Customizing the Df

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by christian_fox, Aug 30, 2015.

  1. I am new to the digital SLR. I favor a purist mechanical camera like the Nikon F, so there is a desire to tame modern tools and render them as simple platforms as possible, then be able to change an internal capability if needed. This is probably why it has taken me so long to get into the digital world beyond P&S.
    As far as customizing the Df, I have been able to turn-off the red focus bracket and focus point illuminator, as I would only need it when focusing on a black jacket in a closet. While most would consider this a minor thing, I don't like distractions.
    I like to take the time think about the metering variables and review viewfinder information, so I set the meter to remain on for 30 seconds. In time, I will learn how to meter naturally beyond Sunny 16. With ISO as a new variable, is there a revised Sunny 16 rule for the digital world?
    My preference is to setup the Df in manual mode with a Non-AI lens, in this case, a 1972 or so Nikkor-H 85/1.8. This day of age, I would expect a retro digital camera to read the Non-AI lens aperture as I change it manually, but I will deal with notifying the Df the change I made on the lens. Actually, I don't bother to change the lens aperture until I have metered the calculated aperture in the Df and reach a happy value, then I change the lens aperture before shooting.
    I set the Df to limit the shutter speed close to the focal length of the lens to minimize camera shake. By setting ISO to auto, I get an immediate recommended meter reading after selecting the aperture in the sub command dial. BTW, this dial is awfully stiff for my taste, as the position and configuration of this dial does not need protection.
    I want the focus point (a single box) to remain on the VF screen to compare my eye to the focus confirmation light, but I would like to turn-off the wide focus bracket on the screen, as I do not use it. I still don't need the focus bracket if I ever need to move the focus point around.
    Has anyone been able to turn-off the wide Df focus bracket (without removing the battery, of course)?
     
  2. This day of age, I would expect a retro digital camera to read the Non-AI lens aperture as I change it manually​
    And it would accomplish this how? There is an easy way out though - just Ai the lens!
    Has anyone been able to turn-off the wide Df focus bracket​
    AFAIK, there's only an option to turn it off for playback
     
  3. I can't answer on Df specific issues, but Sunny 16 works in digital as it always did, just with a little more flexibility and a histogram to fine tune it after the first try.
     
  4. This day of age, I would expect a retro digital camera to read the Non-AI lens aperture as I change it manually​
    Exactly in this day of the electronic/digital age how can you expect the camera to interface with a purely mechanical coupling?
     
  5. From the Nikon web page:
    Combined CPU and AI (collapsible metering coupling lever). - are compatible​
    I guess that most more expensive Nikon dsrls can measure with manual lenses.
    See if there is a menu option where you set the lens aperture to be the controlling element instead the front/side wheel. That is usually possible to do. You might also benefit from adding your lens in the manual lens selection menu.
    An old piece of advise tells one to eat the elephant piece by piece. Current dslrs have settings well beyond the first month needs.
     
  6. Nikon could have engineered an electronic ADR that reads numbers.
    Kari, my Non-AI lens is completely disconnected from the camera, so I don't think I can the aperture can be a controlling element. I do save the lens in the camera's settings so it can calculate a meter recommendation.
     
  7. See
    http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/dslr/df/compatibility02.htm​
    for compatibility of non-cpu lenses. Non-Ai lenses are mentioned. Also the manual shoud have that info available. One sentence explains how to operate. If I got it this time, you eg. set the aperture on the lens and match the camera setting to that.
    Can be used only if Non-CPU lens data has been used to specify lens focal length and maximum aperture and to set exposure meter coupling to Non-AI lens. Match camera aperture setting to value selected with lens aperture ring.​
    I would train and test with a fixed ISO value first to keep things simpler.
     
  8. Kari!
    I think Christian understood how to use preAI lens but he doesn't like having to set the aperture on the ring and then using the front dial to set the matching aperture. I think Christen thought that Nikon oughta be able to put in a tiny camera in front of the viewfinder looking at the aperture ring, capture the f number and using OCR to transfer the f number to the metering circuit.
     
  9. Yes BeBu, I was discussing how Nikon designed the Df, and contemplating how they could have solved old problems. I'm sure an advanced ADR with OCR reading would not be worth the cost, given so few who have the nerve to use Non-AI lenses in the first place. Its a retro camera, so I felt free to comment - its difficult to tame a classic camera guy that loves old chrome. My oldest camera is a Nikon S and it looks and feels like a old car.
    BTW, I play with the Df calculated meter based on my lens' settings first, then when I like the suggested exposure, I change my lens aperture as a last step. I am wasting my time if I change the lens aperture incrementally in sync with the camera's calculated meter.
    I am having fun with the Df, but it is also overwhelming - I am trying to tuck its complexity under the hood as much as possible. I have had a discussion with one user who is so experienced with exposure, he ignores the meter altogether and enjoys the camera in manual mode with AI modified or AF lenses and the dials on top.
     
