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Thread: nikkor m 300mm 9 versus kowa 305mm 9

  1. #1

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    nikkor m 300mm 9 versus kowa 305mm 9

    Good day all,

    As some of you may recall from other posts, I am somewhat disappointed by the performance of my nikkor m 300mm lens. It's sharp, throws a large circle and is highly portable, but somehow the images don't do it for me. Now of course this is personal, I know of many people who love the images this lens produces. Anyway, I've got the opportunity to pick up a graphic-kowa 305mm 9 at what I think is a good price. It will offer coverage to boot, but I'm just wondering whether a switch makes sense. I love the images I get with my computar 150, but have no experience with the kowa lenses. Happy to have your 2c on this.

  2. #2
    fishbulb's Avatar
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    Re: nikkor m 300mm 9 versus kowa 305mm 9

    I think what you have to ask yourself is WHY you're not satisfied with the Nikkor 300 f/9.

    Maybe you want more vignetting, more optical aberrations, a soft focus effect, lower contrast, swirly background blur, a more retro design aesthetic, a larger aperture, a different focal length, a different optical formula, or any of a dozen other things.

    Once you answer that "why" question, you'll know what kind of lens you're after.

    To me, the switch doesn't make that much sense, the Computar 305 is a good lens that should perform similarly to the Nikkor for most practical purposes except for ultra large formats where the Computar's coverage is better.
    -Adam

  3. #3
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: nikkor m 300mm 9 versus kowa 305mm 9

    What is your format? The Nikkor 300M is a very sharp, but rather limited in terms of image circle on 8x10 film, esp compared to the Kowa. But it has plenty of wiggle room on 4x5 or 5x7 and is wonderfully compact.

  4. #4
    Lachlan 717
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    Re: nikkor m 300mm 9 versus kowa 305mm 9

    Buy it. Try it. Keep it or resell it.

    You'll either end up having a great lens and possibly some extra $$ when you sell the Nikkor, or sell the GK for around what it cost you.

    And you will have definitively answered your question!
    Lachlan.

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

  5. #5
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: nikkor m 300mm 9 versus kowa 305mm 9

    Did you get the GK 305 on eBay today? I bid on it, wanted to try it on 8x20...

    I don't know what your issue is with the Nikkor-M (I have it as well) but I doubt anything would be much better, unless you are looking for a specific effect.
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    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  6. #6

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    Re: nikkor m 300mm 9 versus kowa 305mm 9

    I bid on that one as well. Didn't try too hard considering I have a 12" Gold Dot Dagor. But thought it would be interesting to compare the two on 7x17. Back on track, I used to have the older Nikkor Q 300mm f9. I liked the character of the image it produced better than the Computar 210/9 I currently have. The Computar throws a big sharp image circle but there is something that just doesn't do it for me. Keep in mind you're comparing two very different lens designs and two very different size lenses. Copal 1 Tessar vs. Copal 3 Plasmat.

  7. #7
    Steve Sherman's Avatar
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    Re: nikkor m 300mm 9 versus kowa 305mm 9

    I may be able to speak to your exact question.
    I have a Phillips 7x17 and own a Graphic Kowa 305mm lens (not the same coverage as a Computar) My Kowa barely covers the 7x17. I was trying to do a shot with some slight rise, about 3/8" and the Kowa did vignett a bit. I was shooting with a friend who let me borrow his Nikor 300 M lens. The Nikon threw a slightly larger image circle however the sharpness on the Nikon deteriorated going towards the edges much sooner than the Kowa 305mm. I would offer that the Nikon began to soften at about 1.25" from the edge of the image circle while the Kowa remained sharp to almost with 1/2" of the lens falloff at the edges.

    Get a Computar if you can !!

    2 cents.


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  8. #8
    Lachlan 717
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    Re: nikkor m 300mm 9 versus kowa 305mm 9

    The GK versus Computar conundrum...

    I've got a 240mm GK that has buckets of room left on my 7x17". It's one of the "can't be removed" versions.

    As for sharpness, I compared it to a Computar 240mm in Copal and it is noticeably sharper. Thus, I sold the Computar.

    There is a lot written on the different versions/varying coverage issue; however, there doesn't seem to be anything definitive on how to choose/what to look for....
    Lachlan.

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

  9. #9
    Lachlan 717
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    Re: nikkor m 300mm 9 versus kowa 305mm 9

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Sherman View Post
    Get a Computar if you can !!
    Or a 305mm G Claron. A lot easier to find, probably cheaper, and arguably as good.
    Lachlan.

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

  10. #10

    Re: nikkor m 300mm 9 versus kowa 305mm 9

    Two different lenses for two differing applications.

    I have the 305 Computar and yes, it covers like a big dog but it can also induce a bit of field curvature on architecture on 8x20 without any hint of loss in coverage. You just learn to work with it. I have seen the 305 mm Computar used as a 12x20 Macro lens and it rocks! If you want coverage step out 2" in focal length and get a 355 G Claron. It covers it all and stepping down to f90 is possible. The 300mm Nikon is a perfect 5x7 lens and those that attempt to squeak more out of it are not adequately looking at the design and its limitations. So to dish it for something it was NOT intended to do is not really fair in the broader scheme of things. Use the correct tool for the task at hand and you will never be disappointed. The 300mm Nikon is a stellar 5x7 (or 4x5 optic) because it is sharp, contrasty, light and takes a 52mm filter. Onward!

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