Work with old Nikon lenses

Nikon is famous for not changing the mount of its SLR cameras since 1961. All lenses released since 1961 (sometimes earlier) mechanically compatible with all Nikon cameras, including with modern Nikon digital SLR cameras.

Nikon Nikkor-SC Auto 1: 1.4 f = 50mm on the Nikon D40x

Original (NON-AI, without AI conversion) lens Nikon Nikkor-SC Auto 1: 1.4 f = 50mm on the camera Nikon D40x. On such cameras, such old lenses are installed without alteration. Nikon D40x and similar cameras listed in this article do not have a diaphragm rheostat and use a “recessed” aperture limit lever, making it easy to use any old Nikon F mount lenses on them.

All old mirrored lenses with Nikon F mount are divided into:

  1. NON-AI or PRE-AI - lenses do not know how to transmit the aperture value to the camera, metering exposure difficult with them. This type can be converted to AI type. You can use here such a trick for automatic metering exposure on covered diaphragms.
  2. AI (Automatic Indexing - automatic reading) - such lenses are able to transmit the aperture value to the camera.
  3. AI-S (Automatic Indexing Shutter - automatic reading for excerpts) - improved, more linear aperture control circuit for the correct selection of the aperture / shutter exposure pair.
  4. AI-P (just 'P', Automatic Indexing with micro Processor - automatic reading and control using a micro-processor) is the latest development of classic lenses without autofocus. More details about 'AI-P' Read here.

There is practically no difference between AI, AI-S when working at modern central control centers. AI-S lenses have a strictly linear dependence of the aperture closing stage on the deflection of the aperture jumper. Also, AI-S lenses have a special notch next to the mount and usually have an orange minimum aperture mark. All lenses marked AF, D are also AI-S compatible.

Nikon Nikkor-SC Auto 1: 1.4 f = 50mm and Nikon F6 camera

Original (not converted) Nikon Nikkor-SC Auto 1: 1.4 f = 50mm and TOP film Nikon F6 Camera. Due to the diaphragm rheostat, this original lens cannot be mounted on the camera without additional alteration of the lens or modification of the camera.



All Pre-AI (Non-AI), AI, AI-S, AI converted lenses have a blinking aperture. This means that when the lens is attached to the camera, the aperture opens fully. The aperture will close to the set value only when the shutter is released. The camera will automatically close and open the iris when you press the shutter button. The mechanism for closing the diaphragm is realized through the "pusher" and "jump rope". All modern Nikon lenses have the same design (except for specific Nikon E).



Read aperture value

How does the camera read the set aperture value on the lens? It's very simple - older Nikon cameras are equipped with a special ring with a protrusion near the camera mount. The protrusion is shown in the image below. Special protrusion on the lens when rotating the aperture ring on AI, AI-S, Non-g the lens clings to a protrusion on the camera and rotates it, transmitting the aperture value to the camera.

Rheostat for reading aperture value for Ai, Pre-ai, AI-S, Non-G lenses

Rheostat for reading aperture value for Ai, AI-S, Non-G, Non-E lenses

The problem with installing old PRE-AI lenses on modern CZK

Old PRE-AI lenses abut the diaphragm ring against the protrusion of the diaphragm rheostat near the camera mount. Because of this, older PRE-AI lenses cannot be mounted on cameras that can read aperture value.

Here is the exact list of cameras on which it is not possible to mount PRE-AI lenses due to the protrusion of the rheostat:

D200, D300, D300s, D500, D600, D610, D700, D750D780, D800, D800E, D810D810a, D850, D7000, D7100, D7200, D1, D1h, D1x, D2x, D2xs, D2h, D2hs, D3, D3x, D3s, D4, D4s, D5, D6 + S5 Pro, IS Pro.

Nikon Df can hide the rheostat, which is why there are no installation problems.

Projection for transmitting aperture value on the lens

A lug for transferring the aperture value on the lens, which engages with the aperture rheostat on the camera. Shown using an example lens Nikon AF Nikkor 28-70mm 1: 3.5-4.5D



Aperture Lever EE

Also old PRE-AI lenses cannot be installed on cameras

Nikon D50, D70, D70s, D80, D90, D100 + Fujifilm FinePix S1 Pro, S2 Pro, S3 Pro, S3 Pro UVIR + Kodak DCS PRO 14n (and its modifications) and Kodak DCS Pro SLR / n (and its modifications) (this is an accurate list)

из-за lever of the extreme position of the diaphragm. The lever is responsible for working with autofocus lenses that have an aperture control ring. These lenses are called Non-g. Below is shown such a lens with a protrusion that is combined with the lever of the extreme position of the diaphragm.

The protrusion for reading the extreme position of the aperture ring on the Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm 1: 1.8D lens, which is a NON-G type lens, that is, one that has an aperture control ring.

Lug for reading the extreme position of the aperture ring on the lens Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm 1: 1.8Dwhich is a NON-G type lens, that is, one that has an aperture control ring.

For automatic iris control, such cameras need to know for sure that the aperture control ring is set to the extreme position (maximum F number). If this is not done, then the camera display will show error message 'FEE' (the aperture ring is not set to the correct position). When the diaphragm ring rotates to its extreme position, this lever moves counterclockwise. For cameras with a diaphragm rheostat, such a lever is not required, since the rheostat itself takes over its function. The lever EE for reading the extreme position of the diaphragm ring is shown in the figure below.

