Pete Andrews , Sep 16, 2002; 09:59 a.m.
Both lenses are actually about the same age, I think. My recollection is that they were introduced about the same time, in the 1960s. The f/4 version was intended more as a 'budget' lens, with the f/2.8 being aimed at the professional market.<p>I actually preferred the printing qualities of the f/4 version, when I used them side by side in college. The f/2.8 I used seemed to lack a bit of contrast at the wider apertures, but that may have been down to sample variation, or the condition of those particular lenses.<br>Plus, that was all a long time ago now.<p>I'd say if you don't really need the wider aperture for focusing, then the f/4 El-Nikkor is a perfectly respectable lens, with a performance well above the average of mid-priced enlarging lenses.