Nikkor AF 180mm f/2.8 IF-ED - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published June 2006

Lens kindly provided for testing purposes by Ulrich Grothaus!


The Nikkor AF 180mm f/2.8 IF-ED is one the older medium tele primes in the Nikon lens lineup. At a price just below the 1000US$/€ barrier it isn't exactly a cheap lens. For about the same money you could also have a Nikkor AF 80-200mm f/2.8 D ED zoom lens which is an excellent performer making it hard to justify a fix-focal lens of the same speed and similar shape factor.

Released back in the early '90s it is obviously a full format lens. In the tested APS-C scope (Nikon D200) the field-of-view is equivalent to classic 270mm. When thinking of 300mm f/2.8 lenses on film SLRs the size an weight advantage is immediately obvious so tele photographers can be happy about the APS-C cropping factor.

The build quality of the lens is exceptionally high. The outer barrel is made of metal with a crinkle finish typical for professional grade Nikkors. The rubberized focus ring operates very smooth and slightly damped. The lens features a build-in telescope hood. Personally I prefer this kind of hood simply because it's so much more convenient compared to twist-lock or even screw-in type hoods. On the downside some may argue that such hoods aren't overly deep thus less efficient but frankly I think it's certainly good enough.

The AF 180mm f/2.8 is a true IF (internal focusing) design so its length remains constant regardless of the focus setting and the front element does not rotate. Using a polarizer is therefore no problem. The lens has no internal AF motor and relies on a slotted drive screw operated by the camera. As a result the AF generates a moderate degree of noise. However, the AF speed is very fast - also an advantage of the internal focusing mechanism.

Equiv. focal length270 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/4.2 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction8 elements in 6 groups inc. 1 ED element
Number of aperture blades9
min. focus distance1.5 m (max. magnification ratio 1:6.6)
Dimensions79 x 144 mm
Weight760 g
Filter size72 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodbarrel shaped (build-in)
Other features-