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Nikon Mount Systems

Lesson 15 from: Nikon Lenses: The Complete Guide

John Greengo

Nikon Mount Systems

Lesson 15 from: Nikon Lenses: The Complete Guide

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

15. Nikon Mount Systems

Next Lesson: Nikon Cine Lenses


Class Trailer



Nikon Lens Class Introduction


Nikon Lens Basics


Focal Length: Angle of View


Focal Length: Normal Lenses


Focal Length: Wide Angle Lenses


Focal Length: Telephoto Lens


Focal Length Rule of Thumb


Field of View


Aperture Basics


Equivalent Aperture


Depth of Field


Maximum Sharpness




Hyper Focal Distance


Nikon Mount Systems


Nikon Cine Lenses


Nikon Lens Design


Focusing and Autofocus with Nikon Lenses


Nikon Lens Vibration Reduction


Image Quality


Aperture Control and General Info


Nikon Standard Zoom Lenses


Nikon Super Zoom Lenses


Nikon Wide Angle Lenses


Nikon Telephoto Zoom Lenses


3rd Party Zooms Overview


3rd Party Zooms: Sigma


3rd Party Zooms: Tamron


3rd Party Zooms: Tokina




Nikon Prime Lens: Normal


Nikon Prime Lens: Wide Angle


Nikon Prime Lens: Ultra-Wide


Nikon Prime Lens: Short Telephoto


Nikon Prime Lens: Medium Telephoto


Nikon Prime Lens: Super Telephoto


3rd Party Primes: Sigma


3rd Party Primes: Zeiss


3rd Party Primes: Samyang


Lens Accessories: Filters


Lens Accessories: Lens Hood


Lens Accessories: Tripod Mount


Lens Accessories: Extension Tubes


Lens Accessories: Teleconverters


Macro Photography


Nikon Micro Lens Selection


Fisheye Lenses


Tilt Shift Photography Overview


Tilt Shift Lenses


Building a Nikon System


Making a Choice: Nikon Portrait Lenses


Making a Choice: Nikon Sport Lenses


Making a Choice: Nikon Landscape Lenses


Nikon Lens Systems


Lens Maintenance


Buying and Selling Lenses


Final Q&A


What's in the Frame


Lesson Info

Nikon Mount Systems

So we are going to be talking about features and technology, and I got to be honest with you, this is one of my favorite sections in class, I think there's a lot of interesting things going on, and this is where we get to really see kind of night cons view of the world, this is how they design linz this is how they build them. This is how they classify what's in important in the lenses and what they're doing, and I think once we're done with the section, you might look at your lenses a little differently, you're going to go, and I may be took this guy little little too for granted here there's a lot going on in here because they they have been doing this for a long time, and they do a really good job at it and, you know, we buy this nice pretty box at the store and we shoot pictures through it, but there's a lot that goes into it, and so this is going to be a lot of understanding of what goes into the lands and what all that technology means as the end result, because there is a lot of...

