One of the things I’ve been keeping my eye out for since I upgraded my Nikon kit is something Nikon hasn’t made in 20 years: a non-AI (manual) f/1.4 lens. Non-AI lens means there is no autofocus: the user has to manually adjust both aperture and focus. Nikon has been making F-mount lenses since the beginning of time, so most pre-digital glass will work with modern Nikon bodies, which can be lots of fun. Nikon DSLRs won’t focus for you but have a focus indicator in the viewfinder which lets you know you’re in the ballpark.
This past week, a dinged-up f/1.4 lens showed up on my local Craigslist for the kingly sum of $30, which meant that fucked up or not, I was buying it. Jen and I met the guy at a pizza joint by the train station on Friday night and I made the deal based on how it worked with WRI’s older D80 body: it fit perfectly and took good, clear shots.
When I got it back home, however, I found that it wouldn’t fit on the D7000 body. The lens itself is a pre’77 K-mount, which means there’s an AI tab on the camera body which prevents the lens from seating correctly, something I hadn’t heard of before. A little research reveals that it’s pretty easy to file down the edge of the lens where the AI tab hits, something I’m not at all hesitant to have done based on what I paid for it. There’s a fellow who does conversions for $25, which I’ll probably take advantage of this week.
One other nice thing is that it fits perfectly on my Fuji with the lens adapter, and I’ve already gotten some great low-light shots in near darkness with the aperture wide open.