Why does Nikon make G lens?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by jason_au, Oct 13, 2003.

  1. Hello Nikonians,

    Why does Nikon make G lens? I read somewhere that Nikon wants to save
    cost. Also I read somewhere that some people tease that "G" stands for
    garbage something. Anyway, what do you think of that G lens? Is it
    good quality like D or AI/AIS lenses? Do you think that Nikon makes a
    mistake? or what? I know that older cameras do not work with it well.
    I remember that Nikon tried to make E lens but they stopped making it
    later. Hope they will stop making G lens soon. Hope Nikon listens to
    valuable Nikonians.
  2. G-type F-mount Nikkors are just a technology for connecting to the cameras
    electronics. Some G type lenses are terrific but a couple of the very cheap zoomss are


    some of the Nikkor E lenses were very, very good, like 100mm f/2.8 E
  3. They want to be sure people like me won't buy them.
  4. All companies want to save cost, though it is not necessarily the best thing to do in developing a product.

    My guess is that Nikon believe that most users will accept the G lenses because they are used to setting all the camera parameters on jog dial controllers. Most users probably have the camera on auto-focus, programme auto-exposure and don't need to do anything except point it in the right direction.

    Nikon may continue to sell two or three separate lines of lenses alongside each other, to cater for different groups of users. (They have kept the manual focus AIS lenses for years after auto focuss became normal.)
  5. After more than 20 years of Nikon Auto Aperture/Program cameras, we still have at least one person per week come into my store to complain that their camera won't work in Program, when the problem is that the lens aperture isn't set to f/22. You can't build a foolproof camera, because God will build a better fool.

    My guess is that Nikon came to the realization that the vast majority of people who use Nikon SLRs have no need for a working aperture on a lens and are too stupid to cope with it. Besides, the on-camera apertures are easier to operate, give you 1/3rd stop adjustment and the G lenses are smaller and lighter.
  6. jbq


    They make them because they are cheaper to manufacture, and because on many current cameras an aperture ring is a liability more than an asset (you need to have the aperture ring set to the lowest aperture, and the camera needs to have a sensor to enforce this).

    I'll get a 12-24, 17-55, 70-200VR or 200-400VR any time. If you find any of those at "garbage" price, please grab 2 of each for me. Heck, I wouldn't mind a 24-85 AFS and a 24-120 VR either.

    They are labelled "garbage" because they lack some backward compatibility feature, and the first G lenses were targetted at amateurs buying their first SLRs (think "kit zoom"). As such the first G-series were "consumer" lenses indeed. Similarly series-E lenses lacked the "rabbit's ears" that would be needed on a pre-1977 body. I'm sure that 25 years ago everybody was complaining about that. And I'm sure that nobody complained in the mid-80s when the first AF lenses didn't have those ears either. I can't find the list but I have the feeling that the first autofocus lenses for the F501/N2020 also weren't top performers, but nobody would say today that the 17-35 is not as good as its manual-focus equivalent (there isn't even any that I'm aware of).
  7. Also, though I think Ellis may have consumed TOO MUCH COFFEE this morning, he is right. The new 70-200mm f/2.8 G lens is optically the best zoom Nikon has made in that focal range and aperture and is ruggedly-constructed:


    I broke down and bought the 12-24mm f/4.0 DX G lens for my D100. It was overpriced and is not made quite as well-built as the 17-35mm f/2.8, but it is small and is optically excellent:


    And even the cheapo 28-80mm G kit lens is optically at least as good as any 28-up metal AIS zoom Nikon ever made. And, these lenses sell for $90 with a five-year warranty:


    Currently, by the time you get a decent warranty, the 28-85mm AIS metal manual focus lens sells for almost $500:


    This means that you could buy four of the 28-80mm G lenses, throw them off a cliff, buy a fifth G lens and still not pay as much as you would for a 28-85mm AIS lens.
  8. "(N)obody would say today that the 17-35 is not as good as its manual-focus equivalent."