implications about using certain cameras with certain lenses and that's definitely going to be a big question that I'm going to try to answer for a lot of people in this section and so there is going to be a wide ranging number of topics that we're going to be covering in here, and so we'll talk a little bit about night cons, history and what all these different mount systems are, what a good design lens is and what we're going to design and build the lens here in the class. Well, theoretically, we're just kind of kind of think about things, so think about what would you like in the lands and everything that you need to know about when it comes to kind of their technology and every way everything matches up all right, first off, let's just start off with a little nikon history. They were founded in nineteen, seventeen by three different companies that came together in nineteen seventeen to form an optical company. They weren't a camera company, they were an optical company at that time, their first camera wasn't till nineteen forty eight they were too busy making lenses for a variety of other types of things before they brought out their first thirty five millimeter range finder cameras, so they've been in the thirty five millimeter business for a long time, but this was not there slr there first slr was in nineteen fifty nine, the legendary nikon f now all of the cameras since then that had the interchangeable lenses have been based off of this lens mount system it says lens mouth that has evolved over the years and that's going to be a big topic of this conversation that we're having here about the whole system now, in nineteen eighty six, they introduced their auto focus system, and this is where there was a pretty big breaking the technology. You could still use auto focus lenses on the manual focus cameras and the manual focus lens on the auto focus cameras because they all work back and forth because nighttime had a long list of professional photographers and they didn't want to anger them. I know when I was in college and I took my first photography class and they said, this is what I want to dio I went to the instructor and I said, what camera should I buy? And they said, well, we want to do is well, I think I'm gonna major in photojournalism. Well, pretty much everyone at the newspaper shoots nikon. Okay, well, I don't care what nikon I gotta get myself a nightgown and that's what I ended up with from there in nineteen ninety nineteen, eighty eight if you know this, but they changed their name to the nikon corporation they were actually upon goku or however it's pronounced in japan, that was the official name. And nikon just happened to be the name of the cameras that this company made, but then they happen to be their best product so they just change the name of the company to the nikon corporation in eighty eight nineteen, ninety nine saw kind of the next revolution, which was their first digital camera. There were some cameras before this that we're digital but they were usually made in conjunction with either kodak or fuji but this was kind of their first all on their own digital camera and of course things have changed quite a bit since then. One of the things you may have noticed about your nikon lenses is that they say nike or on them okay and they all say nike or lenses and this stems back from the original name upon kohaku kk and this was known as niko niko lenses and so they just simply added an r and this is where nike or comes from it was there linds division there was a camera division, there was an optics division and these are the ones that made their lenses. This is one of their first lenses it was designed for aeronautical camera so something in an airplane for reconnaissance and then they started making lenses for other cameras. This is a lens that fits on like a one of the things that nikon users can kind of poking cannon users say nikon used nikon lenses were used on canon cameras because kanan dennett make lenses. They used nikon lenses on some of their very early cameras, and so they've been used on a lot of fur products. Nikon enlarging lenses, nikon large format lenses, it's not just for digital cameras. It's not just for thirty five millimeter cameras. They've been around for some time and they're very proud of their night cor name and it's been well respected in the industry, so they've kept that on the lens. I don't know that it's been necessary, which I'm going to complain about later, but it's on all the lenses and that's what it means so the lens mount that we're talking about the f amount, as it is known from nikon, the carrier there's a number of characteristics that you need to know about any one lens mounted how it differs from a different type of lens amount on a different brand. What's important? Well, there's the connection system well, how exactly does it connect up to the lens? What is the size of this connection? Another very important distance are importance is the flans distance, which is the distance from the lens mount to the sensor. All right, there's a lot of muralist cameras on the market and they have a very short flans distance because they've taken the mere out and so this is something very specific about what type of lenses mount up against this and can actually work. This is why you can't just mount some other companies lens on your camera because the connection system is different and the flans difference distance may be different. The other important thing is the image circle this lands is designed to create an image circle that covers a full frame sensor for inst or a different frame sensor depends on the exact lens that we have on there, and so those are very important characteristics from a technical standpoint about any particular lands let's talk about some of the communication because this is an area that has changed and evolved over the years, and so we're going to step back in time a little bit with their original nikon f siri's of lenses, which were known as a lenses, but they're also known as f lenses or pre aye aye or non a eyes we'll find out here in just a moment and their connection as faras the aperture connection with the camera was done with what this little prawn connection here often called rabbit ears was on the lands, and we connect up with a pin on the foot photonic prisms form eatery and then the camera knew where the aperture said iwas and you could see if you're over here and there was a standard technique that all the photographers had because when you mounted one of these lenses you put your lens on and you'd have to move the aperture to one end and then the other in order to get it to read so that the camera knew the range of apple trees that you had on that particular lives. So every photographer who is this and then they were ready to shoot and so they're always had to be