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Should you mount a non-AI lens on your Nikon DSLR?


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#1 DigitalDarrell

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 11:40 AM

Aren't there some Nikon digitals you cannot use non-AI lenses on though without damaging them? OK though if you have them AI'd I believe? Or is yours an AI version but still with the pre-AI indexing prong?


"Pre-AI" lenses have no indexing "prong" (lever). The camera body has the prong, while the AI lens has a notch. Camera bodies are male, AI lenses are female. A non-AI is gender neutral, because it has no notch for the AI lever to fit into. (This is an "adult" lesson in camera technology!)

In the old days Nikon cameras like the FE or FM had a little button you could push just below the AI lever. Look at the AI lever and button in the picture of the FE here (see button on the ring just below AI lever, it allowed the AI lever to be flipped up for mounting non-AI lenses):

Attached File  AiLever1.jpg   38.36KB   31 downloads

If one uses a non-AI lens, with no "notch" for the AI lever to enter, it could be possible to break the AI lever off the camera body. Look at the AI lever on the Nikon D2x. Notice that it has no button on the ring to raise the AI lever up:

Attached File  AiLeverD2X.jpg   32.85KB   32 downloads

So, if I were to mount a non-AI lens on my D2x (or D200) it could possibly break the AI lever. So, in my opinion DO NOT MOUNT A NON-AI LENS (no notch) ON THE D2X/s or D200 NIKON DSLRs. You might get away with it since the lever might flip up above the spot it normally would go into; but, do you really want to take that chance? Not I!

It is actually safer to mount a non-AI lens on a DSLR like the D50 or D70, since they do not even have an AI lever, so you can't break it.
Best regards,
Darrell Young (Digital Darrell)
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"Better too many words than not enough understanding." - Darrell Young
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Bodies
: Nikon D810, D800, D750, D600, D2X, COOLPIX A, D100, F80, FM, EM, Olympus OM-D E-M1, Olympus OM-D E-M10
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Lenses
: AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition (for Df), AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR (x2), AF-S Nikkor DX 16-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR, AF Nikkor 80-400 f/4.5-5.6D ED VR, AF Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8, AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, AF Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D, AI Nikkor 35mm f/2, AI Nikkor 50mm 5/1.8, AI Nikkor 50mm 5/1.8 Series E, AI Nikkor 105mm f/2.5, AI Nikkor 200mm f/4, Non-AI Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4, Sigma 10-20mm EX f/3.5-5.6, M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, M.Zuiko PRO 12-40mm f/2.8 ED
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#2 Dave Whiteley

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 02:19 PM

Just to clarify "Indexing Prong" Darrell. We were using it in different senses. By "Pre-AI Indexing Prong" I was referring to the semicircular topped bracket sticking up on the top of the lens that has a slot in it to catch the indexing linkage of the old Non-AI Photomic finders. It was originally introduced for the clip on selenium light meters on the first F Nikons. See:-

http://www.cameraquest.com/nfinder.htm

This non-AI indexing prong is the semicircular indexing bracket, or prong, which is obvious on the top of the lens in your lens picture and was also included on early AI lenses for use on both types of cameras, but later discontinued. Your referrence is to the AI indexing lever or prong so not the same as mine.

Just thought I ought to clear up the confusion for readers so they heed your warning about damage to the AI indexing prong on some Nikon digitals.

Dave Whiteley
Nikon D200
AF-S DX Nikkor 18-70 mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED
60mm f/2.8D AF Micro-Nikkor
70mm-180mm AF ED f4.5-f5.6 D Micro-Nikkor
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#3 DigitalDarrell

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 05:25 PM

Dave, I was pointing my post above at Photography 101 readers, or those who are just now switching to digital, or even those who are just now beginning to crave AI/AI-S lenses for their DSLRs. I know that you know that the prong (lever) is on the camera. The question is though, did you know that I know that you know that the prong (lever) is on the camera? Well, now you know that I know that you knew all along. In the meantime, those who didn't know, now know! (DD says knowingly!) :D :lol:
Best regards,
Darrell Young (Digital Darrell)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Better too many words than not enough understanding." - Darrell Young
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bodies
: Nikon D810, D800, D750, D600, D2X, COOLPIX A, D100, F80, FM, EM, Olympus OM-D E-M1, Olympus OM-D E-M10
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lenses
: AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition (for Df), AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR (x2), AF-S Nikkor DX 16-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR, AF Nikkor 80-400 f/4.5-5.6D ED VR, AF Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8, AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, AF Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D, AI Nikkor 35mm f/2, AI Nikkor 50mm 5/1.8, AI Nikkor 50mm 5/1.8 Series E, AI Nikkor 105mm f/2.5, AI Nikkor 200mm f/4, Non-AI Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4, Sigma 10-20mm EX f/3.5-5.6, M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, M.Zuiko PRO 12-40mm f/2.8 ED
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Accessories:
Nikon SB-910 Speedlight, Nikon SB-900 Speedlight, Nikon GP-1 GPS, Nikon ME-1 Microphone, Eye-Fi Wireless Cards, Atomos Ninja Blade External HDMI Video Recorder, Atomos Ninja-2 External HDMI Video Recorder, Atomos Samurai Blade External Video Recorder, Manfrotto Tripods, Markins M-10 Ballhead, Lots of camera bags, Metz 24 AF-1 Flash, Olympus FL-600R Flash, Olympus HLD-7 Battery Grip
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Member of:

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#4 Neil Rothschild

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 02:20 AM

One of Dave's questions/points from the other thread wasn't addressed here. The "pre-AI indexing prong", as used in Dave's context- the semicircular piece of metal with the slot in the middle on the aperture ring - was carried through the entire AI/AIS series and is the badge of the Nikkor MF lenses. It's presence does not suggest the lens is or was orginally a pre-AI variant. The pre-AI indexing prong on the AI/AIS lenses allows all those MF lenses to be backward compatible to the Photomic finders that used them. The amount of retrofitting and backwards compatible functionality is somewhat mind boggling.