    I've owned a 20mm f/4.0 AI, a 20mm f/3.5 AIS, a 20mm f/2.8 AF and a 20mm f/2.8 AFD lens. At 20mm, my 17-35mm f/2.8 is sharper and contrastier at any aperture than any of the 20mm Nikkors I've ever owned.
  9. The rabbit ears can be mounted on AF Nikkors (those with aperture rings that is), that's not really a problem. They even put marks for that on the lenses.
  10. There is a 'strong rumor' running around that Nikon can not implement AFS, VR, and an aperture ring into one lens with their present pin layout. Nikon is notorious about not sharing proprietary technical details in the open press (that's why my Sigma zoom worked fine on my N90s, but wouldn't focus correctly on my F100). Given that they won't 'share', the only way the rumor will ever be dis-proved is if they come out with a non-G AFS/VR lens.
  11. "I can't find the list but I have the feeling that the first autofocus lenses for the F501/N2020 also weren't top performers, but nobody would say today that the 17-35 is not as good as its manual-focus equivalent (there isn't even any that I'm aware of)."

    I want to throw in two cents' worth here. Way back when, I actually bought a Nikon 2020 (I still own it for some reason, probably because its resale value is practically nil), and also one of the first Nikon AF lenses, a 70-210 f4 zoom. Optically, this lens apparently was based very closely on a previous MF design, and it was (still is) VERY good, very sharp. The problem was that ergonomically it was clunky, plasticky, and had a really thin focusing ring. My teenage son owns this lens now and he loves it, using it on my old 6006 body.
  12. Cosmetically, the 70-210mm f/4.0 AF lens was awful. Optically, the lens is the same as the very good 70-210mm f/4.0 Series E lens; which was about as good as the 80-200mm f/4.0 AIS lens.

    Unfortunately, Nikon stopped making constant f/4.0 aperture lenses. Now, without getting an f/2.8 lens in that range, the only lens Nikon makes in that range is the 70-180mm f/4.5-5.6 micro- an excellent lens, but I HATE floating apertures.
  13. jbq


    Todd: I'm not an expert in lens pinouts, but the argument that you can't put AFS, VR and an aperture ring with the current pinout sounds bogus for several reasons:

    -because the real issue is probably an issue of space, of mechanical linkage. The aperture ring must be at the back of the lens if you want AI coupling. That's also where AFS and VR systems seem to go.

    -because there'd be major compatibility issue with older cameras if the pinout of lenses varied depending on the lens features (other than not including pins that are not needed).

    -because I don't believe that the setting of the aperture ring is sent to the camera through the pins - I think it's purely mechanical. If it was sent through the pins, there would be little to no reason to require that the aperture be set to the max in aperture-priority mode on cameras that don't have an AI tab. Plus, even if it was sent though the pins, this would just be an extra packet of data going over a serial line, along with min and max aperture and current focusing distance (all of which are sent over the same pin).

    -because there are enough pins for all of that. I imagine that there a pin for body ground, two pins for power and power ground, two pins for clock and clock ground, two pins for data and data ground. Enter AFI/AFS and you need two more pins for AF and AF ground. I'm not a VR expert but it sounds to me like VR is controlled mostly by the lens, and may not require more than just power which is already there (all you need is a body that supplies enough power to the lens to drive the VR system). And I'm being conservative on the pinout as clock and data ground can be shared on a single pin, as well as power and AF ground. Without a documented pinout, we won't be able to know, and since we know that such a pinout isn't quite available we will not know.
  14. Jean, we'll never know, because Nikon won't be bringing out any more AFS/VR lenses that aren't G lenses. However, at the time the 80-400mm VR lens was introduced, I asked a Nikon Tech Rep why the lens wasn't also AFS and was told that Nikon had yet to figure out how to put AFS and VR in the same lens.

    The aperture-ringless G lenses were a long time coming. Canon made this jump when it went from the FD mount to the EOS mount. I would bet the desire to put AFS and VR in the same lens hastened Nikon's decision to drop the aperture ring.
  15. "Why does Nikon make G lens?"<P>
    Probably because Nikon doesn't want to be perpetually burdened with features that cost money but offer no benefit in current system. So they had to make a break somewhere.
  16. "You can't build a foolproof camera, because God will build a better fool."

    ROFLMAO, Eric, this just goes to back an old axiom that says "Nothing is foolproof to
    a sufficiently talented fool.'

