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Optical design, performance, & ray tracing: Nikkor 300mm ED F4.5 Non-IF lens

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#1 coinboy1

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 03:39 PM

I recently acquired an old vintage Nikkor 300mm ED F4.5 Non-IF camera lens. This is the non internal focusing lens circa 1977-1979. That puts this lens and design over 40 years old. Less than 1,000 of these were ever made.  This is a very rare lens that I was lucky enough to pickup for a cheap price on an auction site. 

 

Marco1968 inspired me to pick up this lens from his post here. 

 

Here is the optical layout of the lens: 

 

300mmf45EDpreAIopt.gif

 

As you can see it is essentially a quadruplet 67mm aperture with a cemented doublet field corrector. A total of six elements are used in this optical design.

 

After reading his post and checking out his images and other reviews online, I was convinced enough to pick one up and test one out when I came across one. It arrived the other day and I did some simple test images in my light polluted backyard. First here is the vignetting profile across a full frame DSLR (Canon 5D Mark II). 

 

post-199396-0-27534300-1597502720.jpg

 

Here is a 3x3 sample of edges and corners across the frame @ F4.5. I also noticed very little CA in the star field. The focus was not perfect as I did not use a Bahtinov mask or other focusing aid. The stars in the left corner are showing elongation but I believe this to be the weight of the camera hanging off the lens. I am going to 3D print a support bracket to help with this. The other corners and edges are very good IMO for a full frame DSLR. 

 

M27_45x60sec_corners2.jpg

 

I was impressed with my test shots and really wondered what kind of ED glass was used in this design. I researched Nikon Lens Patents  and found the US Patent # on the Photons to Photos website . The optical prescription was found in US Patent # 4,154,508 (Standard Lens 2):

 

prescription.jpg

 

continued on next post:

 

 


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#2 coinboy1

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 03:50 PM

So I ran the numbers into Optalix (demo version) and tried to match the glass as close as possible to the original prescription. I think I am pretty close on my ray tracing; if anyone wants to run it into Zemax I would be most delighted! 

 

Here is the prescription I entered from the patent info:

 

optalixNikkor300mm.jpg

 

Here is the optical layout generated:

 

layout.jpg

 

Looks pretty close to the original lens layout from Nikon.

 

Here is the spot diagram:

 

spot.jpg

 

I feel the actual performance is better than what the generated spot diagram shows. Perhaps someone can optimize it for me or help me with the glass selection.  

 

I am new to ray tracing and this was good practice for me, I really enjoyed researching this old vintage lens especially because it is still a great performer after 40 years! 

My question I believe is answered, Elements #1 and #4 use Schott FK52 ED glass (1st generation ED glass). Correct me if I am wrong but that is what I discovered based on the patent and the glass catalogs I used (from MODAS). 

 

Looking forward to other peoples thoughts on this old school lens and optical design. 


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#3 coinboy1

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 04:01 PM

Full resolution test shot for those pixel peepers. get.jpg?insecure


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#4 MKV

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 06:22 PM

Nice work, Tony! What off-axis field angle did you use? The patent calls for an 8-degree field of view, so off-axis trace angle would be 4o.  For some reason you're exceeding aperture diameters of some elements. 

 

Mladen

 

PS

 

Here is ATMOS raytrace. Very much in agreement with Optalix. Optimization didn't yield much for glasses, except change F2 to F9, with no visible improvement. OSLO  gave me the the same results. I'll try SYNOPSYS later on. 

 

nikkor_300_f4_5 coinboy.png

 

note: the square is 25 microns.

 


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#5 coinboy1

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 08:20 PM

Awesome Mladen! Thanks for running it in ATMOS! Your ray trace looks better! I used an image height of 13.35mm and 21.6mm to represent the corners of an APS-C and Full Frame sensor.


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#6 MKV

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Posted 17 August 2020 - 09:56 AM

Awesome Mladen! Thanks for running it in ATMOS! Your ray trace looks better! I used an image height of 13.35mm and 21.6mm to represent the corners of an APS-C and Full Frame sensor.

