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Nikon lens releases

Nikon released its first autofocus lenses back in 1986 and quickly build up one of the most comprehensive camera lens systems available. AF-Nikkors cover all the main focal length and serve a variety of specialty applications. At the same time, Nikon's lens catalog caters equally to the budget-conscious casual shooter and the professional photographer. The company continues to develop its lens offerings and updates existing optics on a regular basis. Unlike some other camera manufacturers, Nikon does not publish a roadmap of upcoming lens releases, but based on industry news and rumors, we can expect a number of new DSLR lenses for the Nikon mount over the coming months.

Nikkor
The Nikkor system

So what is in the pipeline or rumored in terms of lens releases? Given that the Nikkor lens catalog is rather complete, the focus of Nikon has been on updating and modernizing existing lenses. Focusing motors that are fast and provide smooth and quiet AF for video applications, more effective optical image stabilization, and better lens coatings to reduce flare have thereby been at the forefront of the innovations. Some recent lenses have, however, also seen a fundamental re-design of their optical formulas or are, indeed, entirely new optics. The timeline below acts as a roadmap of recent and upcoming lens launches, and the subsequent table-listing makes it possible to compare the headline specifications of the new optics with existing lenses in the Nikon lineup.

New Lenses for Nikon F

Aug 2018

Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2

tamron 15 30mm 28 vc usd g2
  • Wide-angle Zoom for Full Frame
  • USD autofocus
  • Aperture range: f/2.8 - 22
  • Aperture blades: 9, rounded
  • Construction: 18 elements in 13 groups
  • Filters: none
  • Dimensions: 145 x 98 mm (5.9 x 4.0")
  • Weight: 1,110 g (39.2 oz)
  • Launch Price: $1,299
  • Street Price: check offers at Amazon
Aug 2018

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD

tamron 17 35mm 28 40 osd
  • Wide-angle Zoom for Full Frame
  • Autofocus operation
  • Aperture range: f/2.8 - 16 / 22
  • Aperture blades: 7, rounded
  • Construction: 15 elements in 10 groups
  • Filter size: 77
  • Dimensions: 93 x 84 mm (3.8 x 3.4")
  • Weight: 460 g (16.2 oz)
  • Launch Price: $599
  • Street Price: check offers at Amazon
Jun 2018

Nikon AF-S 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR

nikon afs 500mm 56 pf ed vr
  • Tele-photo Prime for Full Frame
  • AFS autofocus
  • Aperture range: f/5.6 - 32
  • Aperture blades: 9, rounded
  • Construction: 19 elements in 11 groups
  • Filter size: 95
  • Dimensions: 237 x 106 mm (9.7 x 4.3")
  • Weight: 1,460 g (51.5 oz)
  • Launch Price: $3,599
  • Street Price: check offers at Amazon
Apr 2018

Venus Optics Laowa 25mm f/2.8 Ultra Macro

venus laowa 25mm 28
  • Macro Prime for Full Frame
  • Manual focus operation
  • Aperture range: f/2.8 - 16
  • Aperture blades: 8
  • Construction: 8 elements in 6 groups
  • Filters: none
  • Dimensions: 65 x 82 mm (2.7 x 3.3")
  • Weight: 400 g (14.1 oz)
  • Launch Price: $399
  • Street Price: check offers at Amazon
Apr 2018

Venus Optics Laowa 100mm f/2.8 Ultra-Macro

venus laowa 100mm 28 macro
  • Macro Prime for Full Frame
  • Manual focus operation
  • Aperture range: f/2.8 -
  • Aperture blades: 7
  • Construction: 12 elements in 10 groups
  • Filter size: 67
  • Dimensions: 125 x 72 mm (5.1 x 2.9")
  • Weight: 638 g (22.5 oz)
  • Launch Price: $449
  • Street Price: check offers at Amazon
Feb 2018

Tokina Opera 50mm f/1.4

tokina opera 50mm 14
  • Standard Prime for Full Frame
  • Autofocus operation
  • Aperture range: f/1.4 - 16
  • Aperture blades: 9, rounded
  • Construction: 15 elements in 9 groups
  • Filter size: 72
  • Dimensions: 108 x 80 mm (4.4 x 3.3")
  • Weight: 950 g (33.5 oz)
  • Launch Price: $949
  • Street Price: check offers at Amazon
Feb 2018

Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

sigma 105mm 14
  • Tele-photo Prime for Full Frame
  • Autofocus operation
  • Aperture range: f/1.4 - 16
  • Aperture blades: 9, rounded
  • Construction: 17 elements in 12 groups
  • Filter size: 105
  • Dimensions: 132 x 116 mm (5.4 x 4.7")
  • Weight: 1,645 g (58.0 oz)
  • Launch Price: $1,599
  • Street Price: check offers at Amazon
Feb 2018

Sigma 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro Art

sigma 70mm 28 art
  • Macro Prime for Full Frame
  • Autofocus operation
  • Aperture range: f/2.8 - 22
  • Aperture blades: 9, rounded
  • Construction: 13 elements in 10 groups
  • Filter size: 49
  • Dimensions: 106 x 71 mm (4.3 x 2.9")
  • Weight: 515 g (18.2 oz)
  • Launch Price: $569
  • Street Price: check offers at Amazon
Feb 2018

Tamron 70-210mm f/4 Di VC USD

tamron 70 210mm 40 vc usd
  • Tele-photo Zoom for Full Frame
  • USD autofocus
  • Aperture range: f/4 - 32
  • Aperture blades: 9
  • Construction: 20 elements in 14 groups
  • Filter size: 67
  • Dimensions: 175 x 76 mm (7.1 x 3.1")
  • Weight: 859 g (30.3 oz)
  • Launch Price: $799
  • Street Price: check offers at Amazon

Nikon F-mount autofocus lenses

The table below provides a listing of Nikon FX and DX lenses with their main specifications and prices at the time of their launch. The list covers Nikon's current lens catalog, as well as discontinued optics. The listed prices are not adjusted for inflation, so that older lenses might appear relatively cheap in nominal terms and might have been subject to subsequent price increases.

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Nikon DSLR Lenses
#  Lens
Designation
Focus
System
(type)
Filter
Type
(size)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Lens
Dimensions
(dia x len)
Lens
Weight
(net)
Product
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
1
 
Nikon AF-S Fisheye 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E EDAFSnn78 x 83 mm485 g20171,249amazon.com
2
 
Nikon AF-P DX 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VRAFP72n77 x 73 mm230 g2017309amazon.com
3
 
Nikon AF-S DX 10-24mm f/3-5-4.5G EDAFS77n83 x 87 mm460 g2009899amazon.com
4
 
Nikon AF DX Fisheye 10.5mm f/2.8G EDAFGeln63 x 63 mm300 g2003799amazon.com
5
 
Nikon AF-S DX 12-24mm/4 G IF-ED AFS77n81 x 89 mm482 g20031,199amazon.com
6
 
Nikon AF 14mm f/2.8D EDAFnn87 x 87 mm670 g20001,449amazon.com
7
 
Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G EDAFSnY98 x 132 mm970 g20071,899amazon.com
8
 
Nikon AF Fisheye 16mm f/2.8DAFSGeln63 x 57 mm285 g1993999amazon.com
9
 
Nikon AF-S 16-35mm F4G ED VRAFS77Y83 x 125 mm685 g20101,099amazon.com
10
 
Nikon AF-S DX 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VRAFS72n80 x 86 mm480 g20151,069amazon.com
11
 
Nikon AF-S DX 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VRAFS67n72 x 85 mm485 g2008699amazon.com
12
 
Nikon AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8D IF-EDAFS77Y83 x 106 mm745 g19991,399amazon.com
13
 
Nikon AF-S DX 17-55mm/2.8 G IF-ED AFS77Y86 x 111 mm755 g20031,499amazon.com
14
 
Nikon AF 18mm f/2.8DAF77n82 x 58 mm380 g19941,299amazon.com
15
 
Nikon AF 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5D IF EDAF77n83 x 83 mm370 g2000499ebay.com
16
 
Nikon AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G EDAFS77n83 x 95 mm385 g2013749amazon.com
17
 
Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED IIAFS52n73 x 80 mm205 g2006199ebay.com
18
 
Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VRAFS52n73 x 80 mm265 g2007199ebay.com
19
 
Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR IIAFS52n60 x 66 mm195 g2014249amazon.com
20
 
Nikon AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6GAFP55n65 x 63 mm195 g2016199amazon.com
21
 
Nikon AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VRAFP55n65 x 63 mm205 g2016249amazon.com
22
 