    I can understand Ellis' frustration, maybe we drink the same brand of coffee. From all
    of the sources that I've seen, it's said that the 70-200 is destined to become
    legendary. The fact that it's a G lens hasn't hurt it at all.

    I believe that Nikon see's the G lens as the future for it's modern cameras, and an
    aperture ring is redundant with those cameras. Redundant at best, and a PITA at
    for anyone that doesn't lock it in minimum aperture on a modern Nikon. Something
    to keep in mind is that we don't see any of those who call the G lens garbage,
    designing a lens to compete with it, one that has an aperture ring, AFS, and VR.

    So, now anyone that doesn't trash the G lenses isn't a "valuable Nikonian"? Only those
    stuck in the past are worthy?

    Just exactly what focal length is it that a G lens prevents you from shooting with? I
    dare say none at all. Since you don't need a G lens, why is it that you don't want the
    rest of us to have any? You're being rather selfish.
  17. The point in this anti-G movement is that people used to use Nikon for their system compatibility. That justification doesn't exist any more since C offers superior features (IS, USM throughout the line, full-frame DSLR option, 70-200/4L, 24 TS-E, etc. etc.) at a lower price, and better systemwide compatibility.

    I still like Nikon's HP viewfinders but that argument seems to have vanished with the small-frame digitals.
  18. JBQ - My primitive understanding of VR is that it needs a 'five AF sensor' (at least) camera to function, so I'm thinking there may be more data going back and forth through the lens mount for VR than meets the eye.

    Carl - You're right, for now. There is no 'killer lens' in G that has me wringing my hands in anguish. I worry that Nikon will unveil something really cool like a 200/2.0 AFS and make it a G lens, or an AFS version of the 85/1.4 or 105/1.8-2.0.
  19. The VR system does not need 5 point autofocus. In fact, the VR system does not need any autofocus point. VR and AF are completely independent. The fact that, hiterto, all Nikon bodies capable of supporting VR also had 5 autofocus points is completely coincidental. <p>
    Try this: Find a distant point light source like a star. Aim the lens so that the star is far away from any AF point so that there is absolutely nothing for any AF point to see or work on. Half hold down the shutter button. The VR would work just the same.
  20. "There is no 'killer lens' in G that has me wringing my hands in anguish."

    Oh Todd, I agree, I'm not overcome with desire for any particular G lens at this time
    either. I'd love to have the 70-200VR, but the price is too high for me, so I'll probably
    get an 80-200. But, this is the dawning of a new age, and many folks just starting off
    in photography may very well learn to shoot without an aperture ring. To those folks,
    it won't matter, and in the end, it's the photo that counts. :eek:)
  21. Todd - I hope we never reach the day when Nikon starts to release prime lenses in G mounts. As far as I am concerned they can fiddle around with all the VR AF-S or whatnot telephoto zoom buisness with the G lenses.
  22. "I hope we never reach the day when Nikon starts to release prime lenses in G mounts."

    The day has been reached. Meet the 10.5mm f/2.8G ED AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor:

  23. "I hope we never reach the day when Nikon starts to release prime lenses in G mounts"<P>
    Your hope is in vain - 10.5mm f/2.8G DX Fish Eye. If Nikon is willing to release the $7000 200-400f/4G, what hope is there?
  24. jbq


    Eric: What about that 10.5mm DX fish-eye? Does that qualify as a prime? (I say it does, although probably not a desirable one for anyone with a film body). I have the feeling that zooms are "good enough" for digital cameras (not meaning that digital cameras are inferior, rather that they are more sensitive and that post-processing can take care of a lot of distortion).

    Todd, Chuck: Yes, this is troubling me. Part of me says that VR and AFS require the lens to provide significant amounts of power to the lens, which would justify that VR-capable bodies are all AFS-capable as well. It's possible that the 3-point AF module only interfaces with the non-AFS AF drive, and that such bodies would need extra electronics to provide power to the lens in a way that could only be used by VR. Yet part of me says that if this was the case VR should work on the F4. Still, I don't see how AF can be involved with VR since as far as I know the camera can't use the AF sensors when the mirror is up, even though VR still works at that point.

