Nikon finally listens to us-- AI(S) lenses on Nikon D200

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by prince_alfie, Nov 1, 2005.

  1. Yes, no more custom functions to use AI or AIS lenses on the new
    digital Nikon body. I think that we can safely conclude the Canon
    folks are worried (but I still shoot my Canons for the wonderful Leica
    lenses only). Nikon has listened to us that we want a smaller body
    that accepts the manual focus lenses with full metering capability and
    that was a smart move.

    But I still keep my D70 as well. It's a great one too!
     
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    In reality, nothing has changed, or the real change is that prices for pro-sumer DSLRs have reached the affordable level. As Ilkka has pointed out a number of times, for many years, Nikon's policy has always been putting the capability to meter with non-CPU lenses in their prosumer and professional grade AF SLRs and DSLRs, but since that feature requires a rather complicated mechnical linkage, it is not available on consumer-grade (D)SLRs for cost reasons.

    The F5, F100, F6, D1, D2 and now D200 can all meter with non-CPU lenses while the N80, N75, D100 (largely based on the N80), D70(s) and D50 cannot.

    Back in the film era, since prosumer models such as the M8008, N90, F100, etc. were quite affordable, people who needed metering with non-CPU lenses would simply get those models and this wasn't an issue. However, since DSLRs are a lot more expensive than the equivalent film SLRs, the D200 is really the first "affordable" prosumer-or-above DSLR. (You can argue that the D2H was affordable for a while during it fire sale.) In the last two years, a lot of people went with the D70 to save money and they had a hard time accepting the fact that their $1000 DSLR is a low-end model.

    Expect no metering with non-CPU lenses again in Nikon's future consumer-grade DSLRs to replace the D50 and D70s.
     
  3. Shun,

    That's incorrect. The D100 was Nikons first (And until now only) prosumer DSLR. And it lacked both a decent viewfinder and the capability to meter with AI lenses. It also came in at a prosumer price level.

    What has changed is not what the prosumer price point is, but what you get for it. Before you got a camera midway between a F80 and F90x in performance, with major concessions in usability (so-so viewfinder, poor lens compatibility, adequate AF) and now you get a body which can exceed it's film equivalent in performance.
     
  4. Shun, presume you meant D2H - "You can argue that the D70 was affordable for a while
    during it fire sale"
     
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Yes, I meant the D2H fire sale and I have fixed the typo.

    I have the D100 myself. Even though Nikon tries to position it as a prosumer DSLR and made it sound like the digital F100, I consider it very much a consumer camera. As I said earlier, the D100 is largely based on the then $300 N80, which is even cheaper now. That is 100% consumer grade IMO.

    As Bjorn Rorslett points out in another thread, Nikon very much wants to remove the metering feature with non-CPU lenses, presumably because it adds significant cost to the body. If the D200 could have been $100 cheaper without it, it would have been more competitive in the market place. As usual, you cannot have it both ways.
     
  6. Yes, the D100 was the first consumer DSLR from Nikon. The D70 is more of an upgrade than a downgrade to it, although it lacks some of the D100's features.

    What has clearly changed is that Nikon has made metering support on manual focus lenses more comprehensive (includes matrix metering). I believe this will make second hand MF Nikkors raise in value considerably (they dropped when the D100 and D70 came out without metering support). I think a lot of people now consider it safe to buy those 35/1.4 and 28/2 Ai-S darlings for use as fast normal lenses for available light work on the D200.
     
  7. Heck I'd have paid 100 bucks more for manual lens metering on my D50 for sure. Now I'll have to pay 1100 more for it on the D200. Guess I'll have to go without that feature for a while -make that a long while :).
     
  8. "Heck I'd have paid 100 bucks more for manual lens metering on my D50 for sure."

    So, there is clear need and business opportunity for Nikon, that they ignore, since it possibly could affect sale of new lenses (my guess ?)

    In order to make a new measuring mode on D70/D50, when manual single value aperture is entered (or selected from a drop box), all is needed is an inexpensive firware upgrade to D70/D50.

    Note: No Mechanical expensive linkage is needed for single aperture metering. This would allow metering with manual lenses in the Aperture priorrity modifed mode.

    Lets call this new mode a Single Entry Aperture Priority mode.

    I emphasize "single aperture", for which any mechanical linkage mentioned by others is not necessary.

    Nikon, please provide firmware upgrade for D70/D50, and allow manual aperture entry for manual lenses, then allow measuring for that aperture, as in aperture priority mode.
     
  9. Yes, using a 35/1.4 and the 105/2.5 on this body will be most welcome. And it will make the 75-150/3.5 quite a small, light, sharp and very useful range lens.
     
  10. "it is not available on consumer-grade (D)SLRs for cost reasons"

    I have never believed this for a minute. My old N70 meters AIS lenses just fine and it disappeared on the N80 (N70's replacement). This wasn't done for cost or lack of consumer want/need, but rather to boost AF lens sales. The argument that it was done for 'cost' holds no real water.
     
