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Nikon AI-S type lens compatibility chart


According to a recent enquiry at Nikon, the "S" in AI-S does not stand for anything in particular but merely denotes the successor of AI. AI-S is not marked anywhere on the lens and the earliest "AI-S" lens was in a way the "Series E 50mm 1:1.8 Nikon" released in 1978.

An AI-S type lens has a standardized aperture stop down action, as opposed to pre-AI-S lenses. The existance of the standardized aperture action is indicated by a LENS TYPE SIGNAL NOTCH - the little milled notch next to the lens locking indentation (see illustration).

A standardized aperture stop down action is a requirement for getting reliable shutter speeds in P and S modes, where the aperture is generally controlled by the aperture stop down lever - and not by the aperture ring (exepted is S mode with F2 and one of the EE aperture control units which turns the aperture ring automatically via either the METER COUPLING SHOE or PRONG (DS-1 and DS-2) or the EE SERVO COUPLING POST (DS-12)).

In addition, an MF AI-S type lens can tell a few cameras (FA, F-501 & F4) its focal length on a very crude scale; either less than (<) 135 mm or equal to or greater than (>=) 135 mm. This is done via the FOCAL LENGTH INDEXING RIDGE (present on lenses >= 135 mm). The information is used in dual program of FA and F-501 to optimize the shutter speed so as to minimize the effect of camera movement.

An MF AI-S type lens has an orange smallest aperture number (highest f/number) on the ADR (Aperture Direct Read-out) row - NOT just on the normal aperture number row as some lenses happen to have. Be aware that new aperture rings (even with orange smallest ADR aperture number) can have been retro-fitted to pre-AI-S lenses.

An AI-S type Teleconverter will relay the MAXIMUM APERTURE or LENS SPEED INDEXING POST (see illus.) of an AI-S type lens (or an AI lens). The so called AI type TC will not do this. An AI-S type TC will also relay the prescence of the LENS TYPE SIGNAL NOTCH of an AI-S type lens so the combination will be perceived by the camera as AI-S type lens as a whole.

AI-S type lenses and TCs do infact AI-couple to AI-coupled finders and cameras via the METER or AI COUPLING RIDGE (see illustration).

It is NOT possible to easily "AI-S modify" an AI or pre-AI lens since the major difference is internal - the nature of the stop down action!

Only a few cameras will take advantage of the extra features. Four cameras will distinguish between an AI and an MF AI-S type lens; FA, F-301, F-501 & F4 but FG will take advantage of AI-S type lenses even though it will NOT recognize them (see below). To all other cameras an AI-S does not add anything.

NIKKOR 35mm 1:2 (AI-S)
  1. METER COUPLING PRONG or SHOE
  2. METER COUPLING RIDGE
  3. EE SERVO COUPLING POST
  4. LENS SPEED INDEXING POST
  5. LENS TYPE SIGNAL NOTCH

Comments and corrections are welcomed!