this little double pump of the the shotgun you might say before you could shoot pictures with it then they got away with that got rid of that by instituting automatic indexing and so there was these lenses called a eye lenses and what they did is they cut out part of this barrel and it matched up with a little lever on the camera so that the king as soon as you mounted this on the camera the camera knew what the aperture range wass and it made the aperture setting much easier to dio then the next change was a I s was an indexing shutter and what they did is they drilled out a small scoop on the back of the lens mounted on the lands and there was a little pin that stuck out of the camera body and if it I had a place to go than it knew it had the if it was pushed back in and knew that little scoop wasn't there and so then the camera would know if the lens had this one particular feature in it or not. Now we could probably spend about the next hour and a half going through all the older manual lenses and all the different characteristics and compatibility well, if we were to go through the compatibility, that would be a whole two days class right there I mean, like, which cameras can I use the one twenty medical mike or on and there's like this? You can't do that and so I think there's some other websites that have that sort of data if you want to go through all the older stuff, but I just want to do a brief overview of some of their older manual lenses because they're still currently selling a number of the a I s lenses out there. So in nineteen eighty six the introduced auto focus lenses and these kind of these were have the same mounts they're basically a I s lenses if you will, but they now have auto focus built into them and they have elektronik so there was some communication between the body and lens, but they've been increasing that as time goes on in nineteen ninety two they brought out the lenses cosmetically they looked identical and all they had was a d following the one point for whatever the aperture was on the lens and had the same number of pins, but it transmitted data information into the camera that would help out in some meeting situations, optically didn't change anything about the lands, physical characteristics the lens did not change. It just helped the meeting system know where the lens was approximately focused for flash and metering situations. In reality, in general photography, it made very little difference for most people. In two thousand, they brought out what are called g lenses, and so now aggie follows the one point for now, the g incorporates the distance information that all the dealings has had, but now what they've done is they did something revolutionary, and they didn't make everyone happy with this is they took off the aperture ring on the back of the lens and these lenses, these new g lenses are not usable in a fully automated way are fully compatible way with older manual focus cameras, like if you have an older f three or fm to camera, you need a lens that you can change the aperture on, and this one doesn't have that aperture control on this one does, and this is one of the reasons why we're going to see a lot of classic glass in my class is that I do talk about some of these older lenses because if you have the older nikon cameras, you want to get these older lenses that have the appetite control because this is designed more for the modern cameras. If you have just new stuff like purchased in the last ten years, this is great it's it makes things simpler, it's a little bit faster to set and is really good for that, but for people who want to use the older cameras, and if you're using both new and old cameras, then you're going to want to have a mix of things. The latest introduction we've seen is on e lenses, so hee lenses have the characteristics of g and d, and so when I said earlier that gies the new d and ease the new g that's, what I'm referring to so that's kind of the way the letters go in their progress, and so we're going to talk more about the lenses they now controlling the aperture electronically in the lens before they used to have a little mechanical lever that they would move up and down to control the aperture and now it's elektronik so it's their latest level off lenses, so we'll be talking about this compatibility as we go along the line, so this auto focus system that they introduced in eighty six was using a system that most of us just call a drive shaft shaft system in the camera body there's this little tiny screw that pops out of the camera. And then what would happen is when you mounted the lens, it would match up with a little slot on the lens and there's a motor in the camera. And it was, and it would focus your lens back and forth. And it was their compromised at the time that allowed them to allow manual focus and auto focus lenses and bodies to be mixed match it put the motor in the camera so they could just make one motor and they would drive all the lenses with it. And that was a system that that will change. So that was the original system ninety two. They brought out the a f d we just talked about this. They added distance data information, but the camera focuses the same speed. It didn't really change anything about the way it focused. It was just a way about the meat ary and the information went back and forth. This is also when they brought out a few lenses that had internal motors built into the lens and the camera had electron ix that would send a signal into the lens. Toe let the lens no this is where you should focus and then the motors in the lens did the focusing now there was a benefit to this you could design motors that were specifically designed for instance for four hundred to eight which is a really big lens that might have big elements you could stick in that bigger motor inn that lens then you could have smaller lands now these particular focusing motors they weren't that special other than where they were they were in the lands rather than in the camera body and so in order to use thes you needed to have a camera body that could send that communication into that lands nineteen ninety six they brought out a f s which is similar to a fi the motors are in the lens but they're using something else called a silent wave motor and we're not going to get into the specifics how that particular motor works but as the name indicates it is quieter in its sound and so it makes very little noise it also happens to be very quick and so one of the things about the silent wave motor lenses is that there is no little driveshaft remember that drive shaft we're talking about on the early f lenses we do not see it on the s lenses so lin says f s look on the back of it it will not have a little drive shaft on it okay and so that means you need to have a camera that electronically sends