Thanks, Tony. SYNOPSYS didn't change a thing in optimization -- of course! Japanese engineers optimized everything to the tee. Really impressive lens.

 

Here's a knife-edge null at the minimum rms OPD focus. On-axis, perfect.

 

nikkor 300 f4_5 k-e.png

 

But visually only over a limited, but decent field size. The field is normlaized to 1 = 4 degrees, so 0.25 will be 1 degree. Very impressive. Nice find.

 

nikkor 300 f4_5 psf_field.png

 

If you want to run it in SYNOPSYS, you can download their freebie version (12 surface limit). Here's a quick-look schematic of the layout 

 

nikkor 300 f4_5 PAD.png

 

...and the "prescription" (there's actually an easy shorthand way of entering the design that takes no time -- quicker than OSLO or others, also more flexible, but you have to know the code). Just copy the prescription as a text file on your clipboard, open SYNOPSYS, at the artificial intelligence prompt AI> and type "EE", enter, and paste the text into the RLE window that will open. This is one of the top professional-level programs available for about $5,000 and about $1.5K for annual license maintainance. The freebie version is only limited to 12 surfaces, but otherwise can run other operations -- if you know the code! :o) The oleder version (v 14) had unlimited surfaces but you couldn't save any files. That didn't last...I wonder why, lol.

 

RLE
ID NIKKOR 300 MM F4.5 ED NON-IF            144
FNAME 'NIKKOR 300 F4.5 ED NON-IF.RLE                    '
MERIT   0.260871E-04
LOG      144
WAVL .6562700 .5875600 .4861300
APS               1
UNITS MM 
OBD  1.00000E+20   4.  21. 0 0 0  21.                                         
                                         
   0 AIR
   0 CV  1.0000000000000E-20 AIR
   1 RAD    106.0000000000000   TH     11.00000000
   1 N1 1.48425117 N2 1.48606539 N3 1.49019253
   1 CTE   0.144000E-04
   1 GTB S    'FK52            '
   2 RAD   -151.0000000000000   TH      4.00000000 AIR
   3 RAD   -144.0000000000000   TH      3.00000000
   3 N1 1.73904779 N2 1.74400158 N3 1.75568287
   3 CTE   0.810000E-05
   3 GTB S    'LAF2            '
   4 RAD    130.0000000000000   TH     12.00000000
   4 N1 1.63505138 N2 1.63928242 N3 1.64929655
   4 CTE   0.760000E-05
   4 GTB O    'BAM12           '
   5 RAD    650.0000000000000   TH      1.00000000 AIR
   6 RAD     95.0000000000000   TH      7.70000000
   6 N1 1.48425117 N2 1.48606539 N3 1.49019253
   6 CTE   0.144000E-04
   6 GTB S    'FK52            '
   7 RAD    878.8000000000000   TH    119.30000000 AIR
   8 RAD    -43.0000000000000   TH      1.00000000
   8 N1 1.61726800 N2 1.62040602 N3 1.62755182
   8 CTE   0.630000E-05
   8 GTB S    'SK16            '
   9 RAD    150.0000000000000   TH      3.50000000
   9 N1 1.61502503 N2 1.62003267 N3 1.63207204
   9 CTE   0.820000E-05
   9 GTB S    'F2              '
  10 RAD   -104.8200000000000   TH     70.02739409 AIR
  10 TH      70.02739409
  10 YMT      0.00000000
    BTH     -0.02506519
  11 CV      0.0000000000000   TH      0.00000000 AIR
END

 

I entered only three walenegths (they come as a covenient shorthand bunch called "CDF"), and the 4th wavelength 546.07 nm was very close to the design wavelength 587.560 nm, which wasn't critical.

 

Have fun,

Mladen


Edited by MKV, 17 August 2020 - 09:57 AM.

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#7 bclaff

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Posted 17 August 2020 - 11:08 AM

FWIW, I don't consider this to be a good match to the production lens, otherwise it would be listed in the Optical Bench Hub rather than only in the Optical Bench.

