Which Nikon bodies don`t give this error message?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ian_swarbrick, Dec 3, 2017.

  1. My D5100 tells me to "lock lens aperture ring at minimum aperture" when the lens is not at minimum aperture. All well and good, but to fix the lens at one (more open) aperture for time lapse (the fixing avoids aperture flicker caused by slight irregularities on opening and closing multiple times) I have to uncouple the lens from the body. This brings the risk of the lens crashing to the floor in a moment of carelessness.
    Which leads me to my question: which Nikon camera bodies DON`T behave this way ie require that the lens be at f22/32? Any of the full frame bodies?
    I also have some Rokinon/Samyang cine lenses which I`d prefer not to risk being victims to gravity.
  2. On bodies that have an AI follower(I think now it's the D7000 series and up along with all FF cameras) you can generally program the camera to be set by the aperture ring in A and M modes.

    I've never used a 5000 series camera, but I've used plenty of film and digital cameras that don't have a follower, going back to the N4004. With a non-CPU lens, none of them complain about where the aperture ring is set. I don't recall how they react to CPU lenses when in M mode.
  3. Hi Ben
    Yes, none of my Nikon film bodies ever had this problem. But I`ve never owned anything newer than the D5100 in the NIkon line, hence the question.
    All of my Nikon lenses are from film days and so full frame. It seems a shame not to use them for time lapse because of this limitation on my D5100. I`d look into buying a second-hand D610, or similar as long as it didn`t throw this spanner in the works.
  4. Ben is mostly correct, except that the newest D7500 doesn't have an AI follower tab and will have the same problem. The D7000/7100/7200 will all be fine, as are the D300(s) and D500, plus all the FX bodies. I assume you don't need us to track down anything older. :)

    Before you go shopping, though...

    The D5x00 and (most of the) D3x00 series have a switch on the side of the lens mount (on the left, looking into the mount) which is how they know that the lens is at minimum aperture - the switch is normally pressed by the "EE" tab on the aperture ring. If you wedge that with something (say a bit of paper) the camera should let you play at any aperture.

    I'm assuming you have a lens with electronic contacts (or the camera shouldn't care about the aperture ring position), so I believe your have to set the aperture on the camera to minimum (or at least smaller than the lens). The reason you normally have to set minimum aperture is so that the camera can move its aperture lever to the right place for the exposure without the aperture being stopped by the aperture ring. So long as the aperture lever moves at least enough and you know what you're doing with the aperture ring, I think you can just lie to the camera. The metering won't work, but I assume you're in full manual anyway.

    I hope that'll work? I haven't tried it, I've just proven it correct, as Knuth once said.
  5. Andrew! I assume that if it displays an error message the shutter won't release?
  6. Even on bodies that have the AI follower, you'll get an 'FEE' error with CPU (AF) lenses unless the option to use the aperture ring is selected in the menu.

    As Andrew suggests, just taping over the aperture detect switch on your D5100 should work.

    Partially dismounting the lens to force the aperture closed isn't a good idea.

    Incidentally, I've never used Nikon's built-in intervalometer or time-lapse function. Is the aperture held stopped down in time lapse mode? I'm not near my cameras right now.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
  7. BeBu: Yes, I believe that the camera won't release the shutter if it detects a lens with electronic contacts is present but you're not set at minimum aperture (or if you're in A or P mode). But if you're holding down the EE tab maximum aperture button with something, the camera shouldn't give an error, so I think all should be good.

    RJ: I've not tried it (and the only camera I could usefully try it on is an F5, which is stretching "usefully"), but I believe the connection between the aperture stop-down mechanism on the low-end cameras and the mirror system (or at least shutter system) means that the aperture blades will move for each shot. E-aperture lenses should be more reliable for this, but (without checking) I don't think the D5100 is new enough to know about them? The cameras with dynamic aperture lever control (at least the D8x0 bodies and the single-digit DX bodies) might be able to hold everything in place if you taped down the DoF preview button, but I've not checked.

