View Full Version : Apo Nikkor Process Lenses

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.

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.

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.

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