Why turn clockwise/counter clockwise for focus ring, aperture, F mount and zoom?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by pete_s., Feb 13, 2009.

  1. What was the reasoning behind Nikon choosing to have the lenses mount CCW in the body and also the focus direction, zoom direction and aperture the way they did?
    There are a lot of lenses including cine lenses that does it the opposite way and I was wondering if there was some kind of logic behind it all?
  2. They did it that way because every other camera manufacturer did it wrong.
  3. Agreed. :)
  4. The Nikon way has always felt completely natural since the first time I picked up one of their cameras 35 years ago. Having those rotate the opposite direction would feel like a perversion of nature. Cats and dogs, living together. That sort of thing.
  5. For me the 45mm Nikkor GN lens always was the odd duck because it DOES focus the wrong way like the lenses of those other brands.
  6. It was always the way to tell a "member of the club". If they fumbled lens changes, you knew they weren't a *real* Nikon user.
  7. Just to be different I guess. Mounting a Nikon lens always felt natural to me - as opposed to mounting a Leica lens for example - where I can only mount the lens if I hold the camera face-up, certainly not a desirable position. But it sure is annoying to learn to rotate the focus ring in the other direction when switching between systems - or even when mounting a third party lens.
  8. I seem to recall reading a long time ago that Nikon did this in honour of an early east German camera; it may have been Contax but I'm not sure. Did the Contax lenses turn counter clockwise? cb
  9. I went from Pentax to a Leica M and R to Nikon for digital. I knew their focus was wrong , but I was going AF anyway so it did not matter.
    Then I started getting manual primes and changing lenses and basically was screwed up for a year. Now my Leica somtimes gives me trouble.
    The final answer is I can drive a automatic, a four or five speed on the floor, or three speed on the column. The first mile might be tough, but if I just keep keep it in first gear and my hand on the shift at stops, I`ll get her go`in ok.
  10. My zoom-, focus- and aperture rings rotoates both CW and CCW and even on my Sigma lenses they do, but only the effect is different.
  11. I don't know what the reasoning was. I disagree with the first two respondents however. Nikon got it wrong imho. Well not really wrong, but intuitively it's easier to 'screw' the bayonet clockwise into the body. I no longer make mistakes attaching lenses, but I often get confused putting back caps on lenses when the lenses are face down. The other rings are no big deal for me. It's rare for me to manual focus a Nikon and I'm used to aperture rings that go in either direction. (The Leitz 85 ring is the same as the Nikkors.)
  12. most people are right-handed and cradle the lens with their left hand. natural way is the thumb moving towards the inside of the photographer's body, especially on portrait orientation. otherwise you'll have twisted arms and wrists (and fingers) :)
    portable cine cameras most of the time rest on the shooter's right shoulder, whether he's right handed or left. it's more natural to focus with the pointer and middle fingers on top and the thumb under of either hand, going nikon's opposite way.
    i use sigma lenses because they are cheaper and sometimes better than nikkor. i just keep an intimate relationship with them so i will know where they want to turn.
  13. Maybe some early Nikon engineer was left handed ? I am, it and works for me just fine. I hold the camera in my right hand, the lens in my left. Rotate the lens to the center.
  14. Someone else above gave the right answer. Nikon started making 35mm rangefinder cameras based on the Zeiss Contax models. These focus in the direction that the Nikon lenses focus. The aperture rings run in the same direction too. Remember that up until the Korean war, Nikon was just another Japanese manufacturer of imitation western goods. Then David Douglas Duncan's friend discovered how good the 85mm Nikkor was, and the rest is history.
    Canon copied the Leica rangefinders, so the Canon FL, FD lenses had the Leica focusing (and aperture ring) directions, which are completely opposite to Nikon. When I had Canon FL and Nikon together, I got very confused. That was solved by getting rid of the Canon gear. Incidentally, Nippon Kogaku was the original OEM for the lenses on the first Kwanon (Canon) cameras.
