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Nikon finally listens to us-- AI(S) lenses on Nikon D200

Alfie Wang , Nov 01, 2005; 09:48 a.m.

Yes, no more custom functions to use AI or AIS lenses on the new digital Nikon body. I think that we can safely conclude the Canon folks are worried (but I still shoot my Canons for the wonderful Leica lenses only). Nikon has listened to us that we want a smaller body that accepts the manual focus lenses with full metering capability and that was a smart move.

But I still keep my D70 as well. It's a great one too!


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Shun Cheung , Nov 01, 2005; 10:05 a.m.

In reality, nothing has changed, or the real change is that prices for pro-sumer DSLRs have reached the affordable level. As Ilkka has pointed out a number of times, for many years, Nikon's policy has always been putting the capability to meter with non-CPU lenses in their prosumer and professional grade AF SLRs and DSLRs, but since that feature requires a rather complicated mechnical linkage, it is not available on consumer-grade (D)SLRs for cost reasons.

The F5, F100, F6, D1, D2 and now D200 can all meter with non-CPU lenses while the N80, N75, D100 (largely based on the N80), D70(s) and D50 cannot.

Back in the film era, since prosumer models such as the M8008, N90, F100, etc. were quite affordable, people who needed metering with non-CPU lenses would simply get those models and this wasn't an issue. However, since DSLRs are a lot more expensive than the equivalent film SLRs, the D200 is really the first "affordable" prosumer-or-above DSLR. (You can argue that the D2H was affordable for a while during it fire sale.) In the last two years, a lot of people went with the D70 to save money and they had a hard time accepting the fact that their $1000 DSLR is a low-end model.

Expect no metering with non-CPU lenses again in Nikon's future consumer-grade DSLRs to replace the D50 and D70s.

Adam Maas , Nov 01, 2005; 10:25 a.m.


That's incorrect. The D100 was Nikons first (And until now only) prosumer DSLR. And it lacked both a decent viewfinder and the capability to meter with AI lenses. It also came in at a prosumer price level.

What has changed is not what the prosumer price point is, but what you get for it. Before you got a camera midway between a F80 and F90x in performance, with major concessions in usability (so-so viewfinder, poor lens compatibility, adequate AF) and now you get a body which can exceed it's film equivalent in performance.

Robert M , Nov 01, 2005; 10:28 a.m.

Shun, presume you meant D2H - "You can argue that the D70 was affordable for a while during it fire sale"

Shun Cheung , Nov 01, 2005; 10:33 a.m.

Yes, I meant the D2H fire sale and I have fixed the typo.

I have the D100 myself. Even though Nikon tries to position it as a prosumer DSLR and made it sound like the digital F100, I consider it very much a consumer camera. As I said earlier, the D100 is largely based on the then $300 N80, which is even cheaper now. That is 100% consumer grade IMO.

As Bjorn Rorslett points out in another thread, Nikon very much wants to remove the metering feature with non-CPU lenses, presumably because it adds significant cost to the body. If the D200 could have been $100 cheaper without it, it would have been more competitive in the market place. As usual, you cannot have it both ways.

Ilkka Nissila , Nov 01, 2005; 10:43 a.m.

Yes, the D100 was the first consumer DSLR from Nikon. The D70 is more of an upgrade than a downgrade to it, although it lacks some of the D100's features.

What has clearly changed is that Nikon has made metering support on manual focus lenses more comprehensive (includes matrix metering). I believe this will make second hand MF Nikkors raise in value considerably (they dropped when the D100 and D70 came out without metering support). I think a lot of people now consider it safe to buy those 35/1.4 and 28/2 Ai-S darlings for use as fast normal lenses for available light work on the D200.

Dan Park , Nov 01, 2005; 11:14 a.m.

Heck I'd have paid 100 bucks more for manual lens metering on my D50 for sure. Now I'll have to pay 1100 more for it on the D200. Guess I'll have to go without that feature for a while -make that a long while :).

Frank Skomial , Nov 01, 2005; 11:58 a.m.

"Heck I'd have paid 100 bucks more for manual lens metering on my D50 for sure."

So, there is clear need and business opportunity for Nikon, that they ignore, since it possibly could affect sale of new lenses (my guess ?)

In order to make a new measuring mode on D70/D50, when manual single value aperture is entered (or selected from a drop box), all is needed is an inexpensive firware upgrade to D70/D50.

Note: No Mechanical expensive linkage is needed for single aperture metering. This would allow metering with manual lenses in the Aperture priorrity modifed mode.

Lets call this new mode a Single Entry Aperture Priority mode.

I emphasize "single aperture", for which any mechanical linkage mentioned by others is not necessary.

Nikon, please provide firmware upgrade for D70/D50, and allow manual aperture entry for manual lenses, then allow measuring for that aperture, as in aperture priority mode.

Jim Tardio , Nov 01, 2005; 12:04 p.m.

Yes, using a 35/1.4 and the 105/2.5 on this body will be most welcome. And it will make the 75-150/3.5 quite a small, light, sharp and very useful range lens.

Greg S , Nov 01, 2005; 12:59 p.m.

"it is not available on consumer-grade (D)SLRs for cost reasons"

I have never believed this for a minute. My old N70 meters AIS lenses just fine and it disappeared on the N80 (N70's replacement). This wasn't done for cost or lack of consumer want/need, but rather to boost AF lens sales. The argument that it was done for 'cost' holds no real water.

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