Older Nikkor 28mm f/4 PC MF Manual

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by liljuddakalilknyttphotography, Nov 20, 2009.

  1. I just got a used (seriously mint) Nikkor 28mm F/4 PC MF lens. But I realize already that I have no idea how to use it. So I'm looking for a manual for this lens. I did the search but was not capable of locating it. Also, I've programmed the D700 for this lens, but no matter what I do the D700 refuses to change from f/4 in Aperture mode. I have the lens set to F/22, but camera set at f/4 as highest aperture. Confused as there are no aperture blades either....
    What am I missing & doing wrong?
  2. The lens was introduced in 1975, and thus is definitely non-AI. Your D700 manual should have info on whether or not it is safe to mount the lens - on older film bodies, the AI tab could be flipped up and out of the way; not sure if this is the case with the D700 too.
    The aperture is manual preset and in front, there is no way to control it from the camera.
    More reading here: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00PE5U
    and here http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/nikon/nikkoresources/PC_Nikkor/index3.htm
  3. The 28mm PC Nikkors were all of a type commonly referred to as "preset" aperture lenses. The iris is completely manual, controlled by the ring on the lens. There is no way to control the aperture from the camera body. Those T-mount lenses popular throughout the late 1960s and '70s from Vivitar and dozens of off-brand makers worked the same way, including my old Lentar 135/3.5 preset. I have the 28/3.5 PC-Nikkor but your 28/4 probably works pretty much the same way.
    There should be two rings that affect the aperture on the lens barrel: one sets the aperture; the second sets the limit to which the first can be adjusted. In other words, you preset the second ring to, say, f/11. This provides a stop for the first ring, so you can focus and compose with the lens wide open, then stop down to f/11 by twisting the first ring. No need to actually look at the lens again because the second preset ring provides a hard stopping point.
    I typically use my PC-Nikkor in fully manual mode, usually after spotmetering and using a handheld incident meter. I can also use shutter priority with the D2H but generally don't.
    For best results, you should meter before using the "shift" adjustments: lateral shift, or rise/fall. The early PC Nikkors had no tilts or swings. The F3 will meter accurately with the lens shifted and my D2H appears to as well. But the FM2N won't. Best practice is to meter first after stopping down to the desired aperture, then adjust the shift/rise/fall as desired.
    Incidentally, since this lens lacks a CPU to transmit data to the camera, the EXIF data will always be inaccurate. It will read whatever you enter into the optional info for the type of lens mounted to the body. This doesn't affect the exposure tho'. I seem to recall that Bjorn Rorslett mentioned chipping a PC-Nikkor, but I could be mistaken.
  4. Regarding the AI issue, it is best to check to be sure the rear of the 28/4 PC Nikkor will clear the tab on your camera. I haven't handled a 28/4 for many years and don't recall whether the rear of the lens would clear that tab. This is not an issue with the 28/3.5 PC Nikkor because the rear of the lens completely clears the aperture indexing tab. Same with my M2 extension tube - there is no possible contact with that tab so there's no damage.
  5. There is no CPU in this lens so you there is no need to set the lens to f22. This is also a preset lens and not your normal MF Nikkor. You first pre-set the aperture by turning the aperture ring at the front of the lens. Press the ring toward the mount to release the lock before you turn it. Right behind the aperture ring is two black finger rest with a white dot on it. Turn it all the way to the right , the aperture will stop down to your pres-set value. You then meter at this position. As with all shift lens, you should meter first before you shift. After you meter, turn the finger rest back to the left. Focus and dial in the shift you need. Frame and turn the finger rest back to the right to get back to the pre-set aperture. Last step is press shutter release.
  6. Just a caution, but make sure that you have one of the late PC-Nikkor 28mm f/4 (s/n 180901 or higher). Earlier s/n are listed as INCOMPATIBLE for the D700, and most other modern bodies. See pg. 373 of your D700 manual.
    I'm not sure what the incompatibility is, as s/n 179399 and up are supposed to be AI compatible, and there were only about 500 units produced above 180900.
  7. OK I've just checked there's supposed to be one 28mm f/4 PC that's Ai according to Roland Vink at http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/specs.html#PC
    Also - serial # is 179724 - - maybe I should send of an e-mail to Roland & ask him if this is one of those Ai ones....
  8. Well I guess I'll return it. I have three days return on it after all. Thanks guys....
    This is what it looks like if anyone should like to know...
  9. I've never used the 28/4 PC so I have nothing to add to your understanding of this lens. I used a 4x5 view camera for a couple of years. I enjoyed it, but never got good at it. The advent of digital really changed things for me. I enjoy architectural photography and I find the D700 with the 14-24/2.8 to be good for this application. With carefull composition using the 14-24 and keeping in mind the limits of digital manipulation and the resultant crop effect on the final image, I have been able to produce better architectural photographs than I was able to produce with the view camera.
