 mm and below, in most cases a lens that comes in a shutter will cost less.





Re how good the Apo-Nikkors are for distant subjects, I have seen both comments of high praise and less flattering. This might be because two different designs seemed to have been used: apparently early Apo-Nikkors are tessar designs and later ones are dialyte designs -- see http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=004O81. Perhaps the design change occurred when the words "Nippon Kokagu" were dropped from the rim labeling, but this is only a wild guess. I suggest that people who report results from these lenses inform us of the age of their lens.

Pete Watkins
30-Mar-2008, 07:51
Many thanks for all your help and advice. I got the pair for less than 60 dollars so I doubt if I've been ripped off. The lenses were advertised in the vintage & collectable section of U.K. Photography and were described as "Lithographic gallery camera lenses". I've never heard of this type of camera before but it really dosn't matter.
Thanks,
Pete.

Dan Fromm
30-Mar-2008, 09:00
Pete, if anyone was ripped off it was the seller.

trundrumbalind
27-Apr-2014, 21:15
The lenses themselves perform quite well, sharp, coated and have nice contrast and I believe them to be real sleepers for the money. I have a couple of 480's and a 600mm APO Nikkor all have very large coverage and the 480 covers my 12x20 with some movements. The 480 will fit into a modern copal 3 which is nice and the large lenses 600 & 610 fit into an Ilex #5. They are large lenses so be prepared for that. As suggested see SK Grimes for mounting.

Hello! I just bought a 480 Apo Nikkor for my Sinar P2 14x17 mod. I read you comment about it covering 12x20 with some movements but I forgot to ask if that was at infinity or portrait distance??
Either way, thanks for that comment, I bought it for $25 after reading this thread!

jbenedict
28-Apr-2014, 07:57
One of my photographic mentors, Ed Olson at the Camera Show in Seattle, bought a large number of these Nikkor process lenses. The shorter ones were in the high 300mm range and the largest ones were in the 750mm+ range. He was selling them "by the millimeter". He constructed a "long focus" camera to demonstrate them. He sawed off the shutter section from an Anniversary Graphic and mounted it on a custom bed and a very long custom bellows. The one that I saw was specifically designed for the 750mm lens. He used 4x5 film and it worked really well. Ed's been gone for quite a few years now but the idea is still there. I've been wondering how well a Speed Graphic shutter would work on the from of an 8x10 camera for use with process lenses. The front of the camera would need to be pretty stout to deal with the movement of the shutter... Perhaps something to try out...

Elsewhere on this site, "Big Bertha" Graflex cameras are discussed. There were built by newspaper photographers to cover events where they needed to be a long way from the action and no other tools were available. They used the SLR 4x5 Graflex body with a custom bed and bellows. Search also on "Big Bertha Graflex" on Google and you will get an idea of what is possible.

Drew Wiley
28-Apr-2014, 09:14
My experience with the Apo-Nikkors is strictly with the more modern version. I have a variety of them, and they're stunningly sharp and superbly color corrected all the way from very close up clear to infinity. My largest camera is an 8x10, so I can't comment on anything larger, except to say that the image circles are fairly
generous - way beyond the published circle intended for process specifications. Some of these make superb enlarging lenses too, which is mainly how I use them.

Dan Fromm
28-Apr-2014, 13:31
Hello! I just bought a 480 Apo Nikkor for my Sinar P2 14x17 mod. I read you comment about it covering 12x20 with some movements but I forgot to ask if that was at infinity or portrait distance??
Either way, thanks for that comment, I bought it for $25 after reading this thread!

This link http://sdrv.ms/1i4czGa will take you to a page of links that has a link to Nikon's account of Apo-Nikkors' coverages. If you're too lazy to follow the links, Nikon claims that the 480 will cover a little more than 400 mm at infinity. 14 x 17 wants 560 mm, 12 x 20 wants about 600.