Akiva - As you are no doubt aware, since your lenses are NOT AI capable, while they will focus manually and allow you to set f/stops the same way, they do not communicate with your camera. Nonetheless, the arrows and green light indicating sharp focus should serve well. I have one remaining AI Nikon lens, a 50mm f1.2, and it performs quite well on my D700. The only problem is that if you are used to autofocus there may be a moment's hesitation when it doesn't do that! I used to use this lens, which I have had since my first Nikon FE, on my D100 and D200, but the considerably smaller image on the screen made it harder to see focus -- although again, the green light confirmed focus. Good luck! Just make sure your lenses are mechanically compatable and don't introduce any mechanical conflicts. I cannot even suggest if each of your non-Nikon lenses will work without that. In fact, a few Nikon lenses don't work for that reason.
>...since your lenses are NOT >AI capable, while they will focus manually and allow you to >set f/stops the same way, they do not communicate with your >camera.
The chipped Zeiss and Voigtlander lenses are AI capable and since they are chipped they will communicate with the camera body just like Nikkor AI-P type lenses. Therefore all exposure modes P, S, A, & M are possible. You are correct that the electronic rangefinder will assist with Manually focusing the lens. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
>.....I wonder how one of those after-market >focusing screens with a split-image rangefinder might help add >to this experience.
I installed a Katz Eye on my D300 for just that reason, but was disappointed. The Katz Eye was nice, but no faster or more accurate than the factory screen of the D300.
In comparison, the factory screen of my D700 seems slightly brighter and easier to focus manually than the D300. Probably because of the slightly larger image. I don't have any problem focusing manual focus lenses on my D700.
I've found FX viewfinders to be much more usable for manual focus than DX ones - this is one place where I DO think that "FX > DX." Part of it is simply that they're bigger (as in 24x36 vs 15x23mm), but part of it is also the optical design. It's just plain easier to get it right.
I have a KatzEye in my D2h and D2x, but I don't feel the need to have same on my D3. (Good thing - they don't offer one for the D3.)
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
I use PC28mm f3.5MF and 28mm f3.5Ai MF lenses when I don't want to straighten curved edges in PS! Other times I use them just so that I can slow down the photographic process and get good results the old fashioned way.
"Great things are not done by impulse but by a series of small things brought together." Vincent Van Gogh
I only last month I sold all of my MF lenses as to be honest after comparing images taken with them against today’s pro modern optics they really didn’t stack up .I found them rather soft at the edges and often subject to flare, even with the correct lens hoods in place and the metering/exposure is just not as good as modern lenses especially when using flash. They have a lovely feel to them when mounted on a D700 and are a joy to use but personally I find I get far more keepers with AFS lenses so I sold them all with no regrets and bought a Fuji X100 with the proceeds! They were all Nikkors, 28mm AIS F2.8, 35mm AIS F2, 50mm AI F1.4 and 135mm F2.8 converted to AI.
Let me resolve your dilemma. Send the lenses to me! But, yes, I think they work just fine. I occasionally use my Nikkor AI or AIS 24, 50, and 105 lenses and love the manual focus workflow. The manual focus itself seems to provide me with a much better feel for depth of field, because the focus is MUCH slower than AF, and you SEE what's happening as you turn the focus wheel rather than having it all happen in an instant. I also like selecting the aperture manually. Having come from Nikon manual focus film cameras, it all just feels so much more natural.
I also use LV and then the plus/zoom button to focus by hand. Also, at night I don't use anything but manual focus done using LV, same with macro. As for old lenses, I am not too sure, but others are.
.... "Above all, it's hard learning to live with vivid mental images of scenes I cared for and failed to photograph. It is the edgy existence within me of these unmade images that is the only assurance that the best photographs are yet to be made." Sam Abell
I have some real nice chipped Zeiss and Voigtlander primes. Does the D700 handle manual focus well?
It does! I do use a 105/2.5 pretty often, a 28/3.5, a 135/2.8 and a 28/3.5PC on my D700 (and on my previous D200 and D300). No example handy (mostly family portrait that don't come on the web), but it is more than doable! Let me confess that the longer telephoto lenses here above are usually at about f/4: it maximises my chances to have the subject (usually the eye) sharp, while the background is nicely smoothed.
Moreover, it's not necessary to chip the lenses à la AI-P, since the camera has a bank of manual lenses: you can easily enter focal length and max aperture, then toggle between them.
Hope this helps!
Olivier Rychner __________________________________________ Jetez un oeil à ma galerie if you feel like it! And it's a bit void as of now, but I also have a Nikonians blog
Auta i lomë! And my Nikon's only awaiting daylight...