Nikon Bunny Ears. Compatibility forever

Motivating spoiler: just add Nikon rabbit ears to any lens like AF / AF-S / AF-I NON-G and get the opportunity to conveniently shoot Nikon film cameras from the 60s of the last century!

Nikon ears

Nikon ears

All Nikon autofocus lenses with an iris control ring (Non-G / Non-E) have two or three notch marks on the aperture ring. I always paid attention to them, but I never thought that these points are really on all such lenses. It turned out that these notch points help in the installation of Nikon ears, which make it possible to obtain compatibility with old film cameras of the PRE-AI / NON-AI era, i.e. from 1959 to 1977!

I'm pretty very surprisedthat even in our time on modern Non-G lenses (of which there are many) still put these points for the correct positioning of the ears. Nevertheless, since 1977, too much water has escaped.

Nikon ears

'Modern' lens Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.4D without ears.

The photo below shows these notch points in question. You can check their availability on your AF / AF-S / AF-I NON-G type lenses.

Nikon ears

If you look closely, there are marks on the diaphragm control ring for installing ears

Ears for such Nikon lenses can be bought separately and upgrade (rather still downgrade) your lens for convenient use on old film cameras.

Nikon ears

Nikon ears

This is what a classic old film manual lens with ears looks like:

Nikon ears

The ears of Nikon. Lens with ears

The photo below shows the principle of connecting the ears with the camera. Since 1977, Nikon switched to AI-type lenses, which, in addition to the ears, also had another protrusion for transmitting the aperture value, this is in detail described here.

Nikon ears

Nikon ears

Lyrical digression

In 2020 year many frankly old Nikon Nikkor lenses are still considered current models and are found in brochures and on current equipment listings on Nikon official websites. For example, non-motorized lenses with an aperture ring that have these same ear tags: 14mm f / 2.8D, 16mm f / 2.8D, 20mm f / 2.8D, 24mm f / 2.8D, 28mm f / 2.8D, 35mm f / 2D, 50mm f / 1.4D, 50mm f / 1.8D, 60mm f / 2.8D, 105mm f / 2D, 135mm f / 2D, 180mm f / 2.8D, 200mm f / 4D, 24-85mm f / 2.8-4D, 80-200mm f / 2.8D + are some more AF-S NON-G lenses.

Some have been around since the dawn of the Nikkor autofocus lens era. For example, 24mm f / 2.8, 28mm f / 2.8, 50mm f / 1.8, 50mm f / 1.4, 180mm f / 2.8 have been in production since September 1986! These models are already 35 years old, and they are still relevant! Rejoicing or crying is a moot point.

Comments on this post do not require registration. Anyone can leave a comment. Many different photographic equipment can be found on

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram

Add a comment:



Comments: 30, on the topic: Rabbit ears Nikon. Compatibility forever

  • SashOK

    Interesting. Thanks for the informative material!
    And to rejoice or to cry, I think that Nikonists in any way rejoice. Although the prices even have many old lenses have to cry.

    • Maria

      Well, no more than 15k for any, not fifty)

      • Michael

        Come on)

  • Serg

    Why not rejoice that old lenses are still in use today, such as the 85 f / 1.4D and 105 f / 2 - excellent portrait lenses, and you can cry just because of the prices of modern counterparts.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      105 f / 2 for some reason is considered relevant, although there is a replacement in the person of 105 / 1.4, but 85 / 1.4D is withdrawn from sales and is considered obsolete

  • Andrey

    Meaning? Today's secondary market is saturated with used digital equipment. And the prices for film and chemistry? As an example: I recently bought a Nikon D1 for the price of FIVE !!! film rollers Ilford.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      That's just the point, it is strange that such compatibility is still supported. I also want d1, he will be 21 this year :)

      • Andrey

        I use them for stacking a small file. There is one - the appearance is not very good, but it works like a clock.

      • Victor

        good afternoon
        NIKON 1DX-if interested- write.
        It works perfectly.

  • Pavel Gorbunov

    I want such ears on Canon !!! 😋

  • Alexey

    For some reason AF 24-50 3.3-4.5 has one point :)

  • Kostya

    I do not have such lenses, but I wanted to buy it. By the way, Arkady, what is the proper name for these "ears"?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      exposure meter coupling lever, sort of "exposure coupling"

  • Alex

    The ears of hares.

    • Victor

      … Not a complete range - there were also solid “ears” (without slots) for visual reading of the aperture values.

  • Wagen

    I think it's an improvement - expansion of compatibility. And given the ratio of the lifespan of the old film and modern digital technology, so in fifty years the film, which for a hundred years will still be used by many, and digital may simply not survive due to the banal aging of electronic components. Some Nikons already do not have a mechanical diaphragm drive, so there will probably be nowhere to put old lenses.
    For the models that have been produced for decades, you can be happy - a quality thing, why replace it in production?

