User Tools

Site Tools


Nikon F camera system lenses


  • newer Nikon lenses usually always work with older Nikon cameras, but newer cameras don't always work with older lenses.
  • PC Nikkor 28mm f/4 with serial numbers of 180900 or earlier must not be used with Nikon dSLRs as they may cause damage.
  • through the 1970s Nikon only made very expensive professional lenses. Normal people had to buy discount brands lenses if they wanted something they could afford. Nikon introduced consumer-oriented Series E AI-s lenses which had good optics but contained some plastic and were looked down on by the pros despite being well built and retained Nikon's superior 7-bladed diaphragm.

manual focus lenses

F series ("pre-AI" or "non-AI"):
  • introduced in 1959 for the Nikon F camera and ended in 1977
  • These lenses today can mount just fine on today's cameras if you first have them converted to AI by a machine shop, although you won't get matrix metering on the FA or F4 or AF cameras.
AI ("automatic indexing")
  • introduced in 1977 to replace the F series.
  • For once you could mount lenses with one twist, and NOT have to twiddle the aperture ring separately each time.
  • AI lenses can be bought very cheap, and they are far better made mechanically than many of even the “professional” AF lenses of today.
  • These manual focus lenses only give give center weighted and spot metering in manual and A modes on most AF cameras, matrix metering is only available on the F4 and FA with these lenses.
  • an incremental advance introduced in 1983 and functionally is much the same as AI unless you have a Fa or F4.
  • All AI-s lenses fit on every Nikon SLR camera, including AF cameras.
  • All AF, AF-I and AF-S lenses are also AI-s
  • includes the new Carl Zeiss ZF full frame lenses introduced in late 2006:
P lenses
  • manual focus AI-s lenses with the electronic contacts of an AF lens to allow matrix metering on these AF cameras

autofocus lenses

  • 11 AF lenses introduced in 1985-6, but widest angle was 24mm & longest telephoto was 300mm .
  • These AF Nikkor lenses had no meter coupling shoe on the aperture ring. This means they cannot be used conveniently on a Nikon SLR camera that is not AI coupled.
  • AF Nikkor lenses retained the basic essential principle of the AI-S (standardised aperture stop down action) so when used with a non-AF camera they act as any AI-S lens. You'll need to install a meter coupling prong for use on pre-AI cameras.
  • the first ultra wide Nikkor that went AF was an AF 20mm f/2.8, first introduced in 1998.
  • these early AF lenses had hard, thin MF rings which everyone hated.
  • later version of AF which had proper MF rings introduced in the late 1980s
  • These lenses supposedly let the camera know the distance at which the lens has focused.
  • All AF-D lenses are AF and AI-s, and work great on manual focus cameras. You'll need to have a coupling prong added for use with the meter on ancient pre-AI cameras.
  • introduced in the early 1990's and mainly only used for super telephotos but not all Nikon AF cameras can autofocus with these lenses.
  • These add an internal motor to focus the lens. There is no mechanical AF connection between camera and lens, it's done electronically.
  • These lenses have AF motors (Silent Wave Motor or SWM) built into them to focus. The main advantage is not speed, but that you can just grab the focus ring and turn it even in the AF mode to get instant manual focusing, without having to mess with any switches. Nikon has finally caught up with Canon AF technology.
  • All AF-S D lenses are AF-D, and thus they are AI-s compatible (EXCEPT for G series or DX lenses) for complete compatibility with manual focus cameras. In this case, the S in AF-S has nothing to do with the s in AI-s. They fit all Nikon SLR cameras, and give all features with all manual focus cameras. You may need to have a coupling prong installed for metering on pre-AI cameras.
  • For an AF camera to control the aperture on any non-G lens with an aperture ring you just turn the aperture ring to the minimum setting in orange (usually f/22) and flick the lock so it stays there, and then everything is done on the camera body.
  • introduced in 2000
  • aperture ring removed from a D-type lens so need a camera with command dial to control aperture (although some cameras such as N90s can be used in Program or Shutter Priority mode)
  • This means that they will not work on manual focus cameras since there is no way to set the aperture. You can put them on, just that every shot will be made at the smallest aperture and your metering will be way off (probably about SIX stops underexposed) since the camera has no way to know what the aperture will be.
  • introduced in 2017
  • indicates a stepping AF motor optimised for CDAF camera AF systems

current additional designations on lenses

  • DC:
    • Defocus Control lens to allow photographer to control degree of spherical aberration in out-of-focus areas for better bokeh.
  • DX:
    • designed for the 1.5x crop factor of Nikon DX digital SLRs and their image circle will not cover a full frame 35mm camera.
  • ED:
    • Extra Dispersion type glass elements used
  • IF:
    • Internal Focusing - thus lens size does not change with changing focus but true focal length may be altered, especially at close up focus.
  • RF:
    • Rear Focusing - similar to IF but rear element moves
  • PC:
    • Perspective Control lens to allow shift &/or tilt; see perspective control
  • VR:
    • Vibration Reduction - see image stabiliser
  • PF:
    • Pressed Fresnel element (similar to Canon's Diffraction Optics technology)
  • FL:
    • expensive flourite lens element, usually to reduce weight or improve optical quality
  • E after the aperture:
    • introduced in 2016, it denotes an electronic aperture actuator instead of mechanical and provides better precision, and stepless movement which is important during video shooting
photo/nikonflenses.txt · Last modified: 2019/09/04 19:09 by gary1

Donate Powered by PHP Valid HTML5 Valid CSS Driven by DokuWiki