Using a manual focus lens - questions

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by SquarePeg, Mar 11, 2016.

  1. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg hear me roar Staff Member Supporting Member

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    What do I need to know about using an older manual focus lens (shooting with a 7100)? Other than the obvious of not having AF, are there other drawbacks that I need to know about? Can aperture be adjusted using my camera the same as with a AF lens?

    Thinking specifically about buying a used 105mm f/2.5 macro lens. What are the other significant differences between the older MF version and the newer AF version? Don't want to spend the $ for the newer AF version if I don't need to since I'll mostly be using Live View to manually focus on stationary objects. Any personal feedback on this lens?

    There's one at my local photo store in very decent shape for $145 - good deal? Seems in line with used pricing from the online stores...


     
  2. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    some of the those AI and AI-S lenses, IIRC, won't meter on low-end bodies.

    I'd look into that and make sure that's not going to be an issue, but I don't think you'll have problems with the D7100.
     
  3. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg hear me roar Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Good to know, thanks. I'll be sure to test the metering at the store before I buy it.


    A bit related to my original question - can someone point me toward a resource or explain the different Nikon mount designations? AI? AIS? etc...
     
  4. Solarflare

    Solarflare No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The D7100 can work with AI/AI-S lenses.

    The D7100 can NOT work with pre-AI lenses. THEY WILL DESTROY YOUR CAMERA !! Namely the "feeler" on your lens mount that checks for the AI markings. Thus to use pre-AI lenses on the D7100, you will need to have them AI'ed. Only the D3x00 and D5x00 bodies as well as the Df can mount these lenses directly; the D3x00 and D5x00 because they lack the AI-detection hardware and the Df because it can be flipped aside to work with pre-AI.

    About manual focus, well, thats hard enough on full frame DSLRs, I'm not too optimistic on trying it with an APS-C DSLR. The advantage though is that the lens will have a (simple) focus confirmation display if you're on focus or not, as long as you choose the AF points appropiately.

    I am currently using a AI/AI-S lens (more specifically a Zeiss ZF) on my D750. Its very fun because the lens is excellent, but manual focus really isnt too trivial.
     
  5. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg hear me roar Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the lens mount info.

    Re using manual focus - as I said, I'll mostly be using this with a tripod for macro type pics (of flowers) so I'll be primarily using live view to focus. I'm sure I will at some point want to try it out for a portrait without a tripod so I may try an experiment this weekend and use MF only with my 50mm prime just to see how I do.
     
  6. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Originally, Nikon made their F-mount lenses with a solid ring around the mount. Note how the black portion of the barrel in the lower right extends past the silver part of the lens mount... it's a solid ring all the way around the lens.

    [​IMG]


    When they created the Ai system (Automatic Indexing), they needed a way for the lens to 'tell' the camera what the maximum aperture is on the lens. This was done by removing most of that ring, and leaving the end in a position that was related to the lens' maximum aperture.

    [​IMG]


    They added a ring around the camera's lens mount to 'receive' this raised portion of the lens. Take a look at your camera, with the lens removed, and you'll see it at about the 1:30 position. You can take your finger and gently move it.

    [​IMG]


    The Ai lens 'keys' this ring, and how much it moves 'tells' the camera the maximum aperture of the lens.

    [​IMG]

    Todays' current crop of G lenses do not have this ridge or key. They communicate their specs electronically through the contacts inside the lens mount of the camera and the little 'BB's' or 'ball bearings' on the lens.

    A pre-Ai lens, not having this notch in the mount, will push in on the tab on the camera before you can insert the lens far enough to turn it to mount it. Here's, I've taken my pre-Ai 28mm Nikkor and just set it on the camera, not applying enough pressure to damage the ring on the camera.

    [​IMG]

    This is what will be damaged by forcing a pre-Ai lens onto a modern camera.... the Ai ring around the camera's mount. Some DSLR bodies do not have the indexing ring, so they can accept pre-Ai lenses without damage.
     
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  7. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg hear me roar Staff Member Supporting Member

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  8. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg hear me roar Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I was just looking again at the specs and a difference I see is that the older MF version has a closest focus distance of 1 meter and the newer AF version has that at 1 foot. When I use my Sigma 17-70 for "macro" type shots, I can get right in close using manual focus - practically touching the object I'm focusing on... does this mean I will not be able to achieve manual focus with the 105 MF unless I'm 3 feet away?
     
  9. Dave442

    Dave442 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    With macro I always do manual focus and for still objects I take shots at a number of very slightly different distance settings. Then I either pick my preference in post or focus-stack some of the images.
    When I used film and macro and had better eyesight I would spend a lot more time getting focus for one shot.

    I may do a few shots with a small aperture and then do some with an optimum aperture.

    The focus indicator on my camera doesn't help much as the point I want to focus on often does not have a focus point over it. The D7100 is a bit better with this, having more points.
     
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  10. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think there's a little confusion here.

    The 105/f2.5 is not a macro lens and close focusses to 1m. This lens was unchanged in basic design from 1971 up to 2005 and was never released as an AF lens.
    The 105/f2.8 is macro and released as an AiS version. This is not the same design as the 105/2.8 AF.

    The older MF Micro-Nikkors generally gave 1:2 and need an extension ring to achieve 1:1
     
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  11. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg hear me roar Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Ok, that changes everything, thanks for clarifying! I saw the used 105 at my local store the other day and thought the only difference was MF vs. AF. Glad I did some TPF research before buying as I don't think I want it if it will be used primarily for macro and it's not a macro lens. I'll have to wait until I find a used macro that I can afford.
     
  12. Bebulamar

    Bebulamar No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yup! The older manual focus lens has the helicoid that move the lens out quite far still it's only 1:2. You have to put an extension tube to get 1:1. With that disadvantage it has the advantage of not having focus breathing like the AF version.
     

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