D800 with Non-AI Lens "ERR" Problem (Lens works with D7100 | Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5)

Started Aug 19, 2016 | Questions
hleeproductions New Member • Posts: 4
D800 with Non-AI Lens "ERR" Problem (Lens works with D7100 | Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5)

Hi guys,

I just bought my D800 and am disappointed to find that my Nikkor-P Auto 105mm f/2.5 manual lens (Probably made somewhere between 1950-1970) does not work with the D800 - it can mount without snagging anything, but gives the blinking ERR message only after I release the shutter.

This lens has worked perfectly and beautifully on my D7100, with no problems.

Since this is a Pre-AI lens, it does not have any auto capabilities and the "Set to minimum aperture" advice does not apply to this. When using this on my D7100, I merely set my NON-CPU data on the menu, then manually changed the aperture accordingly.

I have inserted Non-CPU data on the D800, changed the focus mode to "M" - I don't know if there is an in-camera functionality that will allow the lens to work - if perhaps Auto-EV or EV-metering is messing with it - Otherwise, if the lens is physically interfering with the shutter, perhaps I can shave off bits of the lens with my grinder - either way, I'm looking for a solution.

I refuse to believe that the D800 will not allow this lens to work - it is a professional camera and I have read that many photographers use Pre-Ai lenses on their digital bodies (D600, D700, D800 and D810).

Much thanks and I hope you guys can help me out

ANSWER:
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Nikon D700 Nikon D7100 Nikon D800
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Bernard Delley Contributing Member • Posts: 909
Re: D800 with Non-AI Lens Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5
1

hleeproductions wrote:

Hi guys,

I just bought my D800 and am disappointed to find that my Nikkor-P Auto 105mm f/2.5 manual lens (Probably made somewhere between 1950-1970) does not work with the D800 - it can mount without snagging anything, but gives the blinking ERR message only after I release the shutter.

This lens has worked perfectly and beautifully on my D7100, with no problems.

Since this is a Pre-AI lens, it does not have any auto capabilities and the "Set to minimum aperture" advice does not apply to this. When using this on my D7100, I merely set my NON-CPU data on the menu, then manually changed the aperture accordingly.

I have inserted Non-CPU data on the D800, changed the focus mode to "M" - I don't know if there is an in-camera functionality that will allow the lens to work - if perhaps Auto-EV or EV-metering is messing with it - Otherwise, if the lens is physically interfering with the shutter, perhaps I can shave off bits of the lens with my grinder - either way, I'm looking for a solution.

I refuse to believe that the D800 will not allow this lens to work - it is a professional camera and I have read that many photographers use Pre-Ai lenses on their digital bodies (D600, D700, D800 and D810).

Much thanks and I hope you guys can help me out

Is the lens AI converted ?  It should be. Otherwise the AI sensor tab of the D800 would be forced. If not converted, look up what exactly to file off  at the aperture ring of the 105mm lens. AI converted lenses of this sort are popular amongst Df users. AI converted must work on D800.

If the lens is not basic AI converted, it is surprising that it works on the D7100.

link AI conversions

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Nikon D850
afoton
afoton Senior Member • Posts: 1,370
Re: D800 with Non-AI Lens "ERR" Problem (Lens works with D7100 | Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5)
1

hleeproductions wrote:

I refuse to believe that the D800 will not allow this lens to work - it is a professional camera and I have read that many photographers use Pre-Ai lenses on their digital bodies (D600, D700, D800 and D810).

Read your manual, and you have to accept that your camera is not compatible with pre-AI-lenses, neighter are the other cameras you mention.

It is an easy task to convert most pre-AI lenses to AI, and that is something you should have done before your broke your camera. 10-15 minutes per lens is all it takes.

too old for this Regular Member • Posts: 365
Try this modification
4

An "Err" message typically indicates an actual mechanical issue. It's possible to cause it if the lens aperture is not indexing correctly on the body.  For instance, an AI-S lens installed without locking the aperture at the minimum aperture will cause this error.

In this particular case, the lens and body use mechanically different indexing systems. Here is a good discussion of the issues on dpreview , and an article with probably the best photos here .

Your camera has a small aperture feeler tab above the lens mount that allows the body to determine the lens aperture. Pre AI lenses were designed with a different system and, when mounted, will interfere with this tab. The rear of the lens aperture control ring will press against this tab, bending it back towards the body and likely damaging the tab.

