Nikon F

35mm SLR system



One of the oldest 35mm full frame SLR systems. Initially, it was a line of manual focus film cameras and lenses, but since 1986 it includes autofocus models, and since 2007 - digital cameras. Unlike Canon, which abandoned the FD mount in favor of a fully electronic autofocus EF mount, Nikon chose not to create a new mount for autofocus lenses, but go along the path of modifying the existing one. However, most Nikkor lenses (both the latest autofocus and older manual focus models) have good compatibility with Nikon full-frame digital SLR cameras.

The lens lineup is extensive and includes both amateur and professional models, allowing you to shoot a very wide range of subjects. It can be divided into seven major series:

  • The non-AI series - first generation of manual focus Nikkor lenses. Can be further subdivided into three types:
    • The A-type - the very first lenses designed for the Nikon F and the Nikkormat FT/FTN. All A-types have a chrome finished filter ring;
    • The C-type - resemble the A-types, but some or all glass elements are multi-coated. All C-types have a black finished filter ring. Introduced from 1967 and remained in production into the early 1970s;
    • The K-type - most of these lenses were fitted with a rubber covered focusing ring, which makes them instantly recognizable from their predecessors. Otherwise their internal construction was the same as the C-types. During 1977, after a relatively short time in production, the K-types were replaced by the AI Nikkors.
  • The AI Nikkor series - created by Nikon in 1977. Feature a new system for coupling the lens to the camera's exposure system. A cam on the lens' aperture ring, known as the Meter Coupling Ridge, indicates the maximum as well as the preset aperture directly to the camera. AI Nikkors provide automatic maximum-aperture indexing (AI) and full-aperture metering, their secondary aperture scale also provides Aperture Direct Reading (ADR);
  • The AI-S Nikkor series - created by Nikon in 1982 when the aperture mechanism of AI lenses was enhanced to feature automatic aperture control. This feature was to be used with cameras such as the FA, FG and F301 and allowed Program or Shutter Priority (FA only) modes to be incorporated into these cameras when used with AI-S lens. The AI-S mechanisms allows the aperture increments of an AI-S lens to be controlled more precisely by the camera than with an AI lens. The orange-colored minimum aperture value marking, and a milled semi-circular notch in the bayonet ring distinguish AI-S lenses;
  • The AF Nikkor series - a line of lenses designed for Nikon 35mm SLR cameras having an autofocus motor. There is no AF-drive motor built into the lens, the lens autofocus system is driven from a motor within the camera body via an AF-coupling. Internally the lenses are fitted with a CPU to communicate specific lens data to the camera's autofocus drive and exposure metering systems, via a set of electrical contact pins located around the rear edge of the lens mount;
  • The AF-I Nikkor series - a small line of professional super telephoto lenses designed for Nikon 35mm film SLR cameras. These were the first Nikkor lenses to have a D/C coreless focus drive motor built into the lens rather than the body which enabled faster autofocusing;
  • The AF-S Nikkor series - a line of lenses designed for Nikon SLR cameras and equipped with Silent Wave Motor (SWM) which enables high-speed and super quiet autofocusing. The AF-S motors are both smaller and quicker than the earlier AF-I coreless motors allowing for physically smaller lenses to be designed;
  • The AF-P Nikkor series - a line of lenses designed for Nikon digital SLR cameras and equipped with stepping motor to focus quickly and quietly making this type of lens ideal for shooting movies as well as still images.

Nikon also produced Series E lenses, a line of compact, lightweight and low-cost lenses designed and built expressly for use with Nikon AI-system cameras and available in the most popular focal lengths. Lighter weights were achieved through the extensive use of plastic, while prices were reduced by minimizing the number of lens elements required for optical components and using less expensive glass materials.

Camera list

35mm film SLR cameras with the Nikon F mount (46):

35mm digital SLR cameras with the Nikon F mount (17):

Nikon F mount lens list

Teleconverter list

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