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Thread: Larger Image Circle- Fujinon C or Nikkor M 300mm?

  1. #1
    Is that a Hassleblad? Brian Vuillemenot's Avatar
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    Larger Image Circle- Fujinon C or Nikkor M 300mm?

    According to published specs, the Fujinon C 300/8.5 lens has a larger image circle than the Nikkor M 300/9 (380 vs. 325 mm, respectively). For the 450 mm versions of these lenses, the Fujinon has a larger published image circle, but forum users have stated that the Nikkor version actually has the larger image circle. For the 300mm lenses, is the Nikkor M's image circle actually larger than the published specs, and, if so, is it larger than the Fujinon C's? Thanks!
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  2. #2

    Larger Image Circle- Fujinon C or Nikkor M 300mm?

    I've long wondered about this myself. The Nikon specification for the 300M shows it as covering 57 degrees at f/22, or about 325mm. This is consistent with virtually everything I've ever read about this lens - it barely covers 8x10.

    Yet while the 450M is specified as covering 52 degrees at f/22, or about 440mm, ULF users have reported that it covers 12x20 with room to spare.

    What gives? Are these two lenses really not the same design, despite the common "M" nomenclature?

  3. #3

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    Larger Image Circle- Fujinon C or Nikkor M 300mm?

    Oren,

    The M series are probably all the same; however, they illuminate huge circles. While Nikon's data inicate that the 450 M is good for 8x10 and not much more, it probably illuminates a huge circle. My Nikkor 200M will illuminate 8x10 amazingly uniformly, but if you look closely at a transparency, it's pretty much mush an inch to inch and a half at f/22, just s Nikon's data suggests it would be.

    I suspect the huge illumination circle, versus Nikon's corcle of good definition, is useful to people who are contact printing and don't need the resolution that Nikon thinks you do.

    Steve

  4. #4

    Larger Image Circle- Fujinon C or Nikkor M 300mm?

    Steve -

    I still wonder why the distinction between how people characterize the 300 and the 450. I cannot recall anyone ever saying the 300 is good for 11x14, yet the 450 is commonly described as being good for 12x20 plus movements. The stories are so consistently different for the two lenses that I have to wonder whether there is something actually different about their performance, and if so, what accounts for it.

    By comparison, the G-Clarons, with which I have personal experience, seem to behave more or less consistently across the line in the way they continue to gain usable coverage (as opposed to simply illumination) as you stop down beyond f/22 to f/45 and f/64.

  5. #5

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    Larger Image Circle- Fujinon C or Nikkor M 300mm?

    Oren,

    I've wondered the same thing, but there's such a shortage of lenses that can light up formats larger than 11x14 that I suspect they're not too picky about the edges, especially since you're talking 100% contact printing and compared to what other lenses they may be used to. This is conjecture on my part though, so take it with a grain of salt.

    There also seems to be a distinct "dividing line" in classes of lenses; those that can "do" 11x14 and 7x17 seem reasonably available, while 8x20 and larger formats require lenses that are quite rare and expensive. A 19" uncoated Dagor recently brought a few bucks over $2,000 on eBay, so a used Nikkor 450M at 1/4 the price looks pretty good by comparison. Even if the corners of your 12x20 are mush, the center has to be as sharp and more contrast.

    Also curious is that according to Nikon's specs, the 200M covers 55 degrees at f/22. The 450M covers 52 degrees at f/22. Three degrees starts making a decent difference at 19". And does it gain more or is the circle of good definition maxed out at f/22? Just for hoots and giggles, I'm going to see what an 8x10 neg looks like with the 200M at minimum aperture and see if I can get an acceptable contact print out of it.

    Steve

  6. #6

    Larger Image Circle- Fujinon C or Nikkor M 300mm?

    Steve -

    Thanks for the follow up.

    Another aspect of the "dividing line" is that 11x14/7x17 is the coverage limit for the mainline, state-of-the-art plasmat series from the big vendors (e.g. Apo-Sironar, Apo-Symmar).

    I'll be interested in your findings from the 200M. Meanwhile, I hope that someone else has test results that can directly answer Brian's question about the 300 mm focal length.

  7. #7

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    Larger Image Circle- Fujinon C or Nikkor M 300mm?

    I have compared the circle of illumination of both the 300mm Nikkor-M and Fujinon-C and the 450mm Nikkor-M and Fujinon-C. In fact, I own three of these lenses and use them regularly.

    There is no question but that the Nikkor-M , in both 300 mm and 450 mm focal lengths, has a larger circle of illumination and a larger useful image circle than the Fujinon-C. I define useful image circle as the circle that will give adequate definition for critical viewing (print at 10" from the viewer) with contact printing, assuming a minimum resolution for this application of around 15 lppm.

    The 450 mm Nikkor-M is very popular with photographers who use the 12X20" format because its useful image circle is as large as that of a 16.5" Dagor, and it is multi coated and much cheaper. In fact, when I bought my 450mm Nikkor-M I sold a 19" Dagor because in my opinion the Nikkor gives better performance in coverage on 12X20 than the Dagor. If you weigh size, performance and price the 450mm Nikkor-M is my number one choice for 12X20.

    The 300mm Nikkor-M, on the other hand, though it will cover 7X17, is fairly soft on the corners. And, it is not very popular with 7X17 because there is a better alternative in this focal length, the 305 G-Claron, which has quite a bit more useful coverage than the Nikkor-M.
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