To allow pre AI lenses to be mounted without causing damage, a relief cut must be created on the rear of the camera aperture ring to provide clearance for the aperture feeler tab. The red line shows the general area of the material to be removed, which varies a bit depending on which lens is being converted.

Complete instructions for the conversion are very well described in this article . It's possible that you have not yet done damage to the camera which will require service, but Don't mount the lens again without performing the conversion.

The Nikon Df has a provision for this tab to pivot back and allow pre AI lenses to be mounted, but no other modern body will permit mounting these lenses without damage.

Nikon at one time offered factory AI modifications for their lenses, but that was long ago. They also sold AI Conversion Kits for different lenses. Your lens would require a Nikon Conversion Kit no. 39 or no. 40, depending on serial number of the 105/f2 you have, but you will almost certainly not be able to locate one as they have been out of production for decades.

A google search will also give the names of several persons who will do the AI conversion for you, although having done it myself a couple of times I can assure you that there's not much to it.

You might be aware that there is somewhat of a debate regarding cutting on these fine old lenses.

BirgerH
BirgerH Senior Member • Posts: 5,693
Re: D800 with Non-AI Lens "ERR" Problem (Lens works with D7100 | Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5)

hleeproductions wrote:

Hi guys,

I just bought my D800 and am disappointed to find that my Nikkor-P Auto 105mm f/2.5 manual lens (Probably made somewhere between 1950-1970) does not work with the D800 - it can mount without snagging anything, but gives the blinking ERR message only after I release the shutter.

This lens has worked perfectly and beautifully on my D7100, with no problems.

Since this is a Pre-AI lens, it does not have any auto capabilities and the "Set to minimum aperture" advice does not apply to this. When using this on my D7100, I merely set my NON-CPU data on the menu, then manually changed the aperture accordingly.

I have inserted Non-CPU data on the D800, changed the focus mode to "M" - I don't know if there is an in-camera functionality that will allow the lens to work - if perhaps Auto-EV or EV-metering is messing with it - Otherwise, if the lens is physically interfering with the shutter, perhaps I can shave off bits of the lens with my grinder - either way, I'm looking for a solution.

I refuse to believe that the D800 will not allow this lens to work - it is a professional camera and I have read that many photographers use Pre-Ai lenses on their digital bodies (D600, D700, D800 and D810).

Much thanks and I hope you guys can help me out

Hi.

The "Err" message has nothing specifically to do with the lens - unless the lens is intruding that much in the camera house, that the mirrors can't function. If you have tried to use the trigger, there's a big possibility, that your focus- and viewfinder mirrors are brought out of calibration - or damaged..

That is one of the reasons, you should never mount a pre (or non) Ai lens to neither the D7100 nor the D800 (which have less room for intruding because of the bigger mirrors) - another is not to damage the "Aperture Indexing Tap"  at about 2 o'clock on the camera mount. That's the most common issue - but will not cause an "Err" blinking message.

BirgerH.

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Nikon D90 Nikon D7000 Nikon D800
OP hleeproductions New Member • Posts: 4
Re: D800 with Non-AI Lens Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5

Bernard Delley wrote:

Is the lens AI converted ? It should be. Otherwise the AI sensor tab of the D800 would be forced. If not converted, look up what exactly to file off at the aperture ring of the 105mm lens. AI converted lenses of this sort are popular amongst Df users. AI converted must work on D800.

If the lens is not basic AI converted, it is surprising that it works on the D7100.

link AI conversions

Hi Bernard Delly,

Thank you for the reply!

I did check out a lot of forums and websites around the Pre-Ai on Digital debate - the answers seem to be mostly centred on "Don't do it" or "You need a chip".

I found this website (below) that is only mechanical (filing away bits of the aperture ring to fit onto the DSLR):

http://www.chr-breitkopf.de/photo/aiconv.en.html

But the crux of the issue, which I haven't found the answer to yet, is whether or not it is a D800 issue (as this lens' aperture ring does protrude, but does not intrude the flange - and this lens works on the D7100).

Despite the "Non CPU Data" entry section in the shooting menu, is the camera model merely opposed to Pre-Ai lenses, in preference of chip-based lenses (e.g. my MICRO NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8, which is an old lens, is still an Ai lens and does have chip communication, even if it has manual focus and aperture).

I haven't yet found an answer to this, as most of the D800s with Pre-Ai lenses use chip-converted ones. I'm going to check if the mechanical filing will help - perhaps there is a necessity of "direct contact" onto the F-mount for it to lock into place.

Planning to file it down over the weekend; I'll update any findings I may discover.

