Old PC Nikkor on DSLR

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by evan_bedford|2, Nov 2, 2017.

  1. Hi Folks,

    I have a 28mm f4 PC lens. Wondering what it might fit without fear of hitting the prism housing when full shift is used. Also wondering about mount compatibility, though I understand that the Nikon Df has that under control.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

  3. Since it lacks a flash, the Df's prism isn't particularly obtrusive. The 28mm f/4 PC isn't listed in the Df's manual as being incompatible (of PC lenses, only the 35mm f/3.5 is). The Photography in Malaysia page on the lens suggests it doesn't have an intrusive rear element, although it's certainly pre-AI. I'd expect it also to work on most recent low-end bodies without an aperture feeling ring (D3x00 series except the D3400, D5x00 series); this is actually almost an argument for Nikon excluding the aperture following ring on a future FX body. It may still clout the prism, but DX prisms tend to be smaller - the main issue with T/S lenses was with the D700, which had a D3-sized (ish) prism with a flash on top. Often even if a PC lens would foul against the prism, you can work around it by shifting the other way and turning the camera upside down.

    I've absolutely not tried it, though. What kind of bodies did you have in mind? (DSLRs? Film SLRs? DX? FX?)
  4. Old PC Nikkors (with shift only) have the shift dovetail further out from the bayonet than the 24 PC (which is the one that can collide with viewfinder/pop up flash overhang).
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    The subject line says DSLR.

    I am not all that familiar with those old PC lenses, especially pre-AI, but I don't think they have aperture coupling with the body.

    Your main concern would probably be the optical quality of those old PC lenses on modern digital sensors, but that maybe a non issue if this is just for fun playing around.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
  6. Oops. Sorry. But still, narrowing it down would help. :)

    You're right - the Photography in Malaysia image shows no aperture lever, and no bunny ears for pre-AI aperture coupling. The same is true for the Hartblei super-rotator I own (unsurprising since I adapted it from a Canon mount, and it might have once been Pentax) and my Arsat T/S. You just have to stop-down meter, or use live view.

    Incidentally, both my T/S lenses have ergonomic trouble on a Nikon mount. The Hartblei has a push-lever right next to the mount where it's hard to access (it also gets a lot of internal reflection because the bayonet mount is silvered and I've not coated it). The Arsat is basically square, and does foul at least the D700's prism (I don't recall whether I tried it on a D8x0) even when you're trying to attach it; the only solution is to line it up and then rotate the stiff rear rotation ring (presumably designed to allow the lens to rotate on the mount) until the bayonet attaches. And hope it doesn't get stuck. I'd shoot T/S more if I'd got better lens options, they've just not made my priority list.
  7. The old PC 35/2.8 fits the D7200 with no clearance issues. Same for the M2 tube.
  8. I have a newer 28mm f/3.5 PC-Nikkor that fits without issue on a D800, D700 and D7200. My oldest 35mm f/2.8 PC-Nikkor fits without any fouling too.

    The rear mounting ring (front preset aperture ring on these lenses) is far enough forward that it doesn't interfere with the AI tab. YMMV with the 28 f/4.

    Be aware that the 28mm PC shows significant colour fringing when shifted, which is difficult to remove in software unless you shoot RAW and use something like Capture One's auto fringe correction. The 35mm f/2.8 is a bit soft on a high megapixel DSLR, but has no fringing issue.
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  9. Correct-they fall into a class of lens where there actually is not any danger of damaging the mount because there's nothing there TO damage the follower, Servo EE lever, or whatever else is in that class.

    Offhand, the Reflex-Nikkor lenses and Medical Nikkors are in the same category.

    As said, the concern with PC lenses is how much you can move them, although that doesn't seem to be an issue for the lens in question(I don't have one).
  10. Unfortunately the above is not quite true. Older pre-AI versions of the 35/2.8 PC at least have a rear skirt that protrudes far enough to hit the ai follower. Although it does not move in use, it certainly does when mounting and unmounting, and pushes in on it. It is very easy to modify these, since one need not mill steps in the ring. Just take it off, grind, turn, file, sand or mill it down and put it back. You can even just leave it off except that the lens looks kind of unfinished.

    My recollection is that the original 35/3.5 PC interfered with Photomic F finders, and that later models were modified to clear them, and since that finder sticks out pretty far I don't think any lens meant to clear that will have a problem with later bodies.