  10. There is a better way than to use sunny 16.
    It's based on the APEX system and using EV (exposure value).
    EV is an exposure value and is usually given at ISO 100. It's indirectly a measure of light level, illumination on a subject if you so will. It can be translated into lux or footcandles.
    EV 0 is defined as 1 second exposure at f1 and ISO 100. Each EV is exactly the same as one stop. So EV1 is one stop more light than EV 0.
    Sunny 16 is the same as EV15.
    On a real cloudy and rainy day you might get EV10. Otherwise during daylight light levels are going to be between EV 10 to EV 15.
    Indoors a normal indoor lighting level is EV5. A little more cozy in the evening and light levels can drop down to EV3 or so.
    When you start getting down to EV1 and lower it is starting to get hard to see where you are putting your feet. So EV 1 to EV 6 is where indoor shooting will normally take place.
    So how do you use this? Well, you look at the light and guesstimate the light levels. Using a incident lightmeter at first will make you better at guessing. After some practice you can guesstimate pretty accurately. Within a stop or so will become the norm.
    After knowing the EV you just need to figure out the camera settings. You can do it with the table below or in your head with some practice.
    It goes something like this:
    All right, I'm going to shoot this portrait in the sun. EV is about 15 and I want to shoot at f2.8 for shallow DoF. ISO 100 is the lowest my camera can go. f2.8 is 3 stops down from f1 which means that I have to drop the exposure another 12 stops with my shutter speed. 12 stops is 1/4000s so that's what I'll shoot at.
    I take a few shots and determine I need to add some flash. Hmm, flash sync speed is 1/250s so I'll drop down to that to get maximum flash power to sun capability. 1/250s is 4 stops down from 1/4000 so I have 4 stops I need to get rid of. Hmm, either I need 4 stops of ND filter to keep shooting at f2.8. Hmm let's put on my 3 stop ND filter and stop down to f4.
    It sounds complicated but it actually pretty easy and it takes longer to write it than to do it.
    Looking at the table or figuring it out in our head, we can add and subtract them to get the EV number.
    For example say I'm shooting inside and I know that EV5 is typical indoor lighting. I know I need at least 1/30s to keep subject motion under control. How much ISO do I need to be able to shoot with my f4 lens wide open? Maybe I need to bring a prime instead? Let's find out.
    EV5 is the light level we have. If we add the numbers from the aperture and shutter speed and subtract the ISO we should get zero. So 1/30s is 5 stops down and f4 is 4 stops down. To end up at EV5 we need to increase the sensitivity 4 stops (5+4=9 stops down, 9-4=5EV). 4 stops is the same as ISO1600. So ISO1600, f4 and 1/30s is our exposure.
    It can of course also be used in other ways. For instance say you have a lens that is f5.6 at the long end, say 200mm. You want to stick to 1/250s or faster and don't want to go higher than ISO3200 on your camera. How dark can it be for you to shoot? Well, f5.6 is 5, 1/250s is 8, that's 13 stops. ISO3200 is 5 so that's 13-5=8 stops left. So EV8 is the minimum light level. Basically this end up being a outdoor shooting scenario and you can forget bring that f5.6 zoom to anything indoors.
    This is an ISO100 based variation of the APEX system. The APEX system was once proposed to replace the aperture and shutter speed with more human numbers to aid in figuring out the correct exposure and simplify exposure calculations. So the lens should be marked 5 on the aperture instead of f/5.6.
    This was of course a long time ago and it never took off as we eventually got cameras that could be used by anyone without even knowing what the aperture is or how a camera works. It's however used to in the EXIF tags in each image file.
    With digital cameras you could find the correct exposure by trial and error if you don't have an in-camera metering system. Or use an external light meter.
    Still, it's a useful skill if you can do it. It saves time. I use it when shooting film as the cameras I have don't meter with AI lenses or don't have meters at all. And I have some dSLRs that don't meter with AI lenses. It's also useful when you're contemplating different shooting scenarios. Is also useful because it forces you to actually start looking at the light and think about the light.
    00dSwc-558253784.jpg
     
