View Full Version : Nikkor-M 300mm f9?

23-Feb-2009, 18:02
I'm looking for something a little longer than my 210mm Nikkor-W. Any thoughts on the quality of this 300mm lens for use on a 4x5 field camera? Alternatives? Seems like I can get a used one in EX+ condition for about $500 USD. I take it these haven't been available new for awhile.


Gary Benson
Eagle River, Alaska

Don Boyd
23-Feb-2009, 18:14
Gary, I have an M, f/9 300mm and it is a very good lens - sharp, plenty of contrast, and lightweight. Here is a link to a Ken Rockwell review: http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/300f9.htm

Gene McCluney
23-Feb-2009, 18:23
For a 300mm prime lens, you need to make sure you have more than 12 inches of bellows from front lens standard to ground glass, as a 300 mm lens requires 12" to focus at infinity, and more if you want to work closer.

A telephoto-design lens is better for "some" 4x5 cameras that have limited bellows length, such as press cameras, etc.

23-Feb-2009, 18:32
A great alternative is a Schneider 360mm telexenar. I had a nice one, sold it, and was given another, sans shutter. I am easily able to focus it on my Speed Graphic.

23-Feb-2009, 18:34
I have recently obtained a Nikkor-M 300mm f/9 as well, and I concur that it is an excellent lens and extremely compact compared to the -W 300mm, although it does have a slightly smaller image circle - but it's still plenty for what I do (tabletop) so I expect it will handle scenery/architecture just as well. It is very sharp amd probably good with flare.

David Karp
23-Feb-2009, 18:52
The 300M is a very nice lens. Highly regarded. See: http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/future.htm. Many photographers use them for landscape photography.

I have had one for years, and am very satisfied with it. Interestingly, unlike many lenses, good used samples have been going for pretty much what they have been going for for years, around $500.

Don Hutton
23-Feb-2009, 19:15
If you have the bellows it's an excellent choice. I used one on 8x10 for years too - later changed it for a Fujinon C 300mm because the Fujinon has slightly better coverage on 8x10. On 4x5, you'll never run out of coverage.

Michael Gordon
23-Feb-2009, 19:40
Great lens. Crispy-sharp if that's your thing.

23-Feb-2009, 19:48
Great lens. Crispy-sharp if that's your thing.

And with f/64 - f/128 built in if it's not. ;)

John Kasaian
23-Feb-2009, 20:48
It's a super lens! As others have said, if you've got the bellows, go for it!:)

24-Feb-2009, 11:12
Hi folks. Thanks for the info and feedback. Sounds like an excellent lens for landscape etc, which would be my primary use. I checked the specs on my camera (Ebony 45SU) and it has 365mm of bellows travel, so should handle this lens ok. I went ahead and ordered one. Look forward to getting it out in the field soon.

Thanks again!

Gary Benson
Eagle River, Alaska

Gem Singer
24-Feb-2009, 11:30
You won't regret your decision. The Nikkor f9 300M is the perfect companion lens for your Nikkor f5.6 210W. It's compact, yet has an image circle that will cover 8X10.

I use mine for 4X5, 5X7, and 8X10.

19-Dec-2015, 07:03
Sorry to revive a dead thread, but I am thinking of adding a 300 to my 4x5 kit. The nikkor seems like a good choice, small, light and reasonably affordable. I just measured my bellows and I am getting 360mm from the film plane to the back of the lens board. My question to anyone with this lens, what will my close focused be? Will I be able to use it as a loose portrait lens or am I stuck in landscape world?


DG 3313
19-Dec-2015, 08:25
Ok, a quick and dirty Nikon 300M test.....subject 5' from the lens....14" of bellows draw.....frame is 21" tall on a vert 4x5 gg.......+/- you should be good!

Sal Santamaura
19-Dec-2015, 10:26
Sorry to revive a dead thread...Don't apologize! That's exactly what you should have done. Adding onto an existing, relevant thread, rather than starting a new, redundant one, keeps the archive clean and makes future searching by others easier.