EE lever for reading the extreme position of the diaphragm ring

Lever EE for reading the end position of the diaphragm ring, the lever moves, but does not "sink"

And here are the cameras

Nikon D40, D40x, D60D3000, D3100, D3200, D3300D3400, D3500, D5000, D5100, D5200, D5300, D5500D5600D7500 + mirrorless cameras Nikon Z5, Nikon Z6, Z6 II, Nikon Z7, Z7 II, Nikon Z50 using the original Nikon FTZ adapter

have a different lever design EE... The lever is 'recessed' into the body of the camera rather than displaced, so the lever does not interfere with the aperture ring protrusions of PRE-AI lenses.

EE Lever on Nikon Junior Cameras

EE lever on low-end Nikon cameras. When the lens is mounted, it “retracts” and does not interfere with the installation of any lenses with Nikon F mount

Some cameras, such as Nikon D3400 и D3500 deprived of this lever at all. On these cameras, you can easily install all PRE-AI lenses.

Lack of leverage

Lack of EE lever on models D3400 и D3500.



To summarize, PRE-AI lenses cannot be mounted on cameras:

D200, D300, D300s, D500, D600, D610, D700, D750, D800, D800E, D810D810a, D850, D7000, D7100, D7200, D1, D1h, D1x, D2x, D2xs, D2h, D2hs, D3, D3x, D3s, D4, D4s, D5, D6, D50, D70, D70s, D80, D90 + Fujifilm FinePix S1 Pro, S2 Pro, S3 Pro, S3 Pro UVIRS5 Pro, IS Pro + Kodak DCS PRO 14n (and its modifications) and Kodak DCS Pro SLR / n (and its modifications)

PRE-AI lenses are easy to mount on cameras:

Nikon D40, D40x, D60D3000, D3100, D3200, D3300, D3400, D3500, D5000, D5100, D5200, D5300, D5500, D5600, Df, D7500 + mirrorless cameras Nikon Z5, Nikon Z6, Z6 II, Nikon Z7, Z7 II, Nikon Z50 using the original Nikon FTZ adapter

PRE-AI lenses are easy to convert to AI, usually for this part of the aperture ring is ground off and a protrusion for the rheostat is added.



Due to the lack of a diaphragm rheostat gauging exposure not available with cameras:

 Nikon D40, D40x, D50, D60, D70, D70s, D80, D90, D3000, D3100, D3200, D3300, D3400D3500, D5000, D5100, D5200, D5300, D5500, D5600, D100D7500 + Fujifilm FinePix S1 Pro, S2 Pro, S3 Pro, S3 Pro UVIR + Kodak DCS PRO 14n (and its modifications) and Kodak DCS Pro SLR / n (and its modifications)

Measurement exposure with old lenses is only available on cameras that have a diaphragm rheostat:

D200, D300, D300s, D500, D600, D610, D700, D750D780, D800, D800E, D810D810a, D850, D7000, D7100, D7200, D1, D1h, D1x, D2x, D2xs, D2h, D2hs, D3, D3x, D3s, D4, D4s, D5, D6, Df + S5 Pro, IS Pro + mirrorless cameras Nikon Z5, Nikon Z6, Z6 II, Nikon Z7, Z7 II, Nikon Z50 using the original Nikon FTZ adapter (?)



Fast solution for compatibility

PRE-AI, NON-AI lenses can be easily used on any camera with macro rings... These lenses can be easily installed on any cameras via Any extension tube for Nikon F-mount cameras.

How to use old Nikon lenses on modern DSLRs and system cameras, see 'Using old lenses'.



What are old lenses for, if you have modern autofocus?

Old manual lenses give quite adequate image quality. Some of them are superior to their modern autofocus counterparts. For some lenses, there are simply no autofocus counterparts. For example, there is no analogue for Nikon 50mm f / 1.2 AI-s Nikkor MF with the same aperture. Moreover, old lenses usually cost much less than their modern counterparts. Old manual lenses got their second life after the boom on the CZK camera.



If it’s interesting to read more about modern lenses and their differences, I advise you to look into my article The difference between modern Nikon lenses, as well as interesting observations can be found in the article Aperture and video on the Nikon CZK и An interesting property of the diaphragm on the Nikon CZK.


Results

Nikon has a lot of experience in creating lenses and a very large fleet of old high-quality optics, which can be purchased for little money and get an excellent image result.

Comments here on the site do not require any registration. In the comments, you can ask a question on the topic, or leave your feedback, or describe your experience. For the selection of photographic equipment, I recommend E-Catalog. Many little things for the photo can be found on AliExpress.

The material was prepared by Arkady Shapoval. My Youtube channeland Radozhiva's group on Facebook и VK.

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Comments: 194, on the topic: Working with old Nikon lenses

  • Leonid N

    Help decide on two options for the D7100:

    Nikon Nikkor 50mm f / 1.8 Ai

    Nikon Nikkor 50mm f / 1.4 Ai

    Chromatic is supposedly noticeable at 1.4, and there are allegedly difficulties with focusing on the D7100.

    The price is about equal, 1.8 looks "newer".

    What difficulties can be expected from 1.4 on a crop?

    Ken Rockwell in the review advises taking 1.8.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      1.4 is really hard to work with.
      50 / 1,8 is a more balanced option, it is most often advised

      • Leonid N

        Thanks for the reply.

  • Olesya

    Please help me if the lens nikkor135mm-Q Auto 1: 2.8 will fit
    On the nikon D850?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Will not fit, this is a NON-AI lens. It should be improved. Usually they are all already finished (the skirt is cut off), ask the seller or where you are going to get it.

  • Andrew

    Gods, why didn't Nikon get caught up in all this? And how much persistence did it take to preserve one bayonet for half a century with all these bells and whistles? : D

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Pentax is even harder

  • R'RёS,R ° F "RёR№

    Guys tell me what kind of bayonet?

    • Ilya

      Minolta A

  • Nicholas

    about the iron eyelet (on the diaphragm ring), no one wrote anything, why is it?

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