Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4E PF ED VR Lens Not Compatible With Film Cameras!

November 29, 2016  •  1 Comment

There has been a long and wonderful history of Nikon making just about every lens backward compatible with all of their cameras.  Well, that end of that reign has come to an end unfortunately.  

I discovered today that the new Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR Lens does not fully function on the F5 and F100 35mm SLR film cameras.  I called Nikon technical support and they confirmed what I was seeing and the rep told me that they the lens is not compatible.  

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I mounted the new 300 PF on the F5 first and it focused just fine.  Then I put the camera in aperture priority and noticed that I was not able to change the aperture.  Just to make sure something was not amiss with the F5, I mounted the lens on the F100 and the same thing happened.  I knew at this point there was something wrong.  

So, I called Nikon technical support and they confirmed the new lens was not compatible with any of their film cameras.  That was a sad moment for me actually.  It felt like the end to an era was very obvious to me in that moment.  The new E FL super telephoto primes may not work as well, but I can't confirm that at this time.

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On the B&H Photo website it lists the lens as being compatible with film cameras "Format Compatibility: Nikon FX/35mm Film, Nikon DX".  I can verify that the lens does not function on two of Nikon's premier film cameras.  

This does not impact me too much because only a small fraction of my work is done with 35mm, but I thought my readers would want to know this in case they are considering buying the lens.  The lens is compact, focuses super fast and it would be a welcome addition to the family, but it is going back tomorrow.  

-Tim Layton 

The Darkroom Underground is your analog photography magazine produced on a quarterly basis serving photographers, artists, collectors, and readers around the world. Publications are released on Jan 1st, Apr. 1st, July 1st, and Oct. 1st.  The Darkroom Underground publishes a balance of technical and creative articles in every issue along with featured photographers and their portfolios. We are pleased to offer editorial from internationally recognized photographers and writers and also publish articles and portfolios from our readers. 

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Tim Layton
B&W Fine Art Analog Photography
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Thank you for writing these articles, I get teased because I love my Nikon and Canon film cameras. I will build a darkroom as soon as I finish my degree until then I will faithfully read your excellent articles.
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