Ai or ai-s lenses on z

Started 3 months ago | Discussions
Montanawildlives Senior Member • Posts: 1,219
Ai or ai-s lenses on z

I am looking for suggestions on which Ai or Ai-s Nikon lenses can stand up admirably on the new the full frame bodies, let’s just stick with the 24 megapixel versions.

I know the new Z lenses are in a league of their own but I am wondering if there are some of these Manual focus, cheaper lenses that can at least not embarrass themselves

I guess I would mostly be interested in wide angle but really anything up to maybe 105 mm or 135 mm.

Thanks!

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beatboxa Veteran Member • Posts: 7,435
Re: Ai or ai-s lenses on z
1

Montanawildlives wrote:

I am looking for suggestions on which Ai or Ai-s Nikon lenses can stand up admirably on the new the full frame bodies, let’s just stick with the 24 megapixel versions.

I know the new Z lenses are in a league of their own but I am wondering if there are some of these Manual focus, cheaper lenses that can at least not embarrass themselves

I guess I would mostly be interested in wide angle but really anything up to maybe 105 mm or 135 mm.

Thanks!

Pretty much every lens is fine. If you have specific lenses you're thinking about, please list them.

Caveats: the lenses won't work in shutter priority mode. But frankly, who cares? Set your own aperture, set your own shutter speed, and use auto-ISO. Problem solved. They also won't record EXIF settings for the aperture, and they'll require you setting the focal length for IBIS to work. It's no big deal at all.

Keep in mind that in general, older lenses were designed to be sharpest when stopped down 2-3 stops (but they still work fine wide open).

Interestingly, they work even better on Z cameras than F cameras due to the focusing aids. Older lenses are prettt finnicky--if focus is even slightly off, they suddenly lose sharpness. But the Z's help them get dead on accuracy, making them good.

So my 2 cents: list some lenses or use cases & budgets you're interested in.

Also, why stop at F lenses? Pretty much any manual lens will work. For wide angles in particular, check out Voigtlanders for Leica.

As for myself, I have a few manual lenses. A few 50's, 105 F/2 DC, Voigtlander 40/2 and 58/1.4. Great lenses, and a pleasure to use on the Z6. And better results on my Z6 than on any other camera I've ever owned.

michaeladawson Forum Pro • Posts: 14,777
Re: Ai or ai-s lenses on z
4

The EXIF issue for aperture is a deal killer for me.  The FTZ really should have had an index tab.

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Mike Dawson

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beatboxa Veteran Member • Posts: 7,435
Re: Ai or ai-s lenses on z
3

michaeladawson wrote:

The EXIF issue for aperture is a deal killer for me. The FTZ really should have had an index tab.

Not for me. I'm glad I didn't have to pay extra for it, and that it allows my camera to be compatible with even pre-AI lenses (which adding a tab would have broken, unless it was the unique DF-style retractable tab, which would cost even more).

Maybe Nikon will eventually make a more retro (meaning also less retro) adapter; but for now, it is what it is.

Dennis Bayer Contributing Member • Posts: 685
Re: Ai or ai-s lenses on z
1

If exif is not recorded, why get this instead of a $20 dumb adspter?

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beatboxa Veteran Member • Posts: 7,435
Re: Ai or ai-s lenses on z

michaeladawson wrote:

The EXIF issue for aperture is a deal killer for me. The FTZ really should have had an index tab.

This is a good point, and I can think of no reason, unless one also wants AF-S and AI-P compatibility in a single adapter.

For me, my manual focus Voigtlanders are AI-P, they get EXIF and no manual input of focal lengths. My AI-S lenses are the only "full manual" Nikon lenses that are limited by those caveats.

Personally, I love AI-P, and my Voigtlanders in particular.  If I were in the market for more manual lenses, I'd start with these.

michaeladawson Forum Pro • Posts: 14,777
Re: Ai or ai-s lenses on z
1

Dennis Bayer wrote:

If exif is not recorded, why get this instead of a $20 dumb adspter?

Absolutely correct.  If one is only going to adapt manual, non-CPU lenses then the FTZ is a waste of money.

Personally, I won’t be buying any of these lenses for my Z.  No aperture in EXIF?  No buy.

