E series lens.jpg (11k)
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.

AF 50mm backview.jpg (11k) AF-D lens.jpg (16k) 50mm AF f1.8.jpg (11k)
MANUAL FOCUS Nikkor Resources

Autofocus Nikkor Resources
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).

To summarize some facts here:

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 FA
F-801 & F-801s

AF Nikon F4
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:
FA, Nikon F-801 series, F-90 series, Nikon F4, Nikon F5

Back to Nikon Pictorial History Site
Back to Michael Liu's
Nikon Resources centre

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).

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
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:
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.