  11. To do it in your head you need to learn the table above. Or actually not the entire thing.
    You see, ISO setting are not some random numbers. They are an exponential series, for instance starting 1 and then doubling the number each time you get: 1,2,4,8,16,32,64,128,256,512,1024,2048,4096,8192 etc. Looking again at the numbers and add 2 zeros you get 100,200,400,800,1600 etc. So that's the ISO numbers.
    It's the same series with the shutter speed. 1s, 1/2s 1/4s, 1/8s etc. You see the 1,2,4,8 series? What happens next is just rounding. The shutter speed are really 1/16, 1/32, 1/64, 1/128, 1/256 etc. but they are rounded to more human numbers 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250 etc.
    Finally we have the f-stop series. It's more tricky because the f-stop number is related to the diameter of the aperture opening. If we double the diameter we quadruple the amount of light we let in. That's the same as two stops. But each f-stop should be only one stop so the f-stops are not going f1, f2, f4, f8, f16 (1,2,4,8 series) but are making steps in between so we get f1, f1.4, f2, f2.8, f4, f5.6, f8, f11, f16 etc. That's why the f-stops are funky looking.
    If you want to be able to do this fast in your head you need to learn the 1,2,4,8 series by heart and know that 16 is the same as 4 and 256 is 8. That covers the ISO and shutter speeds. F-stops are probably easier to just learn for themselves. For example f1.4 is 1, f2 is 2 and f2.8 is 3, f4 is 4 and f5.6 is 5. That's almost like rounding of the f-stop number for the first ones. And then you just need to remember the others.
    To me this is the purist approach of shooting. No meter, no nothing, Just what the eye sees and the hand does.
    Next step is to estimate the focusing distance and dial it on on the scale on the lens. That takes replaces the AF.
    And finally you learn the coverage of your lens based on the focal length and that takes care of the viewfinder. Shooting without exposure meter, without autofocus and without looking through a viewfinder. That's puts us in the 1930s or so. It's how I imagine press photographers shooting Speed Graphics worked.
     
  12. Only if the lens has better distance scale. I've been asking manufacturers to make cameras that can display focus distance.
     
  13. Good luck on that, BeBu!
    I use a few old MF lenses on my D3200, and the distance scale is truly helpful in second-guessing the poor viewfinder with wider angle lenses, but I must say that I'd rather have a better viewfinder and abandon purity. I just don't want to have to pay for it.
     
  14. Cine lenses have real distance markings because they use distance to get the focus right when making movies and high end video production. No autofocus in sight for that kind of shooting.
    But one way to get around it is to put white tape on the lens (the kind that is made for writing on it) and make your own distance markings. White background with black markings is actually a lot easier to see than a black background with white markings. This works fine for manual focus lenses.
    Modern AF lenses have barely any marking at all and I think that is on purpose. I think it's because the back focus needs to be absolutely perfect (or adjustable) for the distance markings to be right on. And they are not and that is why we have AF fine tune to compensate for imperfections in the manufacturing process. That's also why the cameras don't show focus distance in the viewfinder.
    Focusing by distance is great when your shooting from odd positions with manual focus lenses. Also good when it's to freaking dark to focus through the viewfinder.
    There is also a relationship between framing and distance when the focal length is constant. So for instance if you shoot 3/4 length portraits on the fly and you frame them the same, then the distance and focus is also the same.
    Good way to take photos of people really fast because you preset the focus and of course the exposure and then when you are at the right distance you just raise your camera to your eye and shoot immediately when you framed the picture. I'm not familiar with how streetphotographer Bruce Gilden work but that would be one way to take the pictures he does.
     
  15. Pete,
    I make a few silly comments on Photo.net, and I get back a pot of gold! Thank you for your wisdom about meter-less photography - I have added your comments to my electronic journal for further study and experience.
     
  16. "In time, I will learn how to meter naturally beyond Sunny 16."​
    Christian, do you mean by that, that you hope to be able to judge exposures by eye? If so, that's a vain hope. The human eye is a very poor judge of absolute brightness levels, no matter how you try to train it. Besides, there's a saying - "No point in owning a dog and barking yourself." Meaning that you've bought a camera with a light meter built in, so you might as well make use of it. Or buy a separate handheld meter if you want a bit more flexibility.
    Train your eye by all means, but train it in the art of composition and of seeing and anticipating a good picture.
    "This day of age, I would expect a retro digital camera to read the Non-AI lens aperture as I change it manually........"​
    Why would you expect the camera to do that? When you've made the deliberate choice to use an antiquated lens that can't communicate the aperture to the camera. That's what non-AI means - a lens with no Auto Indexing for the aperture.
    After having lived through an era when there was almost no camera automation, my advice is to embrace all the modern facilities we've been given. Not fight against them with a Luddite mentality. Use the technology you've bought to simplify picture-making, not as an obstacle to be overcome or as some nerdy mental exercise. There's no great merit in making the mechanics of exposure and camera use difficult for yourself. It really won't show in the pictures you make.
     
  17. Well, Rodeo Joe, I can easily embrace automation. I have already embraced the Df main command dial - so prevalent in today's digital cameras (not the high torque vertical sub command dial), so in time that will happen. What I take with me is Pete's meter-less concepts when I feel like going back to my Nikon F for a change.
    Do take into consideration that some of us may admire lenses and cameras more than taking pictures for a while, then get back into a mood with images for a while. There is something unique about classic cameras and quality build (I grew up in 60's, so there was plenty of old stuff around). When I a find an interesting theme again and take pictures, I could easily use an AF lens in manual mode to embrace more of the Df automation.
    Sometimes Nikon does the funniest things when they make a retro camera. The Nikon S3 2000 still has a razor-sharp focus wheel! I may have had a bad sample at the time, but the VF flare was surprisingly strong and the RF patch was barely recognizable. In comparison, my heavy chrome Nikon S has a very stable focus mechanism despite its pinhole VF. If I can only find a magnifying diopter for it.
     
