Why doesn't my Nikon 50 f/1.4 G not auto focus with the N8008?

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by mark_stephan|2, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. I was given a Nikon N8008 this past summer and I'm planning to use it for fall colors soon. I've read that theses old camera are compatible with Nikon's G lenses as long as I shoot in Program or Shutter Priority modes. I mounted my Nikon AF-s 50 f/1.4 G lens to the camera and it does not auto focus, I get left and right arrows and sometimes an X. When I try to focus manually the image doesn't come in to focus. I tried turning the focus ring in the direction of the arrows and no luck. The focus confirmation light doesn't turn on when focusing. Luckily the N8008 came with a AF-D 35-105 f/3.5-4.5 which works. I'd forgotten how LOUD the camera is when focusing which I know is normal because I started my Nikon journey with a N6006. What am I doing wrong? My old F5 doesn't care what type of AF lens is attached to the camera, it focuses just fine. I have to remember to use the aperture ring when shooting in M or S modes.

    I just checked my Tokina 16-28 f/2.8 and 35 f/1.8 DX lens and got the same results as my 50 lens. Maybe it hates modern lenses.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2017
  2. The Nikon N8008 (F801 outside the U.S., if memory serves) performs autofocus by means of a motor in the body that drives a screw in the lens. Nikon built lenses (including your Nikon AF-s 50 f/1.4 G) with motors controlled electronically by the camera body. That is what the AF-S part of the lens designation means. Such lenses don't have the screw drive. Many later bodies, including higher-end DSLRs, have both mechanisms, so they are compatible with older and newer lenses.
  3. My copys of F-801 and 35mm DX manually focus just fine, assist arrows and focus confirmation works and camera gives positive viewfinder image as focus is right. If I had to shoot with this pair, might be S program and 1/60.
  4. As said, the N8008 is not compatible with any lenses that have an in-lens focus motor. This includes AF-S and AF-I lenses.

    If you want AF with this lens, you need(off hand) and F4, F5, F6, N80, N90, or F100. I know those cameras will work for sure-there may be others.

    The F4 and N90 also come with a big asterisk in that you can only use G lenses(like your 50mm) in P and S modes.

    IMO, the N80 is probably the best BARGAIN around for a film SLR that will work with modern lenses(except AF-P and E). I regularly see them for ~$20. They give you full operation of AF-S and VR lenses along with multi-point AF and an interface that many DSLR users will find familiar. I actually don't own an N80, but I have a couple of DSLRs that are built on an N80 body.

    With all of that said, when I have DSLRs out I've found that the F100 is the best all-around camera for me to toss in my bag with them. There again, with the exception of AF-P and E lenses(which I don't buy) it gives full compatibility with both modern lenses and everything back to AI lenses(albeit without matrix metering on non-CPU lenses). The user interface is derived from the F5, but is very similar in operation to high end non-pro Nikon DSLRs like the D8xx series, D200, D300, D500, and D700. The only clunky part of it is the custom functions, but basically they're a one-time deal for me to set up the way I want and I can do that at home. If you intend to change them on the fly, it's advisable to carry a cheater card, although if you only change certain functions you will likely remember them.
  5. Duh! I forgot it needed screw drive lenses. Why does the F5 work with both types of AF lenses?
  6. The best logical answer I can come up with(and I don't know if this is true) is that AF-S probably uses the same communication protocol as AF-I. Chances are AF-I was at least on the drawing board when the F4 was designed, which is why it works with AF-S. It also wouldn't surprise me if AF-S and VR were both at least in development when the F5 was released, and Nikon wanted as much forward compatibility as possible.

    The first lenses the F5 didn't full support mechanically/electrically were "E" aperture lenses.
  7. Nikon AF-s 50 f/1.4 G need to have their aperture set on camera and not on lens. Modern Digital SLR's do this and almost all of the digital lenses are G type lenses.
    The only Nikon film body that I know of is the F401.
  8. Here's a chart prepared by Ken Rockwell which shows compatibility of various Nikkor lenses and cameras.

    Nikon Lens Compatibility
  9. I know that the N8008 doesn't AF with AF-S lenses but the OP can't focus manually either so the AF-S lenses are focused by wire?
  10. I've never handled either of the 50mm G lenses, but every single other AF-S lens I've handled will focus just fine even when not attached to the camera. On the SWM ring motor lenses(everything but the very low end AF-S kit type lenses) if you turn the ring slowly you can actually feel when you've reached the end of the focus travel in the lens even though you can continue to spin the ring.

    The only Nikon "focus by wire" lenses I'm aware of are the AF-P lenses.
  11. I thought so but then why the OP can't manually focus it? I am lost!
  12. The OP said that the "focus confirmation light doesn't turn on" and also that they see "two flashing red arrows."