  11. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Greg, take a look at what I wrote again. I specified "for many years." Essentially the AF era started in the late 1980's. In the early days of the AF era, most people still used MF lenses and therefore full compatibility with those older lenses was critical at that time, and your N70 was an earlier AF body.

    As we move further into the AF era, people gradually shift to AF lenses and therefore full compatibility with MF lenses is less important. That is why the more recent low-end AF bodies from the late 1990's and on don't meter with non-CPU lenses for cost saving reasons. Just take me as an example, I have been using Nikon since 1977 (28 years ago). I have sold most of my MF lenses in 1990 in favor of AF lenses. Today, I can care less whether my bodies can meter with MF lenses or not. I happen to have an F5, F100, and a D2X that can meter with MF lenses and I still own two of those, but I hardly ever use them any more.

    Obviously there are still a lot of people who would like to use MF lenses on affordable DSLRs, and that is why Nikon put that feature in the D200. More features for more cost, or you get what you pay for. That is always the trade off.

    I simply don't see Nikon adding metering to the low-end DSLR any more. It is extremely price competitive at that level and even $50 extra can easily sink a product.
     
  12. I do see this as a big relief for us prime users. I got rid of my manual focus primes and upgraded to faster AF glass (I had 135/2.8 and 200/4, now use 105/2 and 180/2.8).

    For a long time I felt it between the lines that Nikon REALLY wants to get rid of the manual focus lenses. But when I use my 35 mm f/2D AF and 50/1.4D AF primes on my D70, the slight wobble in the viewfinder and annoying un-smooth manual focusing action really gets to me more than it did on a FF film body. So the manual focus primes are really useful and needed if you want to manual focus confidently and autofocus really isn't the solution when the subject can be at any point of the frame and move within it. This is especially true at fast apertures like f/2 or f/1.4.
     
  13. Anyone want to sell me a clean 28/2? :)
     
  14. Ilkka: what is that wobble in the viewfinder that you are referring to?

    Btw, is the Ai/s meter in the D200 the same or more advanced than the D2X? I thought I read somewhere that you no longer need to enter the max aperture manually.
     
  15. The AI(S) metering of D200 is similar to that of D2X. Meaning that you don't need to enter any data about the lens if you don't wish to, or need the EXIF data later on. If you don't set max.aperture, the display shows a delta-F value (stops down from max.) instead of the actual f-number. That's all and no big deal unless you are an EXIF data geek (in the latter situation, do input the data and enjoy the numbers later on).

    Nikon claims inputting the lens data improves metering accuracy, but from my D2H/D2Hs/D2X experiences you get quite similar metering precision in virtually all cases, and those which do deviate are such lenses that the ordinary metering couldn't cope with anyway (for example, my 50/0.75 lenses).
     
  16. Norman, the barrel of many AF lenses moves sideways when you touch the focusing ring. This includes many AF zooms and primes. With the 1.5x crop factor this is highly irritating because the movement relative to images size is greater. Of course, ideally we'd like to believe this doesn't affect picture quality but it makes manual focusing on the D70 even more difficult than it is with lenses that are well built. Also, the tension on the AF lens manual focus rings is not smooth, it's variable. Poor, cheap construction is what it's about.
     
  17. Just how well will AI,AIS & AI'd primes work with digital? They were never designed for this use & are not telecentric.This is just a question as I have NO idea.
     
  18. What makes you think that only *telecentric* lenses work well with digital?
     
  19. Actually Shun, what you typed isn't exactly accurate. Nikon has had metering with non-cpu lenses for a long time. Only in the digial age and with some of Nikon's more inexpensive bodies has that ability been lost.

    Now, of course the D200 can now *matrix* meter with non cpu lenses. Nikon could've introduced this feature with any of the more modern AF camera bodies, like the F6 where it is only a matter of entering digital information such as the min/max aperture of the lens in use. Nikon specifically chose to not include that with some of their bodies. It was only a matter of including a tiny bit of software.
     
  20. Sorry, giving the (matrix) metering capability to the camera does entail hardware, *not* software. You need the sliding mechanism encircling the throat of the camera, plus added logic to the camera so it can understand apertures being set by different means and act accordingly when the actual exposure is performed.
     
  21. It is good news one can use AI and AIS lenses. Some of the fast AI/AIS lenses are now relatively cheap. A 50 mm 1.4 would be a great portrait lens.

    Sorry, I will not be selling my 28mm 2.0 AI :)
     
  22. VIVEK..I asked how well they work. I admit I do not know. Many of the lens manufacturers are pushing telecentric lenses. "Is" there a difference.
     
  23. The low-end AF Nikons have always missed the metering support. This includes the F-401, F50, F55, F60, F65, F80 as well as low-end cheapo digitals such as the D100, D70, and D50.
     