  18. I don't think you can train your eyes to judge exposure but you can train your brain to judge exposure. Exposure judging is not looking to see how bright the light is but rather the condition of the light. With sunlight, judge by determine how it's blocked or reflected.
     
  19. This day of age, I would expect a retro digital camera to read the Non-AI lens aperture​


    AI or the pre AI coupling does not tell the camera the actual aperture, it's position just tells the camera's meter how many stops it is set away from wide open to compensate for the fact that it is wide open for viewing and metering but will stop down on pressing the shutter.
    e.g. an f1.4 lens stopped down to f2.8 will indicate the same as an f4 lens stopped down to f8. In both cases it's a two stop difference which is all the meter needs to know.
     
  20. At the latitude where I live, there's a full stop of difference between the brightness of full, unobscured midday sunlight in midwinter and midsummer (measured at anywhere between ~650 to 1400 Lux). So just looking to see if the sun's out doesn't get me anywhere close to an accurate exposure. When the atmosphere is hazy or cloudy it's even more variable. So I would have to remember a whole range of lighting conditions and match them to a time of year and day, or carry a table of variables around with me that'd take around 2 minutes to fish out and correlate. By which time the light may well have changed. For £25 (about $40 US) I can buy a perfectly serviceable used lightmeter that'll slip in my pocket. Or just use the meter that's built into the camera and save my brain space for something else.
    Of course a meter doesn't tell you how the indicated exposure needs to be adjusted to render the subject the way you want it to look. That's where the brain power and inner vision needs to be applied. Not in mechanically following a spurious table of exposure values.
    Edited PS: FWIW a light haze across the sun will actually brighten the measured incident light by spreading the area of sunlight across the sky. This sort of irrational behaviour of light is what makes it so fascinating and simultaneously difficult to judge. A lightmeter is your friend - use it!
     
  21. Belatedly, but since it's a thread on my favourite camera ( :) )... one of my big objections to the Df is that Nikon seemed to go out of their way to accommodate older lenses, but then did a half-baked job on pre-AI support.

    There are two ways they could have supported metering without requiring the aperture to be set in two places (and without requiring OCR, which I accept is an option):
    • Use the F-mount lens "bunny ears" (and let the user do a metering shuffle, like on an original F with a Photomic prism, if you don't want to rely on the pre-set maximum in the menu). Other than that it would cost and weighed more to put the feeler in the finder and it might clash with tilt-shift lenses (I'm sure it could fold), I can't see a reason not to have included this.
    • Support stop-down (or even open-loop, if you want shutter priority) metering - with some loss in accuracy or matrix, but no reduction in functionality compared with the original F/F2.
    I've also always found it nonsensical that AI-S lenses can't use the in-camera control of the aperture (once the camera knows the lens's maximum aperture), because the distinction between AI and AI-S (other than extra knobs on the lens) is that the aperture is linear, like all AF lenses. Not that this is a specific limitation of the Df, but it would have been a nice camera for them to fix it on. Reading the maximum aperture indexing post on AI-S lenses so you don't have to enter the aperture manually would have been nice, too. And am I right in saying the Df (like other DSLRs) has no mechanical mirror lock-up for invasive fish-eyes?

    Anyway. I don't have a Df or any pre-AI lenses, but I also don't buy that - if the aim was a camera for use with historical lenses - it was impossible for Nikon to add more support.

    BeBu: Interesting idea about the distance scale. You'd only get what (AF-D) lenses told you were the distance, of course, which will be a bit temperature-dependent at best and not all that accurate at worst (I believe I've seen a thread on the granularity of distance encoders), but it would be interesting to have. I was always a little envious of the low-end Nikons that have a more informative digital rangefinder (by using the exposure display) than the high-end ones (with three dedicated segments) have. I'd really like focus bracketing as an in-camera option, too.

    For what it's worth, I just use sunny 16 and scale from there, on the rare occasions that I'm not using the meter. I tend to underexpose by default in the interests of not blowing highlights, since recent Nikons are really good at recovering shadows (another feature request: add exposure compensation in JPEG compared with whatever the raw file is recording). But usually, I trust the electronics. I was shooting at a falconry centre yesterday, and had wildly variable lighting conditions; mostly it did okay, but I'll be doing some raw recovery even so.
     