Nikon AF-S DX 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-EDAFS67n73 x 76 mm390 g2004399ebay.com
23
 
Nikon AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VRAFS67n76 x 89 mm420 g2008399amazon.com
24
 
Nikon AF-S DX 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IFAFS67n74 x 87 mm385 g2006499ebay.com
25
 
Nikon AF-S DX 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VRAFS67n78 x 97 mm490 g2013499amazon.com
26
 
Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VRAFS72n77 x 97 mm560 g2005749ebay.com
27
 
Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR IIAFS72n77 x 97 mm565 g2009649amazon.com
28
 
Nikon AF-S DX 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VRAFS77n83 x 120 mm830 g2012999amazon.com
29
 
Nikon AF-S DX 18-300mm F3.5-6.3G ED VRAFS67n79 x 99 mm550 g2014699amazon.com
30
 
Nikon PC Nikkor 19mm F4E EDMFnn89 x 124 mm885 g20163,399amazon.com
31
 
Nikon AF-S 20mm f/1.8G EDAFS77n83 x 81 mm355 g2014799amazon.com
32
 
Nikon AF 20mm f/2.8D EDAF62n69 x 54 mm260 g1994499ebay.com
33
 
Nikon AF 20-35mm f/2.8DAF77n94 x 82 mm640 g19931,499ebay.com
34
 
Nikon AF-S 24mm f/1.4G EDAFS77Y83 x 89 mm620 g20101,999amazon.com
35
 
Nikon AF-S 24mm f/1.8G EDAFS72n78 x 83 mm355 g2015749amazon.com
36
 
Nikon AF 24mm f/2.8DAF52n65 x 46 mm270 g1994349amazon.com
37
 
Nikon PC-E 24mm f/3.5D EDMF77n83 x 108 mm730 g20082,199amazon.com
38
 
Nikon AF 24-50mm f/3.3-4.5DAF62n68 x 74 mm355 g1987399ebay.com
39
 
Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G EDAFS77Y83 x 133 mm900 g20071,799ebay.com
40
 
Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VRAFS82Y88 x 155 mm1,070 g20152,399amazon.com
41
 
Nikon AF 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IFAFS72n79 x 83 mm545 g2000699amazon.com
42
 
Nikon AF-S 24-85mm F3.5-4.5G EDAFS67n73 x 72 mm412 g2002349ebay.com
43
 
Nikon AF-S 24-85mm F3.5-4.5G ED VRAFS72n78 x 82 mm485 g2012499amazon.com
44
 
Nikon AF 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6DAF72n79 x 79 mm560 g1996499ebay.com
45
 
Nikon AF-S 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VRAFS72n77 x 94 mm575 g2003549ebay.com
46
 
Nikon AF-S 24-120mm f/4G ED VRAFS77n84 x 104 mm710 g20101,099amazon.com
47
 
Nikon AF 28mm f/1.4D AsphericAF72n75 x 77 mm520 g19941,799ebay.com
48
 
Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.4E EDAFS77Y83 x 101 mm645 g20171,999amazon.com
49
 
Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8GAFS67n73 x 81 mm330 g2012699amazon.com
50
 
Nikon AF 28mm f/2.8DAF52n65 x 45 mm205 g1994299amazon.com
51
 
Nikon AF-S 28-70mm f/2.8D IF-EDAFS77Y89 x 122 mm935 g19991,799ebay.com
52
 
Nikon AF 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5DAF52n68 x 71 mm350 g1992299ebay.com
53
 
Nikon AF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6DAF58n63 x 57 mm250 g1999129ebay.com
54
 
Nikon AF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5D IFAF62n73 x 82 mm455 g1998349ebay.com
55
 
Nikon AF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6DAF72n71 x 69 mm300 g1998499ebay.com
56
 
Nikon AF-S 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VRAFS77n83 x 115 mm800 g2010949amazon.com
57
 
Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.4GAFS67Y83 x 90 mm600 g20101,699amazon.com
58
 
Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8GAFS52n70 x 53 mm210 g2009199amazon.com
59
 
Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8G EDAFS58n72 x 72 mm305 g2014529amazon.com
60
 
Nikon AF 35mm f/2DAF52n64 x 44 mm215 g1995349amazon.com
61
 
Nikon AF 35-70mm f/2.8DAF62n71 x 94 mm670 g1992499ebay.com
62
 
Nikon AF 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5DAF52n69 x 73 mm420 g1994449ebay.com
63
 
