Spiratone [Sharpshooter] 400mm F/6.3 [Plura-Coat]

Super telephoto prime lens • Film era • Discontinued


Model history (2)

Features highlight



Production details
Announced:<No data>
Production status: Discontinued
Original name:SPIRATONE TELEPHOTO 1:6.3 f=400mm
Optical design
Focal length:400mm
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount and Flange focal distance:Interchangeable mount (T)
Diagonal angle of view:6.2° (35mm full frame)
Lens construction:4 elements
Diaphragm mechanism
Diaphragm type:Preset
Aperture control:Preset ring + Aperture ring
Number of blades:<No data>
Closest focusing distance:8m
Maximum magnification:<No data>
Focusing modes:Manual focus only
Manual focus control:Focusing ring
Physical characteristics
Maximum diameter x Length:<No data>
Weather sealing:-
Fluorine coating:-
Filters:Screw-type 72mm
Lens hood:Screw-type round
Teleconverters:<No data>
Source of data
Spiratone camera accessories, lenses, darkroom, viewing and projecting equipment catalogue (No. 803) (Summer 1980).

Manufacturer description #1

From the Popular Photogaphy magazine (March 1982):


and your Canon A-1, AE-1P, AV-1; NIKON F3, FE, EM; PENTAX LX, ME, MV, K2; MINOLTA XD, XG-1, 7, 9; OLYMPUS OM-2, 10; CONTAX, YASHICA FX-1, FR-1, 2, in the aperture-preferred mode and with all other models of these cameras, plus KONICA, MAMIYA, RICOH, PRACTICA, EXAKTA and with most any 35mm SLR - use the Sharpshooter's preset diaphragm for through-the-lens stop-down metering.


"one of the most fantastic buys ever available in the telephoto area" concluded Modern Photography's enthusiastic test report. For complete report and reprint of Norman Rothschild's famous article 'don't underrate the low cost 400-mm teles', together with a copy of Spiratone's 40 page catalog, send 75c.

A relatively fast (f/6.3), lightweight (25 oz.) lens that reduces effective camera-to-subject distance by 87%! And with the special close focusing extension tube - included in the price - you can 'shoot' subjects as small as 3 1/2x5 (postcard size!) to 6x9", like birds in a nest, at unobtrusive distances from 8 to 11 feet.

Utilising a well corrected, coated, four element design, the Spiratone '400' produces needle-sharp results even wide open, stops down (pre-set!) to f/32 for extra depth of field, when required. Rotating tripod collar for vertical and horizontal positioning. Large, clear calibrations. Uses easily obtainable, standard 72mm accessories.

What's more, Spiratone guarantees you that the lens you buy is equal to or surpasses the quality and performance of the Spiratone 400 'test reported' lens.

And Spiratone's scores of exclusive accessories are all especially designed for the Spiratone '400'. With each '400' you receive detailed instructions, and hints on how to get the most out of this lens.

  • Deluxe Tubular Carry-case w. filter-compartment inside cover
  • 72mm Coated, Custom, Double-threaded, Screw-in Haze Filter
  • Custom, Screw-in, all-metal, telephoto Lenshood, matched to angle of '400'

Manufacturer description #2

From the Spiratone camera accessories, lenses, darkroom, viewing and projecting equipment catalogue (No. 803, Summer 1980):

Get it everytime... and get it SHARPER with the Spiratone SHARPSHOOTER '400'

the Spiratone 400mm f/6.3 PRESET TELE LENS

This is the famous lens which Modern Photography called "a fantastic buy"! Why? It's a relatively fast (f/6.3) and incredibly lightweight (22 ounces), well-corrected, four-element design, coated, precision-constructed lens that yields needle-sharp results... even wide open. Now... with Spiratone's Telegrip you zero in as with a rifle... for nature photos, for sports action, for tele-peeping... everywhere you know you'll find photographic excitement. This 400mm lens compresses distance by 87%, a you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it explosion of a tiny detail within a scene up to full frame size. Free rotating collar for vertical or horizontal positioning of camera on tripod or grip. Stops down to f/32 for that extra depth of field. Takes all 72mm accessories and filters.

The Spiratone "400" is also available with MULTI-COATING in the PLURA-COAT MODEL.

The Spiratone '400' PLURA-COAT MODEL is MULTI-COATED to control ghosting and to provide maximum contrast and color saturation, even in back-lighted, distant scenes. Same high optical performance, slightly heavier. Add to cost of lens or lens outfit ONLY $10 ADD'L.


  • Tubular Deluxe Carrying Case
  • Custom Screw-in Metal Telephoto long Lenshood, 3 1/4" long
  • 72mm Custom Coated Screw-in Filters - Haze, Skylight, UV, Yellow, Red, Neutral Density 4X, 80B, 82A, 85B
  • 72mm Custom Polarizer
  • 72mm Metal Screw-in Cap
  • 72mm Hard-coated Optical Glass Opticap
  • Telegrip/Shoulder brace


The 800mm Sharpshooter Converter makes the Spiratone '400' into an 800mm f/12.6 super telephoto for almost unbelievable magnification of 16X your normal lens.

Manufacturer description #3

The SPIRATONE 400 is a lightweight, true telephoto lens yielding 8X image magnification as compared with the normal lens.

The SPIRATONE 400 is a "T" mount lens. It is supplied with the appropriate "T" adapter for your SLR camera. Screw the "T" adapter onto the lens and mount the lens to the camera body in the usual manner.

The SPIRATONE 400 may be hand held at fast shutter speeds, but for maximum definition the use of a tripod is recommended. Mount the tripod to the tripod collar. The collar may be rotated to permit vertical or horizontal composition.

The SPIRATONE 400 uses custom 72 mm size filters or series IX 72 mm adapter for standard series IX accessories. The use of a haze filter is generally recommended in telephotography.


  • Independent-brand lenses were made for 35mm film SLR cameras by companies that competed with the camera manufacturers. Some came from factories that made lenses under their own brand names (Angenieux, Kiron, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina). Many others were national and international marketing organizations (Kalimar, Panagor, Rokunar, Soligor, Starblitz) that bought lenses from anonymous manufacturers. One firm — Vivitar — actually designed its own lenses and accessories, which were then subcontracted to manufacturing firms. Still others were private labels, sold only by specific photo specialty shops (Cambron, Quantaray, Spiratone).

Typical application


Slow full-frame super telephoto prime lens • Professional model

Professional model

  • Combination of focal length and speed meets professional demands

Genres or subjects of photography (4):

Distant subjects • Distant landscapes with perspective compression effect • Wild nature • Travel photography

Recommended slowest shutter speed when shooting static subjects handheld:

1/400th of a second

Lenses with similar focal length and speed

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35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm
  • Area: 864mm2


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Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.


Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),


CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.


A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance can also be different.

The flange focal distance (FFD) is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.


The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Manual diaphragm

The diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring.

Preset diaphragm

The lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value.

Semi-automatic diaphragm

The lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value.

Automatic diaphragm

The camera automatically closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.

Fixed diaphragm

The aperture setting is fixed at F/6.3 on this lens, and cannot be adjusted.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.


Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.


Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.


Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.

Lens caps

Scratched lens surfaces can spoil the definition and contrast of even the finest lenses. Lens covers are the best and most inexpensive protection available against dust, moisture and abrasion. Safeguard lens elements - both front and rear - whenever the lens is not in use.