  24. Doesn't telecentric just mean that the magnification doesn't change with regards to the focus point? And it just applies to macro and exact focus measurements. Anyway, if you are talking about the virtues of those so-called "digital" lenses, any advantages that they have are only at the wide angle end of the scale. You can see this whereby the 17-55mm f/2.8 AFS DX is outperforming the 17-35mm f/2.8 AFS. But the resolution increase will be useful for people who photograph charts and brick walls. Doesn't matter to me.

    Anyway, back on topic. I've held out on buying any of the D series because the D1 and D2 range were too much camera for my needs and all those below didn't have even centerweighted metering with non-cpu lenses. With the D200, I will now put down my F4s and retire it next to my FA. Good job Nikon!
     
  25. I am going to look for an used "cheapo, low end, etc, etc" N70. Does anyone have one for sale? I am glad that finally Nikon are trying to be a bit more sensible about the choices that its customers want and NOT play follow the leader game designed by a competitor.

    MELVIN: There are some media hype about the virtues of a *tele-centric" lens (usually promotional stuff). AFAIK, no has done any objective (pun intended) comparisons to show one way or the other. This claim is far less prevalent and less hype than the "APO" designations making a lens sharper (in LF area).
     
  26. Vivek, Nikon has to compromise between making cameras that people want to buy and selling new lenses too. They have made so many good and durable lenses over the years that their situation became impossible, so they have to try to make people buy new stuff.

    And by the way, my F70 (=N70) underexposed manual focus lens shots by 1 stop (while AF were ok). I tested 3 others at the time, and they all had the same problem. After 6 months Nikon came up with a replacement circuit which I got for free. Now it works fine (but I sold it in order to get higher eyepoint). Ironically, when I tested them, the F70 was -1, the F90x was -1/2 and all F5s were spot on, no difference between manual and autofocus lenses. So they first tried this kind of subtle persuasion to get people to buy new lenses, and then resorted to hard tactics with the D100 and D70. (However, all my subsequent repairs at Nikon have been free.)

    Remember, Canon could just sell new lenses because they changed the mount. People are apparently very forgiving of this kind of thing, as their new lenses sell well. Nikon users on the other hand, many are using their 1970s prime lenses and would do so indefinately, which of course is not good for Nikon's financial interest.
     
  27. In the computer chip manufacturing world we call this type of issue "backwards compatability". Our job is to make sure that the old works with the new. An IA-32 chip can still run early 'real mode' programs and all modes since (enormous validation space). If/when in the camera world a needed equipment advancement occurs that disallows backwards compatability, then perhaps it is understandable. But the logistics of AIS metering didn't fit into this category.

    Now they play the 'hokey pokey' (we put the metering in, take the metering out, put the metering in, and we shake it all about :) D100 for orig $2000 doesn't have it, D200 for hundreds less does have it. Hmmm. I'm glad it's back, though quite frankly I find it problematic to reliably MF even a tele thru the reduced viewfinder. Would have prefered to make that decision on my own though rather than need to send my 600mm AIS lens to R Elliot for a the chip conversion.

    I'll need to read the list of D200 features and see some images, but it looks like as big a win for Nikon users as the D2X has been in its own way. Really pleased to see Nikon's latest DSLR offerings.
     
  28. Good point Greg. I stopped the " chipping" after one (75-150mm f/3.5 E-Series, I have another sample with no chip). All other chips or on extension tubes and empty focus mounts.

    Finally, I can put the 50-135 f/3.5, 50-300 f/4.5, 20/3.5, 16/3.5, 105 f/4.5 (UV) and host of other gems to better use.

    I also appreciate the 200D's features and I hope Nikon would continue with this spirit.
     
  29. Ilkka, Consistent -1 under exposure is just fine as long as it is consistent.

    I am glad that Nikon is listening and turning around to be the company it once was. I also sincerely hope that they made the folks redundant who came up with the metering non compatibility and crippled camera strategy.
     
  30. Vivek, but this meant that as I switched between MF and AF lenses, I had to change exposure compensation or ISO by 1 stop every time. This is hardly acceptable.

    What I actually did was I bought a hand-held meter and used that for all my work until the camera was fixed.
     
  31. Actually, I'm more inclined to think that when the D100 was released, the base body used as a starting point was the F80. Hence no metering with manual lenses. The D70 also had a similar system as internally it is similar to the D100. Then the D2H came out with the new hardware/software AIS support and matrix metering. And that trickled to the other models (D2Hs, D2X and F6). Since the D70s was just a rehash of the D70, it did not get AIS compatibility and same for the D50 which was based on the D70. Finally when the D200 was based on a F100/F6 body, they had the provision of the coupling ring and put in the software and hardware into it. I'm happy that they decided to include matrix metering with AIS instead of just center weighted like in the F100.
     

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