Nikon EM & Nikkor perspective control lenses, is this possible?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Bill Mcdonald, Jan 25, 2004.

  1. By the way, I just love this little used EM I bought on ebay!
    My Vivitar manual slr and my Olympus E10 are both gathering lots of
    dust now, my Olympus IS3DLX has been getting some use also. Guess
    I'm going back to my film days;-)!

    Sorry for digressing there, I have come across a few of the PC Nikkor
    lenses and wonder which ones would work with with my EM. I understand
    from the Mir site that TTL metering will not work also with it. I do
    landscapes mostly but would like to try some architectural work.

    Any feedback welcome!

    I have to tell you, the other day I was going to take a few foggy
    mountain shots with the windmills by I10 near Palm Springs . I was
    trying to figure out aperture etc, and all of a sudden, there was a
    loud train whistle and this freight train was right on me about 30
    feet or so away. No time to focus, set the ring on infinity, forgot
    the aperture just starting shooting. Finished the 24 shots, got it
    developed, and every one was sharp as a tack with that Eseries 50.

    Got carried away there, have a great day!

    Bill Mcdonald in Joshua Tree just getting his first taste of the Nikon
    Bill Mcdonald, Jan 25, 2004
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  2. AFAIK, all nikkor (and other) PC lenses need to be metered before shifting.

    I forgot the characteristics of the EM, but if it doesn't allow manual
    exposure control, that could be a problem.

    If you can set the exposure (in this case shutter speed) manually - or
    at least use an exposure memory (though that would be a PIA) - there
    should be no problem with the EM.

    Chris Loffredo, Jan 25, 2004
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  3. Bill Mcdonald

    T. P. Guest

    All the PC-Nikkors will mount to your EM except the very earliest
    versions which might damage the plastic meter coupling ring around the
    camera's lens mount.

    However none will work with your meter. With PC lenses and TTL
    metering, you need to meter before shifting the lens, and then use
    those settings for the actual exposure. You cannot achieve this with
    the EM, so you will need to use the cameras single fixed speed setting
    (1/30 sec? 1/90? I cannot recall) and use a hand held light meter to
    decide on the appropriate aperture.

    The same comments apply to metering with the "Soviet" PC lenses.
    Optically, they are not as good as the PC-Nikkors but they are still
    very good ... capable of producing superb results in the right hands.
    T. P., Jan 25, 2004
  4. Bill Mcdonald

    Pete Guest

    Possible workarounds with this camera, not requiring a handheld meter:

    (1). After shifting the lens, use the film speed dial to readjust the
    shutter speed meter to match the pre-shifted shutter speed. (Don't forget
    to return the film speed dial to the proper setting afterward.)

    (2). Before shifting the lens, adjust the aperture until the meter displays
    a shutter speed of 1/90. Then, shift the lens and also move the shutter
    selector to 'M90'.

    I once owned an EM but never had a shift lens, so not sure if this advice is
    sound. (Does the aperture ring engage the metering tab both in the
    unshifted and shifted position? Does the diaphragm stop down when the lens
    is shifted, or is auto-aperture operation preserved when the lens is
    shifted? Does the effective aperture vary from the marked aperture when the
    lens is shifted? Is there image cutoff in the focusing screen when the lens
    is shifted?)
    Pete, Jan 25, 2004
  5. On Sun, 25 Jan 2004 18:27:19 GMT, Bill Mcdonald
    Thanks for all your help! Now I'll start watching the auctions and
    will make the decision to go Nikon or try the Arsats.

    Bill Mcdonald
    Bill Mcdonald, Jan 26, 2004
  6. A few? If they're cheap enough to waste on an EM body, might you like
    to pick some up for me? <grin>. Seriously, while there are awkward
    workarounds, you should really spend a few bucks and get a manual body
    to use with that great glass.

    I sold my PC Nikkor years ago, regretted it, but could never justify
    what it would cost to replace it.
    Scott Schuckert, Jan 26, 2004
  7. They frequently go on eBay for under $400.....I've been trying to pick one
    up cheap for some time now....The 35mm f3.5 ain't too bad......
    William Graham, Jan 26, 2004
  8. Apart from distorting too much for architectural use...