information to the lens in order for it to focus and problem is is that some of the earliest auto focus cameras when they were all using the driveshaft technology they were prepared for using this new technology that would come out ten years after the original auto focus and so there is some incompatibility with very early auto focus slr cesaire film slrs in two thousand they brought out the g lands which does not have an aperture on it so the control of the aperture is now done in the camera so if you want to change from two point eight two f or you would turn a dial on the camera not turn the ring on the camera so the old ones had this aperture ring and it's really obvious what they had their now there's going to be limited compatibility with those early auto focus cameras and so let me see if I could grab a lens here and just show you I don't know how many still have that aperture ring okay just as a good example and so the older lenses have this aperture ring down here that if you have an older lands you khun set at f twenty two half two point eight now a lot of them or current auto focus cameras what you would do is you would just leave this at f twenty two and then you would actually lock it in so this aperture when it moved and the only time you would need to use the aperture is if you were going to use it on one of the older manual cameras now on the newer lenses, we don't have any appetite ring here we can't do any sort of control on that. And so if you do want to use the older manual cameras let's say you want to shoot film and you want to shoot with an fm to which is a great camera, you're gonna want to look for the lenses that have the actual aperture ring on and which are typically going to be de lenses or ones without a d and just don't have any letter at all on them, so a lot of evolving, so in two thousand two they brought out their digital frame lenses, and this has nothing to do with focusing it has nothing to do with communication. What it has to do with is the image circle. Remember we talked about the size of the image circle what size of image circle and so these dx lenses are designed for the twenty eight millimeter sensor, which has a one point five crop they give you a full image circle on it if you take that dx lands and you put it on a d eight hundred or full frame camera it's not going to cover the corners, and so you're going to get a cropped image, you can still shoot pictures with it, your picture is going to be just a little bit smaller in size, and so you could do it. I don't recommend it because you're not really getting that best results that you could offer that sensor, and so you can do the other way around. You can use the big full, you can use all the lenses on the smaller sensor, and so it is kind of the benefit is having the crop sensor and as far a selection of lenses, and so the dx lenses will result in a cropped image area on all full frame cameras. So that's, the one thing you have to be aware of, so if you have a d siri's camera d seven hundred eight hundred seven fifty and so forth, you probably don't want to use the excellence is on there you can, but you probably don't. So two thousand eleven, nikon one comes out nikon on their naming naughty, naughty, naughty nikon. They're naming system is very strange, and I have a rant later about it, but they have a nikon one system, which is a muralist system, and they call it a c x compact near maybe, and so these are designed around not the fx sensor, which is the full frame, not the dx sense of the crop frame, but an even smaller crop frame. The cx sensor, which is even smaller in size. And those lenses, which we're not going to talk too much about today. Those don't work on your nikon dslr at all. Okay? Because the flans distance is different, and the image circle is too small in size. Now, just a moment on the compatibility of these different lenses. We have the full frame lenses, the crop frame lenses, and then that nikon one muralist system. Okay, so the full frame lenses can be used on all of their cameras. If you do have the nikon one serious, you do need an adapter to make it fit on there properly with thes dx lenses, which are clearly labeled dx. In all cases, the excellence is our labeled b x fx are not labeled. So if it's unlabeled it's, an fx, these dx lenses works on nikon full frame cameras, but they're going to have a cropped image area. And if you want to use him on the nikon one series, you need an adapter, there's, lots of little exclusions and exceptions when we get in this the nikon one siri's cameras are designed exclusively for their muralist cameras. So let's take a look at their lenses and their camera bodies and what actually work in what situation? So they're fx lenses are designed for their full frame cameras that's perfect that's that's the ideal match you can use the dx linds, but you're going to get a crop that image area so I don't recommend it and you just plain old can't use the one siri's on this next up is the dx cameras you can use the full frame lenses you can use the dx lenses, those air all perfectly good options the nikon one siri's will not fit will not mount will not work in any way if you have a one siri's camera and there's four different cameras they have out it is designed for those one serious lenses they're going to be quite a bit smaller and they're designed everything else can be used, but you gotta have an adapter and so it's a little bit of a hassle you could do some pretty interesting things because you gets a really big telephoto lenses on that little character there. And so this is the unfortunate diagram of which lenses worked with work with which things and they're just designing different systems for different scenarios all right, two thousand fourteen we're up to e in the alphabet now electro magnetic aperture and you will see this following the aperture it'll have an e on it and we've just seen the release probably four, five new lenses, so it's relatively new as of right now. Now on the traditional system on the lenses on on g let's is there's a little aperture lever in the back that matches up with an appetizer level in the camera. And so when you say I want f ate your camera, does this and it moves a little lever in the lens and it stops the aperture down f a and they've decided to do away with that and do a fully electromagnetic aperture, so it sends a signal to the lands and then the lens there's a motor that says, okay, we're going to close down, and I think this is for the best for the long term, because it's going to be elektronik, it'll be more accurate, it'll be faster. We won't have this mechanical linkage between the body and lens. It'll just be elektronik. The problem is, is that the earlier auto focus cameras and even the early digital cameras are not designed to work with this new elektronik aperture. So