What a surprise find, Nikon Nikkor*ED 50-300mm F/4.5 AI-S

I was looking for a long telephoto lens for video work. I am on tight budget. I was looking at Tarmon 70-200 f2.8 first version, and Sigma 100-300 f4 (used). I tried both lens. They are pretty good. But then I find this old Nikon lens while doing research online. There were not many reviews. I only find a few short impressions articles. They are all positive. I do not need auto focus. I do not need IS. I think this lens might be the ideal one for me. I took the plunge and bought one on ebay. It cost $600.

This lens has three versions. Mine is the third version that was produced in 1982. Reviews say the older version is not that good. So if you are interested in this lens, buy the third version. Nikon Nikkor*ED 50-300mm F/4.5 AI-S.

It is quite heavy. about 4 lb/2kg. I tried handheld it. It is too heavy for me. And lack of IS for 100mm+ lens is certainly very hard to keep still.

with Sony a7s

P1270627 P1270629

One feature push me to buy this lens is the constant f4.5. It is only 1/3 stop darker than f4. It is quite amazing. You can not find a such lens currently. There is no 6x zoom f4.5 lens for any brand currently. I am surprised Nikon had it 30 years ago.

So what about the resolution of this lens. Is f4.5 good? usable? Many old lens has very dismal image quality when it is wide open. However this lens is pretty good wide open even at 300mm. You do not need to stop down to f5.6 or f8 to have good image at 300mm. It is very usable at f4.5 at 300mm. At other focal length, it is only better.

take a look. Click the photo for 100% full resolution.

50mm f4.5


300mm f4.5


Very good. isn’t it? I feel at 300mm. It is not as contrast as you would wish. Old lens tend to produce less contrast photo.

Also remember these were shot with full frame camera. If you use it with APS-C or m4/3 camera. The edge to edge resolution will be even better.

Some more test shots. All shot at f4.5. Click to see full resolution.

DSC00597 DSC00598 DSC00617

I am really happy of this lens. It can be a really nice lens for tripod video work. You definitely need at least a monopod.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Ivar Halvorsen说道:

    I have heard that this lens gives the skarpest results at f/11.

    1. liukaitc说道:

      No big difference. It is sharp wide open. Corner should be better at f11.

      1. s. sreenivasa reddy说道:

        This is a great lens. I shot extensively with this lens on my sony a7s for video work, I loved the image this beauty produces.
        I have an issue with this lens in that it is not a Parfocal lens. I have heard that some copies of this lens are Parfocal.
        The lens that you own, is it a Parfocal one.
        Thank You for your time.

      2. liukaitc说道:

        Hi, mine is not parfocal. I do not know any dslr lens that is parfocal. My sony 18-105 f4 power zoom lens is parfocal. and I know that sony 28-135 f4 lens is parfocal as well. but generally most dslr lens is not parfocal. some people say the sigma 18-35 f1.8 is parfocal. but mine is not.


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