    Chris Loffredo, Jan 26, 2004
  9. Bill Mcdonald

    T. P. Guest

    That should perhaps have been the *first* sentence of your reply.
    No, it doesn't engage the metering tab at all. There is no need for
    it to do so.
    The shift lenses don't have automatic diaphragms. Think about it, and
    you will (hopefully) realise why.

    So you clearly know nothing about shift lenses. Yet your advice (not
    quoted above) is actually quite sound. Interesting!

    T. P., Jan 26, 2004
  10. Bill Mcdonald

    Gordon Moat Guest

    A nice feature about the F3 line, aside from the ability to change the
    finders, is the many different focusing screens available. These can be
    great help in some photography situations.
    Be careful when getting an old F3. Some of them may have been used quite
    heavily by professionals. You may generally be a bit safer getting a newer
    or nicer appearing version, or just buying through a place like KEH.
    You could also consider an FE as a low cost alternative. There are a matte
    focusing screen, and a matte screen with grid, available for these. Unlike
    the later FE2, the AI tab on the lens mount can be moved out of the way to
    accommodate a shift lens. The F3 and F4 also have that feature, but are
    more expensive cameras.
    Just for reference, I have a Nikkor 35 mm f2.8 shift lens. I have used
    this for (mostly) interior architecture images. At f2.8, it also makes a
    very nice 35 mm lens, even unshifted. I have rented a few examples of the
    28 mm shift lens, but I was not as impressed by the results. While the 28
    mm will cover more area than the 35 mm, it unfortunately approaches more
    noticeable edge distortion than the 35 mm version. Unless you really need
    the coverage, my opinion is that the 35 mm f2.8 version is a better place
    to put your money. Also, for the average cost of a used 28 mm shift lens,
    you could get a used 4" x 5" camera that would do better than either
    Nikkor lens.


    Gordon Moat
    Alliance Graphique Studio
    Gordon Moat, Jan 26, 2004
  11. At the risk of admitting a possible ebay addiction, I have been
    following your advice and I'm actually thinking about the F3HP because
    I wear glasses. There are so many Nikon manual slr's to choose from
    and admittedly I don't know much about them.

    Right now I'm reading a book by Matanle on classic slr's and I've been
    studying the Mir site, and there's a wealth of info on these cameras.I
    just have to make a decision!

    I'd like to develop a more contemplative approach to my landscapes and
    slow down, which is why I tried the EM, I figured it wouldn't cost
    much, but I like it and I think something like the F3 or F2, or one of
    the Nikkormats would work real well.

    Thanks again.

    Bill Mcdonald living large with the Nikon EM;-)
    Bill Mcdonald, Jan 26, 2004
  12. Ha! - That may well be.....I should have added, "....pricewize." I really
    don't know how well any of the Nikkor 35mm PC's are for architectural
    use.....Probably most serious architectural photographers use MF or LF
    William Graham, Jan 27, 2004
  13. Bill Mcdonald

    Pete Guest

    Thank you T.P. Just a guess. Know the technicals well enough I guess.
    Now, why can't I see my own post, others apparently do? Is there something
    wrong with the SBC news server? How many other posts and threads am I

    Pete, Jan 29, 2004
  14. Bill Mcdonald

    MikeWhy Guest

    I have a Hartblei, not a Nikon PC, super-rotator for 645 and sometimes use
    it on the EOS with a T-mount. The operation and principles are the same,
    though, although of course I can't address Nikon specific issues.

    Yes. Not sure about the Nikkor, but unless it's a very, very unusual lens,
    light drops off away from center. The more you shift, the more pronounced
    the effect.

    Vignetting is likely not a problem with limited shift.
    I'm getting a full feed from SBC's east server. All servers were slow
    yesterday, though, including and perhaps especially mail. News posts were
    sporadic throughout the evening, probably indicating they had difficulties
    MikeWhy, Jan 29, 2004
  15. Bill Mcdonald

    Gordon Moat Guest

    There are several versions of Nikon shift lens, both in 28 mm and 35 mm
    lengths. I know that in the case of the 35 mm f2.8 version, the image circle
    is very large, and much greater than needed to cover 24 mm by 36 mm film
    frame. While technically light drops away from centre in all lenses, for
    practical purposes most people only comment on this when it is noticeable.
    With the 35 mm f2.8, it is possible to shift up to six millimetres in any
    direction without any noticeable difference in centre to edge light, in other
    words, the light coverage shifted up to that amount appears the same as if the
    lens were not shifted.