Nikon AF 35-135mm f/3.5-4.5NAF62n72 x 117 mm630 g1988469ebay.com
64
 
Nikon AF-S DX Micro 40mm F2.8GAFS52n69 x 65 mm235 g2011279amazon.com
65
 
Nikon PC-E 45mm f/2.8D EDMF77n84 x 112 mm780 g20082,049amazon.com
66
 
Nikon AF 50mm f/1.4DAF52n63 x 43 mm260 g1995299ebay.com
67
 
Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4GAFS58n74 x 54 mm290 g2008449amazon.com
68
 
Nikon AF 50mm f/1.8AF52n65 x 43 mm155 g198699ebay.com
69
 
Nikon AF 50mm f/1.8DAF52n64 x 38 mm155 g2002149ebay.com
70
 
Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8GAFS58n72 x 53 mm185 g2011219amazon.com
71
 
Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G Special EditionAFS58n72 x 53 mm185 g2013279amazon.com
72
 
Nikon AF-S DX 55-200mm f/4-5.6G EDAFS52n68 x 79 mm255 g2005299ebay.com
73
 
Nikon AF-S DX 55-200mm f/4-5.6G VRAFS52n73 x 100 mm335 g2007349amazon.com
74
 
Nikon AF-S DX 55-200mm f/4-5.6G VR IIAFS52n71 x 83 mm300 g2015339amazon.com
75
 
Nikon AF-S DX 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VRAFS58n77 x 123 mm530 g2010399amazon.com
76
 
Nikon AF-S 58mm f/1.4GAFS72n85 x 70 mm385 g20131,599amazon.com
77
 
Nikon AF Micro 60mm f/2.8DAF62n72 x 75 mm440 g1993449ebay.com
78
 
Nikon AF-S Micro 60mm f/2.8G EDAFS62n73 x 89 mm425 g2008599amazon.com
79
 
Nikon AF Micro 70-180mm f/4.5-5.6DAF62n75 x 175 mm990 g1997999ebay.com
80
 
Nikon AF-S 70-200mm/2.8 IF ED VRAFS77Y87 x 215 mm1,470 g20021,699ebay.com
81
 
Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR IIAFS77Y87 x 209 mm1,540 g20092,099amazon.com
82
 
Nikon AF-S 70-200mm F2.8E FL ED VRAFS77Y89 x 203 mm1,430 g20162,799amazon.com
83
 
Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/4G ED VRAFS67n78 x 179 mm850 g20121,399amazon.com
84
 
Nikon AF 70-210mm f/4-5.6DAF62n74 x 109 mm590 g1993249ebay.com
85
 
Nikon AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6GAF62n74 x 117 mm425 g2000149ebay.com
86
 
Nikon AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6DAF62n74 x 117 mm520 g1998299ebay.com
87
 
Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED VRAFS67n80 x 144 mm745 g2006699ebay.com
88
 
Nikon AF-P 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VRAFP67Y81 x 146 mm680 g2017699amazon.com
89
 
Nikon AF-P DX 70-300mm F4.5-6.3GAFP58n72 x 125 mm400 g2016349amazon.com
90
 
Nikon AF-P DX 70-300mm F4.5-6.3G VRAFP58n72 x 125 mm415 g2016399amazon.com
91
 
Nikon AF 75-240mm f/4.5-5.6DAF52n72 x 122 mm410 g1999149ebay.com
92
 
Nikon AF 80-200mm f/2.8D EDAF77n87 x 187 mm1,300 g1997899amazon.com
93
 
Nikon AF-S 80-200mm f/2.8D EDAFS77n88 x 207 mm1,550 g19991,799ebay.com
94
 
Nikon AF 80-200mm f/4.5-5.6DAF52n72 x 88 mm330 g1995199ebay.com
95
 
Nikon AF 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VRAF77n91 x 170 mm1,210 g20001,699ebay.com
96
 
Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VRAFS77n96 x 203 mm1,570 g20132,299amazon.com
97
 
Nikon AF 85mm f/1.4DAF77n79 x 74 mm550 g19951,299ebay.com
98
 
Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4GAFS77Y87 x 84 mm595 g20101,599amazon.com
99
 
Nikon AF 85mm f/1.8DAF62n72 x 59 mm380 g1994479ebay.com
100
 
Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8GAFS67n80 x 73 mm350 g2012479amazon.com
101
 
