Modern Classic SLRs Series : Nikon F5
Lens Compatibility between OLD/NEW Nikkor Lenses

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As we all know, throughout the late 80's to 1st quarter of the 90's, the Nikon F4 era has truly given many Nikon photographers a helluva of a "good time" in terms of system compatibility among all the Manual Focus and Autofocus Nikkor lenses. Now we are stepping into the F6 era, and the F4 still has the BEST* compatibility factor among all the Nikon's.


<<<--- Credit: Mr. Desmond Lew Chee Wai from YL Camera for lending me his F5 and the AF-D 85mm f/1.8s for me to take a few shots appeared in this website. Copyright-free images collection © 2004 .
When the Nikon F90(x) was introduced, it had for the first time in 35mm photography, a new method of including the distance information into exposure calculation. The resulting implementation of this new 3D-Matrix Metering on Nikon SLRs saw the emergence of an entirely new series of Nikkor lenses which incorporated a distance chip in the lens. This relayed specific information back to a capable Nikon camera for exposure measurement.

By the time the Nikon F5 was announced in 1996, many of older version of AF-Nikkor had already been updated with this new idea. You cannot refer to this as coincidental, but rather a very well timed scheme in conjunction with the release of the F5. The one-generation up camera with the advanced 3D-Colour metering sensor would be able to tab onto the existence of the many AF-D Nikkor lenses that had been sold previously with Nikon D-capable SLRs. Well there is no doubt that the mighty Nikon F5 would require an AF-D Nikkor to bring out its best in ALL of its operations. However such a lens/camera combination has also resulted in making the Nikon F5 the poorest performer in terms of system compatibility with the new and older Nikkor optics. It is not easy to address the compatibility issues. But I will do my best to provide a rough guide and if I ever present them wrong, rectify this via the | Message Board | and I will patch them accordingly.


Lens Compatibility Chart

With AF Nikkor lenses or some selective lenses in combination with the older TC-16A autofocus Teleconverter, the F5 can provide full autofocus operation. Full manual focusing, or manual focusing with the F5's electronic rangefinder. This is available with virtually all Nikon F-mount Nikkor and Nikon lenses as long as they have a maximum aperture of f/5.6 or larger. Use the following table as a guide. Fortunately I have compiled a very good and in-depth resource regarding the MF-Nikkor and will use them as a link to show you the model and where it relates.

Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Kimmy Magino® Kimmy maintains an online portfolio on his own at which contains many other excellent images. Image copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

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*1) AI modification is no longer available.
*2) F5 camera body must be modified to connect non-Al type Nikkor lenses
Compatible dotlensC.gif Compatible with conditions dotlensB.gif Incompatible

*3) With TC-16A attached and maximum effective aperture of f/5.6 or faster (lens aperture of f/3.5 or faster).
*4) With maximum aperture of f/5.6 or faster.
*5) With maximum aperture of f/3.5 or faster However, some lenses cannot be used with the TC-16.(relative TC-16A instruction manual.)
*6) With maximum effective aperture of f/5.6 or faster.

Other than communicating the distance information between lens/camera for critical exposure accuracy, there were two significant structural developments on the Nikkor lenses. For a long time, one of the key weaknesses of the whole Nikon AF architecture was the adaptation of a totally camera driven AF-system during the 1st generation of the AF cameras. The system was more backwards in its compatibility so that the enormous amount of manual focus Nikkor's would be useable on the early AF SLRs. When Canon rebuilt its entire AF system with the EOS/EF framework, the weakness of the Nikon AF became very apparent. Beginning in 1992, Nikon subsequently replied to the external aggression from its rivals with a limited number of AF-I Series Nikkor super-tele which has a DC core-less motor built within. The AF-I lenses, which were limited to only three, are the early batch of Nikkor lenses that have a new M/A focus control (as well as 4 separate focus locks on the barrel) that allows manual fine focus in auto mode. Overall they were considerably faster than all previous AF Nikkor's. The AF-I Series is comprised of the early AF-I Nikkor 300mm f/2.8D IF-ED (1992); AF-I Nikkor 600mm f/4.0D IF-ED (1992); AF-I Nikkor 500mm f/4.0D IF-ED (1993) & AF-I Nikkor 400mm f/2.8D IF-ED (1994). These served as the core lens system to satisfy demands of professional photographers, who require this kind of high performance. These area's are generally wildlife and action photography. Naturally this series of Nikkor's is also genetically a D-lense in nature.