Camera or Finder Meter coupling? Evaluative metering
(AMP,Matrix)?
Non-evaluative metering Metered
M mode?
A mode? P mode? S mode? Exposure advantage(s) over AI? Exposure advantage(s) over modern AF lens?
Nikon F with eyelevel finder and EXPOSURE METER MODEL 1, 2 or 3 (1959, ?, ?) Yes; 1 N/A Yes; Non-TTL Yes; 1 N/A N/A N/A No Yes; 1, 2
Nikon F with Photomic finder (1962) yes; 3 N/A Yes; Non-TTL Yes N/A N/A N/A No Yes; 2
Nikkorex Meter D (1962) Yes; 1 N/A Yes; Non-TTL Yes; 1 N/A N/A N/A No yes; 2
Nikkormat FT (1965) Yes; 4 N/A Yes; Averaged Yes N/A N/A N/A No Yes; 2
Nikkormat FS (1965) No; 5 N/A No No; 5 N/A N/A N/A No No; 5
Nikon F with Photomic T finder (1965) Yes; 4 N/A Yes; Averaged Yes N/A N/A N/A No Yes; 2
Nikon F with Photomic TN finder (1967) Yes; 4 N/A Yes; Center weighted Yes N/A N/A N/A No Yes; 2
Nikkormat FTN (1967) Yes; 6 N/A Yes; Center weighted Yes N/A N/A N/A No Yes; 2
Nikon F with Photomic FTN finder (1968) Yes; 6 N/A Center weighted Yes N/A N/A N/A NO Yes; 2
Nikon F2 with Photomic (DP-1) finder (1971) Yes; 6 N/A Yes; Center weighted Yes N/A N/A N/A No Yes, 2
Nikkormat EL (1972) yes; 6 N/A Yes; Center weighted Yes Yes N/A N/A No Yes; 2
Nikon F2 with Photomic S (DP-2) finder (1973) Yes; 6 N/A Yes; Center weighted Yes N/A N/A Yes; 7 No Yes; 2
Nikkormat FT2 (1975) Yes; 6 N/A Yes; Center weighted Yes N/A N/A N/A No Yes; 2
Nikkormat ELW (1976) Yes; 6 N/A Yes; Center weighted Yes Yes N/A N/A No Yes; 2
Nikon F2 with Photomic SB (DP-3) (1976) Yes; 6 N/A Yes; Center weighted Yes N/A N/A Yes; 7 No Yes; 2
Camera or Finder Meter coupling? Evaluative metering
(AMP,Matrix)?
Non-evaluative metering Metered
M mode?
A mode? P mode? S mode? Exposure advantage(s) over AI? Exposure advantage(s) over modern AF lens?
Nikon EL2 (1977) Yes; 8 N/A Yes; Center weighted Yes yes N/A N/A No No
Nikkormat FT3 (1977) Yes; 8 N/A Yes; Center weighted Yes N/A N/A N/A No No
Nikon F2 with Photomic A (DP-11) finder (1977) Yes; 8 N/A Yes; Center weighted Yes N/A N/A N/A No No
Nikon F2 with Photomic AS (DP-12) finder (1977) Yes, 8 N/A Yes, Center weighted Yes N/A N/A Yes, 9 No No
Nikon FM (1977) Yes; 8 N/A Yes; Center weighted Yes N/A N/A N/A No No
Nikon FE (1978) 8   Center weighted            
Nikon EM (1979) 10   Center weighted            
Nikon F3 with any finder (1980) 8   Center weighted            
Nikon FG (1982) 10   Center weighted         11  
Nikon FM2 (1982) 10   Center weighted            
Nikon F3/T with any finder (1982/1984) 8   Center weighted            
Nikon F3AF with any finder (1983) 8   Center weighted            
Nikon F3P with any finder (1983) 8   Center weighted            
Nikon FE2 (1983) 10   Center weighted            
Nikon FA (1983) 10 12 Center weighted         14  
Nikon FG-20 (1984) 10   Center weighted            
Nikon FM2N (1984) 10   Center weighted            
Nikon F-301 [N2000] (1985) 10   Center weighted     15   16  
Nikon F-501 [N2020] (1986) 10   Center weighted         17 18
Nikon F-401 [N4004] (1987)  19 19 Center weighted 5 19 19 19   21
Nikon F-801 [N8008] (1988) 10 20 CW     20 20   22
Nikon F4 (1988) 8 With DP-20 CW + spot with DA-20,
spot with DW-20 & DW21
    20 20 23 24
Camera or Finder Meter coupling? Evaluative metering
(AMP,Matrix)?
Non-evaluative metering Metered
M mode?
A mode? P mode? S mode? Exposure advantage(s) over AI? Exposure advantage(s) over modern AF lens?
Nikon F-401s [N4004s]   (1989) 19 19   5 19 19 19   21
Nikon F-601 [N6006] (1990) 10 20  CW + spot     20 20   22
Nikon F-601M [N6000] (1990) 10 20 CW     20 20   22
Nikon F-801s [N8008s]  (1991) 10 20 CW + spot     20 20   22
Nikon F-401x [N5005] (1991) 19 19   5 19 19 19   21
Nikon F90 [N90] (1992) 10 20 CW + spot     20 20   22
Nikon F50 [N50] (1994) 19 19   5 19 19 19   21
Nikon F90X [N90s] (1994) 10 20 CW + spot      20 20   22
Nikon F70 [N70] (1994) 10 20  CW + spot     20 20   22
Nikon FM2/T (1994) 10   Center weighted            
Nikon F3L with any finder (1994) 8   Center weighted            
Nikon FM10 (1995) * 10   Center weighted            
Nikon F5 (1996) 10   25 20 CW + spot with DP-30, DA-30;
spot with DW-30, DW-31
    20  20   22
Nikon FE10 (1996) * 10    Center weighted            
Nikon F3H (1997) 26   Center weighted            
Nikon Pronea 600i [6i] (1997) ?
Nikon F100 (1998) 10  20 CW + spot     20 20   22
Nikon F60 [N60] (1998) 19 19   5 19 19 19   21
Nikon Pronea S (1998) 19 19   5 19 19 19   21
Nikon D1 (1999)
10   25
20 CW + spot     20 20   22
Nikon F80 [N80] (2000) 19 19   5 19 19 19   21
Nikon F65 [N65] (2000) 19 19   5 19 19 19   21
Nikon FM3A (2001) 10   Center Weighted            
Nikon F55 [N55] (2002) 19 19   5 19 19 19   21
Camera or Finder Meter coupling? Evaluative metering
(AMP,Matrix)?
Non-evaluative metering Metered
M mode?
A mode? P mode? S mode? Exposure advantage(s) over AI? Exposure advantage(s) over modern AF lens?