 

Note how the patent optical prescription doesn't really line up with the lens construction diagram (see attached).
There are other discrepancies like the placement and distance between the principal planes (follow above link to Optical Bench and see for yourself).

 

Naturally, this doesn't mean you can't get use the patent to get some insight into the actual lens.

Attached Thumbnails

  • NoMatch300mm.PNG

Edited by bclaff, 17 August 2020 - 12:02 PM.

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#8 Mike I. Jones

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Posted 17 August 2020 - 01:07 PM

Here's my spin on the 300mm f/4.5 Nikon.  Notice that I've located the aperture stop (shown in orange) location as shown on the Photons To Photos site.  You both have your stop surface at R1, but in reality it's between the two lens groups as shown.  I don't know how Optalix or Synopsis handles ray aiming, but you'll need to somehow turn on real ray aiming.  Be sure to set vignetting.

 

Scary that they put the FK52 element up front, exposed to possibly improper cleaning.  Gotta be careful with that, as FK52 scratches fairly easily.

 

Also, this lens was evidently intended for film.  Try adding a wavelength around 0.43-0.44┬Ám and watch the spots explode!  Films have low responsivity to UV and violet wavelengths, while CCD/CMOS sensors respond much better.  This implies that if used for astrophotography, you might see violet halos around brighter stars.

 

There is also lateral color out at the edges of the FOV.  Would be interesting to see if that shows up in imagery.

 

I optimized the lens for object distance, and it seems to image slightly better over the full-frame 35mm format at around 25 meters distance.  Unlike telescopes, telephotos are typically optimized for maximum ranges less than infinity.  The difference in performance isn't all that much, though.

 

300mm f4_5 prescription.jpg

 

300mm f4_5 layouts.jpg

 

300mm f4_5 spots.jpg

 

300mm f4_5 MTF.jpg


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#9 bclaff

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Posted 17 August 2020 - 03:48 PM

Sent you a message.

Yeah, aperture stop was not specified so I made a reasonable guess based on the off-axis rays.

My 70.05mm Bf agrees with your 70.1983mm-0.1559mm =70.0424mm figure

Note that the production diagram shows 77.3mm


Edited by bclaff, 17 August 2020 - 03:48 PM.

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#10 coinboy1

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Posted 18 August 2020 - 03:31 PM

Thank you Mladen and Mike For your further analysis and ray trace in your programs! I am most grateful! I am going to dive deeper into learning Optalix and try the aperture stop. This has been a most interesting exercise and learning experience. -Tony


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#11 bclaff

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Posted 18 August 2020 - 05:37 PM

Thank you Mladen and Mike For your further analysis and ray trace in your programs! I am most grateful! I am going to dive deeper into learning Optalix and try the aperture stop. This has been a most interesting exercise and learning experience. -Tony

As a rough guide note that the Aperture Stop is going to be in the general vicinity of where the off-axis rays cross the optical axis.
That's because the chief ray, which determines Angle of View, is going to pass through the center of the Aperture Stop.
Nikon Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR from patent WO 2020/012639 Example 8 shown as an example.
The chief ray is shown in dark green.

snip.png


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#12 JohnH

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Posted 18 August 2020 - 11:05 PM

Could you do a analysis of a Canon 200mm USM f/1.8 EOS?

#13 bclaff

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Posted 19 August 2020 - 12:11 AM

Could you do a analysis of a Canon 200mm USM f/1.8 EOS?

If this request is directed at me the answer is "no" because I get my optical prescriptions from patents and I have not located a patent for that lens.
This is not unusual as most lenses are not referenced in any patent.

 

Lenses for which I have found matching or closely matching patents are listed at the PhotonsToPhotos Optical Bench Hub.


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#14 Mike I. Jones

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Posted 19 August 2020 - 12:34 AM

Scan through Dan Reiley's great lens design reference site:

 

http://www.lens-designs.com/home

 

There are several 200mm f/2 prime lenses listed, but I didn't see an f/1.8 as far down as I looked.