  • Oleg

    Ears :)

  • Eugen

    Do Zeiss ZF lenses have the same “ears”?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The old ones have, the new ones don't

      • Eugen

        Yes, the ZF.2 has a different aperture control ring.

  • B. R. P.

    Cool photos)

  • Victor

    ARKADY, you forgot to say the main thing in your review: this very fork ("bunny ears") is ALWAYS located at the aperture mark 5.6, moreover, ON ANY NIKONOVSKY LENS!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Thanks for the addition.

  • koba

    We still managed to live in good times for photographers, I mean, ordinary, poor photographers, and even amateurs who want to have a normal camera and lenses. And now look where manufacturers are transferring - mirrorless, that is, everything is expensive from the beginning, lenses are super-expensive, good or even excellent but super-expensive, we forget about prices in the region of $ 100-200 even for standard low-aperture fixes forever! Further - no mechanics and super quality, everything is electronic and, I suspect, that fits into the concept of modern marketing and standardization, that is, the equipment works a little longer than the warranty period! Q Someone has already complained that the new professional Canon 70-200 / 2.8 has already broken for someone! Nikon applied this marketing trick (maybe for the first time in their practice!) In the first version of his 70-200 / 2.8b, which just broke down right after the end of the warranty period, although there is such a moment - they “did not see” the wrong place for the loop in previous professional lenses like the 28-70 / 2.8 AF-S and 80-200 / 2.8 AF-S, do you believe that? A company that has put on the market more than 100 million high-quality lenses in almost 100 years, all of a sudden, in an era of new technologies and design tools, modeling, etc. "Allows" such mistakes! Do you remember the “annoying” mistakes with adhesives and lubricants in professional lenses? After 2 years of use on my Nikon D3s, of course, 3 rubber bands have come off, and this is on a camera designed for use in the “harshest conditions”! I glued them back with cheap Chinese glue and everything, they sit like a glove! Nikon didn't have such glue! Personally, I can explain the production of old lenses from the technological point of view, since I myself worked for a long time in China with the production of goods. So, most likely, a plant for the production of optical glass is still operating in Japan, maybe even Nikon himself is its owner, and there they produce and polish glass that has already been technologically worked out to shine, that's all, then just put it in a helicoid, a frame that's all. Also, apparently, the demand for these lenses remains, since they really gave an excellent picture and worked for a very long time. For interest, I looked at the statistics on sales of Nikon 80-200 / 2.8 in China, new, and there is also a considerable one (it costs 1200 dollars, new). So, thanks to Nikon, that one way or another, and maybe even to the detriment of himself, did not leave users without good lenses for a normal price, as well as compatibility with different cameras!

    • Peter Sh.

      Let's not forget about the ROHS standard and its "cat mustache".
      For example, sound engineers have already felt their magic charm metamorphosis. You had a relatively new equipment for many thousand bucks, and suddenly it was gone. Turned into a pumpkin.

  • Dim

    This is a very correct decision - taking care of your partners, people who trusted Nikon and bought their camera. It doesn't matter how many years have passed, it doesn't matter, but the company remembers them and cares about their interests. Let it even be one person. In European countries, some farms put their products on the road and put a box for money next to them - they took milk, put money in ... Such things cause involuntary respect. As well as what I can (and so I did) take virtually any Nikon lens and put it on the latest cameras, the oldest ones will have to change the “skirt” also from a special set for installation, for certain cameras, but nevertheless. It is a pity that they are gradually moving away from such a “philosophical” approach.

    • Oleg

      Yeah, you take the new NIKKOR AF-P DX 10-20mm f / 4.5-5.6G VR and put it on an old Nikon 5100 or 3200, BACH and you don’t have autofocus or it seems there’s not even manual focus. And it shows through concern for their partners and people who trusted Nikon

      • Dim

        I say: It is a pity that they are gradually moving away from such a “philosophical” approach.

      • Arkady Shapoval

        5100 for 10 years :)

  • Pawel

    Who does not know, read the book by Boris Bakst and co-author (I don’t remember) about Nikon lenses there everything is painted with examples. The ears fell off at 77m, it seems, but I have a pair of lenses, it's a pity they run into the tide of flash in the younger carcasses, I have to shoot. And if we talk about modern quality, do not blame the producers - blame yourself on the consumer, what we want is what they produce, we vote with the ruble. And in terms of prices - my D1X, which everyone wants here) cost at the release of $ 5500 now about 600t.r. So consider it))

Add a comment

Copyright © Blog author - Photographer in Kiev Arkady Shapoval. 2009-2023

English-version of this article

Version en español de este artículo