But one problem surfaced during this era. Nikon did not have a capable professional class SLR. The Nikon F90X - in every aspect can be regarded as a top quality imaging tool for serious photography. In figures it can also match some numbers in AF performance with the Canon giant killer the EOS-1n. But to expect Nikon photographers to be stuck with using a Nikon without seeing any "signs" possibility of a Super-Nikon in the future makes for a lengthy few years indeed and can be very frustrating. Many had bore the pain in the ass (pockets) and have switched to a different camp(s) .. .

Credit: Image courtesy of Adorama® Inc. "Ebay - Mathew Duren" <ebay@adorama> Website URL:, who also operates a popular Ebay Store. Image Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved.

So the debut of the Nikon F5 has restored confidence again for many of the Nikon die-hard photographers. In fact brand loyalty has played a very important role in the long continuing success of Nikon. Although I don't quite agree with the "popular" thinking that AF-speed is one of the most important factors in modern photography. But still many feel it is the yard stick used when comparing various systems. The scope of exposure on media based photographers played an influential role in changing the perception of less-confidence photographers. They tend to feel that hardware plays the most important factor in their "success" or "failure". Too bad ...

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The introduction of the Nikon F5 has somehow cast a magical spell for Nikon. It has reawakening with a more aggressive and positive attitude in their marketing as well as their product development. This is where the Nikkor lens family developed another major system upgrade with introduction of an AF-S series of Nikkor lenses in 1996 to replace the AF-I Nikkor. These new series of Nikkor lenses, with its lens integrated, "Silent-Wave-Motor" uses the theory of converting ultrasound waves into a more efficient means of rotary motion for a quieter and faster auto-focusing lens. This also reduces the amount of moving mechanical parts in a lens during operation that may contribute excessive fiction & noise. It also requires new software in the camera to maximize its performance. By making these changes Nikon has improved their performance in speed and power efficiency as well as as being much smoother and quieter during operation. Unlike the previous AF-I series which was confined to super-tele, some exciting AF-S lenses have started to appear in shorter focal lengths. During this same period, other optical developments have also been integrated into these lenses, most noticeably was the improved lens coating "SIC" process as well as extensive use of Aspherical elements. This has resulted in emergence of many existing if not exotic new Nikkor lenses.



  Credit: Image was
retouched from
an original
downloaded from
Nikon USA. The far
left image was a
scanned image
from a Nikon


Towards the "end" of the Nikon F5 generation, the vast majority of both film-based and digital Nikon SLRs have adopted the new Main/Sub Command Dials for camera control. We also saw a new breed of AF-Nikkor optic with removal of the conventional aperture ring where the minimum aperture lock is located as well as manually selected aperture value is no longer permissible. The radical change in these G-series Nikkor lenses also signifies possible withdrawal of future commitment to older MF Nikon SLRs. As one can observe with many of the new AF-S Nikkor lenses introduced lately also bear the G-series specification. Nikon photographers within a different "age group" (errr. like me) may have to decide what to face next. There is nothing wrong with this switch, as the Company has to move on for continual existence and to counter the threat of its rivals, it is only WE that are falling behind of all these "drastic" developments. But we have had a good time living with all the Nikkor-oldies all these years, right ? haha...