    Puzzles and riddles...
  25. If you prefer AF-D to G type Nikkor lenses you many as well poke around the new UK site and get the bad news. Don’t e-mail be for specifics it’s easy enough to find. I’m totally burned-out on the subject. I have no other comments.
  26. Jean-

    The terms "prime" and "fixed focal length" are interchangeable and simply denote lenses on which the focal length cannot be varied:


    I'm not sure whether the 10.5mm lens will be desireable for cameras with 24x36mm image areas. If I were to use a fisheye lens, I would want it to be either full-frame or would want it to produce a perfect circle within the rectangle of the frame- a "circular fisheye." The 10.5mm is a full frame lens on a small-chip DSLR, but I'm not sure that it would produce a whole circle in a standard image frame.

    The old 10mm fisheye Nikkor produced a full circle within a rectangle. However, this was an oddball aspheric lens:


    If I were thinking of getting a fisheye, I'd bypass the current Nikkors and would get a Sigma 8mm f/4.0. The image quality is very good, the $450 price is more in line with my occasional use of fisheyes and the lens is small compared to 8mm Nikkors, so it can fit easily in a camera bag:


    BTW, a friend has a custom-mounted 8mm Nikkor fisheye that he uses for virtual reality shoots and the occasional wacky Christmas card. The image quality of the lens is stunning.
  27. Why? Probably because all their new bodies have selector wheel control of aperture and shutter. An aperture ring is a redundancy. Forgetting about the backward compatibility issue, it would make sense to do away with the ring because it can get in the way. <p>
    When the "G" lenses were first introduced they were all pretty bad, probably aimed at the N80 market. Plasticey and poor optics. Now there are a few worthy of a second look.
  28. "When the 'G' lenses were first introduced they were all pretty bad, probably aimed at the N80 market. Plasticey and poor optics."

    This is the flawed "kit lens" argument. Nikon's current 28-80mm G kit lens is not "bad" in any way:

    1. They are "plasticy" so as to save weight and reduce cost. The idea with intro model SLRs is to make them small and light weight, so that they can compete on store shelves with P&S cameras.

    2. As to price, you have Nikon N50- and 60-series cameras kitted for under $400. Again, these cameras have to compete for price with good P&S cameras. The current Nikon G kit lens sells ala carte for $90.

    3. People who degrade the quality of these lenses haven't shot them. Look at Ken Rockwell's review of a nearly identical 28-80mm D lens:


    My first zoom was a Vivitar Series 1 35-85mm f/2.8 Variable Focus lens that blew the Nikon 43-86mms out of the water. That lens cost hundreds of dollars and was not nearly as good optically as the current Nikon $90 kit lens.
  29. 24-85 F/3.5-4.5 AFS was one of the first G lenses. It cost $350 and compares well in quality and performance against any other lens of similar focal length costing that much. The notion that early G lenses were junk was probably planted by Nikonians who resisted change and hoped to dissuade Nikon from releasing any more G lenses. Having been Nikon customers for so long they should have known better. In the professional market Nikon would occassionally listen to opinion of professional user community. In the amateur segment Nikon follows the market trend, and is not really aware that a separate user opinion exist.
  30. "The day has been reached. Meet the 10.5mm f/2.8G ED AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor"

    (screams hysterically!) :D
  31. "The VR system does not need 5 point autofocus." -- Chuck Fan

    The above statement is incorrect. When the 80-40mm VR first came out, it was stated in various press releases and articles that VR uses the AF points to detect side to side and top to bottom motion.

  32. Why? Probably because all their new bodies have selector wheel control of aperture and shutter. An aperture ring is a redundancy.
    You're forgetting the FM10, FE10, and FM3a, all of which are in current production, and none of which can control the aperture of a "G" lens.
    The reason the "G" lens are considered garbage by some has nothing to do with their optical quality (some are bad, some are excellent) or build quality. It's that they've finally broken compatibility with the classic cameras on which Nikon's reputation was built. An F3, EL, or FE can do fully automatic exposure with every Nikkor ever made except the "G" series lenses (stop-down required for some). The "G" lenses are the first Nikkors ever made for 35mm that won't work on a classic 1959 unmetered F. They're the first Nikkors that can't be used on bellows or Nikon extension tubes.
    If you don't have or want a classic Nikon, this doesn't matter in the least to you, and it's good riddance to the aperture ring. But if you like the handling of the classic cameras, or if you occasionally want to do macrophotography with a bellows, the "G" lenses look like a sinister marketing gimmick designed to get you to "upgrade" to a plastic, battery dependent, macro-crippled camera.
    The truth is somewhere in between, but I've tried to outline why this is an issue that people disagree on.
  33. jbq


    Compatibility schmompatibility...