    I routinely use a converted pre-AI 35/2.8 as my normal lens on DX. Here is a picture of it mounted on a D7100, fully shifted up. Note that there is plenty of clearance, and that there is also enough clearance to operate the screw knob when shifting straight down. Note also how closely the rear skirt misses the AI follower even after the rear ring was turned down for clearance. In its original form it absolutely was not safe to use on an AI camera. shift lens shifted.jpg
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
  11. Several odd comments above. For starters, how do you "convert" an old 35/2.8PC--a pre-set lens--whose aperture ring isn't on the lens mount and doesn't threaten the AI tab? Unless my D7200 and 35/2.8PC are both wildly out of spec, there isn't apparently the same fit/clearance issue you describe. Because this isn't just any ordinary NAI Nikkor, you can't "Ai" it precisely because the PC's skirt's diameter is smaller than a regular aperture ring that otherwise would crash into a fixed Ai tab.
  12. Thanks everyone. I guess, to be on the safe side, if I decide to drop some cash, I should go for the Df. I prefer the styling and the light weight anyway.

    I currently have the old Nikkor mounted on a Sony A7s, but it takes two adapter rings to make it fit, so it's somewhat ungainly. I figure it will balance better with the Df .

    On a side note, I just did a comparison with the old Nikkor vs a practically brand new Voigtlander 28mm lens. The results were indistinguishable, except that the Nikkor held a clear edge over the Voigtlander in the corners of the photos.
  13. There are 35/2.8 lenses that are AI compatible, and perhaps some others are made with a different diameter of the skirt, but mine, from about 1972, has a skirt that lines up just over the tab, and had to be turned down to clear it. You can see in the photograph I provided that if the skirt protruded any further back it would hit the tab.

    Obviously for a preset lens the conversion is simply to make it mountable as it does not interact with the meter at all.

    In case the photo above did not show it properly, here is a closeup of the lens in question, mounted on a D7100. Note the relationship between the skirt and the AI tab. This lens has had its skirt turned down by about two millimeters.

    pc and ai tab.jpg

    #873756 certainly would not clear an AI tab without modification
  14. Perhaps mine is an earlier variant since it comfortably slides under the D7200 Ai tab.
  15. Just to clarify for C. Watson.
    The issue is with the mounting ring - the serrated bit at the rear of the lens.
    This isn't the aperture ring, but is where the aperture ring would normally be on a lens with auto aperture.

    There must have been several versions of 35mm f/2.8 PC-Nikkor. I have a very old (scalloped focus) version that has a mounting ring slim enough to clear the AI tab without modification. However, this version has quite poor coating that makes it subject to flare.

    I recently bought a newer, but used version with green 'NIC' coatings. This one had to have some material shaved off the rear ring to avoid fouling the AI coupler. Go figure!

    The newer lens is definitely more resistant to flare, but apart from that performs identically with the older version.

    FWIW, since there's no AI aperture ring or otherwise, I'm not sure how you can date these lenses to pre-AI era or not.
  16. Just to reiterate and emphasize:
    The non-AI PC lenses were totally "stop-down" metering. Because of that, they work as well with an adapter on several non-Nikon bodies as they did on Nikon cameras.

    Here is the received knowledge on how to meter with them, although I have usually just metered as it is, without any noticeable problems:
    Modern Photography 1978-02​
  17. So, I"m assuming that a K lens is a pre-AI variant. However, on Ken Rockwell's lens compatibility page, it states that a pre-AI lens will not even mount on a 7200 (whereas I saw my 28mm/f4 easily do so this morning). So is the K some kind of freak that doesn't easily fit within the pre-AI category? And based on the Rockwell chart, could I be reasonably assured that a Df mated to the 28mm/f4 would be able to meter through the lens? (Guess I should check the manual).
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
  18. OK, so I checked the manual. It doesn't explicitly state that the 28mm/f4 PC (or the 28mm/f3.5 PC) will not fit. However, it does say that the "PC 35mm f/3.5 (old type)" will not fit. I suppose that settles it. However, it would be nice to get a bit more assurance before I send $$$ over to Japan (I really like the Japanese vendors on ebay).
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
  19. Mine is the second version with the skinny mount ring.

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