  YES
  NO
  NOT APPLICABLE 

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Footnotes

  1. EXPOSURE METER (MODEL 1)MODEL 2 and MODEL 3 (for Nikon F with eyelevel finder) and Nikkorex Meter D (for Nikkorex F **) enables non-TTL metering if lens has METER COUPLING SHOE (also known as meter coupling prong, "rabbit ears", "crab claws" or "hog nose"). Series E , NIKKOR 50mm 1:1.8 (N), lenses with a maximum aperture less than f/5.6, AI-S type Tele Converters (TC-14A, TC-14B, TC-201 & TC-301) and P lenses (with a chip) do not. A METER COUPLING SHOE can however be fitted except to the slow lenses (with maximum aperture worse than f/5.6) and the AI-S type TCs.
  2. Excluding the AF-NIKKOR 80mm 1:2.8 and the AF-NIKKOR*ED 200mm 1:3.5 for the F3AF no AF lens has a METER COUPLING SHOE. A such can however be fitted to most. With lenses lacking the METER COUPLING SHOE, stop-down metering can be used.
  3. Non-TTL-metering with Manual Maximum Aperture Indexing, if lens has METER COUPLING SHOE (see footnote 1).
  4. Full aperture TTL-metering with Manual Maximum Aperture Indexing, if lens has METER COUPLING SHOE (see footnote 1). Otherwise TTL stop-down metering can be used.
  5. No metering
  6. Full aperture TTL-metering with Semi-Automatic Maximum Aperture Indexing ("Click-Click" type) if lens has METER COUPLING SHOE (see footnote 1). Otherwise TTL stop-down metering can be used.
  7. With EE Aperture Control Unit DS-1 or DS-2 if lens has METER COUPLING SHOE (see footnote 1).
  8. Full aperture TTL-metering with Automatic Maximum Aperture Indexing (AI). Camera will even accept a pre-AI lens since the METER COUPLING LEVER will fold up, metering will have to be stop-down however.
  9. With EE Aperture Control Unit DS-12 (even with lens lacking a METER COUPLING SHOE)
  10. Full aperture TTL-metering with Automatic Maximum Aperture Indexing (AI). Camera will not accept a pre-AI lens as the METER COUPLING LEVER will not fold up.
  11. Reliable shutter speeds in P & S mode - even without recognising the AI-S lens type!
  12. The maximum aperture is mechanically transferred via the MAXIMUM APERTURE INDEXING POST & LEVER system for use in evaluative metering.
  13. Dual Program (high when TC or lens >=135mm is attached, low when lens < 135mm) + reliable shutter speeds in P & S mode + TC compensation in matrix
  14. Manual program shift (high or low) possible
  15. Reliable shutter speeds in P mode
  16. Dual Program (high when TC or lens >=135mm is attached, low when lens < 135mm) + reliable shutter speeds in P mode
  17. Possible loss of flash capabilities (?)
  18. Camera has no METER COUPLING LEVER and relies on lens chip and aperture setting on minimum to enable TTL-metering with Electronic Maximum Aperture Indexing. TTL-flash metering might be possible with a non-CPU lens (confirmed for F-401, F60, F80, F65).
  19. Camera relies on electronic transfer from a lens chip. Only three MF AI-S type Nikkors have a lens chip and will therefore do matrix, P and S mode with the camera (and even meter with various F-401 models, F50, F60, F80, F65); Nikon ED - NIKKOR 500mm 1:4 P, Nikon ED - Zoom-NIKKOR 1200~1700mm 1:5.6~8 P and NIKKOR 45mm 1:2.8 P. F4 strangely enough can not do S and P mode lenses without a chip even though the camera senses the maximum aperture mechanically (see footnote 12).
  20. Even loss of metering and flash modes (but will do standard TTL with non-CPU lens)
  21. Even loss of matrix, P & S modes and flash modes
  22. Possible TC compensation in matrix when using an AI-S type TC
  23. Even loss of P & S mode and flash zooming but matrix is still available
  24. A special hinged METER COUPLING LEVER can be retro fitted, however
  25. .
  26. No meter coupling. The lens is stopped down by default but can be opened for full aperture wieving.

* Nikon FM10 & FE10 are produced by Cosina not Nikon.
**Nikkorex is produced by Mamiya not Nikon.

A list of the MF AI-S type lenses and teleconverters is provided here

Thanks to Rick Housh & Rolland Elliot for helpful comments and suggestions!

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© by Lars Holst Hansen - all rights reserved - Last updated 2. July 2002