19-Dec-2015, 11:31
Sorry to revive a dead thread, but I am thinking of adding a 300 to my 4x5 kit. The nikkor seems like a good choice, small, light and reasonably affordable. I just measured my bellows and I am getting 360mm from the film plane to the back of the lens board. My question to anyone with this lens, what will my close focused be? Will I be able to use it as a loose portrait lens or am I stuck in landscape world?


Start here: http://www.ebonycamera.com/articles/lenses.html

3 good choices for lightweight 300mm lenses are the Nikkor-M, the Fujinon-C and the Schneider G-Claron, all are listed on that page. I have the Fuji, and it's an excellent lens. The flange back (also called flange focal distance) helps you determine if your lens will get you a bit more or less extension. The Fuji 300/8.5 has about a 283mm flange back, which indicates the optical center of the lens is a bit in front of the lensboard, as is the case with most non-wide lenses. The Nikkor-M is 290mm.

To determine close focus, you use the formula of (1/focal length) - (1/extension) = 1/focusing distance. Add (or subtract) the difference between the focal length and flange back to the extension, so for the Nikkor-M, you'd do the math as if your camera's extension was 370mm instead of 360. That works out to 1/300 - 1/370 = 1/1585, so you'll be able to focus to 1.6m or thereabouts. The 7mm extra you get with the Fuji gets you: 1/300 - 1/377 = 1/1469, so a pinch more close focus with the Fuji. When I was looking for a lightweight 300mm in 2007, the Fuji was cheaper, and the wee bit more close focus was a nice bonus, especially since I was using a Tachihara at the time with only 330mm of extension. The G-Claron is a 305mm lens with a 302mm flange back so it would focus to 1910mm on your 360mm extension camera, probably not a deal breaker if you can get one for a great price with a good shutter.

19-Dec-2015, 17:18
Drew, thanks for that equation, it was exactly what I needed. And also thanks for choices. Time to search out a new toy...

Richard Rau
22-May-2016, 11:00
OK, continuing on with the discussion, does anyone have any thoughts on their prefrence between the Nikkor-M 300, and the G Claron 305? I know that the G Claron has a much larger image circle compared to the Nikkor. The image circle of the Claron is listed at about 382 vs. the Nikkor at about 318, if I have tha correct. In terms of sharpness and contrast I would expect them to be comparable. I own a Nikkor-M 450, so I would also presume the Nikkor 300 to perform similar to the 450, in terms of sharpness. Any thoughts?

Carsten Wolff
23-May-2016, 04:02
On 4x5, you'll have ample IC in the Nikkor. Personally, among the three mentioned on 4x5 I'd just go with the cheapest; they're all great. I had the Nikkor once; I now have the 250mm f/6.3 Fujinon and a 380mm f/5.6 Wolly. The Nikkor/Fuji/Schneider 300/305 could kinda replace both; but I don't actually care about weight/size. I use either on 4x5", 6x17cm and 5x7"/13x18cm and enjoy the fore/background separation (a reason I use LF) and bright screen I get with those.

John Kasaian
23-May-2016, 06:04
The G Claron, IIRC, is single coated while the M is multi coated.

Drew Wiley
23-May-2016, 09:12
I wouldn't worry about the single coating on the G. It will have a substantially bigger image circle than a Nikkor M, making it more suitable for 8x10, and better macro performance. The 300M will have a tiny bit more snap (contrast), is more compact, and has a PLENTY big image circle for 4x5 usage. If you absolutely demand something multicoated with analogous performance to the G-Claron, the Fuji A series would be the ticket, but you'll probably pay dearly if you are able
to locate one at all. These are all top notch lenses, and you can't go wrong with any of them. If it were me, I'd simply go with the Nikkor M because it is so portable, and is still common at reasonable pricing.

Richard Rau
24-May-2016, 22:33
I shoot mostly 5x7 and some 8x10, so the size of the image circle is fairly important. Size and weight are also important, since I'm not getting any younger and am trying to revamp some of my LF kits to lighten the load on my back and my knees. I don't backpack the 8x10 any great distances anymore, so since it will be used primarly with the 5x7, the Nikkor may get the nod. The Nikkor should still provide ample room for movements with the 5x7. Thanks to everyone for their input.