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Confusion, what is MF, AI, AIS, Serie E????

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by misupix, Nov 9, 2005.

  1. I need a little clarification.....

    With the D200 on the horizont, my dearest wish came true: metering with non-AF Lenses! :biggrin: :biggrin:

    But all I know about (from 2 years reading DPR Lensforum) are mostly the AF-Generation Lenses

    Now I'm in the market for some MF-gems (50mm 1.2 for really low light, 35 1.4 for walk around, maybe some 300 or 500 Tele....) and some bellows, hopefully before everyone else :wink: .

    But I'm still a little confused:
    What are the differences (using and metering) between AI, AIS, non AI, MF, Series E?
    Something about handling the aperture

    Maybe someone can enlighten me, or prevent a link to some explanation?

    I'm sure I'm not the only one in need of a Nikon-Lens-History-Lesson!

    Every Help is much appreciated!
  2. AI- Aperture Indexing: introduced in 1977. Look at an lens you have with an aperture ring, AF or not. It'll be an AI lens. They have ridges cut at the back of the aperture ring to communicate aperture setting for exposure metering done wide open so you can focus etc. without stop-down metering. A smaller ridge near the bottom of the ring communicates minimum aperture for some cameras- mainly this applies on AF lenses but its there on my 50/1.4 AIS.
    AIS- minor improvements, many are identical to their AI counterparts with a minor exception or two. AIS makes the aperture movement more linear or something like that, and adds a tab or two at the back that only matter on a handful of cameras for extra info sans CPU.
    non AI- 1959-1977, these lenses had no notches in the aperture ring and can damage AI cameras. Some of the older AI cameras (ex. F3) have a way to flip up the AI tab so it does not get damaged: this is not hte case for DSLRs. Many of these were 'ai-d' in the 70s/80s. Nikon did some of the conversions by straight up replacing the aperture ring with a new one. Non AI lenses can be dfferentiated because a) their 'rabbit ears' (the connector on all AI AIS and NAI lenses to communicate aperture to the F/F2 etc.) do not feature the little D-shaped slots on each prong. They also lack an 'aperture direct readout scale'. I believe AI'd lenses may also pose a danger to some cameras if they were not converted by replacement of aperture ring.
    Series E- Series of economical lenses, not terrible either... did not bear the Nikkor name. 28/2.8 35/2.5 50/1.8 and i think 100/2.8. AIS technically.
  3. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    You are entirely correct in this suspicion. AI'd lenses may damage cameras such as D50/D70/D100 or similar if the rear flange of the aperture collar isn't cut away properly. If such a lens is put on any of these cameras and you feel an increasing resistance while mounting the lens, don't press on, get out your Dremel instead and remove material from the offending skirt on the lens. Otherwise, you might see a substantial repair bill for the camera :mad: 
  4. Thanks a lot!

    Wow, that was fast!

    Thanks very much, Chris, Harrison and Bjørn! The fog is lifted now! :biggrin:

    Currently I'm looking at a 35 f1.4 AI on eBay ending today. It has slight usage but perfect glass, I wonder what would be a good price for it? Any idea? :confused: 
  5. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  6. Hi Michael!

    I got mine at ebay (US) for 200 $, and a 28/2 at ebay.de for 280 EURO, just to name my MF lenses. My 35/1.4 looks a bit worn outside, but the glass is o.k.
    Does it come with a proper lens hood, if not, look for team-foto.de (I hope that's correct), they usually have them in store, even when not offered on ebay.

  7. I have been looking at prices for several lenses for some time now many on Ebay and other places. I would say that under $300 right now for a 35mm 1.4 AI or AIS is a good price, thay have been going up quite a lot during the last year. I often see prices over USD $325

    (No I dont have one, and yes I'm carefully looking for the right one :) 

    I have a feeling because of the D200 that older lenses will go up, everyone is looking for a bargain. I suggest reading Bjorns pages to get a good grip of what is good and bad.

    My personal suggestions:

    28mm F2
    45mm F2.8 P
    50mm F1.8 (very sharp, very cheap!)
    100mm F2.8 series E, (OK so not as good as the others but really small and can be had for almost nothing. Great travel lens)
    105mm F1.8 (Incredible bokeh and sharpness)

  8. patrickh


    May 4, 2005
    Thousand Oaks
    Very perceptive list from Andreas - I might add the following as options:
    55/2.8 micro
    200/4 micro

    All in the AI/AIS format. Prices are bound to soar with the advent of the d200 - we saw an increase with the D50 opening the market up to more economy conscious buyers.

    Andreas - I find the 100/2.8E is actually quite amazing value. And it looks like a 50 it's so small.
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