OP hleeproductions New Member • Posts: 4
Re: D800 with Non-AI Lens "ERR" Problem (Lens works with D7100 | Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5)

afoton wrote:

Read your manual, and you have to accept that your camera is not compatible with pre-AI-lenses, neighter are the other cameras you mention.

It is an easy task to convert most pre-AI lenses to AI, and that is something you should have done before your broke your camera. 10-15 minutes per lens is all it takes.

Hi afoton,

I've found some resources for converting pre-Ai lenses.

I have not broken my camera (neither the D7100 nor the D800), as this lens in particular, as opposed to some other pre-Ai lenses do not have as much of an intruding factor onto the mount, and does not intrude with the flange.

My D7100 has excelled in its performance and I have used this lens time and time again, with no mechanical damage or my camera being broken.

Thank you for your input.

OP hleeproductions New Member • Posts: 4
Re: D800 with Non-AI Lens "ERR" Problem (Lens works with D7100 | Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5)

BirgerH wrote:

Hi.

The "Err" message has nothing specifically to do with the lens - unless the lens is intruding that much in the camera house, that the mirrors can't function. If you have tried to use the trigger, there's a big possibility, that your focus- and viewfinder mirrors are brought out of calibration - or damaged..

That is one of the reasons, you should never mount a pre (or non) Ai lens to neither the D7100 nor the D800 (which have less room for intruding because of the bigger mirrors) - another is not to damage the "Aperture Indexing Tap" at about 2 o'clock on the camera mount. That's the most common issue - but will not cause an "Err" blinking message.

BirgerH.

Hi BirgerH,

Thank you for your reply.

I do find the Err message very strange.

I have looked up the 105mm lens in pre-Ai lens conversion tests, and it is noted as a very good lens to convert - there are less intrusive factors on the lens -

I found the Aperture Indexing Tap to be a bit of a strange thing - I had thought perhaps this was it when researching - but considering that my D7100 has the same tap and this lens works on it with no problem is a strange thing. The lens on the D800 doesn't obstruct the tap itself (I have tried moving the tap slowly, carefully, gently with my finger with the lens mounted, and it moves freely under the lens.

I think one of the problems could be, as you mentioned, the mirrors being obstructed (although I have looked again and again at the lens and find it to be unobtrusive) - I am stubbornly stuck to the idea that perhaps it may even be electronic - that the camera is dissatisfied with not having the chip communication that it doesn't recognise the lens on the camera body.

Another possibility is that although the lens mounts and I hear the click, perhaps it is not making enough contact on the mount for the camera to recognise that a lens is mounted (due to the slightly extruding aperture ring which rests atop the aperture indexing tap).

In this case, I have found a website with directions on how to file down the aperture ring to an Ai-lens-type. I will have to try it out to see if it is a mechanical issue or if it may be a Nikon D800 setting that prevents the use of non-chipped lenses.

joeybob Contributing Member • Posts: 627
Re: D800 with Non-AI Lens ? What is wrong with this picture?!!!

Mounting a Pre AI lens to an AI F mount will cause expensive problems (in addition to an ERR message)...., Ugh

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4002043

https://youtu.be/i8y9dlgJZS0

There is a likely chance that you will be sending your D800 in to Nikon for repairs...

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too old for this Regular Member • Posts: 365
Re: Try this modification

Your experience got me interested, so as a matter of curiosity I took a look at how far the tab protrudes from a D800e body.  It's too much trouble to put a mike on it, but in a general sense it appears to be flush with the lens mounting surface.

The attached 28-300 has an offset around the aperture ring that allows it to bypass the tab altogether, which I actually had never had occasion to look at before.

I would suggest that perhaps you might examine the tab on your own D800 and see if it seems to be extending the same distance.  If not, there may be an issue there.

Bernard Delley Contributing Member • Posts: 909
Re: D800 with Non-AI Lens Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5
1

I hope your D800 has not been damaged by the forcing of the sensor tab shown in 'too old for this' image 1.

Chipping is not needed. It only spares manual identification in the camera menu for proper metering when you change between unchipped lenses.

But filing is. My  pre-AI lenses have an aperture ring protruding the bayonet plane. The AI lenses make space for the sensor lever, and have a protruding segment pushing the sensor tab in function of the chosen aperture.

