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Body and Lense Interface Probably for a guy like me - one of the single most important feature in the Nikon F4 is actually centered around the lens mount section. Although physically it is retains the same dimension as per the famous F- bayonet mount which can dating back to half a century ago but if you can notice, it has one of the most ingenious design in camera and lense interface among all Nikon SLR camera models introduced thus far.

The Nikon F4 bridged across two entirely different generations of Manual focus to Autofocus. Unlike other major Japanese camera manufacturers such as Canon and Minolta, Nikon (along with Olympus and Pentax) has made an important decision to retain the same lens mount for their photographic system during the transitional period. To the consumers, which means all previous investment of their manual focus lenses can also be used in the new autofocus system. Here, regardless the decision was commercially motivated or arising from consideration for consumer's interest - somehow I still have to thank Nikon for making such a crucial decision. When I said "commercially motivated" it was because when Minolta started introducing the Maxxum 7000, which incidentally was also the world's first successful body integrated AF SLR camera, the Company has adopted an entirely new series of AF lenses which was not compatible and replaced their previous MF MD-mount system.

maxxum7k.jpg canont80.jpg eos650mdm.jpg On the other hand, the then world largest SLR producer, Canon showcased their first autofocus attempt in a FD-mount Canon T-80 and soon realized the limitation imposed by the FD-camera cannot not carried enough muscle and technological advantage to challenge the Minolta's might, they soon halted further development of the entire FD-AF system and reverted to a daring, entirely new system based on a electro-optical AF system concept called "EOS" (the first EOS series was a Canon EOS 650 in 1986) - the path was indeed very painful for all Canon users during that stage because the new EOS system is not compatible with the previous FD-mount system anymore.

So, Nikon's decision to retain the same F-mount as the backbone for the new autofocus was not wrong strategically at that time because all of a sudden, the Nikon photographic system became very attractive even for Canon users who has suffered from the hurt feelings but the most important element was, Canon has not developed a capable professional SLR model yet to take on Nikon and Minolta during the first three years when announcing their replacement of the FD system.

lens85mmf14c.jpg lens28mmf14a.jpg IF Nikon has ever decided adopting a new lens mount during those days, this these combinations of MF/AF Nikkor may not possible anymore with the Nikon F4 ....


Why do I quote the AF-Nikon system was very appealing ? Because, the amazing capability of F4 accepts three different communication systems - one for Nikon lenses with built-in microcomputer (AF and Ai-P Nikkor lenses), one for the older Nikon autofocus lenses with built-in motors (Nikon F3AF autofocus lenses) and one for those older manual focus lenses without any electronic contacts (Ai-S, Ai, Non-Ai) modified AI and Series E). With the Nikon F, a built-in feature that "borrowed" from the previous Nikon F3AF called Electronic Rangefinder will also work with most F-mount manual focus, early AF-Nikkor lenses and also with previous Nikon F3AF autofocus lenses for visual focusing aid inside the viewfinder. Further, due to slow pace in the development of AF-Nikkor, the Company also has developed an interesting lense accessory called TC-16A which will convert a wide variety of manual focus Nikkor lenses into immediate autofocus operation !

Other than in its capability to "transform" manual focus Nikkor into an instant AF lense, the Nikon TC-16A Tele-Converter also serves as a working optical teleconverter in multiplying the primary lense attached to the camera by a factor of 1.6X and it will work with, not just the F4 alone but as well as other early version of Nikon AF SLRs such as F501, F-801 etc. How nice, huh ? That is not all - the most important exposure control element in the Nikon F4 - Matrix Metering is possible when using the camera with any Nikkor lenses with built-in microcomputers - the possibility extends to many other manual focus Ai-S and Ai Nikkor lenses and even old practical feature in any MF Nikon bodies such as ADR (Aperture Direct Readout) is still provided in the Nikon F4 where it enable lens aperture visible in the viewfinder. So, in a way, although original first generation of AF Nikkor lenses were not too many in numbers but the TC-16A provides enormous potential to expand the AF-Nikkor family in another form for the then Nikon photographers who may started using the Nikon F4.