    Just to add a little to this, here is a nice overview of the 35 mm shift lens:


    With all the 28 mm Nikkor shift lenses I have rented, there was a noticeable
    change in centre to edge light coverage. Going more than 2 mm shift in any
    direction made that slightly more pronounced. I should mention that I have
    never tried a brand new out of the box version.
    There is a guide ring on the Nikkor shift lenses that indicates the maximum
    recommended shift in any direction. It is possible to overshift in some
    directions, though if you anticipate cropping the final image, that can
    sometimes be used to advantage.


    Gordon Moat
    Alliance Graphique Studio
    Gordon Moat, Jan 29, 2004
  16. Bill Mcdonald

    MikeWhy Guest

    That explains plenty. :) The 45mm Hartblei was made to cover medium format.
    It has 33mm of shift each way -- 22mm on the lens, and 11mm more on the
    T-mount adapter/extension tube. Drop off is about one stop near extremes, so
    yes, dropoff from 6mm shift is next to nothing.

    Did I mention it has 8° of tilt? for about half the price of the shift-only
    Nikkor. I hesitate to recommend it wholeheartedly only because it lacks the
    crisp, precise feel typical of Japanese products. It has more of the "you
    get what you pay for" feel of Eastern bloc products. The movements -- focus,
    rotate, and shift -- are a bit stiff. They loosen up a bit if you work them
    for a few moments before shooting, as though the grease inside were
    redistributing itself. Tilt is with a worm gear; the viscuous drag isn't so
    evident with the mechanical advantage.

    8° of tilt doesn't sound like much, but works out to a focus plane hinge
    point distance of just over a foot, about 13.5 inches. Not quite enough to
    stuff the viewers face in the foreground object, but more than reasonable
    for toe to horizon landscapes. Great fun; it's one of my favorite lenses,
    even on the EOS, and doubly or triply so on the Mamiya.

    I have a couple of sample shots at

    Nothing great; just playing with the lens. You need to join the forum to see
    the photos. The landscape shot is how I expect to use it most: sharp focus
    from foreground to horizon. The full-size original (6000x4000, about 24
    megapixels) has gorgeous, very fine detail in the foreground snow, which you
    won't see in the postage stamp size frame there. The pooltable shot was just
    to see how close I could get to the foreground. Full frame on the 645 was
    disappointingly long, but worked OK for a shooter's eye view. I was after
    the drama of macroscopy on the cue tip with the rest of the table in sharp
    focus behind; you won't get that this side of a view camera. Both were shot
    at f/8 with the Hartblei on a Mamiya 645.
    MikeWhy, Jan 30, 2004
  17. Bill Mcdonald

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Here I was thinking you had the 35 mm film camera version, but now that I think
    of it, that one may be made at Arsenal (or something in Ukraine).
    Tilt is a tempting feature, though I am not sure how I would use that for
    architecture imagery. In fact, even on a 4" by 5", when doing architecture
    photography, I rarely ever found a need for tilt. It would be nice for
    selective focus, especially for people shots.
    An interesting thing about the Nikon link I posted is the discussion of a tilt
    prototype. They also discuss why tilt was not pursued on such a short focal
    length. Interesting that they now make an 85 mm tilt shift lens.
    The Schneider would be another nice option, except for the pricing. These types
    of lenses are useful, though specialized. I rarely do any landscape
    photography, but I understand your appreciation of that feature.
    .. . . . not on dial up . . . .
    Interesting idea. This could be put to good use with some subject matter. I
    think almost anyone involved with photography could make use of shift, tilt, or
    some combination on almost any film format, even those who are not shooting


    Gordon Moat
    Alliance Graphique Studio
    Gordon Moat, Feb 2, 2004
  18. Bill Mcdonald

    MikeWhy Guest

    The shots that would benefit most are those with a planar foreground
    object -- tabletops, reflecting pools, or landscaping, perhaps -- leading to
    a strong background. Just the same, I've blown shots by playing around this
    way, when a small aperture on the relatively wide lens would have sufficed.
    MikeWhy, Feb 2, 2004
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