#15 MKV

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Posted 19 August 2020 - 05:52 AM

As a rough guide note that the Aperture Stop is going to be in the general vicinity of where the off-axis rays cross the optical axis.
That's because the chief ray, which determines Angle of View, is going to pass through the center of the Aperture Stop.

Correct, but unless I'm missing something, it looks like an iris placed in OP's Nikkor 300 F4.5 lens doesn't make that much of a difference? Maybe that's why it was omitted in the patent?

 

Here with iris and without iris respectively:

 

nikkor 300 f4_5_iris.png.png

 

nikkor 300 f4_5_no iris.png


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#16 Mike I. Jones

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Posted 19 August 2020 - 02:25 PM

It makes a difference when you stop down the lens.  Try it.


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#17 bclaff

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Posted 19 August 2020 - 02:29 PM

Scan through Dan Reiley's great lens design reference site:

 

http://www.lens-designs.com/home

 

There are several 200mm f/2 prime lenses listed, but I didn't see an f/1.8 as far down as I looked.

Thanks. I'm always on the lookout for new sources.

I think that's a great reference for many who are curious about optical design.

I checked it out thoroughly a while ago and very little suited my purposes although a few patent references were helpful.

 

I'm always looking for more to add to the Optical Bench Hub but have already gleaned quite a bit from other sources.

 

As far as I know the hub, with about 300 optical prescriptions, is the largest available list of optical prescriptions for production lenses.
Other lists rarely cite the example within a patent and I also provide a "sanity check" by overlaying the prescription over a manufacturer lens diagram.
I have rejected a significant number of claims that a patent corresponds with a particular lens based on the failure to line up reasonably.



#18 bclaff

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Posted 19 August 2020 - 02:38 PM

Correct, but unless I'm missing something, it looks like an iris placed in OP's Nikkor 300 F4.5 lens doesn't make that much of a difference? Maybe that's why it was omitted in the patent?

As has been said. It will make more of a difference as you stop down.

I've never seen an optical design where the chief ray did not pass through the center of the Aperture Stop, even stopped down.

 

Many older patents don'r specify the aperture at all. I suppose it's not considered part of the optics.
Some will simply say something like "an aperture stop is placed between the 3rd and 4th lens groups".

 

It's also unusual for patents to specify effective diameter for lens elements and even the rarer diameter(s) of the aperture.
That's a bit of a nuisance for me and the way I prepare optical prescriptions.

 

And, older patents are often scaled to 100mm or 1mm focal length and I have to re-scale them to a new focal length often guessing based on Angle of View and Image Height.


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#19 bclaff

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Posted 19 August 2020 - 02:46 PM

Could you do a analysis of a Canon 200mm USM f/1.8 EOS?

Strangely enough I didn't even have a lens construction diagram for that lens until I located one through the "Wayback Machine".

 

I need manufacturer lens construction diagrams (Canon calls them Block Diagrams) to verify optical prescriptions from patents.

So now, if I locate a prospect for this lens I'll be prepared.



#20 Marco1968

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Posted 20 August 2020 - 01:50 AM

Greetings All,

I am following this thread with great interest for all the analysis work done on the Nikon 300 ED 4.5 non-if.

Sorry for going a bit out of topic, as requested some posts earlier I am willing to provide information on the Canon FD/EF 200 1.8 optical schemes.

Renown italian photographer and photography history guru Marco Cavina has on its website an article with very detailed information on the Canon 200 1.8

Please have a look at the following link:

http://www.marcocavi...rter/00_pag.htm

I think with the provided data should be possible for you to analyze this lens.

Kind Regards from Italy

Marco
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#21 bclaff

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Posted 20 August 2020 - 03:44 AM

Greetings All,

I am following this thread with great interest for all the analysis work done on the Nikon 300 ED 4.5 non-if.

Sorry for going a bit out of topic, as requested some posts earlier I am willing to provide information on the Canon FD/EF 200 1.8 optical schemes.

Renown italian photographer and photography history guru Marco Cavina has on its website an article with very detailed information on the Canon 200 1.8

Please have a look at the following link:

http://www.marcocavi...rter/00_pag.htm

I think with the provided data should be possible for you to analyze this lens.