    Nikon has managed to keep "some" compatibility, but there have been glitches throughout the lifetime of the F mount.

    -lenses that required mirror lockup and bodies that didn't have it.
    -lenses that protruded into the body in a way that would damage the mechanical sensors or the electrical contacts of the body.
    -non-AI lenses that don't mount on (most) AI bodies, and that often wouldn't meter (other than stop-down) when they could be mounted.
    -non-AI lenses that don't matrix-meter on the FA or F4 even when they were AI-modified
    -series-E and AF lenses that didn't have ears
    -a few oddball lenses for the F3AF
    -AFI/AFS lenses that don't AF on older AF bodies
    -non-D lenses that, well, don't allow 3D flash matrix metering
    -G lenses that require cameras with command dials
    -VR that doesn't work on older AF bodies

    and so on... (yes, I admit, some cases are a bit extreme). This is just one step in evolution. I don't believe that the transtion to G lenses is nearly as hard as the transition to AI may have been - and at the time I don't think that anybody was talking about "going digital" or not even "going autofocus".

    Just my 2 cents. (Oh, and I own an FE and an N55, with an assortment of non-AI, AI'd, AIS, AFD and G lenses, so I know first-hand about the comaptibility issues both around AI and G types).
  34. 24-85 F/3.5-4.5 AFS was one of the first G lenses.
    True enough, but the 'very first' ones I was aware of were the ~$100 range kit lenses. Notwithstanding the excellent arguments about 'value for money' these lenses may represent, those first samples did not inspire any confidence that they would still be 'aligned' in 6 months. That (in my mind) is where the 'g=garbage' warcry came from. We have moved beyond that.
  35. Very nicely put, Richard.
  36. "it was stated in various press releases and articles that VR uses the AF points to detect side to side and top to bottom motion. " - Vernon Dearduff<p>
    Then why is it that VR functions where there is nothing but black night sky under all 5 of the AF points?
  37. If there is nothing but black sky under the focus points, how do you know that VR is functioning?

    When the 80-400mm VR lens first became available at my local shop, I stopped by and played around with one mounted on an F5. I also read the store copy of a Nikon press release that stated that the five AF sensors were used by the VR system to detect vibrations. The release furthter stated that the right and left focus points are ignored when panning.

    Unless the Nikon release had it wrong, the focus point are used by the VR system.

    The shop was out of extra copies of this release or I would have one to scan and post.

  38. "If there is nothing but black sky under the focus points, how do you know that VR is functioning?"<p>
    Because there is a star in the view finder, outside the area covered by the AF points, I can tell VR is working from the view finder when I depress the shutter button. If Nikon put out the story about VR needing 5 AF points, then Nikon probably made up the story to preempt criticism about 1 or 3 point bodies not supporting VR.
  39. jbq


    If VR used the AF sensors you couldn't use it to take pictures of moving subjects.

    It has to use mechanical sensors. I assume that those are gyroscopes, which means that it can only compensate for rotation, not for translation, i.e. it's not likely to work well for extreme closeups. Reportedly the manual for the 80-400 explains how to power up the lens to get the gyros to properly calibrate.
  40. Hello Nikonians,

    Wow! Everything has pros and cons. Do you think that Nikon makes mistake to make "G" lens? Or do they make a right decision?
  41. I think it's not a mistake as there clearly are people who want aperture-free lenses but I think it was a mistake that they didn't put body-controlled apertures in all AF bodies in the first place (as they did on the low-end bodies). A lot of headaches with vari-aperture lenses would have been avoided and they wouldn't really have problems getting public acceptance for G lenses now as all AF bodies would be able to get the most of them. Making changes one small bit at a time turns out very expensive in the end.