Nikon PC-E Micro 85mm f/2.8DMF77n83 x 107 mm650 g20081,979amazon.com
102
 
Nikon AF-S DX Micro 85mm f/3.5G ED VRAFS52n73 x 99 mm355 g2009529amazon.com
103
 
Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4E EDAFS82Y95 x 106 mm985 g20162,199amazon.com
104
 
Nikon AF 105mm f/2D DCAF72n79 x 111 mm620 g1995999amazon.com
105
 
Nikon AF 135mm f/2D DCAF72n79 x 120 mm870 g19951,299amazon.com
106
 
Nikon AF 105mm f/2.8D MicroAF52n75 x 105 mm560 g1990649ebay.com
107
 
Nikon AF-S Micro 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VRAFS62Y83 x 116 mm790 g2006899amazon.com
108
 
Nikon AF 180mm f/2.8D ED-IFAF72n78 x 145 mm750 g1993999amazon.com
109
 
Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VRAFSrearY128 x 363 mm3,500 g201812,399amazon.com
110
 
Nikon AF-S 200mm f/2G ED-IF VRAFSrearY124 x 203 mm2,900 g20044,999ebay.com
111
 
Nikon AF-S 200mm f/2G ED VR IIAFSrearY124 x 204 mm2,930 g20105,699amazon.com
112
 
Nikon AF Micro 200mm f/4D ED-IFAF62n76 x 193 mm1,190 g19931,299amazon.com
113
 
Nikon AF-S 200-400mm f/4G ED VR IIAFSrearY124 x 366 mm3,360 g20106,999ebay.com
114
 
Nikon AF-S 200-400mm f/4 G IF-ED VRAFSrearY124 x 358 mm3,240 g20035,499ebay.com
115
 
Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VRAFS95n108 x 268 mm2,300 g20151,399amazon.com
116
 
Nikon AF-S 300mm f/2.8D ED-IFAFSrearY124 x 269 mm3,100 g19964,699ebay.com
117
 
Nikon AF-S 300mm f/2.8D ED-IF IIAFSrearY124 x 268 mm2,560 g20014,999ebay.com
118
 
Nikon AF-S 300mm f/2.8G ED-IF VRAFSrearY124 x 268 mm2,850 g20045,799ebay.com
119
 
Nikon AF-S 300mm f/2.8G ED VR IIAFSrearY124 x 268 mm2,900 g20095,499amazon.com
120
 
Nikon AF 300mm f/4 ED-IF AF82n89 x 219 mm1,330 g1987899ebay.com
121
 
Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4D ED-IF AFS77Y90 x 223 mm1,440 g20001,149amazon.com
122
 
Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4E PF ED VRAFS77Y89 x 148 mm755 g20151,999amazon.com
123
 
Nikon AF-S 400mm f/2.8D ED-IFAFSrearY160 x 352 mm4,800 g19987,799ebay.com
124
 
Nikon AF-S 400mm f/2.8D ED-IF IIAFSrearY160 x 352 mm4,400 g20017,799ebay.com
125
 
Nikon AF-S 400mm f/2.8G ED VR IIAFSrearY160 x 368 mm4,620 g20079,549amazon.com
126
 
Nikon AF-S 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VRAFSrearY160 x 358 mm3,800 g201411,999amazon.com
127
 
Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4D ED-IF IIAFSrearY140 x 394 mm3,430 g20037,999ebay.com
128
 
Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4G ED VRAFSrearY140 x 391 mm3,880 g20078,579amazon.com
129
 
Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VRAFSrearY140 x 387 mm3,090 g201510,299amazon.com
130
 
Nikon AF-S 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VRAFS95Y106 x 237 mm1,460 g20183,599amazon.com
131
 
Nikon AF-S 600mm f/4D ED-IFAFSrearY114 x 457 mm5,800 g19968,999ebay.com
132
 
Nikon AF-S 600mm f/4D ED-IF II AFSrearY166 x 431 mm4,750 g20018,999ebay.com
133
 
Nikon AF-S 600mm f/4G ED VRAFSrearY166 x 445 mm5,060 g200710,299amazon.com
134
 
Nikon AF-S 600mm f/4E FL ED VRAFSrearY166 x 432 mm3,810 g201512,299amazon.com
135
 
Nikon AF-S 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VRAFSrearY160 x 461 mm4,590 g201316,299amazon.com

Nikon Mount FAQ

The Nikon F bayonet mount was first introduced in 1959. Since then, the mount has undergone a number of modifications to improve its functionality and reflect technological developments over time. Some questions related to this evolution and respective answers are listed below.