Supplements: A concerned Nikon user recently sent me a GOOD read which may be quite "educational", apparently it was extracted from an official Nikon site "somewhere", it says: - "...What is a Nikon AF-G lens and how does it differs from a Nikon AF-D lens? Answer: .... will continue to introduce new AF-G lenses across the Nikkor range. The only difference between Nikon AF-D and AF-G lenses is that AF-G does not have an aperture ring. Studies reveal that few Professionals are now using lenses with aperture rings, the ability to electronically adjust exposures by 1/3 stop via the command dials far out performs manual ring adjustment, however experienced the user may be. A substantial weight saving is a secondary benefit too, G-type lenses like D-type lenses transmit distance information to the camera for 3D Matrix metering systems. The absence of an aperture ring affects the compatibility of the lens with certain cameras ... These lenses can physically be attached to the camera, but will not function....". Errr...a typical Nikon assumption versus users perception.

Nikkor 45mm f/2.8
NOTE: the only Nikkor lense that truly meant for all* Nikon users for this entire generation of Nikon F5 was a pancake-sized, a beautifully chrome-finished Nikkor 45mm f/2.8P, which was introduced along with surprise debut of the Manual Focus Nikon FM3A in Feb. 2001 - that certainly was a rare treat for Nikon fans worldwide. It has been a long time since Nikon last introduced a MF lens for their cameras.

* Compatible with all exposure modes of CPU-controlled Nikon SLRs. Also available in matte black-finish.

Credit: Image courtesy of Adorama® Inc. "Ebay - Mathew Duren" <ebay@adorama> Website URL:, who also operates a popular Ebay Store. Image Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved.
With the arrival of Nikkor AF-S series for the F5, you just thought those miserable days were well over ... another set of problems has cropped up. But Nikon can argue some of these "aged" AF-S Nikkors are almost 10 years old now and should be phased out accordingly with newer ones ... | CLICK HERE.| (Well, Nikon USA does not have the GUTS to provide these kind of return results via their SITE SEARCH with simple keywords like: "discontinued, Nikkor". Singapore + Japan official sites do (native language for Japan). Perhaps they may be be worried about affecting buying sentiment ? Good news for all of us is, prices of used AF-S lenses will & SHOULD come down. hehe..

Nikon advised due to the renewed lens mounting ring, some of the following Nikkor lenses CANNOT be attached directly to the Nikon F5 even if requires mirror lockup, where relates: Fisheye 8mm f/8, Old-type 21mm f/4.0, Old-type PC 35mm f/3.5, Old-type Reflex 1000mm f/6.3 (brief info); AF Teleconverter TC-16; AF 80rnm f/2.8, 200mm f/3.5 ED-IF for F3AF

The following Nikkor lenses can be attached to the Nikon F5 after camera body modification. Please verify Serial Numbers supplied below: -

* Non-Ai lenses (Explanation available: - Site A or Site B )

Lenses with Focusing Unit AU-1
* PC-Nikkor 28mm f/4
(Factory Serial No.
180900 or below)
* PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8
851001 to 906200)`
* Reflex-Nikkor 1000mm f/11
142361 to 143000)
* Reflex-Nikkor 2000mm f/11
200111 to 200310)
* ED 180-600mm f/8.0
174041 to 174180)
* ED 360-1200mm f/11
174031 to 174127)
* 200-600mm f/9,5
280001 to 300490)

* Possibly the old
Reflex-Nikkor f/5.0 is not usable as well.

<<<-- Poor guy like me, who still owns so many of those older MF Nikkor may suffer most ... @##^@&!*!! Fortunately, the Nikon F6 enables Matrix Metering with these oldies AGAIN !

The following Nikkor lenses and accessories can be attached under certain conditions:

* Old-type Reflex-Nikkor 500mm f/8.0: Rotate tripod mounting collar 90,
* Reprocopy Outfit PF-4: Camera Holder Adapter PA-4 is required
* Bellows Focusing Attachment PB-6: Attachment ring is required

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Compatible Compatible with conditions Incompatible * F5 camera body must be modified to connect non Al-type Nikkor lenses.