    Just to be clear, a completely mechanical (pre-AI-P/AF) lens should, I believe, just work at any aperture on the D5100 without modification - so if you pick up a manual focus AI/AI-S (or even original F) lens then I think it should just work. It's the combination of a lens with electronic contacts, which means the camera wants to control the aperture for you, and having the aperture ring where you still have some control that's causing the trouble. It'll still toggle the aperture (unless you have a lens with no aperture lever, like the off-brand tilt-shifts I own) but at least its hitting a consistent mechanical stop.

    Again, just based on what I believe I know about the F mount and how it works. I suppose I should point out that unless you've got fairly extreme bokeh flickering going on, it should be possible to make minor exposure adjustments in post-processing, automatically, compensating for slight aperture inaccuracies - I've done this in video when clouds change the lighting during a sequence, but I'm no pro at doing that.

    Good luck, in any case.
  8. On the D3200 you can indeed fool the min. aperture switch by jamming it. If you put, for example, a D lens on it, it will cancel the error message at any aperture if you jam the switch. It will continue to meter and to operate more or less correctly as long as the aperture the meter calls for (or that you set in the camera) is less than or equal to the setting on the lens. I tried a D lens on the D3200, set to F11, and with A mode set for F5 it shot at F5. It's not a convenient option, because the switch is hard to get at, and it's hard to put anything in that isn't dislodged when you change apertures, but it can be done.

    However, I don't see how this will help with an automatic aperture lens, unless you set it to its maximum aperture anyway. It will otherwise always view at max and stop down anyway, as every Nikon since the F has done. When you decouple the lens you're also making the diaphragm manual, but just tricking the min, aperture switch does not do that. I don't see any real advantage to jamming the min. aperture switch if the diaphragm remains automatic.

    I tried with a manual lens using the DOF preview on a D7100. It behaves oddly but might do the job. In this case, when you hold the DOF preview, it appears that it leaves the diaphragm alone when it shoots, although it opens it when done, so you must re-press the preview for each shot, so you can't just tape it down. But the aperture is left at your ring setting until the shot is over.

    By the way, the E lenses are compatible with a D5100, according to what I've read. They certainly work with a D3200.

    If you're doing something that does not require infinity focus, how about the shortest of the K extension rings? You have to modify this to use it safely on an AF lens, because it bumps the contacts, but it effectively makes any lens fully manual. Or alternatively, depending on circumstances, you could use a manual teleconverter, or a coupled extension, and as it is it would make for manual exposure, and if you disabled the aperture coupling it would make the aperture fully manual.

    For example, I have a set of old Vivitar AI extension tubes, the shortest at 12 mm. The aperture actuating mechanism on those is linked to the lens, or the next tube, with a little piece that's removable with tiny screws. Or one could just bend the actuating tab a little so the camera's lever misses it. Either way would disable the lens's automatic aperture.
  9. The issue, I believe, is that when the camera controls the aperture (except with an E-aperture lens), it does so by moving the aperture lever through a subset of its range. While precise enough for stills photography, the aperture doesn't move to exactly the same position each time (I think I've heard 1/6 stop accuracy quoted, but I might have imagined that), and this is enough to induce flickering in a time lapse.

    Because the aperture ring in the lens provides a mechanical hard stop for the aperture mechanism, it's more precise and doesn't have this problem. You just need to ensure the aperture lever on the camera moves far enough that the corresponding tab on the lens runs into the aperture ring hard stop.

    To do that, the camera needs to think the aperture is smaller than what the aperture ring is set to (since the aperture springs closed from fully open). Hence my claim about no metering, by which I meant incorrect metering because the camera has the wrong view of the aperture.

    There's a workaround: if, say, you set the lens to f/5.6 and the camera to f/8, you can set -1 stop exposure compensation and the meter readout in manual (and shutter priority, and auto ISO) will do the right thing. You just have to change the aperture on the camera so it's always the same amount different from the lens's aperture ring. Which is actually no less of a pain than what Df owners have to do with a pre-AI lens.