The easiest way I know to easily distinguish a pre-AI from an AI/AIS lens is the markings on the aperture ring. All AI/AIS lenses have a double parallel row of aperture markings. This is easier to determine from, for example, an ebay photo, then possibly looking for the machining differences in the lens mount. I also use Roland Vink's site because he includes a photo of most of the lens variants and it's easy to match up the overall cosmetics and machining of a suspect lens to his illustrations. Those images can also confirm, for example, that a particular pre-AI lens was converted to AI, now having the double parallel row of aperture markings, which can confuse things.

All AI-S lenses have an orange aperture engraving for the smallest aperture (F/16, F/22 etc.). However, my understanding is that some pre-AI lenses that were converted to AI now have the AI-S color coded aperture rings.


http://www.photosynt...kon/lenses.html

Regards,
Neil

#5 DigitalDarrell

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 10:03 AM

Interestingly, the prong on the lens is different for AI and non-AI lenses. On an AI lens the prong is rounded with two holes in it. On a non-AI lens it is not quite as rounded, kind of pointy in fact, and there are no holes in it. Here are pictures to make this clearer: "AI or AI-S" Lens Prong, rounded with holes. (Also note the double-row of numbers as Neil mentions): Attached File  AILensProng.JPG   36.7KB   33 downloads "Non-AI" Lens Prong, not rounded, no holes: Attached File  AINoLensProng.jpg   48.12KB   34 downloads Hope this helps too! In the future, I am going to call the item on the lens a "prong" and the item on the camera body a "lever." Maybe that will cut down on the confusion.
Best regards,
Darrell Young (Digital Darrell)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Better too many words than not enough understanding." - Darrell Young
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bodies
: Nikon D810, D800, D750, D600, D2X, COOLPIX A, D100, F80, FM, EM, Olympus OM-D E-M1, Olympus OM-D E-M10
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lenses
: AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition (for Df), AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR (x2), AF-S Nikkor DX 16-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR, AF Nikkor 80-400 f/4.5-5.6D ED VR, AF Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8, AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, AF Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D, AI Nikkor 35mm f/2, AI Nikkor 50mm 5/1.8, AI Nikkor 50mm 5/1.8 Series E, AI Nikkor 105mm f/2.5, AI Nikkor 200mm f/4, Non-AI Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4, Sigma 10-20mm EX f/3.5-5.6, M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, M.Zuiko PRO 12-40mm f/2.8 ED
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Accessories:
Nikon SB-910 Speedlight, Nikon SB-900 Speedlight, Nikon GP-1 GPS, Nikon ME-1 Microphone, Eye-Fi Wireless Cards, Atomos Ninja Blade External HDMI Video Recorder, Atomos Ninja-2 External HDMI Video Recorder, Atomos Samurai Blade External Video Recorder, Manfrotto Tripods, Markins M-10 Ballhead, Lots of camera bags, Metz 24 AF-1 Flash, Olympus FL-600R Flash, Olympus HLD-7 Battery Grip
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Member of:

Nikon Professional Services (NPS), Professional Photographers of America (PPA), North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), Founding Member of Nikonians Writers' Guild (www.Nikonians.org), Charter Member (year 2000) of Nikonians.org
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#6 Dave Whiteley

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 11:53 AM

Also to add to the confusion Darrell, some of the later AI lenses dropped the non-AI indexing prong but left the two little screw holes there for it to be able to be fitted retrospectively as an optional extra if the buyer still had a non-AI camera. You can therefore get later AI lenses without the prong but with the two tiny fitting holes or with a retrospectively fitted prong! Dave Whiteley
Nikon D200
AF-S DX Nikkor 18-70 mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED
60mm f/2.8D AF Micro-Nikkor
70mm-180mm AF ED f4.5-f5.6 D Micro-Nikkor
Tamron SP AF200-500MM F/5-6.3 Di LD (IF)
Nikon PB6 belows, Nikon Tubes.
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Manfrotto dual flash bracket

#7 Dave Whiteley

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 12:21 PM

Perhaps an even simpler designation of the pre-AI indexing bracket is 'Rabbit Ears' used in the following link!

There is a link here that clears up some of the lens compatibility issues if you scroll down to the bottom:-

http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardw...mount/lens3.htm

Dave Whiteley
Nikon D200
AF-S DX Nikkor 18-70 mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED
60mm f/2.8D AF Micro-Nikkor
70mm-180mm AF ED f4.5-f5.6 D Micro-Nikkor
Tamron SP AF200-500MM F/5-6.3 Di LD (IF)
Nikon PB6 belows, Nikon Tubes.
2X Nikon SB600 flash guns
Manfrotto dual flash bracket

#8 Gordon

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 02:34 PM

I found this link some time ago and find it invaluable when scouring eBay for lenses :).

http://www.photosynt...n/serialno.html

#9 photojazz

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 05:26 PM

I found this link some time ago and find it invaluable when scouring eBay for lenses :).

http://www.photosynt...n/serialno.html


This is a great source...thanks for posting!

:)

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#10 LightMeter

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 11:25 PM

Some of the bodies that don't meter with CPU lenses can't accept a non AI lens. They have a little tab at the 7 or 8 o'clock position(bodies like the D50 or D90). A few weeks ago I posted a video on Youtube explaining that. Here's the link. I hope all my info is correct.

 

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=i8y9dlgJZS0

 

Edited with the following: I just realized this thread is several years old...oh well.


Edited by LightMeter, 20 February 2014 - 11:30 PM.

Bill

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