*1) Matrix Metering instead of 3D Color matrix Metering is possible.
*2) Distribution of sensor output balance can be changed.
*3) Spot area selectable with certain conditions.
*4) By stop-down metering.
*5) Without shifting.
*6) Exposure compensation necessary depending on the lens,
*7) By stop-down metering. Exposure compensation may be necessary

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Compatible Compatible with conditions Incompatible * F5 camera body must be modified to connect non Al-type Nikkor lenses.

*1) Aperture can also be selected via Sub-Command Dial
*2) By stop-down metering. (Release shutter while pressing depth-of-field preview button)
*3) By stop-down metering,
*4) With shutter speed set to 1/125 sec. or slower.
*5) By stop-down metering. Exposure determined by presetting lens aperture. Exposure must also be determined before shifting, use AE-L/AF-L button before shifting
*6) By stop-down metering. Exposure determined by presetting lens aperture. Exposure must also be determined before shifting.

weblibrary.gif   Nikon F | Nikon F2 | Nikon F3 | Nikon F4 | Nikon F5 | Nikon F6 | Nikkormat / Nikomat | Nikon FM | Nikon FE/ FA | Nikon EM/FG/FG20 | Nikon Digital SLRs | Nikon - Other models

The Eyes of Nikon:-

Nikon Auto Focus Nikkor lenses:- Main Index Page
Nikon Manual Focus Nikkor lenses:- Fisheye-Nikkor Lenses - Circular | Full Frame | Ultrawides Lenses - 13mm15mm18mm20mm | Wideangle Lenses - 24mm28mm35mm | Standard Lenses - 45mm 50mm 58mm | Telephoto Lenses - 85mm105mm135mm180mm & 200mm | Super-Telephoto Lenses - 300mm 400mm 500mm 600mm 800mm 1200mm |

Nikkor Link.jpg

Index Page
  Special Application lenses:
Micro-Nikkor Lenses - 50mm~55mm -60mm 85mm -105mm 200mm Micro-Zoom 70-180mm
Perspective Control (PC) - 28mm 35mm PC-Micro 85mm
Dedicated Lenses for Nikon F3AF: AF 80mm f/2.8 | AF 200mm f/3.5 EDIF
Depth of Field Control (DC): 105mm 135mm
Medical Nikkor: 120mm 200mm
Reflex-Nikkor Lenses - 500mm 1000mm 2000mm
Others: Noct Nikkor | OP-Nikkor | UV Nikkor 55mm 105mm | Focusing Units | Bellows-Nikkor 105mm 135mm
Nikon Series E Lenses: 28mm35mm50mm100mm135mm | E-Series Zoom lenses: 36~72mm75~150mm70~210mm

MF Zoom-Nikkor Lenses: 25~50mm | 28~45mm | 28~50mm | 28~85mm | 35~70mm | 36~72mm E | 35~85mm | 35~105mm | 35~135mm | 35~200mm | 43~86mm | 50~135mm | 50~300mm | 70~210mm E | 75~150mm E | 80~200mm | 85~250mm | 100~300mm | 180~600mm | 200~400mm | 200~600mm | 360~1200mm | 1200~1700mm

Tele-Converters: TC-1 | TC-2 | TC-200 | TC-201 | TC-300 | TC-301 | TC-14 | TC-14A | TC-14B | TC-14C | TC-14E | TC-16 | TC-16A | TC-20E

Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number: by: my friend, Rick Oleson by: Hansen, Lars Holst

Attaching a Non-AI Nikkor lense with the Nikon F5

To attach a non-Al lens, the F5's meter coupling lever must be modified by changing it at Nikon Service Centre before hand. Contact an authorized Nikon dealer or service center for modification. After modification, follow the instructions for attaching a non-Al lens. Note: approx. cost for modification is around USD80-00. Below are illustrations extract from the Instruction Manual of the Nikon F5 if you have changed the optional lense mounting ring of the camera.