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Nikon D850
Art Jacks Senior Member • Posts: 2,705
Re: D800 with Non-AI Lens ? What is wrong with this picture?!!!
1

I have just modified a very old Nikkor Q 200 f4 following Tim's instructions, it works perfectly on my wife's D800e, now I know it works i will put it on my D810

snellius Contributing Member • Posts: 834
Re: D800 with Non-AI Lens "ERR" Problem (Lens works with D7100 | Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5)

Indicates the camera also Err if you take a picture without a lens? If you make a long exposure time of 2 seconds, comes the Err before or after the 2 seconds? What happens in live view?

Peter Jonas Veteran Member • Posts: 3,291
Re: D800 with Non-AI Lens "ERR" Problem (Lens works with D7100 | Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5)

hleeproductions wrote:

Hi guys,

I just bought my D800 and am disappointed to find that my Nikkor-P Auto 105mm f/2.5 manual lens (Probably made somewhere between 1950-1970) does not work with the D800

Your disappointment should not be unexpected. The D800 was not designed to work with this lens, in fact the manual specifically states that non-AI lenses are not compatible with this camera.

- it can mount without snagging anything, but gives the blinking ERR message only after I release the shutter.

If it mounts on the camera without damaging it is by luck and coincidence.

This lens has worked perfectly and beautifully on my D7100, with no problems.

This lens is not compatible with the D7100 either.

I have inserted Non-CPU data on the D800, changed the focus mode to "M"

You also need to change the exposure mode to "M".  ( With an AI lens "A" mode should also work.) In other modes shutter release will be disabled, and it may well be the reason for the "Err" message.

- I don't know if there is an in-camera functionality that will allow the lens to work - if perhaps Auto-EV or EV-metering is messing with it

Metering is not messing with it. As I said above, your only chance to use this lens is in "M" mode.

- Otherwise, if the lens is physically interfering with the shutter, perhaps I can shave off bits of the lens with my grinder - either way, I'm looking for a solution.

If the lens is not physically interfering with any part of your camera is by luck only.

I refuse to believe that the D800 will not allow this lens to work

It's not a matter of belief. Your camera was not designed to work with this lens. You can keep "messing" with it, you may or may not be able to make it work, but in any event, you'll have to accept responsibility for whatever the outcome is.

- it is a professional camera

Yes, it is a professional camera, but that dos not imply it has to work with an incompatible piece of equipment.

and I have read that many photographers use Pre-Ai lenses on their digital bodies (D600, D700, D800 and D810).

You may be able to make this lens to work with the D800. But in my view, you may have to be a little more careful in the future. I find it difficult to believe that you mounted this lens on your D800, without first checking if it was compatible with it. Luck appears to have been on your side this time.

Much thanks and I hope you guys can help me out

Good luck getting the lens working.

-- hide signature --

Cheers,
Peter Jonas

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Peter Jonas Veteran Member • Posts: 3,291
Re: Is your D800 in manual EXPOSURE mode?

hleeproductions wrote:

I did check out a lot of forums and websites around the Pre-Ai on Digital debate - the answers seem to be mostly centred on "Don't do it" or "You need a chip".

The "Don't do it" camp is very near on the money. If you do do it, you'll need to know very much what you are doing, and based on your post I am not convinced it is that case.

The "You need a chip" camp is plain wrong. If you can make this work has nothing to do with having a chip. (I.e. having a chip will not make ti work, and not having a chip will not prevent you from making it work.).

... is the camera model merely opposed to Pre-Ai lenses, in preference of chip-based lenses

No.

I haven't yet found an answer to this, as most of the D800s with Pre-Ai lenses use chip-converted ones.

The chip conversion will only assist in automatic focal length and maximum aperture recognition, so your EXIF data will be correct without manually setting it up firs.

I'm going to check if the mechanical filing will help - perhaps there is a necessity of "direct contact" onto the F-mount for it to lock into place.

Planning to file it down over the weekend; I'll update any findings I may discover.

The D800's working should not be all that different from those of the D7100 in this regard.

Please make sure you have your camera in manual FOCUS and manual EXPOSURE MODE.

-- hide signature --

Cheers,
Peter Jonas

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BirgerH
BirgerH Senior Member • Posts: 5,693
Re: Try this modification

too old for this wrote:

An "Err" message typically indicates an actual mechanical issue. It's possible to cause it if the lens aperture is not indexing correctly on the body. For instance, an AI-S lens installed without locking the aperture at the minimum aperture will cause this error.

No it will not. Not on any of my cameras, anyway.

On my D90 (which does not have the AI-tap), it will give an [fEE] error if it is a cpu-lens - and a [F--] error if it is a non-cpu lens.

