An E-Series lense (More info is available)
E series lenses weigh less and generally, they are also more compact than comparable Nikkor optic. (A 50mm Nikkor standard lens of f/1.8 weighs 220gm, while a comparable Nikon 50mm f1.8 E weighs mere 135g. In many areas, optical construction has been "simplified" (Strangely, not the case with the 50mm f1.8). For example, the 28mm f2.8 Nikkor has the optical construction with 8 elements in 8 groups, while the Series E counterpart is made out of 5 elements in 5 groups).
The materials used also seem to have been a compromise. Some of these E series lenses have a very strong resemblance of today's AF lenses (...even optically). The E series lenses were the first of any Nikkor lenses that had dispensed with the meter coupling shoe on the aperture ring - which also signifies that non-AI bodies cannot perform automatic indexing when used with these lenses ( you may still be able to use the camera without any metering guide). The good news is, you can regard ALL series E lenses as AI-S in nature. It was made available when the Nikon EM was introduced back in 1979. The next ultra- compact Nikon SLR model, the FG's program mode works perfectly with these lenses even before the Nikon FA, Nikon first SLR that permits built-in Shutter Priority AE, which was introduced back in 1983.
An autofocus Nikkor Lense: All AF Nikkor lenses are also "AI-S" in nature. The lens used on illustration here was a AF-D Nikkor 28mm f1.4. AF Nikkor relays many information to the camera electronically other than those provided via levers, pins and ridges on older manual focus lenses. (Prior to that, only Nikkor-P series lenses can relay more info than an AI-S lens).
MANUAL FOCUS Nikkor Resources
Autofocus Nikkor Resources
To summarize some facts here:
- Nikon AI, AI-modified, AI-S, E Series and AF lenses all work perfectly well on all manual focus Nikon bodies such as F, F2, Nikkormat, FM, FE, FE2. FM2, FM2n, EM, F3, EM, FG, FG-20 etc.
- Nikon FM, FE, F3, F4 and F5 (needs to modify the mount) still have an adjustable meter coupling lever to use with manual or Non-AI Nikkor lenses. For Specific manual focus SLR camera model(s), you can Click Here to access the PIM's Directories.
- If you use Non-AI lenses on a camera that doesn't have an adjustable meter coupling lever (like FE2, FA, FM2, EM, FG, FG20 and F-series models etc.), you may damage the camera. These lenses have to be modified to be an AI lens before you can use them with the camera.
- AI and AI-S lenses (those which have a meter coupling shoe - 'Rabbit Ears') can be used on virtually all pre-AI bodies.
- E series and AF Nikkors have no meter coupling shoe to work on these pre-AI bodies for proper metering. However, stopped down metering can be used instead.
- Nikon EM in 1979 is the first Nikon that has a fixed lever.
- AI-S, E Series and AF lenses are all AI-S in nature.
- You don't have to buy an AI-S lens to work in the programmed or shutter priority mode in the FA.
- AI lenses work perfectly well with matrix (Multi Pattern) metering in the FA (Non-AI and AI-modified lenses do NOT work this way)
- Non-AI and AI-Modified Nikkor lenses cannot work with the Matrix metering and will automatically revert to Centre-Weighted metering.
- AI-S lenses that are shorter (135mm for Nikkor, 100mm for E series) will not share the high speed program in FA, but remain in the standard program mode.
- Revised Teleconverter TC-201, TC-301, TC-14A, TC-14B can work in the Matrix (multi-pattern) metering. Older versions can only work in center weighted.
- 3D Color Matrix works with AF-D lenses only. Other AF lenses will either auto redirect to work in advance matrix (in the case of camera like F90X) or just 'normal' matrix metering for other AF models or multi Pattern Metering for MF focus model like the Nikon FA.
There are some wrong perception with the AI and AI-S lenses for manual focus SLRs. The AI lenses are not in any way inferior to the AI-S lenses. The AI-S lenses, other than their capability to set the program mode to shutter speed priority when used with the Nikon FA, for instance, don't serve any other purpose than an AI lens (look at the FA control panel, an AI lens can perform exactly the same as an AI-S lens does in all those AE modes). Optically, they are the same. In fact, AI lenses are more robust physically. I have created a compatibility chart for the FA and the F4 for your reference. AI-S lenses are no doubt better than the E series lenses in their build quality (but no differences as regards the compatibility), they have the meter coupling shoe as standard and thus they can fit on the non-AI camera bodies. It very much depends on the price: if you have a manual focus Nikon body and if an AI-S lenses is quoted at the price more than 25% higher than the AI version, by all means, go for the AI version even if your camera is a FA - the trade-off is merely the standard program mode.
As far as the lens compatibility issue is concerned (relative to changes occurring around the F-mount), most manual focus Nikon bodies are very straight forward. Either it is an AI or Non-AI body/lens combination. Since ALL AF lenses are AI-S, stepping upward to mount an AF lenses on a manual focus body is equally straight forward enough (except in most cases, non-AI lenses may need to be modified to AI). On the other hand, backward compatibility from an autofocus body to use any manual lens is where you need to pay some attention.
Here are some AF/Manual AI and Non-AI Nikkor/Nikon E series Lenses Compatibility Chart for:
Nikon F-801 & F-801s
AF Nikon F4
AF Nikon F5
Cameras selected here are popular models. The FA was also featured here because it was the first Nikon that provided shutter priority automation and incorporated a high speed program mode via a mechanical transmission of focal length data, maximum lens speed information. However, AF lenses introduced later substituted such data exchange with an electronic communication. This has also resulted in the fact that cameras such as Nikon F4's program AE and Shutter Priority AE mode can only be used with lenses that have a CPU within (AF, AI-P or others).
MANUAL FOCUS Nikkor Resources | Autofocus Nikkor Resources
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| Part I | Part II | Part III |
Lens compatibility Chart for:
Nikon FA, Nikon F-801 series, F-90 series, Nikon F4, Nikon F5
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Several events carried significant influence in the development of Nikon SLRs: Pre-AI (Nikon F, F Photomic, T, Tn, FTn; Nikkormat FT, FS, Nikkormat FTn; Nikon F2, F2 Photomic, F2 Photomic S, F2 Photomic SB; Nikkormat EL, FT2, ELw); AI (Nikon F2 Photomic A, F2 photomic AS; Nikkormat FT3, Nikon EL2, Nikon FM, FM2, FM2n, FE, FE2, EM, FG, FG20); AI-S (Nikon FA, F301); AF (Nikon F501, 801, F401s, F601, F601m, 801s, F401s, F90, F4 Series); AF-D (F90x onwards...)
For Specific manual focus SLR camera model(s), you can Click Here to access the PIM's Directories.
| Message Board | for your Nikkor optics ("shared" because I want some of you to expose to other's perspective as well, it is sad to see photography has to be segmented into different camps from the use of various labels).
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
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 |
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
Recommended Reading Reference on Nikon cameras and Nikkor lenses
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Credit: To all the good people who has contributed their own experience, resources or those who are kind enough granting us permission to use their images appeared in this site Note:certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets, brochures, sales manuals or publications published by Nikon over the years and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their work for educational purposes. The creator of the site will not be responsible for may discrepancies arise from such dispute except rectifying them after verification."Nikon", "Nikkormat", "Nippon Kokagu KK" & "Nikkor" are registered tradename of Nikon Corporation Inc., Japan. Site made with an Apple IMac.