In short - the Nikon F4 can autofocus with a new series of AF-Nikkor lenses, it will also perform autofocus with manual lenses*, even if you don't intend to buy a dedicated AF accessory (TC-16A), the camera will still provide focusing guide with virtually all Nikkor, which includes the MF lenses (in fact, F4's compatibility issue does not just confined to lenses, it also extends to other departments such as
Flash photography). All these was made possible via intelligent design in both camera/lens interface to enable information exchange between camera and lenses while not affecting its main criteria in autofocus operations and wide range of exposure control functions. As 35mm SLR cameras become increasingly sophisticated, with the incorporation of advanced microelectronics, information exchanged between lens and camera have increased dramatically. This process can date back to 1977 in the first phase of a general Nikkor lens updating program which saw the incorporation of Ai coupling and automatic aperture lever for maximum aperture indexing of Nikkor lenses. The second phase was occurred in 1981, when several additional innovations were included (i.e., introduction of Ai-S-type Nikkor lenses), a number of data have been relayed through the lens mount via mechanical contacts, pins and levers - among the few, one important feature was the shutter speed coupling to enable exposure modes such as Shutter Priority AE and Programmed AE to be used efficiently with the new generation of Nikon SLRs. These data include focal length, lens type (Ai or Ai-S) and lens speed (Ai-S-type lenses are easily recognizable through the orange-painted maximum f-number on the lens aperture ring. In terms of camera/lens interface, Nikon Series E lenses which were first introduced back in 1979 can also be regarded as identical to Ai-S lenses). Soon after the introduction of Ai-S lenses, the autofocus AF-Nikkor lenses for the Nikon F3AF came out. In addition to the mechanical contacts found in Ai-S-type lenses, these AF-Nikkor lenses incorporate electrical contacts for motor operation during autofocus.

UPDATE: " ... From: Kellysinma@aol.com
Date: December 27, 2003 12:43:19 am GMT+08:00
Subject: Note on your Nikon F3AF information page...

Hello! I just linked into your information website on Nikon cameras, specifically the F3AF page, and I noticed an error in the information you present!!! While it's true the two AF lenses were designed specifically for the F3AF, it is NOT true that they will work in autofocus mode exclusively on the F3AF.
Nikon F3AF setup.jpg
They also work just fine on the 2020 and the F4 in full autofocus mode. This is indicated in the manuals for both of those cameras, though it doesn't jump right out at you. I have an F3AF, both lenses, and the TC-16 converter. The camera and converter stay in my cabinet, but I use both lenses on a 2020 and occasionally on my F4. The 80/2.8 on a 2020 transforms the camera. With the camera set in MANUAL focus mode, the lens focuses smoothly and quietly... Same goes for the 200/3.5.

This compatibility makes sense. Nikon are freaks about forward compatibility of their lenses, so having their first pro AF SLR lenses work on the next two followon bodies makes sense. The only question I can't get answered- the F4 manual alludes to the fact that the lenses can be used only on F4, NOT on F4S or Nikon F4E. My guess is that the battery voltage must be transmitted directly to the lens, unregulated, and that the higher voltage of the larger battery packs could damage the lens??? It's only a guess, however. Anyway, I just thought I'd mention it. I've seen a number of these lenses sold on eBay and elsewhere, where the seller also stated that they could only be used in manual mode on any camera other than the F3AF. That narrows the market enormously! Thanks for a great website!! I could spend hours poking around the various links. And have a great holiday season!! - Jim Kelly - ..."

Relative: Also see a scanned page from the manual in proper way how to mount and remove a Nikko lense.