    They made a few other mistakes such as the coupled AF drive but little by little they're correcting them. Still, they stell expensive bodies which don't drive most AF lenses elegantly.
  42. "Do you think that Nikon makes mistake to make "G" lens"<p>
    I think that can not be judged independently of what Nikon does next. Should Nikon succeeds in keeping abreast of technology while continuing to produce thoughtfully designed and well built equipment, then the G decision would be vindicated as a forward looking move for a competitive brand that incurred an up front cost in compatibility, but offers long lasting advantages in usability, consistency, and economy. On the other hand, were Nikon to fail in keeping generally abreast of the market and technology, then going the G route would have been judged a mistake as it knocked out a major remaining pillar of an otherwise uncompetitive Nikon brand - compatibility with the past.
  43. What Chuck said.

    On a personal level, it is bothersome that Nikon is gnawing away at an attribute that I hold dear, the ability to pretty seamlessly use my AF and MF gear together (I buy carefully and avoid cameras like the N80 that don't work well with MF lenses). But, as with threads like this one, I seem to be part of a vocal minority. If Nikon wants to keep on top of the 'mass market', they need to take steps to remain competitive.
  44. Hi Jason

    This is a subject that comes up every few weeks. The newest "G" lens are of a excellent quality, since that's the direction of all new lens development. The old "D" is no more.

    For me I think it's unfair to sell a camera body, the FM3A and even the F3HP(still listed on their web site), that can't use the new "G" system. But, it is what is. So we have to live with it. They probably should have stopped making MF bodies a few years ago, and then introduced the new "G".

    Is it a mistake, I think it will hurt them to a degree. I know a few guys who sold their FM3A's because they didn't like the "trend". To me it's nutty to do that, but it isn't my camera.

    I think it can hurt them from the aspect of excluding these people from making purchases of these lens. Just as the "DX" lens exclude us from using them on any film body. Too me that doesn't make business sense. But I assume they know what they are doing.
  45. I dislike G lenses because they don't work on my older bodies. You can make upgrade arguments. It's certainly a debateable point.

    What I really dislike about G lenses is the pain in my wrists. With an aperture ring, I can go from f16 to f1.4 in a quarter of a second, and I can do it by feel. With the command dial on my friend's EOS body, It takes about four full spins of the dial -- even at half-stop increments -- and hurts my wrist the first time I do it.
  46. "What I really dislike about G lenses is the pain in my wrists."

    Joel, I have no desire to call another man a pantywaist, but if the shoe fits ... Perhaps you should pursue a less physically-demanding hobby than photography. I hear needlepoint is less demanding on the wrists.
  47. Here are some reasons to like G lenses

    - no useless extra apeture ring that serves no purpose on modern bodies

    - if you set f5.6 and then switch lenses, you are still on f5.6

    - can change apeture and shutter speed with one hand, hold a flash with the other.

    - the 24-85 zoom is a great lens with really nice fast quiet autofocus.

    - easy to get half stop increments in apeture, if you are into that sort of thing.
  48. I don't own or use G lenses as I take more pictures with my FM3A than with my F80.

    I believe from Nikon's perspective, there is a huge market of consumer/vacation/snapshooters emerging (and who just want to point and shoot with everything auto and doesn't care if there's an aperture ring or not) vis-a-vis photographers who still own (and prefer) to shoot with MF cameras.

    I also believe that Nikon doesn't think it is shortchanging owners of manual focus cameras by releasing new G lenses instead of Ais. They're still selling MF lenses, it's just that new lenses don't come in Ais anymore. The only consolation for us MF users is that we can still get plenty of glass on the used market.

    "G lenses are garbage" - the issue that WE can't get around and are pretty puffed about - is their compatibility with older camera bodies. When I had an FA back in the 80's, I had to set the lens to min aperture to use the P mode too. I didn't have a problem with that then so I don't see why Nikon only now thinks it's redundant. They're still selling MF bodies!!

    Like most of you here, I prefer to be able to turn the aperture ring on the lens instead of doing it on the camera body. Who cares about 1/2 or 1/3 f/stop increments. No big deal, I do with my Ais lenses on my FM3A set to AE too.
  49. "Who cares about 1/2 or 1/3 f/stop increments."