    Enjoy your new lens. Thank you for commenting on some of my photos in the Wednesday thread. I appreciate it.
  10. I have the non-Ai version. This lens doesn't have a lip at the mount edge so you can use the non-Ai version on Ai or DSLR body. Not all non-ai lens can do that but this one could.
  11. It's a fun lens. Just put the camera in M mode, then turn the aperture ring on the lens (should be the ring furthest out), the aperture will close when turning, focus and shift. Metering must be done when unshifted and the aperture closed to the taking aperture.
  12. There is no non-Ai, Ai or Ai-s differences in PC Nikkors in the first place, because stop-down method is the only way to meter through the lens. The only compatibility issue is wheather the lens can be mounted safely onto the camera body. You need to check out the ser. nos. to know if your particular sample can be used with (mounted onto) the body you have.
  13. OK guys you have me all confused here. I'm going to photograph the lens mount & hope you guys can tell me if I can use it or not. To me it looks AI - - but now I need photos of a non-AI lens to compare to...
    I'll be back...
  14. OK a few P&S photos of the mount...[​IMG]
    Full set on my Zenfolio site here:
  15. As Akira has noted, it is not an AI vs. pre-AI issue. As the lens is not meter coupled (the aperture "ring" is not at the rear), there is nothing to A _uto I_ ndex. Again, I don't know what the potential interference issue is, but Nikon warns that serial numbers below 180901 should not be mounted on most (all?) autofocus Nikon SLR/DSLRs. The warning is in instruction manuals dating as far back as the N90 and as recent as the F5/F6. The same warning is listed in every DSLR manual from the D1/D100 up to current bodies, including those (D40, D60, et. al.) that do not have an AI coupling ring.
    Bjorn Rorslett would probably know what the potential problem is if he happened to stumble across this discussion.
  16. This seems pretty clear. It may be a minor issue, it may be a low risk issue, it may be a Nikon CYA warning, but as you can see ...
  17. OK thanks - I'll contact the seller & return it.
  18. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Even though it mounts ok on the D700, there could be minor issues with your future DSLRs.
    I know it is expensive, but if you want a PC lens, just get the 24mm/f3.5 PC-E and be done with it.
  19. LOL - Shun I do love how you're so right to the point. ;-) I wanted a cheap one to see how I'd like to work with one first. I've contacted the seller. I have a three day return on the lens. It would have to leave today.
  20. "just get the 24mm/f3.5 PC-E and be done with it."
    ... or find the updated (and D700 fully compatible) PC 28mm f/3.5 for a fraction of the cost. ;-) :)
  21. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Michael, once you have both tilt and shift, you don't want shift only. The 24mm PC-E is one of my favorite lenses, but since I shoot wildlife more than architecture, I don't use it often enough.
    Otherwise, for Lil, these 28mm/f4 and 28mm/f3.5 PC lenses are merely detours for the eventual 24mm/f3.5 PC-E. She might as well get there directly; she'll save both time and money. (Keep in mind that I am only talking about Lil; for someone else, the path could be different.)
  22. LOL - Shun you have given me a good laugh this morning. You've figured me out far too easily. ;-)
  23. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Before they retired, my parents were landscape architects. The firm my dad worked for had a 28mm PC lens and for years, I considered getting one myself. But since I don't shoot that much architecture, it was always low on the priority list. Last year I finally got the 24mm PC-E. For one thing I appreciate the wider 24mm, and with both tilt and shift, it is also great for landscape work to tilt the plane of focus to get both the foreground and background into focus.
    Other advantages are the electronic coupling between body and lens with EXIF data as well as using the sub-command dial to control the aperture. I guess we already went over those issues in the recent threads about Zeiss finally adding the CPU chip onto the ZF lenses.
  24. Lil Judd,
    How much was that lens? I might be interested. I have a35mm PC I got back in the 70's, also seriously mint. I like it, and use it on a Nikon FTn2 (film camera) and am quite comfortable with manual metering. But at times I need something wider and the 28 might do the trick for me. Would you sell it for what you paid, or should I contact with your seller if you return it?
    Thank you!
  25. Paul - I've not heard back from the seller, so if you'd like it - please feel free to contact me off the board as I know that doing deals like this on the board is not according to board rules. Just send me an e-mail & I'll respond immediately.
