Ai/Ai-S to body compatibility question

Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
370
Location
NJ
I've just been smitten with the Nikkor 180/2.8, owing to its seemingly unique "sweet spot" of quality, affordability, and size. There have been several versions of this lens, and I am wondering how much camera I would need to be able to be able to meter with the various vintages.

I'm fairly sure that with my current D40, I'm limited to the AF versions if I want metering (and I do!), please correct me if I am mistaken. I understand that they wouldn't autofocus on my D40, I'm ok with that with the help of a KatzEye focusing screen.

Looking forward, I've been considering a body upgrade to a used D200 or D90 for some of the other features they bring (mmmm, bracketing and AF motor), so I guess my question is, would either of these bodies meter with Ai lenses? Or Ai-S lenses? I'm just trying to build my upgrade plan to be able to take advantage of bargain lenses if possible. Any input would be much appreciated!
 
Joined
Dec 16, 2006
Messages
20,971
Location
South Florida
You can use Ai-Ai-s on all Nikon DLRs, including the D40, but it will only meter in the D200/D300/D700/D3 cameras. It will show an error on the screen of the other models, but it will work. Totally manual, no metering and unknown info in the EXIF for focal distance and aperture. In the D300 and up not only it meters, but you can also set several "non-CPU" lenses in the menu so the info will go int the EXIF.

Beware of pre-AI lenses as they can damage the camera. They can be converted to AIs though.
 
Joined
May 6, 2005
Messages
5,482
Location
NY
You can use Ai-Ai-s on all Nikon DLRs, including the D40, but it will only meter in the D200/D300/D700/D3 cameras. It will show an error on the screen of the other models, but it will work. Totally manual, no metering and unknown info in the EXIF for focal distance and aperture. In the D300 and up not only it meters, but you can also set several "non-CPU" lenses in the menu so the info will go int the EXIF.

Beware of pre-AI lenses as they can damage the camera. They can be converted to AIs though.

Actually on the D40 level of bodies without a focus motor, you can use pre-AI lenses without damaging the camera. Still no metering, of course.
 
Joined
May 20, 2009
Messages
64
Location
California
I own the 180/2.8 AI-S and use it extensively with my D40 for motorsports photos...I haven't tried the AF version of that lens but I do like the handling and feel of the focus ring on the older piece of glass - I have read the original AF 180 had a mediocre manual focus ring, though it was improved in later versions.
 
Joined
May 6, 2005
Messages
5,482
Location
NY
I own the 180/2.8 AI-S and use it extensively with my D40 for motorsports photos...I haven't tried the AF version of that lens but I do like the handling and feel of the focus ring on the older piece of glass - I have read the original AF 180 had a mediocre manual focus ring, though it was improved in later versions.
Yes, the early AF 180's focus ring is very thin. You need skinny fingers. :smile:
It's above the distance scale in the image below.
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

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