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Mike Dawson

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cosmicnode Veteran Member • Posts: 5,641
Re: Ai or ai-s lenses on z

Montanawildlives wrote:

I am looking for suggestions on which Ai or Ai-s Nikon lenses can stand up admirably on the new the full frame bodies, let’s just stick with the 24 megapixel versions.

I know the new Z lenses are in a league of their own but I am wondering if there are some of these Manual focus, cheaper lenses that can at least not embarrass themselves

I guess I would mostly be interested in wide angle but really anything up to maybe 105 mm or 135 mm.

Thanks!

With Ai and AIs lenses you basically need to re learn how to set exposures in your camera, Matrix metering no longer functions, you find unless you set exposure for the parts of the image that are most important, you will find a lot of over or underexposed images. this certainly slows down the taking of images,

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Patco Forum Pro • Posts: 14,981
Re: Ai or ai-s lenses on z
2

beatboxa wrote:

michaeladawson wrote:

The EXIF issue for aperture is a deal killer for me. The FTZ really should have had an index tab.

Not for me. I'm glad I didn't have to pay extra for it, and that it allows my camera to be compatible with even pre-AI lenses (which adding a tab would have broken, unless it was the unique DF-style retractable tab, which would cost even more).

Maybe Nikon will eventually make a more retro (meaning also less retro) adapter; but for now, it is what it is.

Yes, the retractable tab of the DF appears to be unique as far as digital cameras are concerned, but a number of film models had this feature.

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Patco
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Kevin Bourdeaux Forum Member • Posts: 51
Re: Ai or ai-s lenses on z
1

I am very pleased with the:

28mm 2.8 AIS

85mm 1.4 AIS

180mm 2.8 AIS

They are amazing optically, and (if you're lucky to find a like-new lens) they have a very smooth (and kind of dampened) focus ring. Great for video too.

Richard B99 Senior Member • Posts: 2,986
Re: Ai or ai-s lenses on z
3

michaeladawson wrote:

Dennis Bayer wrote:

If exif is not recorded, why get this instead of a $20 dumb adspter?

Absolutely correct. If one is only going to adapt manual, non-CPU lenses then the FTZ is a waste of money.

Personally, I won’t be buying any of these lenses for my Z. No aperture in EXIF? No buy.

I don’t remember those old lenses ever supplying EXIF information on the (film) cameras that they were originally built for either.  Didn’t seem to make any difference to the images either back then or, for that matter, now.

cosmicnode Veteran Member • Posts: 5,641
Re: Ai or ai-s lenses on z

Richard B99 wrote:

michaeladawson wrote:

Dennis Bayer wrote:

If exif is not recorded, why get this instead of a $20 dumb adspter?

Absolutely correct. If one is only going to adapt manual, non-CPU lenses then the FTZ is a waste of money.

Personally, I won’t be buying any of these lenses for my Z. No aperture in EXIF? No buy.

I don’t remember those old lenses ever supplying EXIF information on the (film) cameras that they were originally built for either. Didn’t seem to make any difference to the images either back then or, for that matter, now.

You can get them chipped to supply lens information to the camera, I'm not sure if it gives the aperture as it is adjusted. There is a 500mm f4 "P" manual focus Nikon lens that is standard with the contact's and allows for matrix metering.

500mm f4.0P lens

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rich_cx139 Senior Member • Posts: 1,325
Re: Ai or ai-s lenses on z
4

Montanawildlives wrote:

I am looking for suggestions on which Ai or Ai-s Nikon lenses can stand up admirably on the new the full frame bodies, let’s just stick with the 24 megapixel versions.

I know the new Z lenses are in a league of their own but I am wondering if there are some of these Manual focus, cheaper lenses that can at least not embarrass themselves

I guess I would mostly be interested in wide angle but really anything up to maybe 105 mm or 135 mm.

Thanks!

Loads of them:

Use some ai/ai-s myself on a Z6 - generally very good if stopped down a bit.

