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Nikon AF Micro Nikkor 200mm f/4D IF-ED

Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4D IF-ED

The AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4D IF-ED (about $1650) is a relatively old design with Nikon’s original autofocus, which means klunky compared to AF-S. However, it proved highly accurate in my testing, and is generally satisfactory. For tripod-based macro work, autofocus is not important.

At about $1650, it’s costly enough that it needs to be thought out in context of one’s other lenses, but there is little doubt that the working distance is well worth it for macro shooters.

Observations:

  • Very sharp image rendition, even wide open at f/4.
  • The 200/4 is a fairly large lens, which is presumably necessary to accommodate its 1:1 focusing capabilities. Weight is reasonable at 1196 grams (as weighed with caps);
  • Veiling flare not as well controlled as modern coatings.
  • Clunky screw-drive autofocus is slow and hunts a lot. However, it proved quite accurate.
  • Very useful working distance is much more convenient than with 100mm macro lenses, as well as narrowing the angle of view.
  • Very sturdy tripod collar, among Nikon’s very best.
  • A useful addition to anyone who like shooting close-up, and it can also double as a compact 200mm lens for other purposes.
Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Working distance

The 200/4 is an unusually pleasant lens to work with for macro, because the working distance provided by its 200mm focal length is just so much easier than getting right on top of things with a 100mm or 60mm lens. The 200mm focal length also isolates the subject better (in terms of angular view).

Lens hood

The 200/4 is prone to veiling flare, and is not supplied with the HN-30 lens hood (about $48), a ridiculous situation for a $1650 street price lens. Be sure to obtain and use the lens hood.

Filter size

The unusual 62mm filter size is a hassle because few other lenses use that size, but shooting without a filter is usually the way to go anyway, unless something like a polarizer is needed. A step up ring can solve that issue; purchase a 72mm or 77mm filter. However, that solution precludes using the lens hood.

Examples

These examples were shot handheld. The longer working distance makes handheld macro shooting very enjoyable.

Pink on Green
Nikon D3x + 200mm f/4D IF-ED @ f/8, 1/60 sec handheld
Frog (as shot)
Nikon D3x + 200mm f/4D IF-ED @ f/4.5, 1/1000 sec handheld
Seed Heads
Nikon D3x + 200mm f/4D IF-ED @ f/5.6, 1/250 sec handheld
Emerging Pumpkin
Nikon D3x + 200mm f/4D IF-ED @ f/5.6, 1/200 sec handheld
Garden Fairy
Nikon D3x + 200mm f/4D IF-ED @ f/5.6, 1/1250 sec handheld
June Apples
Nikon D3x + 200mm f/4D IF-ED @ f/8, 1/320 sec handheld

Specifications

Per Nikon.

Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4 IF-ED specifications
Focal length 200mm nominal
Maximum aperture f/4
Minimum aperture f/32
Lens construction 13 elements in 8 groups, 2 ED glass elements, Super Integrated coating, internal focusing, close range construction (CRC)
Angle of view 12° 20'
Closest focusing distance 1.6 feet = 0.5m
Maximum reproduction ratio 1:1 (life size)
No. of diaphragm blades 9
Filter/attachment size 62mm
Diameter x length (from lens-mount flange) Approximately 76mm diameter X 193mm length (3.0 X 7.6 in)
Weight 1196g with front and rear caps (as actually weighed)
Supplied accessories 77mm Snap-on Front Lens Cap LC-77, Rear Lens Cap LF-1, Bayonet Hood HB-51, Flexible Lens Pouch CL-1118

MTF chart (modulation transfer function

The MTF chart suggests a lens with high performance wide open , with some dropoff at the far corners. Nikon doesn’t supply MTF for f/5.6 and f/8, but f/4 looks excellent.

MTF for Nikon 200mm f/4.0D IF-ED

Conclusions

An in-depth review of the Nikon 200/4 can be found in DAP.

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Where to buy and related gear

You can get the Nikon 200mm f/4.0D IF-ED at B&H Photo, thank you for using links on this site when you buy links. Don’t forget the HN-30 lens hood, which is sold separately. You’ll also want a sturdy tripod and a remote release (with mirror lockup) to avoid blur.

See also my list of recommended Nikon gear and lenses, as well as the gear pages.

Learn more about Nikon lenses

For in-depth reviews of lenses that fit Nikon cameras, subscribe to Diglloyd’s Advanced Photography (DAP) and/or the Guide to Zeiss ZF / Zeiss ZE Lenses.

DAP is not just about lenses, it’s about cameras and technique and making better images, written to be approachable by beginner’s, but valuable to professionals. New material is constantly being added, so subscribe now!

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