Fujinon 400 f8

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I am going to add this lens to my system, I'm hoping someone can tell me about the quality of this lens? does it compare to the nikon "360 f ED" I'll be shooting into the sun and wan't the lens with the least amount of flare and the best optics. I have found the fujinon 400 lens at a company named "Midwest Camera Exchange" in ohio, anyone have experience with them?

Thanks for your help

-- Ron Abitia (camerajock@transport.com), January 12, 1998


Hi Ron,

There are large format teles from Schneider, Fuji, Nikon and Yamasaki available in the US market. From Schneider comes 400mm f5.6 and a 500mm 5.6, both apochromatic. These are big heavy lenses as you can imagine from the apertures and hardly suitable for field work. They are also outrageously expensive. Schneider also makes a 250mm f5.6 tele Arton, but most field cameras has bellows enough for a 250mm none telephoto so I dont see the point in considering this lens. Schneider has a web site with good specs on their lenses, so you may want to pay it a visit if you are considering Schneider. Nikon makes a 270mm but I would not consider it for the same reason I would not consider the Tele Arton. In addition the cover on the 270mm does not leave much in the way of movement on the 4*5 format. Of more interest is their 360mm f8, 500mm f11 and their 720mm f16. Each can be converted into the other by interchanging the rear cell (elements). They use ED glasses but Nikon does not refer to them as Apos.These have a good reputation. I use the 360mm f8 on occasion and find it sharp but not quiet as constrasty as my non teles There is also significant light fall off toward the edges. All teles are heavy, akin to putting lead into your camera bag. Then there is Nikons 600mm f8 tele series. Dont even think about this series unless you dream of 8*10 format, which it barely covers. Then there is the Fujis. The fuji teles come in 300mm f8, 400mm f8 and the 600mm f12.5. The Fuji 400mm is one of my favorite lenses. It has more reach than the Nikon and actually weights a little less. All of this is relative of course because these teles are all big lenses. If there is a difference in sharpness between the fuji and the Nikons, I cant tell. I think the Fuji has less light fall off at the periphery, covers a bit more and is sharper at near studio distances. I have actually used the Fuji to cover 8*10 at near studio distances! I hope some day to get the 600mm f12.5 since it is the only 600mm that my linhof can use with its limited bellows draw. I also have the 300mm f8 which is as sharp as any but again at a lower contrast level. One important point is that the Fujis, unlike the Nikons, has non interchangeable cells. Fuji no longer imports lenses into the US but they are ready available from sources such as Midwest Photo Exchange and F stops here. Yamasaki makes Congo lenses and their teles come in the 300mm, 400mm and 500mm focal lengths. They have a extraordinary short bellows draw for their focal lengths. Optically, I hear they are not as good as the fujis or Nikons, probably because they are of a simpler tessar design, but are a lot less expensive. I have no experience with them. If you have only 12 inches bellows draw then the choice is between the Nikon 360 and the fuji 400. I have both but because the Nikon 360 is so close to my 240mm I prefer to carry the Fuji 400 (usually). Whatever you get I think you will be satisfied, if you have realistic expectations. In general teles are heavier, more expensive than their non tele counterparts. They also have the annoying habit of shifting the image when you tilt and swing because their focal planes are well ahead of the lens board. Good luck.

-- Pat Raymore (PATRICK.F.RAYMORE@KP.Org), January 16, 1998.

I have little to add to the excellent answer already provided except that: (1) I too have the Fuji 400mm telephoto and like it a lot; and (2) if you haven't already made your purchase, compare the Fuji prices from Midwest Photo Exchange with the prices at The F Stops Here. Although The F Stops Here doesn't guarantee an absolutely fixed price because of currency fluctuations, when I purchased my Fuji about eight months ago the final price was somewhat less (I forget the exact amount) than the prices that Midwest was advertising in "Shutterbug."

-- Brian Ellis (bellis@satie.arts.usf.edu), February 06, 1998.

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