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Cameras, Lenses and Accessories: Discuss Old F-mount lens...Is there any way I could use an old F-mount lens (1970's) with a modern DSLR? Some kind of adapter ...
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Old 28-12-2011, 04:29   #1 (permalink)
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Old F-mount lens

Is there any way I could use an old F-mount lens (1970's) with a modern DSLR? Some kind of adapter or something of the likes. Thank you.
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Old 28-12-2011, 08:40   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Old F-mount lens

It depends if the lens is Ai (pre 1977) or not or Ai converted.

You can get the lens converted to an Ai (Automatic Indexing) lens that were made by Nikon from about 1977. Once it is adapted you can attach it to any modern DSLR, but whether you can use it with full metering will depend upon your DSLR.

Fixation in London will convert it for you by skimming off parts of the aperture ring.

A very friendly chap in Bransgore on the Christchurch edge of the New Forest bought all the old stock of Nikon (UK) Ai aperture rings and still has some available. He charges a reasonable price and you get a real conversion (+the old aperture ring back should you want to sell the lens to a collector ). Contact details:

AZTECH SERVICES
The Workshop
Oakwood
Ringwood Road
Bransgore
Christchurch
Dorset
BH23 8AA
United Kingdom

Tel: (+44/0) 1425 674004

If these addresses do not suite then there others in the USA.
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Old 29-02-2012, 04:39   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Old F-mount lens

Could I attach this lens safely to a D3100? Since it's an entry level dslr it won't do much with it, but what i would like to know if is it is possible to mount it on the camera without damaging anything.

http://img850.imageshack.us/img850/8255/lensc.jpg
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Old 29-02-2012, 10:35   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Old F-mount lens

Judging from the photo the lens is an Ai / Ai converted lens (has the indexing ring fitted) made in the early 1970's if Nikon/Nikkor lens (5 cross head screws in the mount). The photomic head indexing fork has also been removed which suggests that the lens was never used with a photomic head, giving another clue that the lens is Ai compatible. The fork was a mechanical indexing system for photomic (Ftn) heads (metering prisms). Ai stands for automatic indexing which allowed lenses to be mounted directly without having to engage the older mechanical system.

It does not look like a Nikon lens. The screws are too small and the light guard is screw mounted on the camera side. Nikon mount the guard with screws from the side usually. WARNING: as I think it is a non-Nikon lens the guard could contact the CPU connectors in the mirror box. Nikon lenses do not touch the contacts except on lenses identified by Nikon as not suitable. 3rd party lenses do not give this information.

Follow the instructions and information in the manual for mounting Ai lenses. e.g. you will not have metering and you will have to focus manually, using the electronic blip indicator if necessary. The reason you will have no metering is that there is no Ai facility on your camera and the camera needs this to know what the aperture setting is on the lens. Otherwise the camera will best guess and this might just be enough to get away with.

Make sure everything is clinically clean before you mount the lens to avoid getting dust in the mirror chamber, otherwise you will suffer from sensor 'dust bunnies'. Also make sure you mount the lens full square to the camera to avoid touching the CPU contacts at the top of the mirror chamber. Do not force anything. If in doubt leave the lens off.
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:00   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Old F-mount lens

Yes, it's a Vivitar lens. And I mounted it to the camera quite easily, so no complications there. I tried it and aside from the metering, it worked great. I only used it for a few minutes, but no problems whatsoever. Given the results, is it safe to keep using the lens? Thank you for your very thorough answer.
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:14   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Old F-mount lens

If you have fitted it once successfully then you should be able to use it any time in the future, with the caveat that you need to be much more vigilant with older lenses to avoid dust ingress into the mirror chamber, especially if the lens has been lying around for a while.

I was wrong about having to use Ai lenses on the D3100 as there is no Ai capability on the D3100 so any lens can be mounted as long at does not touch the CPU contacts.

There is however, a button just outside the lens mount next to the screw at about 8 o'clock when facing the front of the camera. I could not find a reason for this except that it sits exactly under a 4mm wide raised block on the back of an aperture indexing ring of an Ai lens when set to minimum aperture (max f/stop number). CPU lenses that have an aperture ring have to be set at minimum aperture to allow the camera to set the aperture. I'm pretty sure it will not work on non-CPU lenses.
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