attachnonAIa.gif attachnonAIb.gif
1. Push the meter coupling lever up while pressing the lever lock release. 2. Position lens in the camera's bayonet mount so that the mounting indexes on the lens and camera body are aligned. Taking care not to press the lens release button, twist lens counterclockwise until it locks into place.
Note: When mounting an Al lens again, make sure to press the meter coupling lever down to its original position. if not ALL metering guide inside the LCD MAY be erroreous.

| Back | Main Index Page - Nikon F5 Professional SLR camera

The Camera - Background, Issues & Summary

Basic Features | Focusing | Metering Systems | Exposure Control | Reliability Issues | Nikkor lens Compatibility

/Finders -
Index page - 2 parts
Film Backs:
Index Page - 1 parts
Focusing Screens -
Index Page - 1 part
Flash System -
Index Page - 3 parts
System Accessories: |
Power Sources | Cases | Remote Control | Miscellaneous

Macro Photography - Related info on Micro-Nikkor lenses
Specification for Nikon F5
Main Reference Map / Nomenclature

Resource Centre
: Instruction Manuals
Nikon F5 Camera Body - 18 parts
MF-28 Multi-Function Back HTML - 8 parts
PC Links - Photo Secretary - 2 parts

Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Nick Kalathas® from Pennsylvania. Nick portfolio is at Nature Moment which contains many excellent nature/wildlife images. Image copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

AF-TTL Speedlights: SB-28 / SB28DX | SB29(s) info | SB30 | SB50DX | SB80DX | SB600 info | SB800
Variants: F5 50th Anniversary Model | Nikon/Kodak DCS-620 | DCS-720 Digital Still SLR camera | NASA-modified Nikon F5

The Eyes of Nikon:
| MF Nikkor Resources | AF Nikkor Resources |

| Back | Index Page of Digital Nikon SLR cameras
| Back | to Pictorial History of Nikon SLR / rangefinders / Nikonos / digital cameras.


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| Message Board | for Nikon F5 Series SLR model(s) |

Message Board | for your Nikon Optics in a shared environment
| Message Board | Specifically for Dispose or Looking for Nikon/Nikkor Photographic Equipment

W A R N I N G: The new G-SERIES Nikkor lenses have removed the conventional aperture ring on the lense barrel, they CANNOT adjust aperture(s) when operating in manual exposure control even with certain earlier MF/AF Nikon SLR camera models. But they are FULLY COMPATIBLE with the Nikon F5 featured here in all usable metering systems and/or exposure modes. Please refer to your local distributor for compatibility issue(s).

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A resource dedicated to my children- Alvin Foo & Esther Foo- one day, BOTH might need to use all these information for his/her Nikon F5A camera.

Volunteered Maintainer(s) for the Nikon F5 Message Board: Tony Davies-Patrick, UK; Rick Oleson, US; Koh Kho King, Malaysia.

Credit: Mr. Chuck Hester, US for his text re-editing skill for this site; Our staff, HowKiat® who created the 3D-Nikon F5 logo. Mr. Lew Chee Wai of YL camera for lending his F5 for me to take some shots appeared in this site. All those nice folks who have contributed their images, in particular Mr. Mike Long, Edwin leong, Palmi Einarsson, Sergio Pessolano, Fred Kamphues, Harry Eggens, Curtis Forrester, Nick (Natures Moments), Sandra Bartocha; fellow countrymen, Vincent Thian, Koh Kho King, Philip Chong, CY Leow etc. and contributions from a few nice folks from Photo Malaysia Forum. Disclaimers & acknowledgments: Certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets, brochures published by Nikon and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their own work for public publishing in this website, where majority of the extracted information are used basing on educational merits. The creator of this site will not be responsible for any discrepancies that may arise from any possible dispute except rectifying them after verification from respective source. Neither Nikon or its associates has granted any permission(s) in using their public information nor has any interest in the creation of this site. "Nikon", "Nikkormat", "Nippon Kokagu KK" "Silent Wave", "Focus Tracking Lock-on", "Nikkor" & other applicable technical/business terms are registered trade name(s) of Nikon Corporation Inc., Japan. Site made with an Apple G5 IMac.