  22. It's based on the APEX system and using EV (exposure value).​
    Never even heard of that - thanks for the education. Not that I will get much use out of it - I just use the meter that's in the camera. For some time, I was shooting with a D200 whose meter had failed - so I had to guess the "correct exposure". Whenever that didn't turn out right, there was always the option to use two items that are available with every DSLR: take a shot and look at the image and look at the histogram. Then adjust your parameters and shoot again. Those two options weren't available when shooting film - and they don't require memorizing tables, doing calculations, or carrying an external lightmeter.
    Camera/OCR for ADR: cost factor aside - providing a "one-stop" resolution seems a bit coarse. And don't forget to add a "floodlight" so that contraption can work at low light levels.
    half-baked job on pre-AI support​
    Enabling stop-down metering appears to be a quite sensible solution - wonder why Nikon didn't take that route?
    metering shuffle​
    Oh yeah, the old "ritsch-ratsch" - true nostalgia. Though I have to admit that I am neither old enough nor nostalgic enough to have experienced it myself - my first camera purchase dates two years after the Ai introduction.
     
  23. Camera/OCR for ADR: cost factor aside - providing a "one-stop" resolution seems a bit coarse. And don't forget to add a "floodlight" so that contraption can work at low light levels.​
    Agreed. I'd imagined an infrared LED shining down from the finder, so that you don't have a weird light shining out on your subject. But if it works with hand-written numbers (as seen on some conversions), I'll be impressed!
    Enabling stop-down metering appears to be a quite sensible solution - wonder why Nikon didn't take that route?​
    I've no idea. The F5 and F6 can do it just fine, while still having a matrix meter. allegedly (I've never tried). I have used cameras with manual stop-down lenses (no aperture lever). Actually, I guess it might be an issue with driving the mirror and aperture lever separately, because you'd still want to waggle the aperture lever to do the stopping down, but you'd still want the mirror down so that you can meter. The D3 series, D4 series, D750 and D8x0 can move their aperture lever separately from the mirror - although I've only heard of it being done so that you can change aperture in live view/video, not move the aperture while the mirror is still down. Still, it shouldn't be rocket science. I vaguely suspect that it might be extra expense on the Df, which I believe saved most of the novelty for the outside. (That may be unfair - I thought the Df had essentially the D600's shutter, but dpreview claim a 1/250 flash sync, vs 1/200 from the D600.)
    Oh yeah, the old "ritsch-ratsch" - true nostalgia. Though I have to admit that I am neither old enough nor nostalgic enough to have experienced it myself - my first camera purchase dates two years after the Ai introduction.​
    :) I can't claim experience either. My first Nikon camera was a D700, with an F5 following shortly. My first Canon SLR was a 300D (digital Rebel), with an Eos 500 and an Eos 620 to follow. So for all I know the rabbit ears were horrible to use - but it's still not true that there's "no way to communicate with the camera". I'd still like to see Nikon make a body that can support absolutely everything that the F mount has ever been able to do, on a premium model. I'm sure some collectors would buy one. (I don't claim to be one, but - like the 6mm f/2.8 - I'd be glad that it exists.)
     
  24. I'd imagined an infrared LED shining down from the finder​
    Just realized two hurdles on the OCR/ADR path: 1) non-Ai lenses lack the second set of aperture numbers that enabled the optical ADR on the film bodies. The primary scale is quite far removed from the prism - so there could be issues with the angle of sight. 2) The rabbit ears block the view to most of that sole aperture scale anyway - so not only an angle issue but line-of-sight too. In light of this, I'd think it's a non-starter. Sure one could remove the rabbit ears - they have no functionality anyway - but I can imagine that purists shy away from "defacing" a lens like that (otherwise they may as well Ai it and dispose of the issue altogether).
    I have used cameras with manual stop-down lenses (no aperture lever)​
    I do it all the time with my M-mount lenses adapted to the Sony A7. Losing the automatic diaphragm takes some getting used too - and requires some additional steps in the picture-making process. Set lens to wide open to focus, then set to working aperture for metering. Given the rather high vignetting of many M-mount lenses wide open, it appears that a meter reading at working aperture might actually be a bit more accurate than one that "extrapolates" from a reading with a wide-open aperture.
    Actually, I guess it might be an issue with driving the mirror and aperture lever separately​
    Not sure I can follow - on the film cameras, depressing the DOF preview stopped the lens down and the meter could read at working aperture - the mirror wasn't doing anything in that scenario.
     
  25. Those Lux figures I quoted earlier should have read "~65,000 to 140,000 Lux". I know the weather's been a bit dull lately, but not that dull. I was thinking of the figures I see on my digital Luxmeter on its x100 range without adding the extra zeroes. Sorry!
    Andrew, I wouldn't worry about how Nikon could have made the Df backwardly compatible with pre-Ai lenses. They didn't, and that's that. The whole point is that they replaced the outmoded prong system with something more streamlined and flexible that's stood the test of over 40 years time. Plus they provided an at-cost upgrade service to convert lenses to AI for many years after its introduction. So tough luck on anyone that didn't take advantage of it. Admittedly the AI coupler doesn't actually transmit any more information than the old tine and prong system. Well, that's not quite true. The AI ring does tell the camera whether a non-G lens is stopped to its minimum aperture and provides the 'FEE' error if not. (I've just discovered that the same feature can be enabled on Dandelion chips, but it requires some obscurely documented programming.)
    What I would worry about is Nikon's apparent recent volte-face on backward compatibility, with the replacement of a perfectly serviceable and reliable mechanical iris coupler by an electrical solenoid/motor that has an unproven history of reliability. My guess is that the miniaturised aperture actuator will be just one more delicate thing to go wrong, since the aperture still has to be physically moved to close it.
     