How did aperture coupling occur with the original F-mount (non-AI) lenses?

The Nikkors that were released between 1959 and 1977 had a little prong on the aperture ring. A pin on the camera had to be inserted into this prong when the lens was mounted in order to enable the transmission of the chosen aperture to the camera. Moreover, after mounting, the aperture ring needed to be turned all the way in both directions for the camera to register the maximum aperture of the lens.

What are AI-lenses?

AI (Auto Indexing) lenses used a different, more convenient system to couple the aperture ring with the light meter of the camera than the ealier non-AI lenses. AI-Nikkors, which are first released in 1977, had a ridge that connects to a feeler on a ring that surrounds the lens mount on the camera. Also, the maximum aperture of the lens is transferred to the camera through a mechanical system, so that no further adjustments to the lens or camera have to be made after attaching the lens to the mount.

How do AI-S lenses differ from AI lenses?

AI-S lenses were introduced from 1981. They further improved the auto-indexing of the lens aperture, such that the movement of the feeler became standardized. As a result, the aperture could now be controlled through the camera, which made it possible to operate the camera not only in Manual Mode or Aperture Priority, but also in Shutter Priority or in Program Mode.

Can manual focus AI and AIS lenses be used with modern digital cameras?

Yes, these legacy lenses can be mounted on all cameras with an F-mount. However, some camera series, such as D3xxx and D5xxx, do not have the aperture feeler any longer, so that the light metering does not work. Also, modern cameras lack the mechanism to determine the maximum aperture of AI/AIS lenses, so one has to enter the maximum aperture in the menu under "non-CPU lens".

How did the autofocus work on the first AF-Nikkors?

Nikon introduced its first autofocus lenses in 1986. These lenses have a screw in the lens mount into which a little screwdriver from the camera, which houses the autofocus motor, connects. Moreover, all AF-lenses have a CPU that communicates the key characteristics of the lens, such as its focal length and minimum aperture, to the camera to enable accurate light metering.

What are AI-P lenses?

AI-P lenses were manual focus Nikkors to which a CPU had been added that transferred the focal length and minimum aperture to the camera. Introduced in 1988, only a few lenses (500mm f/4 P, 1200-1700mm f/5.6-8.0 P ED,45mm f/2.8 P) were released in this line.

What makes AF-I lenses different?

AF-I Nikkors have an internal motor to autofocus the lens, instead of relying on the earlier in-camera drive. First released in 1992, the technology was only applied to Nikon's super-telephoto lenses of the time.

What does the letter "D" in the lens designation stand for?

A D-lens – introduced in 1992 – can transmit the current focus distance to the camera. This information improves the quality of light metering when setting flash exposure.

What is the difference between AF and AF-S lenses?

AF-S lenses have an ultrasonic ("silent-wave") autofocus motor located in the lens. This feature ‐ first seen in 1998 – makes the autofocus action quieter and faster. Also, these lenses make it possible to manually overturn the autofocus action by turning the focus ring without prior switch to Manual Focus mode. All AF-S lenses are also D-lenses.

What does the letter "G" in the lens designation stand for?

G-lenses were introduced in 2000. A G-lens does not have an aperture ring and, thus, does not work on cameras designed for manual-focus. All G-lenses are also D-lenses.

What is particular about "E" lenses?

In 2008, Nikon introduced the first lenses with an "E" in the lens designation, which implies that these lenses feature electronic diaphragm control. The E-lenses only work correctly on cameras introduced since 2007.

What are AF-P lenses?

In 2016, Nikon launched its first DSLR lenses with stepping motors, which it labelled AF-P. The autofocus on these lenses is faster and quieter than with AF-S and particularly well suited for video recording.

Further Reading

If the existing catalog of native Nikkors does not contain what you are looking for, what about using some legacy lenses on your Nikon? Admittedly one loses autofocus and aperture coupling, but there are some truly excellent lenses that were originally designed for Leica-R cameras and that can be easily adapted to a modern digital camera. Or if you are looking for a bargain, what about some legacy third party optics from Soligor, Tamron Adaptall or Vivitar in Nikon F-mount?

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