    Thank you for experimenting! And you're quite right, the D3100 is fine with E aperture lenses - I was getting confused with the D3000 (which didn't support them) and AF-P, which the D3100 doesn't support.
  10. Thanks for the replies.
    To summarize I suppose there are two issues making this a little difficult for time lapse: 1) as you say, lenses with electronic information will cause my D5100 to insist on f22 on the barrel but 2) even if the lens doesn`t have electronic information, like my e-series 50mm, I still have to uncouple the lens from the body to prevent the lens opening to openmost aperture for ease of viewing. Yes, I can wedge bits of paper here and there but it`s not a very flexible solution. I may go shopping after all...
  11. Why is (2) a problem, Ian? So long as the aperture reliably returns to the same position because it's hitting the hard stop provided by the aperture ring, should it matter what it's doing between shots?

    Just to be clear, any of the cameras that have an aperture following tab will still open the aperture between shots so what you view through the finder is full aperture (unless holding down the DoF preview works, but Matthew's experiment suggests that doesn't work properly; I can check my D810 to see whether separate aperture control makes a difference, but that's using a sledgehammer to crack a nut). You'll get essentially the same behaviour as the D3100 with something wedged on its EE switch, except that the camera knows the lens aperture setting automatically.

    There are lenses with no aperture lever - or you can bypass it, as Matthew suggests, with various adaptors. If you really don't want the aperture to move at all, one of those solutions should work, although they're all a little compromised. My 35mm f/2.8 Kiev T/S has no aperture lever - it just has one ring for setting the aperture and another for temporarily opening up the lens for focus. My Hartblei 65mm has the same arrangement, as did an 8mm Peleng fish-eye I used to own on Canon. Other than tilt-shifts (for which mechanical aperture control is fiddly) I think most companies offer lenses with an aperture lever. I think the Samyang tilt-shift might be a recent and relatively reputable exception. Adapting a lens from another format might work, but that's probably not significantly cheaper.

    (And I belatedly realised I meant D5100, not D3100, above. Sorry about the confusion. Same compatibility, nonetheless.)

    Good luck finding something, but I'd like to understand why you need to!
  12. Because the aperture does not reliably enough return to the same position in each of the hundred+ shots of a time lapse on my D5100. Some makes are better than others. For example my Panasonic GH4 manages it without flicker. But it`s not been my experience with the D5100.
  13. It looks like the Rokinon 16mm cine lens for Nikon might not have electronic contacts. Then I won`t need to decouple the lens from the body. But I`m double-checking with BandH first
  14. And this is the case even with the mechanical aperture ring, not just the aperture controlled from the camera? As I said, when the camera controls the aperture (unless you've got an F2...) it does it by partial movement of the aperture lever, which isn't very precise. This is a known thing, and a reason why some people like using the mechanical aperture ring lenses for time lapse - it's one of the things people complain about with G lenses. Although the aperture is still moving, because it's thumping into a hard mechanical stop when you use the aperture ring, I believe it's known to be substantially more consistent (and consistent enough for time lapse). The aperture does still move between shots, so I could believe it's not as absolutely consistent as a lens with no aperture movement at all, but I'd expect it to be good enough. A camera upgrade would only get you to the same place for consistency as wedging the EE button, although it would be more convenient.

    This suggests that the non-cine version has electronics, since it needs to be set at minimum aperture on a D5x00 body. I could believe the cine one might be different, though (since presumably the point is to allow smooth aperture control - but it would be a shame for cameras with "power aperture" not to have driven autofocus). I'll be interested to know what B&H says. Without electronics (or an aperture lever), it does feel like it'll solve your problem (if you want 16mm), but I'm still wary that you're spending money unnecessarily!

    Good luck, whatever your solution.
  15. I seem to recall the "rule of thumb" being that anything with a CMOS sensor should work with them, although I'm not sure whether or not that is the case with the D2X(Nikon's first CMOS).