The fEE error means, that the "EE-Servo" tap - which on newer cameras with a missing Ai-tap, is called the "Minimum aperture signaling" tap - is not pressed, and prevents the camera from being triggered.

The F-- error tells you, on the cameras without the Ai-tap, that a lens is not mounted - or that a lens without a cpu is mounted, but is not pressing the EE Servo tap. You are able to trigger the camera, though.

On my cameras with AI-taps (D7000 and D800), a cpu lens will give an [fEE] error, if the setting for command dial is set to "Dial" in stead of "Aperture ring (f9 on the D800) - a non cpu-lens will give you a ["Triangle #"] if the lens is not written to the non-cpu register.

The blinking "Err" indicates (ref - the manual) a camera malfunction - and in all examples, I have heard about, it blocks the shutter or comes up, if the shutter is blocked - like with a stuck mirror.

BirgerH.

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BirgerH
BirgerH Senior Member • Posts: 5,693
Re: D800 with Non-AI Lens "ERR" Problem (Lens works with D7100 | Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5)

hleeproductions wrote:

BirgerH wrote:

Hi.

The "Err" message has nothing specifically to do with the lens - unless the lens is intruding that much in the camera house, that the mirrors can't function. If you have tried to use the trigger, there's a big possibility, that your focus- and viewfinder mirrors are brought out of calibration - or damaged..

That is one of the reasons, you should never mount a pre (or non) Ai lens to neither the D7100 nor the D800 (which have less room for intruding because of the bigger mirrors) - another is not to damage the "Aperture Indexing Tap" at about 2 o'clock on the camera mount. That's the most common issue - but will not cause an "Err" blinking message.

BirgerH.

Hi BirgerH,

Thank you for your reply.

I do find the Err message very strange.

I have looked up the 105mm lens in pre-Ai lens conversion tests, and it is noted as a very good lens to convert - there are less intrusive factors on the lens -

I found the Aperture Indexing Tap to be a bit of a strange thing - I had thought perhaps this was it when researching - but considering that my D7100 has the same tap and this lens works on it with no problem is a strange thing. The lens on the D800 doesn't obstruct the tap itself (I have tried moving the tap slowly, carefully, gently with my finger with the lens mounted, and it moves freely under the lens.

I think one of the problems could be, as you mentioned, the mirrors being obstructed (although I have looked again and again at the lens and find it to be unobtrusive) - I am stubbornly stuck to the idea that perhaps it may even be electronic - that the camera is dissatisfied with not having the chip communication that it doesn't recognise the lens on the camera body.

No - no way.

Are you sure the message is a blinking "Err" - and not a blinking "fEE"?

If it's a "fEE" - you just have to do this:

Go to User Menu - find f9 "Customize command dials" set "Aperture Setting" to "Aperture Ring" - then OK.

EDITED: Sorry - can't be - the lens have no cpu - can't give you an fEE message then. I was a little too slow thinking here

Another possibility is that although the lens mounts and I hear the click, perhaps it is not making enough contact on the mount for the camera to recognise that a lens is mounted (due to the slightly extruding aperture ring which rests atop the aperture indexing tap).

No - if the aperture ring is free of the Ai-tap, as you say, by now - you can't convert it by filing it down - you will need a protruding tap to activate the Ai-tap.

In this case, I have found a website with directions on how to file down the aperture ring to an Ai-lens-type. I will have to try it out to see if it is a mechanical issue or if it may be a Nikon D800 setting that prevents the use of non-chipped lenses.

BirgerH.

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Nikon D90 Nikon D7000 Nikon D800
too old for this Regular Member • Posts: 365
You are absolutely correct. I typed the wrong error code.
1

BirgerH wrote:

too old for this wrote:

An "Err" message typically indicates an actual mechanical issue. It's possible to cause it if the lens aperture is not indexing correctly on the body. For instance, an AI-S lens installed without locking the aperture at the minimum aperture will cause this error.

No it will not. Not on any of my cameras, anyway.

On my D90 (which does not have the AI-tap), it will give an [fEE] error if it is a cpu-lens - and a [F--] error if it is a non-cpu lens.

The fEE error means, that the "EE-Servo" tap - which on newer cameras with a missing Ai-tap, is called the "Minimum aperture signaling" tap - is not pressed, and prevents the camera from being triggered.

The F-- error tells you, on the cameras without the Ai-tap, that a lens is not mounted - or that a lens without a cpu is mounted, but is not pressing the EE Servo tap. You are able to trigger the camera, though.