In 1985 when for some strange reasons (mistakes as well), Nikon has dropped the body/lense integrated motors design in their new line of AF-Nikkor lenses for Nikon cameras which only have autofocus motors built into the body (and hence regarded as body-driven AF). These lenses feature built-in micro-computers (but has no motor in the lense) and more integrated electrical contacts. Almost all commands and information (excluding meter coupling), aperture control coupling and AF motor coupling, are relayed through these electrical contacts. These contacts transfer various information such as lens data, as well as commands regarding aperture control and focusing between camera/lense to execute AF operation and exposure control. In addition to that, an AF coupling and AF coupler was added to both lense and body section to drive the lense in either single or continuous servo mode. As the AF lense has no micro-motor incorporated, the entire AF operation is body driven.


In a typical Manual Focus Ai-S lense type and F4's body interface: A) Meter coupling ridge; B) Meter coupling lever; C) Focal length indexing ridge; D) Focal length indexing pin; E) Lens type signal notch; F) Lens type signal pin; G) Aperture Indexing Post; H) Aperture control coupling lever; I) Lens speed indexing post; J) Lens speed indexing lever In a typical AF Nikkor lense type and F4's body configuration: K) Meter coupling ridge; L) Ai coupling lever; M) Electrical contacts (lense section); N) Electrical contacts (Body section); O) Aperture indexing post ;P) Aperture control coupling lever; Q) AF coupling (lense side); R) AF coupler (body side).

RELATIVE: check the couplers, couplings and levers and pin on both Nikon F4 and Nikon F5 lens mounts.

Although unlikely such scenario will happened frequently, the Nikon F4 can even accept a Non-Ai Nikkor lense where you can operate in stopped down metering mode. Remember to lift the meter coupling tab upwards (anyway, you won't be able to mount a Non-Ai lense onto the camera without lifting the tab), se the mode selector to "M" (manual focus); while you press the depth of field preview button, the lense will stop down the a picture taking aperture (bottom far right picture). With any Ai-modified lens, both center-weighted and spot metering
* are usable. * lenses with an aperture of f/2.8 or larger. Further, F4's Electronic Rangefinder will also be functional in most of such combinations. For more compatibility issues with various Nikkor lense type, refer to the metering section.

f4nonaifront.jpg stopdownB.jpg stopdownF4.jpg

In cases where selective very old types of Nikkor lenses which require Mirror-Lock-Up (such as non-Ai Fisheye-Nikkor lenses like 10mm OP-Nikkor, 7.5mm f/5.6 or 8mm F/5.6), you can also make use of the dual functions Depth of Field Preview button/Mirror Lock-up lever to enable these lenses to be used with the camera. Please note such workable solution only demonstrate versatility of F4 in terms of lens compatibility but does not suggest nor encourage it can be the best combination for your camera and collection of old Nikkor lenses.

Nikkor lense compatibility chart with Nikon F4 series: Download a PDF File (167k) or open a new browser window in Gif file format (98k) in SUMMARY.
lensesChartBsml.gif lensesChartAsml.jpg
Nikkor Scanned copies from a 1992's Nikon F4's Sales Manual - Page A (187k) & Page B (240k)

Camera Operations by lense-types in relation to Exposure modes and Metering system with Nikon F4

  • Exposure Control Virtually all lenses can be used for Aperture-Priority auto and Manual exposure modes. Lenses usable for Programmed and Shutter-Priority auto exposure modes include AF Nikkor and Nikkor lenses with built-in microcomputers. When the automatic diaphragm ring does not couple with the meter coupling lever of the Nikon K such as when a PC-Nikkor or bellows attachment is used focusing is done with the lens wide open, while exposure measurement and shooting are done with the lens stopped down. With PC-Nikkors, exposure must be determined before shifting.

    <<< ---- Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Philip Chong®, Editor of AdvanceImages.com.my. Image copyright© 2003. All rights reserved.

Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number:
http://www.zi.ku.dk/personal/lhhansen/photo/fmount.htm by: Hansen, Lars Holst
Update page on recently officially announced discontinued Nikkor lenses

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The Camera Body - Features | Reliability | Focusing | Metering | Exposure Control | Lense Compatibility | Interchangeable Prisms | Data Film Backs | Various Power Sources | Focusing Screens | Flash Photography | Other system accessories | Cases for Nikon F4 Series | Remote Control |

| Specification | Main Reference Map | Nikon F4 Variants
Instruction Manual: PDF (4.5M) - External Link

| BACK | to Main Index Page Nikon F4 Series SLR camera Models

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

Nikon Auto Focus Nikkor lenses:- Main Index Page
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 |

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:
http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-153.html by: my friend, Rick Oleson
http://www.zi.ku.dk/personal/lhhansen/photo/fmount.htm by: Hansen, Lars Holst

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

| Message Board | for Nikon F4 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 no aperture ring on the lense, they cannot adjust aperture(s) when operating in manual exposure control even with certain earlier AF Nikon SLR camera models. Similarly, not ALL features provide in a modern AF-S series AF-Nikkor lenses can be utilized fully with a Nikon F4. Please refer to your local distributor for compatibility issue(s).

PLEASE NOTE: Complimentary links are appreciative but it is not necessary, I have limited bandwidth here in this server... So, PLEASE don't distribute this URL to any bulk mailing list or unrelated user-groups, just be a little considerate, thank you. (The more you distribute, the slower this server will response to your requests...). I am NOT a Nikon nor Nikkor expert, so don't send me any mails, use the Message Board Instead. While the content prepared herein should be adequate for anyone to understand and evaluate whether you should invest into a used Nikon F4 pro-camera system for your kind of photography. Well, IF you like what you have seen so far, please help to perfect this site by reporting any broken links or any errors made.

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About this photographic site.

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Credit: Chuck Hester, US for his patience, encouragement and help to setup the various content in this site; Robert Johnson for some of his original images on the F2H-MD appeared in this site; my ex-staff, KiaSu for his superb 3-D logo appeared in this Nikon F2 site; Marc Vorgers from Holland who generously provide me with some of his images of F2AS; MCLau®, who has so much time with me to re-edit the content in this site and not to mention buying a Nikon Coolpix 990 just for this site; Paul Armstrong (pkared@ameritech.net) for his explantion of the FF2 Slidemagic and Nikon F2 Pin Camera Keat Photo, Kuala Lumpur for providing their Nikon F2A to take some images for this site; Mr Edward Ngoh the great camera collector who provides us his collection of F2AS with MD-2; hawkeye.photographic.com for their images on the Speed Magny film backs; Sean Cranor for his image on Nikon F2 25th Anniversary Model; Ted Wengelaar®, Holland for his continuous flow of input on some of the early Nikon bodies; Genesis-Camera for granting permission to use an image of the SS-F2 camera; Mr Sover Wong, Australia for those great images of his rare F2 Gold;CYLeow ®, photo editor of the Star newspaper, Malaysia for some of his images used in this site. Ms Rissa Chan, Sales manager from Shriro Malaysia who has helped to provide some of the very useful input. HiuraShinsaku®, Nikomat ML, Japan for some of his images on various F2 models; my staff, Wati, Maisa, MAI and my nephew, EEWyn®, who volunteered and helping me did so many of the film scanning works; Hong-sien Kwee of Singapore for all the Nikon F2 Pin camera images appeared in this site; Luigi Crescenzi for many of his images on the Nikon F2 Titan; John for two of his images of the Nikon F2/T used in this site; Contributing photographers or resellers: Jen Siow, Foo KokKin, Arthur Teng, Mark Fallander, John Ishii, Ed Hassel, YoonKi Kim, Jean-Louis, M.Dugentas (Dell Corner.com.), Mr "Arsenall", Yang Zi Xiong and a few images mailed in from surfers with no appropriate reference to their origin. Note: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 to publish in this site based on educational merits. The creator of this site will not be responsible for any discrepancies that may arise from such possible dispute except rectifying them after verification."Nikon", "Nikkormat", "Nippon Kokagu KK" & "Nikkor" are registered tradename of Nikon Corporation Inc., Japan. Dedicated to KU Yeo, just to express our mutual regrets over the outcome of a recent corporate event. Made with an Apple IMac.