View Full Version : 300mm Nikkor M or 360mm Fujinon A - Is the Nikkor THAT Much Better?

Scott Rosenberg
22-Jun-2004, 09:45
good day...

i would usually buy both lenses, test them, and keep the one that suits my shooting. however, i am short on time here and hoping to get a little guidance from you folks with experience with these lenses.

i am looking at getting a long lens to use with a technika IV. my next longest lens is a 240. after much research, i settled on a nikkor 300m - seems to be a staple with landscape folks on this, and every other, site.

thinking that there wouldn't be a big difference between the 240 i already use and the 300, i looked for longer alternatives. i heard a lot of praise for the 360 fujinon a, but i couldn't find anywhere a comparison between it and the nikkor. i am interested in shooting landscapes and performance at infinity.

i have come to the following two alternatives: -buy the 300mm Nikkor M and crop if it's not long enough -buy the 360mm Fujinon A

i don't like the idea of cropping and enlarging more than is necessary, but if the nikkor is as good as everyone reports, will that yield superior results to shooting the 360 straight on?

thanks for any insights, scott

John D Gerndt
22-Jun-2004, 10:35
From what I have read recently about the Nikkor M, its Tessar design is outstanding in its center field resolution, the portion you are proposing to use. The Fuji A (for Arts) is not optimized for shooting at infinity. I'd guess it IS that much better, at infinity. I always figure it is best using a lens for its intended purpose...


Gem Singer
22-Jun-2004, 12:02
Hi Scott,

I have been searching for a Fujinon 360A (EBC coated), in excellent condition, for the past few weeks. So far, no luck. If you come across one, please let me know. I plan on using it on my new 8X10 Tachi. It seems a bit long to use on a 4X5 Linhof. Do you have enough useable bellows extension?

I previously owned a Nikon f9 300M and found it to be an excellent lens for a 4X5 camera, providing that the camera had enough bellows extension to handle the focal length.

Fuji makes a 300C f8.5 (compact lens, in a Copal 1 shutter). A good previously owned one is more readily available than a Fuji 360A. It has a slightly larger image circle and is a little lighter weight than the Nikon 300M. However, used 300C's are usually priced slightly higher than Nikon 300M's.

The images from my Fuji 240A and my 300C are noticeably different in size. My next longest lens, a Fuji 400T (tele) really makes a difference in the size of the image, and it requires less than 300mm of bellows extension. You may want to consider purchasing a tele lens.

As always, I suggest calling Jim (and only Jim) at Midwest Photo Exchange (www.mpex.com).

Ted Harris
22-Jun-2004, 12:27

I am betting tht, if you could find one, the Fuji 360 A will be a whole lot better than the Nikkor 300 M. However you are not likely to find one they are scarce as hens teeth and even if you are successful you will likely pay more than twice as much for the Fuji 360 A as you will for a like new Nikkor 300 M. Not to say that the Nikkor is not a grat lens because it is.

A bit more on the Fuji's. The 240mm and the 180mm are available new. Other focal lentths are only available use and are varying degrees of rare and hard to find. The 300 mm iis the easiest to find and even that take some waiting but Jim at MidWest can usually get one for you if you are patient. A number of us here use that lens and I don't think any of us would part with it. The 360 mm is is very very hard to find on the used market and the 600 and 1200 are about nonexistant (they were discontinued before Fuji started multicoating AFAIK).

For price comparisons you should expect to pay around 450-500 for a like new used 300 Nikkor; you will pay more like 800-900 for a 300 mm Fujinon A IF you find one. The 360 Fujinon will likely go well over 1000, i tis a total buyers market for that lens.

I can't compare the two 300's since I only have the Fuji. I do have a 450 Nikkor M and am quite satisfied with that lens in terms of resolution, contrast and coverage. I traded a Schneider 480 Apo Artar (which most love but I didn't) for the 450 Nikkor and am happy with the trade.

If you look through the archives you will see some fairly recent threads on the Fujinon A lenses. Just for kicks (what was I thinking that day) I did some portraits with mine a few weeks ago; even at f11 the chromes were frighteningly sharp. My model made me throw them away, even after a lot of photoshopping, they showed way toooooo many skin imperfections and this was with soft lighting, etc.

Having said all that get the Nikkor and don;t look back unless you have some macro or much closer than infinity requirements. BTW the Fujinon A's perform perfectly at infinity.

Good Light

Ken Lee
22-Jun-2004, 12:49
I have posted some recent sample images from the 300A here (http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/tech/lenses.php#300A).

Just scroll down to the section on the 300A. If you want excellent quality and wide coverage, it's got it.You're lucky if you can find one.

Dunno how much useable coverage you get from a Tessar design.(Nikon) Ted Harris(above) told me about this lens, and I'm glad. I won't part with mine, that's for sure.

Bruce Watson
22-Jun-2004, 13:05
I don't have the Nikon, but I do own a 360mm Fujinon-A. It is razor sharp all the way out to infinity, just like it's "legendary" little brother, the 240mm Fujinon-A.

I think you are right to be concerned about the small difference between the 240mm and the 300mm. IIRC, the 240mm has an angle of view of about 30 degrees. The 360mm has an angle of view of about 20 degrees. The 300mm is likely to be so similar to the 240mm that you leave one or the other at home.

Another lens to consider would be a 14 inch R. D. Artar. It is a process lens like the Fujinon-A series, and also razor sharp at infinity. The Artar might be easier to find, and if you can find it in a Compur #2, it is amazingly light weight.

Finally, Kerry Thalmann thinks both the Nikor and Fuji lenses will be considered classics in the future:


That's as close to a comparison as I can find for you.

Scott Rosenberg
22-Jun-2004, 13:27
thanks for all the great information...

one further question - reading the posts, i have heard the 300mm lens offered by fujinon referred to in two different variations: some have mentioned a 300mm Fujinon A and others a 300mm Fujinon C.

are there two 300mm lenses from fuji?

if so, what are the differences between the two?

thanks again, scott

Paul Metcalf
22-Jun-2004, 13:44
Scott- I have a 300M and it's the sharpest lens I own. Someone questioned coverage of this - I use it on 8x10 as well with movements. Another thing - I have a Tech V and the 300M pretty much takes it to full extension. I don't think I could use a 360, so you might make sure you have the bellows draw.

Gem Singer
22-Jun-2004, 14:40
Hello again Scott,

Actually, Fuji has manufactured eight versions of the 300mm lens that I know of. A few of them are still being made today, and several are discontinued, but still available on the used lens market. The 300W, 300CM-W, 300L, 300SW, 300C, 300A, 300T, and a 300mm lens in a barrel mount.

You can find out everything (except how much the lens weights) that you want to know about Fujinon lenses, past and present, at----- http://www.members.aol.com/subgallery/index.htm

Don Miller
23-Jun-2004, 05:09
I'd put the 300m equal with my 110xl in terms of image quality. It's readily available new and used . It hold its value very well if you redo you lens kit in the future.

But the 300 is too close to your 240. For landscapes I go from 180 to 300. I find when I want tighter framing and cant move closer adding just a little more focal length doesn't help. I think you would be disappointed with the small difference from 240 to 300.

I would crop the 240 or look at a 400 tele. (But you really need about 360mm of bellows for the tele). Good luck!