On my cameras with AI-taps (D7000 and D800), a cpu lens will give an [fEE] error, if the setting for command dial is set to "Dial" in stead of "Aperture ring (f9 on the D800) - a non cpu-lens will give you a ["Triangle #"] if the lens is not written to the non-cpu register.

The blinking "Err" indicates (ref - the manual) a camera malfunction - and in all examples, I have heard about, it blocks the shutter or comes up, if the shutter is blocked - like with a stuck mirror.

BirgerH.

You are absolutely correct. I typed the wrong error code when discussing the aperture tab. Either the Alzheimer's was acting up a bit when I typed that or my typing skills are even worse than I thought

I got off thinking about the AI conversions and completely ignored the error code.

Thanx for correcting my error.

afoton
afoton Senior Member • Posts: 1,370
Re: D800 with Non-AI Lens "ERR" Problem (Lens works with D7100 | Nikkor-P 105mm f/2.5)

hleeproductions wrote:

afoton wrote:

Read your manual, and you have to accept that your camera is not compatible with pre-AI-lenses, neighter are the other cameras you mention.

It is an easy task to convert most pre-AI lenses to AI, and that is something you should have done before your broke your camera. 10-15 minutes per lens is all it takes.

Hi afoton,

I've found some resources for converting pre-Ai lenses.

I have not broken my camera (neither the D7100 nor the D800), as this lens in particular, as opposed to some other pre-Ai lenses do not have as much of an intruding factor onto the mount, and does not intrude with the flange.

My D7100 has excelled in its performance and I have used this lens time and time again, with no mechanical damage or my camera being broken.

Thank you for your input.

Then the Err has nothing to do with the lens. There are no communication from the lens to the camera, the camera don't even know of the existence of the lens, so it has no reason to make any error based on the lens. The error is in the camera.

just Tony Senior Member • Posts: 1,784
Things it is definitely NOT

hleeproductions wrote:

BirgerH wrote:

Hi.

The "Err" message has nothing specifically to do with the lens - unless the lens is intruding that much in the camera house, that the mirrors can't function. If you have tried to use the trigger, there's a big possibility, that your focus- and viewfinder mirrors are brought out of calibration - or damaged..

That is one of the reasons, you should never mount a pre (or non) Ai lens to neither the D7100 nor the D800 (which have less room for intruding because of the bigger mirrors) - another is not to damage the "Aperture Indexing Tap" at about 2 o'clock on the camera mount. That's the most common issue - but will not cause an "Err" blinking message.

BirgerH.

Hi BirgerH,

Thank you for your reply.

I do find the Err message very strange.

I have looked up the 105mm lens in pre-Ai lens conversion tests, and it is noted as a very good lens to convert - there are less intrusive factors on the lens -

I found the Aperture Indexing Tap to be a bit of a strange thing - I had thought perhaps this was it when researching - but considering that my D7100 has the same tap and this lens works on it with no problem is a strange thing. The lens on the D800 doesn't obstruct the tap itself (I have tried moving the tap slowly, carefully, gently with my finger with the lens mounted, and it moves freely under the lens.

I think one of the problems could be, as you mentioned, the mirrors being obstructed (although I have looked again and again at the lens and find it to be unobtrusive) - I am stubbornly stuck to the idea that perhaps it may even be electronic - that the camera is dissatisfied with not having the chip communication that it doesn't recognise the lens on the camera body.

Another possibility is that although the lens mounts and I hear the click, perhaps it is not making enough contact on the mount for the camera to recognise that a lens is mounted (due to the slightly extruding aperture ring which rests atop the aperture indexing tap).

In this case, I have found a website with directions on how to file down the aperture ring to an Ai-lens-type. I will have to try it out to see if it is a mechanical issue or if it may be a Nikon D800 setting that prevents the use of non-chipped lenses.

The D800 absolutely does not require a chip to be installed in an old manual lens. I have used several: two different 85/1.8s, a 24/2.8, a 35/2, a 55/2.8, a 16/3.5, 105/2.5, a 75-150 zoom, a 35-105 zoom, and a 50-135 zoom. Setting the non cpu lens info will enable you full use of manual and aperture priority metering.

You don't even need a lens to be mounted. In manual mode you can fire at will with nothing mounted at all.

You are experiencing some sort of mechanical binding. Since you went ahead and mounted the lens anyway without making it safe by performing the ring modification, it is also possible that you may have already caused some damage to your D800. With no lens mounted you might want to verify that the aperture-following tab is not binding up.

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