  26. Just realized two hurdles on the OCR/ADR path​
    Good point (I keep thinking of AI vs AI-s...), although I guess you could put the reader farther forward so it was in front of the rabbit ears. You'd really want a flip-up option, though, or I'm sure it would foul on something (probably of the tilt-shift persuasion). Hmm. I wonder whether someone could build a reader that sits in the hotshoe? (Silly question, is the hotshoe in the same location compared with the sensor plane on all Nikons? Not height, obviously, just front to back. I'm excluding the F3 thing with the hotshoe off to one side, just wondering whether this is a valid accessory approach.)
    Set lens to wide open to focus, then set to working aperture for metering.​
    Yes. Some lenses designed for the F mount have a half-way solution to this, such that you can set an aperture and have a way to toggle between that and wide open manually. My Peleng 8mm did this on Canon, and so do my Kiev and Hartblei tilt-shifts.
    Actually, I guess it might be an issue with driving the mirror and aperture lever separately​
    Not sure I can follow - on the film cameras, depressing the DOF preview stopped the lens down and the meter could read at working aperture - the mirror wasn't doing anything in that scenario.​
    You know that feeling of realising you're talking gibberish on the internet? I allowed myself to be distracted by the aperture location setting being dynamic on some bodies and one-shot on others (the most obvious difference being if you try to change aperture on the camera while holding down DoF preview - or use a variable aperture zoom). Of course, this shouldn't actually affect a lens with the aperture set using the aperture ring, because the lever should be in the fully-relaxed position anyway. I should really get the hang of how exactly the DSLRs use their motors to drive the aperture lever.

    Anyway. As you say, DoF preview works. I think, and I now want to try it, metering still works in DoF preview with the aperture stopped down a bit. (It certainly does in live view, obviously, but that's not using the normal meter.) The matrix meter does rely - I think - on knowing in absolute terms how bright things are, which I believe is why you need to tell the camera the maximum aperture of a manual lens before the matrix will work (and therefore why the F5 can't matrix with pre-AI lenses but the F6 can). So I wouldn't really expect the matrix to work with stop-down metering, but I don't see why the dumb modes shouldn't work.

    > The tricky bit would be driving the aperture lever from the camera end (like the FA) in open-loop mode; I'm prepared to believe that you'd need the independent aperture lever motor for that, and it might be a little slow, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. Or you could emulate the DS-12 electronic aperture system, which I guess would allow you to set the aperture without requiring that the aperture lever itself be linear (I can't imagine why else you'd want to use that mechanism) - but I believe that's AI-only anyway.
     
  27. RJ: At this point I'm not further dissing the Df - it is what it is. I just think it would have been interesting for Nikon to make a "compatible with everything" camera, since they never have, and the Df seemed to be a stab at it. I completely agree that AI is better than pre-AI (and my views on what control systems are better when are pretty public), it just seems a shame to make someone take a grinder to any remaining lenses that are, at this point, almost antique and certainly collectable. I believe a universal mount could be done, so it's sad that it hasn't.

    Coming from the Canon EF system before I moved to Nikon, the F mount's mechanical aperture post always seemed extremely fragile and imprecise, especially when passed through a teleconverter. Canon extension tubes are mechanically trivial compared with Nikon ones, and the same is true of the Canon tilt-shift - and not having to route the aperture lever half way down the lens can only help the design of big telephoto lenses, too. So I say, all hail the new E lens designation, now Nikon has caught up. Even if it confuses me with my 50mm E (Nikon, non-Nikkor) and if it means that my F5 officially can't handle the new shiny. At some point I'll expect bodies to give up on mechanical aperture couplings as they gave up on focus screw motors (I'm still waiting for a D610 successor to be a full-frame without that), which will save us some more weight and money. And coincidentally make things a little easier for mirrorless, so long as you have an electronic attachment.
     
  28. Actually the Pre AI coupling is capable to send max and min aperture of the lens to the camera that is why it needs the ritual to synchronize the built in aperture scale to that of the lens aperture ring. AI got away with that using ADR.
     
