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Wedding Photography Tips: Capturing the Scene Setters Read More

Wedding Photography Tips: Capturing the Scene Setters

When photographing a wedding, don't forget the details: the scene setters. Celebrity wedding photographer, Donna Newman, shares key tips to shooting these key non-portrait wedding shots.

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Sony a6300-First Impressions Read More

Sony a6300-First Impressions

When Sony's invitation to spend a couple of days shooting with the new a6300 in Miami arrived via email, I didn't have to think twice before sending my RSVP. Announced in February and shipping this...

Nikkormat Lenses

william buhles , Feb 01, 2012; 03:31 p.m.

I have an old Nikkormat FTN from the late 1960's. Is there a way to get the lenses for that camera to work on a modern era digital (eg D700)?


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Jean-Yves Mead , Feb 01, 2012; 03:33 p.m.

Yes, as long as they're AI or AI-converted (modification of the aperture ring), or you mount them on a lower-spec body that lacks the AI coupling lever.

The back of the aperture control ring on pre-AI lenses isn't recessed and will press against the camera body's meter coupling lever if present, and could cause damage to the body.

Pierre Lachaine , Feb 01, 2012; 03:47 p.m.

I have a 60's Ftn too, and several pre-AI Nikkors. They work fine on my D3000. Just mount them like any other Nikkor lens. Of course, there's no coupling of anything, so it's all manual and meterless. Unfortunately, I don't know anything about the more expensive D's.

Michael R. Freeman , Feb 01, 2012; 04:12 p.m.

"...or you mount them on a lower-spec body that lacks the AI coupling lever."

Careful! :-)

There are some bodies that lack the AI coupling lever but can still be damaged if a pre-AI lens is mounted. Specifically those bodies that have an EE post detection switch that moves radially instead of axially (i.e. rotates instead of moving in-out). That is the little switch at about 8 o'clock on the lens mount used to detect the position of the aperture ring on AF-D lenses (for FEE error indication). On the D50, D70(s), D80, D90 and D100 this switch can be jammed/damaged by a non-AI lens aperture ring skirt.

The D40(x), D60, D3000/3100, D5000/5100 all have an axial switch the simply gets pushed back (normal function) when a non-AI lens is mounted, so although Nikon warns not to use non-AI lenses on these cameras, many do use them without causing any harm.

The D200, D300(s), D7000, D700 and D1 through D4 series all have an AI coupling tab and can/will be damaged if a non-AI lens is mounted.

So to answer your original question William, if your old Nikkormat lenses only have one row of f/stop numbers on the aperture ring, they can only be safely used on a D700 after they have been Ai converted.

Michael R. Freeman , Feb 01, 2012; 04:36 p.m.

Axial-type EE post switch (D40(x), D60, D3000/3100, D5000/5100). No damage from non-AI lenses...
(Edited 17:38 AST)

Axial-type EE post switch

Michael R. Freeman , Feb 01, 2012; 04:40 p.m.

Radial-type EE post switch (D50, D70(s), D80, D90 and D100). Can be jammed / damaged by some non-AI lens aperture ring skirts.

Radial-type EE post switch

Ariel S , Feb 01, 2012; 04:50 p.m.

William, I'll bet dollars to donuts that your lenses are older than Ai lenses, as are all of my Nikkormat lenses. The easiest way to tell is if the aperture-adjustment "rabbit ears" have holes drilled into them. If not, then they are called pre-Ai or non-Ai lenses, and they will NOT work on your D700 because they will BREAK the aperture adjustment lever on your camera. You can get them converted, this involves filing down part of the rear of your lenses. Look here for identification.
Ai conversion website:

Peter Simpson , Feb 01, 2012; 05:31 p.m.

Had my non-AI 50/1.4 converted at aiconversions.com this year. I think it was around $35 and took about a week. Well worth it if you have an old lens you love

Bob Flood , Feb 01, 2012; 11:00 p.m.

I'll chime in and agree with Mr. Simpson - I have an AI 28 mm and 50/1.4 that aiconversions took care of for me about 5 years ago (same price, same quick service, too). That old Nikon glass is as good as can be and I use these lenses regularly. Because they are un-metered and manual in every way, they are very well suited to panoramics involving multiple shots stitched together (no risk of the focal length being moved inadvertently like a zoom, either). I heartily recommend getting non-AI lenses converted.

Michael Ging , Feb 02, 2012; 12:53 a.m.

I took to Italy this year only my Ai-MF lenses, that I used on my Nikon film cameras 20 yrs ago. I was shooting with my Nikon D3s and it is amazing how sharp and contrasty those lenses are with a modern digital camera.

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