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Nikon D50 fEE Camera/Lens problem

Steve Chatham , May 31, 2012; 12:58 p.m.

I've tried various fixes I've seen on the internet (cleaning contacts, remove/set/replace lens, etc) excluding a factory reset of the camera without anything working to solve the issue.
I don't recall the entire number from the lens, but it's an autofocus film camera lens, it is a DX Nikkor 2.8 lens. Zoom is from 70-200. I bought it (used) a couple months after I bought my D50 about 6-7 years ago. Until my most recent trip, it worked with the camera flawlessly. In the past, the only issue with the camera or the lens has been when I had accidentally clicked the f-Stop off the position where it is locked (f22), which was corrected when I removed, set to f22, locked it & remounted the lens.
Since the lens stays in its case when not attached to the camera, I simply carried it with me on a recent trip & did not check it out before I left. When I connected the lens, it presents the fEE error, which I believe is that the camera & lens can't see each other. After removing, setting, locking and remounting the lens a zillion times, it still won't work - it keeps showing the fEE error.
The kit lens (18-55 Nikon lens) works fine with the D50. The 2.8 DX lens works perfectly when it's put on a D90, which should rule out the lens being the issue. Mounting the lens on the D50 after its been on the D90 still doesn't clear the fEE error. Naturally, a new $2000, digital 70-200 zoom lens works perfectly on the D50.
Although the lens has been a boat anchor to carry around (especially now), the reason I decided on the D50 was that it was one of the few Nikons (at the time) that'd use both film and digital lenses. And, a good, fast lens like this one was relatively cheap especially when compared to the comparable digital lens costs (then and now).
I've done the following to try to correct the issue, all without success.
1. Cleaned the contacts on both the lens & camera.
2. Removed the lens, set to f22 & locked, remounted.
3. unlocked, set to various f stops, mounted, removed, set to f22, locked & remounted the lens
4. Mounted the kit lens first (no error), then did steps 2 and 3 again
I've also seen a couple Youtube videos where something was "held" on the camera (at the 8 o'clock position) that would allow it to see the lens. However, on my D50, all I see is a cavity there - there's nothing protruding from the face of the camera. On the DX lens, I have the tab there also, that appears to be completely intact. I would estimate the tab on the lens to be approximately 1/4" or slightly less in width, and maybe 5/16" in height from the mounting face of the lens. Any pictures online I can find of the face of the D50 or a similar lens are not detailed enough for me to determine if there is an issue with my D50 or my lens.
I have a ticket in with Nikon, but since the camera is 6-7 years old, I know it's an out-of-warranty repair (if it is repairable). As of yet, the ticket hasn't been opened.
I take meticulous care of the camera - it is either out taking pictures or is in the case, and is not subjected to extreme temperatures, weather or dirt. The lenses are either on the camera or capped and cased and aren't subjected to extreme temps, weather or dirt. Outside of a recent case of a considerable amount of swearing, they haven't even been verbally abused.
I have avoided making any permanent modification to either piece, but am running out of options. Replacing the lens is cost prohibitive.
Any ideas as to how I can resolve the fEE error?


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Joel J , May 31, 2012; 01:18 p.m.

Not that it helps solve your problem, which sounds like something needing adjustment inside your lens, but there is no 70- 200 DX lens, nor is there a 70-200 Nikon lens with an aperture ring.

There are 70-210 lenses with aperture rings, and there are 70-300, 75-300 and other assorted focal length ranges. Just no 70-200 non "G" lenses nor DX lenses.

Something that I find very useful in communicating to others, and just keeping track of what lens is what is this website:


Not only is there lots of good information regarding when made, serial numbers, etc., but if you click the link for each lens it takes you to an image of the lens in question.

Good luck.

Matt Laur , May 31, 2012; 03:22 p.m.

Steve: Your symptoms suggest that the EE Servo Coupling Post on your lens is broken, or the corresponding switch on the body - just outside of the lens mount around the 8 o’clock position - is broken.

Robert Hooper , May 31, 2012; 04:28 p.m.

Is it possible you tried to mount a Nikon manual pre-AI lens on your D50, at some point? If so, this may have caused the damage to the camera mount that Matt is talking about.

Jerry Litynski , May 31, 2012; 04:50 p.m.

"...it's an autofocus film camera lens, it is a DX Nikkor 2.8 lens." As noted above, such a lens would be very rare.

One easy solution: update your D50 for a used Nikon D80 body, which will work with the older AF lenses, or a newer AF-S type lens.

Michael R. Freeman , May 31, 2012; 05:56 p.m.

"...update your D50 for a used Nikon D80 body, which will work with the older AF lenses, or a newer AF-S type lens."

The D80 has the EXACT SAME lens compatibility as the D50, i.e. if it don't work on a D50, it ain't gonna work on a D80. And vise versa. :)

Steve Chatham , May 31, 2012; 06:09 p.m.

My error on the lens - I guess it's what I get from swapping them back & forth so many times - after a while, the numbers on everything run together. The kit lens is a DX.

The zoom lens is an AF Nikkor 80-200mm 1:2.8 D (an "ED" lens). According to the serial number (from the link above), it was made between 1992 - 1997. If there's any sequence to the numbers, it's toward the early side 410xxx. The photo (http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/afd802028.jpg) is exactly what my lens looks like. Thank you for the good info at the link.
I do not recall ever having put another lens other than these two on the D50.
I will try to post some pictures of the lens (the coupling post) and the camera (ee servo switch) later on.
Question on the D50/D80 body - does the D80 also look for this same post?


Michael R. Freeman , May 31, 2012; 06:13 p.m.

Your symptoms suggest that the EE Servo Coupling Post on your lens is broken, or the corresponding switch on the body - just outside of the lens mount around the 8 o’clock position - is broken.

fEE is *always* an indication that the camera detects (correctly or incorrectly) that the aperture ring on the lens is not set to the proper (minimum aperture) position. There are three, perhaps four, possible sources for this error code.

  1. User error (i.e. the lens aperture ring not is properly set)
  2. Damaged/missing EE post on the lens aperture ring (it's plastic and easily broken). When this happens there is nothing to move the switch at the 7 o'clock position near the camera mount, so the camera thinks that 1. above has happened.
  3. Damaged/dirty EE post detection switch on the camera lens mount. The aperture ring EE post does not move the switch because it's damaged/bent, etc., or it moves the switch but the body does not recognize it has been activated because of an electrical contact problem. Again, camera thinks that 1. above has occurred.
  4. Defective lens CPU chip (I suspect a pretty remote and very rare failure)

Since the lens works okay on a D90 (same EE post detection switch hardware as the D50), that would seem to suggest a problem with the EE post detection switch on the D50. It could be broken, or it could just be dirty from lack of use and not properly registering the aperture ring position.

Michael R. Freeman , May 31, 2012; 06:18 p.m.

"...does the D80 also look for this same post?"

Yes. Every Nikon "consumer" DSLR looks for this post when an AF or AF-D lens is mounted, although the hardware differs slightly depending on the body. The only Nikon DSLRs that do not look for the EE post are those that can meter with Ai/AiS lenses, i.e. the D200/300/700/800/7000 and D1/D2/D3/D4 series.

Steve Chatham , May 31, 2012; 06:18 p.m.

here is a photo of the lens. Sorry for the quality.


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