  29. Calculating EVs, and mastering Sunny f16 is quite admirable, yet I can't help think that of all the modern conveniences for camera's and us, so critical of what is, or is inconvenient, of all things its a good meter that keeps me in the game. There are so many variables within the differences of ambient light and reflected light along with the varying tones of subject surfaces within feet of each other. Love the meter! Certainly there are cases when a meter reading interprets to sunny f16 dead on, but its the fringes that can make a shot. I think Nikon did a lot better with the Df than taking a stab at it, but if I'm wrong we're in for a amazing future in Photography. Did Nikon have Pre-AI lenses in mind as a priority? Probably not, as there are more AI and AI-S lenses stuffed in closets that are worthy of resurrection. The Philosophical methodology and proven public reception of the Df to date, has certainly put to rest the cynicism originally touted by its critics upon the release of the Df. As it turns out, the Df is a shining star for Nikon.
     
  30. Regarding pre-AI support, Can the Df do stop down metering? If so, then who cares if it can read the position of the aperture ring?
    Also, just like a car can be properly retro without having the ability to be hitched to horses, so a digital camera can be retro without reaching so far back into the mist of antiquity as to meter normally with pre-AI lens.
    Okay, I'll sidle off now.
     
  31. Chuck: No, no Nikon DSLR supports stop-down metering. Hence my query. I mention it only in the context of the Df because the Df has partial support for pre-AI lenses - but it does so by requiring the user to set the aperture both on the lens (using the aperture ring) and on the camera. (Actually, to be fair, I'm guessing that you don't need to set anything on the camera if you're in purely manual mode and not metering in any way, which isn't so unusual for older cameras.) Stop down metering would, I believe, have been less unwieldy.
    Don: I was a critic when the Df was launched because I was trying to understand how (or at least, when) the Df's control system might be superior to that of a more "modern" camera. I think I now do understand, although I maintain that the conventional Nikon dial system is superior under some other circumstances, and that I expect most users would agree with me in preferring it as a compromise. But I won't deny that there are those who could justifiably prefer the Df, I just think that it might have been possible to achieve its aims without some of the idiosyncrasies. I've no idea how well it's sold. However, it's not clear to me that the Df would make a difference in resurrecting AI lenses, since they work perfectly on any body from the D7000 up - it's only the Df's pre-AI support that's new. But I'm glad you (and, I hope, Christian) seem to be happy with the Df, and I completely agree on the merits of modern metering.
    BeBu: I know the Nikon shuffle involved moving the aperture ears to maximum and minimum aperture; did this actually tell the camera what the maximum aperture was, or just the difference between the two? The AI aperture ring only tells the camera how many stops from wide open the ring is set to (via the aperture coupling ring, not the ADR hole-in-the-finder); it's only AI-S that added the absolute maximum aperture tab beside the rear element, I believe. Of course, on a digital camera you can tell the camera what the maximum aperture is manually. The difference should only matter for matrix metering (and some open-loop flash control).
     
  32. Andrew, Yes, I think upon the initial release of the Df, there was a lot of trying to understand the function, purpose, point, value, worthiness, prowess, of the Df by all. I don't think the Df was ever intended to give the D-800 a run, or other proven Professional Nikons to replace them. In designing the Df it seems Nikon wanted to present more than one flavor in their DSLR line. It's good business. Sorry I guess this is off topic, but isn't it great that the Df is so Customizable? Also, lets not forget the Nikon mystery guest campaign prior to the release of the Df. This created a lot of anticipation by all of us, some more than others and perhaps artificially raised a bar too high. I hope Nikon has figured, although the Drum roll campaign for the Df worked in its case, that we're over it, another one of those will be sorely received. I think we are beyond this.
     
  33. Andrew: The pre AI manual indexing system does tell the camera both the max and min aperture so that the camera can display the f stop correctly. The f stop scale on pre AI camera was built into the camera. However, AI makes sense as all this trouble only to display the aperture in the viewfinder. However, if today Nikon would use the same type of coupling and makes users do the shuffle then the users won't have to input lens data nor set aperture in 2 different places and still have full matrix metering. But my respond to Christian that in today electronic/digital age such a mechanical device would be considered expensive so I propose the OCR thingy.
     
  34. Actually for me the Df was so easy to understand. It's easy for me to see why Nikon made it and made it that way. Why it has the features that it does and why it doesn't have the features that it doesn't all very simple to me.
     
  35. This interesting forum string has had a lot to say - I have since dug deeper in the Df. With a Non-CPU lens (Non-AI and AI), I am still looking for a way to test preset shutter speeds for night sky exposures on a tripod. WIth B and T settings, you can't walk away without further manipulation unless T runs into its maximum time 0f 30 minutes. Without rotational guidance, I have read that a good rule of thumb to stabilize stars is 500/FL seconds.
     
  36. BeBu: Good to know about the min/max thing. I wasn't sure if the positions for the meter were absolute or relative - I believe you if you say they're absolute. So an "ear reader" (listener?) would actually be less painful than manually setting the aperture in the camera even on an AI lens (or AI-s, since nothing digital reads the maximum aperture post), as you say. I'm not sure how much it would actually cost to add such a thing; with electronics, I doubt it would be nearly as hard to engineer as it was back in the day of the Photomic prisms. OCR would be neat, but probably not as reliable.