    The focusing system in the N8008 is fairly primitive-it may be that the OP is trying to use it in conditions that are too dark or doesn't have the AF sensor over an area with enough contrast for the AF system to see that it's in focus.

    I use the lock and recompose even with my D800, which is the most advanced camera I personally own, but it's an especially important technique when using first gen AF cameras. This is a habit carried over from using split image screens, but I always try to look around and find something with a defined line for the camera to focus on-in an event, for example, a person's arm against a differently colored background is often good or otherwise if you're focusing on one specific person their collar, edge of their mouth, or their eyes can give you enough contrast to actually get reliable AF.

    I don't have much experience with the N8008, but I think that the F4 has a similar AF module and keeping this stuff in the back of your head is important.

    Also, this is not for the faint of heart but I once bought an F5 that reeked heavily of cigarette smoke. The AF basically only worked outside, which is not at all consistent with what I've come to expect from that camera. I locked up the mirror(the F5 has "real" MLU) and CAREFULLY cleaned the AF sensors at the bottom of the mirror box with a Pec pad and Eclipse fluid(pure methanol). The swab came out a nasty yellow brown color, but once I'd done that the AF performance was everything I expected. I also cleaned the reflex mirror the same way(I usually do just fog+kimwipe) and got similar results. The effect was remarkable-not only was the finder brighter, but the AF also worked as I expect an F5 to work.
  13. Why is there a problem?
    At least if you believe that the NIkon F mount has not changed since 1959!

    I still like this Nikonians chart best, though I hear that it is not perfect:
    Nikon Camera and Lens Compatibility Chart
  14. I use AF-S lens on the F4 and it works fine but the N8008 is older than the F4. Also since the F4 only has 1 focus point I think the N8008 also has only 1 focus point.
  15. Yes, the F4 is fully AF-S compatible and even partially G compatible(P&S). In fact, the N8008 is G compatible with the same restrictions, although I think all G lenses are AF-S(or AF-P) so you won't get AF with them.

    Still, though, the electronic rangefinder in the N8008 will work with any lens provided that the aperture is large enough, there is enough light, and enough contrast. My comment comparing it to the F4 was mostly to point out that both AF systems are fairly primitive and you NEED to learn how to pick a good AF point whether you are using AF or the electronic rangefinder.

    Both the F4 and N8008 were introduced in 1988, although I'm not sure which came first. I suspect that the lack of AF-S compatibility in the N8008 came down to Nikon thinking that the only people who NEEDED it for their $10K+ super-teles could also buy an F4.

    BTW, if you like the feel/handling/aesthetics of the N8008(s) but desire AF-S compatibility, the N90(s) is a good option. Side by side, it's pretty obvious thatit's an improved/tweaked N8008s-all the buttons are(more or less) in the same place although it has a somewhat better AF system(faster and more sure, although still only single point), has electronic exposure data logging should you want to use that, and the ergonomics have been tweaked somewhat. The price difference these days is negligible and usually comes down to condition differences.
    marc_bergman|1 likes this.
  16. "..I think all G lenses are AF-S(or AF-P) so you won't get AF with them."

    Not quite. I have here a 28-80 3.3-5.6 G lens, which was the kit lens on an N-65, and it's screwdriver focused. I presume screwdriver focusing was cheaper, and this is about as cheap as any lens can get (though surprisingly decent optically). I am guessing that although the N65 did support AFS, this lens may also have been the kit for the N60 which did not.
  17. Fair enough. The IX-Nikkor zooms that came with the Pronea SLRs are also "G" lenses and screwdriver focusing, although they aren't labeled as such. Interestingly enough, the Proneas also are AF-S compatible-if you're nutty enough to use one, you can use the full range of DX lenses on them. The only issue is that they don't support VR, although if you have a VR lens on the camera and leave VR turned on, it will apparently drain the batteries pretty quickly.

    I'd GUESS that by the time the N65 came around(which I think may have been one of Nikon's last film SLRs-I seem to have it in my head that it was introduced around 2002, and I'm too lazy to look it up) they were probably done with designing kit lenses for film. In the days before the now ubiquitous 18-55, I know folks would use lenses like the 18-35 f/3.5-4.5 as a DSLR standard zoom, although that has an aperture ring and is screwdriver focusing.

    Also, as I'm sure you know, they went the cheap route on AF-S for the early 18-55 and also the 55-200 with a small motor that has to be manually disengaged. I can't fault them too much, as it basically works the same way as the kit lens on my digital Rebel did as well as an old film Rebel I had at one time. I don't like AF-P, but at least it allows manual focus without the risk of breaking something.
  18. If I am not mistaken the F4 came first and at the time both the there was no AF-S lenses.

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