    Folks that shoot slide film, care a great deal about 1/2 or 1/3 stops.

    Folks that shoot with manual focus cameras already have the focal length range to
    cover their needs with manual focus lenses. It is just illogical to demand that new
    auto focus, AFS, VR, etc., work with older cameras, when they have no need for it. If
    these foks want to use the newer technology lenses, then let them move up to a
    camera that can take advantage of those features that won't work on a manual
    camera to start with.
  50. Carl,

    What I meant by "Who cares about 1/2 or 1/3 f/stop increments" is that who cares whether one can set 1/2 or 1/3 f/stop increments on newer AF bodies. I could do that with MF lenses on MF bodies, only that I don't know if it's exactly 1/2 or 1/3 f/stop.

    From what I understand, the FM3A offers stepless shutter speeds on AE mode so 1/2 or 1/3 f/stop wouldn't restrict my shooting.

    If any particular shot is so important, I would bracket.
  51. "only that I don't know if it's exactly 1/2 or 1/3 f/stop."

    Well Al, with a newer body, you would know, and so would everyone else that used
    that feature. I really suspect anyone's ability to accurately set 1/3 stops with the
    aperture ring unless they have a lot of experience, and are not pressured to shoot
    rapidly. Modern equipment is giving much more control, and it's repeatable, to any

    "They're still selling MF bodies!! "

    And they're still selling manual lenses to go with them also. Manual folks have not
    been left out in the cold.
  52. Actually when using the aperture ring my aim was 1/6 stop as in between 1/3 stops the manual meter readout of AF Nikons blinks, so that you can get it very accurately. It's very easy and not a pain at all. With the current system, changing apertures and shutter speeds takes a lot of time so that even I'm inclined to switch to A with so-so results on the F100, a bit better with the F5.

    However, I don't like the placement of the aperture ring as it's too close to the body to be comfortably used.
  53. n m

    n m

    Auto aperture is encouraging manufacturers to design aperture rings with minimal respect to the user of the minority of systems that demand the rings. There are sigma lenses using a narrow and recessed aperture ring which is not at all optimal.
  54. Vernon Deardruff wrote: "When the 80-40mm VR first came out, it was stated in various press releases and articles that VR uses the AF points to detect side to side and top to bottom motion."
    This way well be the case, but a role of the AF sensors are not mentioned in this description or in this online news release.
  55. Is it possible that the AF sensors are merely signposts for the VR feature, and the that
    that they are AF of MF signposts is irrelevant?
  56. jbq


    It's possible that the AF sensors are involved in calibrating the lens at startup, but not after that.
  57. N M, although the Nikon aperture ring hasn't shrunk in to a rubber band yet, it does feel very cheaply made. Like it was an afterthough. To me it seems they've been feeling cheesier and cheesier since about the mid 90s on the majority of the Nikon lenses.
  58. "To me it seems they've been feeling cheesier and cheesier since about the mid 90s
    on the majority of the Nikon lenses."

    One needs to decide what's important, aesthetics or performance. To paraphrase Ken
    Rockwell, Nikon lenses are getting cheaper feeling and working better.
  59. I don't want to have to carry two sets of lenses(G and Ai-s)just so that I can backup my F5/D1h with my FM2/FM3a.

    Yes, I would like to have my cake and eat it too. I would like the option of mounting and using my (bleedlingly) expensive Zoom AFS/VR lens(if I owned one) of a lens on both my F5/D1h and FM2/FM3a. I just can't do that with a G lens.

    Let the rank amateurs/beginners/fools have their G-lenses, just don't handicap the pro-level lenses. How much would it have cost Nikon to include the aperture ring on the new 70-200 AFS VR? US$5-10??

    If a professional photog can't understand how to lock down his lens at the minimum aperture to in order to use Program mode/shutter priority, he should think about changing professions.

    Nikon is throwing the one advantage it has over Canon i.e. the ability to backup a battery dependent AF body with that of a mechanical backup (and not have to carry 2 sets of lenses).

    ** Yes I know the FM2/FM3a still require batteries to run their meters but, the proability of those batteries running out are pretty slim. Besides, you could always keep a selenium meter(Gossen Pilot) handy if you really wanted to be anal about things.

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