if you have a slightly older digital camera like a d one hundred or two hundred, you're not gonna be able to use thes e lenses technically, yes, you can use them, but you won't be able to change the aperture on him. Which is a major non use of ill type feature, you'll shoot at maximum aperture so you could shoot it the maximum aperture at all times. And so let's see if I have a good lens here to show this to you, what do I want one so this is a gi lance, and so I don't know if we could get like, a close up shot. I'm going to try to hold it here, and I can physically turn the lever in the back of the lens. In fact, let me hold it around so you can actually see what I'm doing. So this is where I'm physically changing the aperture on the lands and in case you're interested in buying the use linds, this is one of the things I would always do is I would look through the lands and I would do it so you guys can see it was my lover, and so I would open this up. Does this closed down properly? Because on an old lands, even though it would be like sticky, sticky apertures in there, and so you could do this, and this isthe once again. This is aggie land so let's go find an e lands and I know we got one here because I saw his put one out e here's no looking at e t there's there's got to be any lands here g lots of g lenses oh, come on we're gonna find a g lands well, I know this okay, I guess we got to do this one then darn we've got to do the eight hundred millimeter lens and so they're like only a baby it doesn't have one of those levers in here at all and so all the information is going through these electronics and inside the camera is a motor that closes the aperture down and so if you have one of these older lenses and you wanted to purchase this guy to work with one of your old fm twos you can shoot it at five point six but you can't change the aperture on it and so you have to be a little bit aware about what cameras you have and what you want amount on it way should have a little baby crib here for a cradle okay, so that's some of the more important changes that have been going on as nikon evolves there lens mount modernizes it and in general I think the philosophy is is let's not make anything compact incompatible with something within ten years and so you got to go back ten years before you start running into problems. So if you have a camera less than ten years old, you're probably perfectly safe buying any modern lands. All right, so let's, say you have one of these lenses that have the drive shaft on it. Can I use this lens on my current camera? Well, here's, how you find out? D seventy two hundred. Take your lens off. Take a look right here. There is a drive shaft on this that can drive these older manual our auto focus lenses. Thie early autofocus lenses, let's say you have a d fifty five hundred. Take your lens off and you will notice you do not have a drive shaft. All right, why do you not have a drive shaft? Because you didn't spend enough money on your camera. They lowered the price of this camera by taking out that motor in that drive shaft and all of that. And they just saved you probably seventy five dollars, in construction and materials, but you can't use some of these older lenses, which I'm going to recommend from time to time because I think they're really good. Value. It's a good, sharp lens. It's a nice, fast aperture, but only if you have a camera that's compatible with it, and so this is something that you can clearly see on the camera. I'm not going to give you specific numbers, but well, I guess it's pretty easy. Three thousand and five thousand serious that they've taken that drive shaft off on the upper in ones you can see it. And this drive shaft is on all the lenses that are prior to the f s system. So we now have these new e lenses and kind of like it is some of me wants to go. This is the new system. Ok, let's, upgrade all the lenses. Part of me says, well, wait a minute. How many incompatible problems are we goingto have? So when you buy an island and you dive into the instruction manual, which I know you'll never do, so I did it. It actually says in there this lands can be used with on ly the siri's of cameras and so there's a relatively few number of cameras, at least at the day that we record this class on nikon lenses can only be used with these modern cameras. And so I'm looking at this list going no d two hundred, no d one hundred. What about the d seventy? What about the d a t that's not on there, what about the dean ninety? The nineties, not on there. That was a hugely popular camera. So there's. A whole lot of early digital cameras that you can't use on here. Cameras that were made in two thousand, two thousand three, two thousand five. Most of these cameras are probably two thousand six and newer. So once again, it's, about a ten year span that it's it's good, wet so they're not fully compatible with the early digital slr cameras.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Nikon® Lenses Part 1
Nikon® Lenses Part 2
Nikon® Lenses Part 3
Nikon® Lenses Part 4
Field of View
Nikon® Lenses Part 5
Nikon® Lenses Part 6
Nikon® Lenses Part 7
Nikon® Lenses Part 8
Nikon® Lens Data

Ratings and Reviews


Outstanding class! This is a must own. You will refer back to this class many times during your photog career. John has put a ton of work into this class and it shows. Being able to download the slides and other Nikon glass info is wonderful. Even if you're not a Nikon shooter you will still gleam tons of information from this class, John covers in great detail the strength and weaknesses of each lens and when you might consider using it. I was expecting a good class, but this turned into an epic class. I watched multiple videos several times. The only bad thing I can say is I "had" to order a few more lenses! Thank you John Greengo for making a truly amazing class.

Anna Fennell

Wow! What a course! Very in depth, lots of valuable information. John instructs with great knowledge and integrity. I have taken other online courses, NOT from Creative Live (my bad!) and was left feeling like a monkey who had learned tricks without understanding or knowledge. Now I feel I have the confidence to move forward on my photographic journey securely knowing how lenses function, what to look for and what price range I can expect. Bravo John! I'd love to see a 2020 update video as an addendum.

Fusako Hara

Finally I have some sense of what lens do, know what I have, what I would like to have, what lens to use, and how I can get images that I see. Best part of this session is it was made so clear, simple, logical, and practical. I am glad that I purchased this product. Now, I am going to look for more from John Greengo so I can take better understanding and take better images. Thank You.

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