    Don: I was defensive in some threads where people claimed that the Df interface was a vast improvement and that Nikon should move to it for all cameras; I'm much happier to accept it as an alternative for those who want it. It's still not how I would have tried to design something for what I believe is the same goal, but I guess it's better to have on the market than not. I'm glad the trade-offs are so obvious to BeBu; I remain a bit confused why Nikon launched a camera that cost the same as the D800 (at least at launch) yet had the D600's shutter, AF system and meter. I do get that not many people will care hugely about something for reading bunny ears, but that doesn't stop me wishing there was a camera that could do it (even if it wasn't the Df) - just as I don't really want a Bugatti Veyron, but I'm happy that it exists. Still, the Df is what it is, and if people are happy with it, that's all we can ask. (I'm just surprised that people with one are as happy as they are, and think that Nikon could have made more people more happy with some tweaks! But that is for several other threads.)

    Christian is quite right to point out the AF bounds are a bit anomalous for the Df (which, of any Nikon DSLR, is probably most likely to be used in manual focus), though - and they're more intrusive than they might have been with a multicam 3500, because they're nearer the centre of the frame.

    Christian: I was going to suggest an MC-36 remote shutter cord, which has a configurable timer, but I've just registered that the Df has no ten-pin connector to use it with. I'd hope some third party might make an MC-DC2 compatible with more functionality. Failing that, wire something up to an arduino? That said, if you're not on a tracking mount, you'll be going some to need much over 30 seconds. I've run a little longer than that (by looking at my watch), but only a couple of minutes, and that was with a fish-eye. Modern cameras, and especially the Df, are good enough at higher ISOs that you can take relatively short exposures and stack them - which is a good idea anyway, otherwise you tend to get half an hour lost when someone kicked the tripod or decided to point something out with a laser pointer. Where the skies are near me, I tend to get frames saturated with orange fairly quickly anyway, so stacking is the way to go. Good luck!
     
  37. since nothing digital reads the maximum aperture post​
    Sorry for going off on a tangent - but what did that "lens speed post" add that wasn't already available with the Ai follower tab (after all, Ai is just short for "automatic maximum aperture indexing" https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5366/~/what-is-the-difference-between-an-ai-lens,-an-ai-s-lens,-and-non-ai-lens%3F)? The follower tab gives the maximum aperture to the camera - and also the aperture selected. AFAIK, that's what the lens speed post does too - so why is it even there? It's also not only on AiS lenses - it's already on Ai lenses (but my F3 has nothing in the mirror box that engages it). Interestingly enough, Ai'd lenses (even by Nikon) did not have the lens speed post added.
    Good to know about the min/max thing.​
    Believe it was just to communicate the maximum aperture. The "shuffle" was already an advanced version also known as "semi-automatic indexing" (which, for example, the FT did not have: http://nikon.com/about/feelnikon/recollections/r28_e/index.htm
     
  38. I was about to reply to Dieter, then thought there was a sporting chance of being publicly wrong twice in one thread and thought I'd come home to my camera to check. So now I have...
    Firstly, good links, especially the second one. Thanks for those.
    The AI meter coupling ridge does appear in different places on the lens according to the aperture, but because it moves with the aperture ring, the camera can't actually tell what the absolute aperture of the camera is by using it. (Unlike the bunny ears, which I should have realised always indicate f/5.6.) All the camera can do with the meter coupling lever is tell how far the aperture has moved relative to the lens's definition of "wide open". If you turn an AI lens it its maximum aperture and then mount it on the camera, the meter coupling lever (which gets pushed anticlockwise - facing the front of the camera - as the lens mounts) barely moves, no matter what the maximum aperture of the lens is. At least, according to my 135 f/2.8 (which I've been calling AI-S for a while, but turns out to be AI, and my 300mm f/4 - I'm wondering where I put my 50mm AF-D now...) For simple metering, this is all you need - you just need the difference between what the aperture is during metering (wide open) and in its stopped-down position. It's only with a matrix meter, like the FA, that you actually gain anything by knowing what the absolute aperture was - which is why it has a reader for this tab. AF lenses communicate the same thing electronically, of course, and DSLRs (and the F6) need to be told the maximum aperture for mechanical lenses because they don't sense the maximum aperture tab and rely on electronics.
    But you're quite right, I was mis-reading the internet (again) and the maximum aperture tab is there on AI lenses too. I was confused because the lens I own that I thought was AI-S was in fact AI. I was pleased to find it's still there on my 50mm Sigma Art, even though G lenses are barely useful on the only cameras that can pay attention to it. I thought I'd seen a service that adds maximum aperture posts, but I might have imagined it. It would be much more of a pain to attach than just milling the back of the lens, though. I'm less surprised that this functionality was in AI now I understand that the bunny ear approach could do it.
     

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