  15. thanks for confirming that Robert; I have been trying to remember where I read that and I think it was in Herbert Keppler's "The Nikon Way" from the early 1980's. regards, cb :)
  16. I see by looking at my Zeiss Contessa that Zeiss itself was not entirely consistent with themselves. The Contessa focuses in the Leica/Canon direction.
    Other RFs:
    Yashica Lynx focuses the Leica way.
    Konica S2 focuses the Nikon/Ziess RF way.
  17. Sometimes there is no complete answer to this kind of question. In engineering and product development, an idea will seem to take on a life of its own, disconnected from whatever reason or purpose was at its root.
    If you were to ask the product manager and the engineers at Nikon, you'd likely get entirely different answers.
  18. I have used Nikon 1982-2006 and never got used to the focusing, always felt it was backwards, or at least unnatural to me. I thought it was just me, but maybe not as it is important enough to bring up in the forum.
  19. Nippon Kogaku made the Nikkors on Canon rangefinder 35mm cameras in the 1930's; Canon made there own lenses only after World War 2. 1930's Canon cameras had Nikkors in the 1930's.
  20. IMHO is; it is doesn't mater, if it is natural, ergonomic and comfortable for you. For me it is very comfortable and ergonomic what ever Nikon product I'm using. When you start with a new system, you going to learn, get used to it in the first week or mount, if not, you never going to be, and always going to be clumsy with any camera.
  21. It's obvious Nikon got it wrong in the first place. All other lens in the educated world attached in the same direction as any screw thread, whereas the Nikons go the opposite way. But on reading back, If Canon's had nikon lenses before the 1930's then i wonder if it was something to do with some sort of patent on the bayonet fitting...did they have to redesign it to go the right way!?!
  22. I use Canon and Minolta equipment more than Nikon equipment so it takes a while each time to get used to the Nikkor focusing direction. If I am using a Vivitar 135/2.8 Close Focusing or a Vivitar 135/2.3 Series 1 I will be focusing in the other direction. Focusing the 45/2.8 GN Nikkor C does seem more natural to me.
  23. If you look at it from the back of the camera, which is the natural operating position, then you fit a Nikon lens by turning the lens clockwise. I'm right-handed and this seems perfectly logical to me. The same goes for the focus. You focus in (closer) by turning clockwise as seen from the back of the camera, and out by turning anti-clockwise.
    Anyway, it doesn't really matter unless you chop and change from camera to camera every five minutes - and why would you want to do that? Cameras are tools. You get used to using a tool until it's second nature. So here's another pointless question: why do saws cut on the push stroke when it tends to take the tension out of the blade and buckle it?
  24. Not really worth discussion IMO, unless it's from an historical standpoint. If you don't like the "Nikon Way" get another brand of camera.
  25. Who gives a rats anyway? Its the same as talking about which is better and why of right hand vs left hand drive cars. Its only what you are used to.
  26. "They did it that way because every other camera manufacturer did it wrong."
    Priceless! I was laughing out loud :)
    I totally agree!
  27. Hey Rodeo - that's a great observation. I was fighting with my saw while trying to cut trim for a kitchen cabinet I was installing, and wondering why the saw blade kept "acting up" at times. Now you've explained why. Thanks!
  28. I keep telling my wife, righty tighty lefty loosey. She could adapt well to Nikon, it still confuses me at times simply because the entire rest of the world does it the other way. The wrong way!
  29. Zeiss Contax copy, huh? So we have the germans to thank/blame for this.
    Thanks for your replies, interesting reading for sure.
  30. I have a Canon camera that I used for years, picked up couple Leica R lenses, and then came across a nikkor which was focusing, zooming and changing aperture "the other way". Due to reverse logic, I had to let the nikkor quickly go. When you train you eye - hand coordination, it does not help to get a complete oposite effect. I guess that's why people so seriously defend their way as the better way - we are creatures of habit.

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