Kind Regards from Italy

Marco

Good find. He has some great info.

In this case he seems to have access to documents that aren't easily available. I have always wondered from where!


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#22 MKV

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Posted 20 August 2020 - 06:14 AM

It makes a difference when you stop down the lens.  Try it.

I know that, Mike, but I believe Tony purchased the lens to be used for astrophotography at full aperture, which is why he tested it on star fields. 

 

Mladen


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#23 Marco1968

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Posted 20 August 2020 - 06:17 AM

Greetings All,

from what Marco Cavina told me, his research is indeed mostly based on old  patents by Nikon, Canon, Zeiss and Leica.

In addition to the on-line search for patents, he has a great number of connections with fellow passionate photo historians with who he shares information.

Back to the topic thread, I would like to share with you some thoughts that may help to refine the 300 ED 4.5 non-if analysis you have nicely done.

Marco Cavina published an article that contains details of the optical schemes and glass types for several Nikkor lenses. Amongst these the famous Nikkor 180 ED f2.8.

Link at the article here (in italian but of course you may translate with Google):

https://www.nital.it...redo-nikkor.php

I think it is likely that the ED glass used for the front element of the 180 ED 2.8 had the same formulation of the ED used for the 300 ED 4.5 non-if (and the 400 ED 5.6 non-if of the same years btw).

Marco Cavina highlights that this ED glass was an internal Nikon development, somehow different by the commercially available at the time.

Refractive properties of this glass are:

Refraction index is nD=1,50032 and dispersion Abbe number is vD= 81,9

By looking and comparing the optical schemes of the 180 ED 2.8 with the 300 ED 4.5 I think the second is a refinement of the first one.

The overall optical design are conceptually the same (an 'orthodox telephoto design' in the words of Marco), a front triplet and a rear field correcting and flattening doublet;

Notably the second, concave front element in the 180 ED moving to the 300 ED evolved in a cemented doublet (to further fine tune the dispersion obtained?) and the rear group became cemented (maybe to reduce the number of air-to-air passages?)

By careful looking at the superimposition of the optical scheme by the technical drawing of the 300 ED and that from the patent, indeed there are differences.

If we assume the technical drawing is accurate, more precise value for several lenses radii and thicknesses can be derived that, in turn, may led to a more accurate analysis.

Sorry as I can only suggest not being able at this moment to make the model and perform the analysis by myself, if you will devolve some time in this attempt I will be very curious to know your results.

Thankyou very much for reading so far
All the Best

Marco
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#24 bclaff

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Posted 20 August 2020 - 07:43 AM

...

Back to the topic thread, I would like to share with you some thoughts that may help to refine the 300 ED 4.5 non-if analysis you have nicely done.

Marco Cavina published an article that contains details of the optical schemes and glass types for several Nikkor lenses. Amongst these the famous Nikkor 180 ED f2.8.

Link at the article here (in italian but of course you may translate with Google):

https://www.nital.it...redo-nikkor.php

I think it is likely that the ED glass used for the front element of the 180 ED 2.8 had the same formulation of the ED used for the 300 ED 4.5 non-if (and the 400 ED 5.6 non-if of the same years btw).

Marco Cavina highlights that this ED glass was an internal Nikon development, somehow different by the commercially available at the time.

Refractive properties of this glass are:

Refraction index is nD=1,50032 and dispersion Abbe number is vD= 81,9

...

Marco

The Nikon AI Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 ED is one lens I do have in the Optical Bench Hub.

It's US 4,338,001 Example 2 and indeed the first element is nd=1.50032 vd=81.9

The patent is 100mm and needs to be scaled to 100mm. I added the Aperture and Field Stops based on the figure.

You can see the prescription in my format (which is pretty obvious) here.

This is also Tale No. 10 AI Nikkor ED 180mm F2.8S in the Nikon NIKKOR - The Thousand and One Nights series or articles


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#25 MKV

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Posted 20 August 2020 - 08:15 AM

This is all very interesting, but it seems we're drifting seriously off-topic.




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