I was with a friend who has this old lens and wanted to try it on my new body. At first it seemed that the lens would not mount at all. But I have no previous experience of old Nikon lenses, and after my friend showed me how I need to align the aperture ring with the mark on the silver ring of the lens, I was able to mount the lens and even take some pictures. However, I noticed that the body always indicated the aperture to be F8, whichever F stop I dialed on the lens, and the pictures came out very badly underexposed.
Now I found several sites saying that such lenses (unless modified) "will not mount" (the above Ken Rockwell page) or some such thing and may damage modern Nikon bodies. This left me quite worried. Is it the meter coupling lever that may be damaged -- mine *seems* intact -- or something else? How can I tell that my body is OK? Do I have to try it with an AI lens to really know?
Could some of you more knowledgeable Nikonians please help a newbie here?
#1. "RE: Damage from pre-AI lens?" In response to Reply # 0 Mon 22-Apr-13 01:37 PM by James23p
It would be the metering tab/coupling, pre Ai lens do not have a knotch that fits the coupling thus it would damage the tab/coupling. It maybe that your friends lens has been Ai'd many were years ago. Some cameras could be modified to accept Non Ai lens and the lowest consumer DSLR's and SLRs never had the meter tab/coupling since they were not compatible with Ai and AiS lens like your D800.
Here's a few pictures of an Ai and Non Ai Nikkor you can see the knotch cutout for the Ai coupling and that is what the tab on your D800 uses to know what aperture the lens is set to allow metering.
#2. "RE: Damage from pre-AI lens?" In response to Reply # 0
Boston Area, US
When you mount a non-AI lens on a camera like the D800, the metering tab on the camera and the aperture ring on the lens try to occupy the same space. Needless to say, something has to give.
Sometimes the metering tab gets damaged and the camera will need repair to work with AI lenses. More often, though, tolerances and wear allow the aperture ring to "ride over" the metering tab. That may have been the resistance you were feeling when you first tried to mount the lens, and may account for the incorrect exposure. (Other things, such as setting the wrong maximum aperture, could also contribute to the underexposure.)
I suggest visually inspecting your camera and trying an AI lens, but if you were able to remove the lens cleanly there's a good chance you didn't do any permanent damage.
"There is no real magic in photography, just the sloppy intersection of physics and art." — Kirk Tuck
#4. "RE: Damage from pre-AI lens?" In response to Reply # 2 Mon 22-Apr-13 01:58 PM by opm
Thank you so much benveniste! What you say seems to be based on real experience.
Yes, I guess I was pushing the lens against the metering tab; there was a springy feeling at first. Luckily, the tab shows no signs of damage as far as I can tell. (Can't I post pictures here, because of my "basic" account?) And I certainly noticed nothing odd upon removing the lens.
I have no easy access to AI lenses, but I'll try to find one and try it later.
#5. "RE: Damage from pre-AI lens?" In response to Reply # 0 Mon 22-Apr-13 02:01 PM by archivue
It usually breaks or deform the small plastic coupling lever ! When without a lens it should move with a gentle finger push from right to left (looking at the camera) and when released at it's maximum should come back to it's original place (spring loaded).
The fact that it was "stuck" at f/8 means that the lever didn't follow the aperture ring tab (as expected with an pre-AI lens). Some hope left that the tab being plastic deformed enough to being laterally shoved out of the way in a given position (rotation of the tab)), but a thorough inspection should be made to see if it is a permanent deformation (with even some ripping in the plastic) or if it seemingly escaped the worst. The second test is to put an AF-D (not AF-S as they don't have an aperture ring nor the mount tabs) or an AI-S lens, mounting it carefully and looking if the plastic tab of the camera follows the tab on the lens mount. Then by setting on, and moving the aperture wheel to minima and maxima, see if it relates to the lens given apertures? If the camera tab doesn't come back to it's original position (because it's bent), the minimal and maxima aperture won't be perceived by the camera (a f/2 will show as a f/3.5 for example)...
The bad news is that this little plastic tab is related to a more complex mechanism that needs, to be repaired or changed, to open completely the camera !!!
If you only use AF-S lenses you can live with it but you'll miss lots of the older lenses advantages and some resale value !
Per my usual Nikon service center, this is quite frequent, just as broken shutters that closed on the sensor cleaning apparatus (or even fingers) of people cleaning their sensors with batteries not at the proper level (or taking too much time doing it)...
While with a Nikon we can use most of the historical lenses there are some limitations, specially with the pre-AI lenses (though I have several AI'sed that works well) and some lenses have protruding parts that can break the mirror.
#8. "RE: Damage from pre-AI lens?" In response to Reply # 7
Phew... Great news... I guess that now you can immediately recognize a Pre-AI, AI, AI-S lens !!!! On the second hand market there are quite a few Pre-AI that were AI'sed, those can be interesting lenses to get, specially if you also have an "older" film camera (or will try at some time in the future).
There are many shops that will do the proper filing job, but it's harder nowadays to get the proper replacement part for the small aperture numbers on the lens mount, unless cannibalizing some broken equivalent lenses ( don't throw those lenses, keep the parts)!
#10. "RE: Damage from pre-AI lens?" In response to Reply # 0
New York, US
Glad your D800 seems not to have suffered from the experiment.
I have to say, though, that your first problem was wanting to put the 35 f/2.8 on your D800. That lens's main attributes are that it is small, light, and dirt cheap these days (including the cost of getting it AI'd, I paid <$40 for mine), but image quality is not it's strong suit even stopped down. I later acquired a 35 f/2 AIS which is a MUCH better lens all 'round (and not that much more expensive these days, if you can find one).