    I BELIEVE that the E aperture was first developed for PC lenses. On older ones(like my 35mm) you have to pre-set the aperture. E lenses finally allowed full aperture metering with these lenses . I think the first PC-E lenses came out around 2005 or so, which is also about when Nikon started transitioning to CMOS. Of course, the technology has now trickled down to general purpose lenses, and I suspect will be the new norm from here on out.

    In any case, any digital with a 4-digit model number should work just fine with them.
  16. I was sufficiently unsure of myself that I downloaded a 300mm f/4 PF manual, since I think it may have been the first non-TS lens that was "E" (and the TS lenses have a mechanical workaround for older cameras that actually relates to this thread...)

    I believe you're okay with anything that has four digits except the original D3000. Mostly it's anything after the D3 and D300, but not the D60, D90 or D3000. (So no D1 or D2 series, no D100 or D200, and none of the two-digit Nikons; D5x00, D3x00 where x isn't 0, and D7x00 are all fine, as is any Dxx0 that's not a D100 or D200.) But the D5100 is certainly fine. :)

    Compatibility was approaching the stage where it was almost comprehensible, up until Nikon left the aperture ring off the D7500 and introduced AF-P...
  17. Andrew Garrard, your answer makes sense and I guess I hadn't really thought it all the way through. If the hard stop of a working aperture ring is all that's needed, then as far as I can see any camera with a DOF preview would work as long as you hold it down, but would not work for unattended shooting, as it must be pushed for each exposure. Any that allows you to set the aperture with the ring should provide the hard stop each time. Jamming the min. aperture button of the D5100 should work too. The main problem I see with that is simply mechanical, as the access to that button is limited and a simple wedge or piece of material will fall out easily. Looking at the D3200 it looks as if one could devise a little L-shaped piece, maybe of aluminum or something, that could hold the switch down and be taped in place, but it could take a bit of experimenting to get it just right.
  18. I think the DoF preview is independent of the aperture ring situation - with that, I was just seeing whether you could stop the camera from moving its aperture lever at all. The aperture lever motion is coupled with other bits of the mechanism in an odd way on most Nikons (which is why if you try to change the aperture while you're holding down DoF preview, nothing happens - and if you hold down DoF preview and zoom a variable-aperture lens, you don't end up at the same aperture as you would if you release DoF preview and press it again). It wouldn't surprise me if it always opens fully between shots, with the possible exception of the high-end bodies that don't exhibit the behaviour I just described (D3/4/5 series and D8x0 series, as far as I know). If you can rely on the aperture ring to stop the aperture in a good-enough approximation of the same place in each frame, you don't need the DoF preview.

    It is true that wedging the EE button does make it likely that whatever you're wedging it with will fall out - especially as you move aperture, and especially if you go anywhere near minimum aperture. I was kind of assuming a relatively brief situation where you can set it up, wedge it firmly, and not touch anything for a while; however, I get that leaving it going all night and finding it's stopped in the morning would be annoying. (Though I guess the camera won't shoot if it's not in place, so at least you're not wasting exposures.) If that's a concern, picking up any pre-electronic (AI-S or earlier) lens should solve it, and if you're not too fussy, it's not going to be expensive. Finding a lens without an aperture lever so nothing ever moves is a bit harder and more restrictive, but I'm sure it's possible.

    I hope Ian reports back!
  19. Off the top of my head:

    PC lenses(non-E)

    Both of those lenses, of course, have their limitations depending on application. The Reflex lenses do not have an aperture and of course are long focal lengths, while the PC lenses tend toward fairly wide focal lengths.
  20. On old cameras which don't have P and S modes holding the DOF button/level and adjust the aperture ring the aperture changes. On the one with P and S the camera determine how much the aperture level with move before you press the DOF button so doing it while holding the button does nothing. I am not sure about the intermediate cameras like FA and F4 which do have P and S modes.

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