Off the top of my head:

2.8/28 ai-s CRC is very good especially closer in. ( ai version not quite as good )

2.8/24 ai-s CRC  also good

Haven't tried the 3.5/20 or 2.8/20's - don't expect sharp corners.

the 1.2/50 ai-s still nominally in production - very soft wide open and you can read about its 'character' It is the sharpest of all the old style SLR double Gauss / 'planar' type at f2 to about f16.

the 1.8 and 2.5 105 's ai/ai-s are worth looking at - they have a long following for legacy glass

longer: 2.8/135 ai-s ( cheap ) and particularly the 4/200 ai which is cheap and nearly an apo lens.

No exif etc not an issue for me - I take in manual and set ap and shutter. Sometimes use auto iso.

IBIS I find really useful sometimes.

On adapters, FTZ or dumb: you are probably going to be OK if you use a cheapo dumb adapters but it just depends on how short they are from spec. The lenses with floating elements like the 2.8/28 ai-s in theory need a accurately tolerances adapter like a Novoflex but I haven't had any probs with K&F on other bodies ( I just use an FTZ on Z6 ). For some reason some of my C/Y zooms are more sensitive and need a Novoflex rather than a cheapo on Z6. Novoflex ai-Z are near the same price as a used FTZ BTW.

Dennis Bayer Contributing Member • Posts: 685
Re: Ai or ai-s lenses on z
5

Richard B99 wrote:

michaeladawson wrote:

Dennis Bayer wrote:

If exif is not recorded, why get this instead of a $20 dumb adspter?

Absolutely correct. If one is only going to adapt manual, non-CPU lenses then the FTZ is a waste of money.

Personally, I won’t be buying any of these lenses for my Z. No aperture in EXIF? No buy.

I don’t remember those old lenses ever supplying EXIF information on the (film) cameras that they were originally built for either. Didn’t seem to make any difference to the images either back then or, for that matter, now.

That's correct.  You had to make notes during a shoot, jotting down shutter speeds and f stops. It was a pain in the butt!  You also had to change rolls of film every 36 shots (in most cases).  Now people are unhappy if they have to change a battery every few hundred shots.

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pforsell
pforsell Veteran Member • Posts: 3,834
Re: Ai or ai-s lenses on z

Montanawildlives wrote:

I am looking for suggestions on which Ai or Ai-s Nikon lenses can stand up admirably on the new the full frame bodies, let’s just stick with the 24 megapixel versions.

I know the new Z lenses are in a league of their own but I am wondering if there are some of these Manual focus, cheaper lenses that can at least not embarrass themselves

I guess I would mostly be interested in wide angle but really anything up to maybe 105 mm or 135 mm.

Thanks!

All will work just fine. AI lenses are generally built better, less plastic and glue and more brass and screws. Most AI lenses have the same coatings as AI-S and many have identical optical formula. Better to study them individually before committing.

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Oldwino Regular Member • Posts: 295
Re: Ai or ai-s lenses on z
2

20/2.8 AI-S is excellent. I use ultra wides so infrequently that I see no need for the new 20/1.8S. I think this lens + adaptor is even shorter and lighter than the new Z lens.

28/2 AI very good, especially close in

35/2.8 AI is solid

55/2.8 Micro is very sharp and lightweight

55/1.2 AI is pretty amazing, if you are looking for what it does.

105/2.5 AI is...classic

Between these older Nikkors and my old Leitz lenses, I hardly use the S lenses I have!

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Richard B99 Senior Member • Posts: 2,986
Re: Ai or ai-s lenses on z

Dennis Bayer wrote:

Richard B99 wrote:

michaeladawson wrote:

Dennis Bayer wrote:

If exif is not recorded, why get this instead of a $20 dumb adspter?

Absolutely correct. If one is only going to adapt manual, non-CPU lenses then the FTZ is a waste of money.

Personally, I won’t be buying any of these lenses for my Z. No aperture in EXIF? No buy.

I don’t remember those old lenses ever supplying EXIF information on the (film) cameras that they were originally built for either. Didn’t seem to make any difference to the images either back then or, for that matter, now.

That's correct. You had to make notes during a shoot, jotting down shutter speeds and f stops. It was a pain in the butt! You also had to change rolls of film every 36 shots (in most cases). Now people are unhappy if they have to change a battery every few hundred shots.

Indeed, I remember it well.  Nowadays, I prefer the digital approach but if I go back to old gear, I’m going to accept it limitations and all

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