  26. The "AI compatible version" has the lens modified with so that it will clear the AI tab on the camera. Older ones (serial numbers below 180901) don't have this relief so the AI tab on the camera can get bent or jammed when the lens is mounted. Other than that there is no functional difference in how the lens works. F and D series cameras which have been modified so that the AI tab on the camera can be flipped up out of the way prior to mounting the lens, can use this lens safely.
  27. DO NOT try to mount a non-AI lens on your D700 or you could permanently damage the AI ring and prong. The ring, unlike older Nikon film cameras, is reasonably soft plastic and you could very well damage the ring, the prong and even the mount. See if you can get it AI'd.
  28. "DO NOT try to mount a non-AI lens on your D700 or you could permanently damage the AI ring and prong."​
    As Akira, Michael and others have noted, the term AI is not relevant here. The issue is whether the rear of the lens will clear the tab on the body without damage.
  29. The lip of the rear end of the lens most likely will interfer with the AI lug on the camera (D700) or the minimum aperture lever (lower-end Nikons). The warning is there for a reason. However, a few minutes worth of Dremel action will solve this issue.
    I have CPU chips in all my PC-Nikkor lenses. Makes it easy to meter with the lens wide open with any Nikon/Fuji DSLR.
  30. Now Bjorn,
    if I knew what "Dremel action" means..... maybe I'd consider it. As long as it doesn't void any warranties....
    Lil :)
  31. A Dremel is a precision high speed hand held tool akin to a dentist drill used for shaping and grinding things. A much simpler solution to making your lens compatible with your D700 is send it to Jon White who runs his own business
    I bought a 35mm PC lens last year and I think he charged $15 (he said it was simpler than an AI conversion) to make it compatible with my D300.
    There really is not much to know as to how to operate the lens other than the preset aperture ring routine. The more important question is when would you use it. I picked one up for the purposes of shooting panos as in Moose Petersen's article: http://www.moosepeterson.com/digitaldarkroom/lessons/panoramas.html
    I am finding this lens to be very sharp and fun to use albeit a little bit annoying because I've been spoiled by automatic lenses. Still the effort is worth it. Here's a sample of a 12 frame pano I took with my ancient 35mm PC lens. I shot it with my D300 set vertically and took 2 frames vertically by using the shift knob and then moving the camera along the horizontal axis 6 times.
  32. Thank you Paul,
    I did a search & found out what it is. Had Bjorn used the Swedish word I would have know what it is. But since he's Norwegian, I imagine there's a very different Norwegian word & that I would not have know & don't expect Bjorn to know the Swedish one.
    We'll see what happens. I can still return it & have contacted the seller, with no reply yet. So I'll have to think about if I want to send it out for return or what. Now my husband wants a D300s suddenly, but that will only happen if he can use the HD video like he hopes. So we'll see what happens with that......
    Very nice pano btw I still need to learn to make panos.
  33. Hi Lil,
    As you have discovered, your 28/4 PC lens is the earlier type where the lens barrel extends beyond the lens mount. Nikon warns that such lenses should not be mounted on AI cameras since the lower edge of the barrel may damage the AI follower on the camera. Actually, the barrel is quite thin and if mounted carefully you can easily slip the lower edge under the AI tab with no damage. I have seen this lens mounted quite successfully on an FE2. Assuming the AI follower on your D700 is a similar design, you should be able to get your lens to fit. As always, take care and never force anything! If mounting the lens is problematic, the lower edge of the barrel can easily be filed back to provide clearance.
    As for using a PC lens, probably the easiest method is to to use live view and guess the shutter speed until you get the correct exposure - the camera meter will not work properly when the lens is shifted (actually the meter seems to be ok when shifting to the side, but it goes off if shifting up or down).
  34. Hi Roland,
    to be honest I've mounted the lens on the D700 with no problems & taken a few test shots. No force was needed. It was an easy mounting actually. But, if I choose to keep this lens I will have to have it AI'ed or something just to ensure that in potential haste I do not damage the cameras - either of them.
    Thank you for your help as always. Nice seeing you around again. It's been a while.
  35. Lil, the "Dremel action" Bjørn used was actually Norwegian. This is a word of forbidden temptation and you are warned that there is some sort of danger of permanently damaging your equipment. :D
  36. Thank you Akira,
    I was going to return it to the seller who now refuses to take it back. I'm concerned of putting it back from where I got it. As far as I'm concerned it was a bit misleading. But I have no use for it unless I have it converted. Which I may do just to know that I'm not misrepresenting it or anything. We'll see how I face this tomorrow.
  37. Sorry you are having trouble with your seller, Lil, hope it works out.
    I have not followed all the ins and outs of this thread, but just want to throw in a good word for John White of Ann Arbor, who AI'd several of my lenses. His prices are very fair, he's thorough and prompt. He's good!

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