Lenses for Nikon FG

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by sanking, Apr 16, 2006.

  1. sanking

    sanking Member

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    I have a Nikon FG. What mount lenses fit this camera. This is an auto exposure but not auto focus camera from I guess the mid-1980s. And waht are some of the better Nikkor fixed focus and moderate zooms that would fit this camera?

    Sandy
     
  2. DBP

    DBP Member

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    The camera takes AI, AI-S, and AF lenses, except for the G series, which lack an aperture ring [stupid idea, that]. Earlier F mount lenses can be converted to AI by a reasonably competent repair shop. Non-AI'd F mount lenses can actually damage the lens mount by bending or breaking the aperture sensing tab. The only lenses that absolutely cannot be used on the FG are some of the superwides made for mirror lock-up. As for which to get, it really depends on what you are planning to shoot, but a good start in 35mm with any camera SLR is a 28 or 35, a 50, and a 135.
     
  3. bohica

    bohica Member

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    the FG will use all the AI and AIS and series E lenses as well as all the auto focus lenses except for the G series
     
  4. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    Good afternoon Sandy,

    The early autofocus zoom lenses from Nikon would work okay, but the manual focus feel of autofocus lenses is not very good. Sticking to the true manual focus lenses would be easier, and more accurate. There is a nice low priced zoom in the old 75 - 150 mm Series E lens from Nikon. My personal choice in lenses is no zoom lenses at all, only fixed focal lengths. I think a fast 50 mm f1.4 in AIS mount would solve most of your low light photography needs at a reasonable price. Basically, any Nikon lens listed as an AI or AIS mount would be a good choice, just going by the mount type. There are so many good choices on the used market that there is little need to buy new lenses, nor much need to go with third party companies.

    If you want a great resource on your Nikon FG, check out this site:

    http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/emfgfg20/fg20/index.htm

    You can also read about many lenses on this site. There are some excellent comments and articles, which should enable you to find lots of great inexpensive lenses. Enjoy your camera.

    Ciao!

    Gordon
     
  5. krisbfunk

    krisbfunk Member

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    I have a Nikon FG, my only current irritation with it is it doesn't have an aperture preview button which many of the later models offer. My way around it is to unlock the lens and twist it slightly looser until the aperture shuts down for preview.
     
  6. stormbytes

    stormbytes Member

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    Sandy,

    The Nikon FG was my first camera ever! It's a very handy, lightweight, and pretty reliable :smile:

    I see your question as already been more then thoroughly answered in the posts above. Enjoy the FG!
     
  7. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    The autofocus lenses do have looser focus rings (usually; my one-touch AF 80-200/2.8 ED has a beautifully damped focus ring), but you should try them before you buy them. Autofocus lenses that I have used manually that work well: 20-35/2.8D, 17-35/2.8D ED, 28/2.8D, 50/1.8, 50/1.4D, 85/1.8, 80-200/2.8 ED. The primes are usually better than the zooms.

    As for the lenses to buy, this depends on your budget, but here are some suggestions assuming that you're not able to spend money willy nilly:

    24/2.8 any version
    28/2.8 AI-S or AF-D
    50/2 AI is dirt cheap and probably the best 50mm Nikkor
    85/1.8 AI-converted is great, but don't overlook the AF 85/1.8 if you can get one at a good price
    105/2.5 is the best Nikon portrait lens, as far as i'm concerned
    200/4 is also very good and very inexpensive

    I'd suggest upgrading the body if you end up liking the Nikon system. The FG is very small and light but film camera bodies are ridiculously cheap now. ($149 for a Nikon F3 in BGN condition from KEH, for example.) Start another thread if you want specific advice :smile:
     
  8. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Thanks for your suggestions for lenses for the FG. I am not looking to upgrade since I am not a big 35mm user. The camera was a yard sale present given to me by my wife, and I want to use it to make her feel that the gift is appreciated. The camera came with a Series E 36-72mm zoom that appears very large for such a limited range so I am hoping to pick up a couple of small, inexpensive fixed focus length lenses to go with the small body.

    Sandy
     
  9. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Well, you have to understand something very basic about the FG: it is what it is.
    It is a handy, compact, consumer SLR with a very accurate meter and the benefit of using all that wonderful Nikkor glass (as well as the truly not bad E-series "bargain" lenses from Nikon). An added bonus is that there are some "system" components for it, like a power winder (not really a motor drive as far as speed goes - but again, it is what it is), and auto flash exposure with the matching speedlite.
    It is NOT a pro body, its not even a semi-pro or "prosumer" like the FE and FM series of cameras. It won't survive a rainstorm, it can not be used as a blunt weapon or to drive nails, it does not have a DOF preview or a MLU feature largely because it was meant for people who have no need for those things and frankly...probably don't know what they are. It was meant to be a camera for those who found the full auto, and ONLY auto EM too limiting, but not much beyond that.
    Please don't take any of that as a knock on the camera - it is not a failure or a shortcoming to be exactly what it was designed to be. I have one, and frankly, I use it when I know I won't need the more advanced features. Mine came from a garage sale, cost me $5 CDN and had the basic Nikon flash and the 50mm 1.8 e-series lens. I have so far shot hundreds of frames of film with it, and it is still going strong. In many ways, its a Nikon equivalent of the Canon AE1, and other than the DOF preview... I think I may like the FG better.
    OK - that was off topic and on a tangent to your original question - I guess what I was trying to say, there are many awesome lenses available for the camera, and many very good ones as well. I have a couple of really bargain-bin off-brands for mine (a Makinon 24mm and a Soligor 80-200) along with the 50mm e-series, and it serves me well. I would suggest that given the cameras limitations as a more serious tool, you would be well served by combining it with a something like the pretty good Nikkor 35-70 zoom and you will have a very nice package for all those "grab" shots.

    Peter.
     
  10. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Peter, what limitations are you talking about? MLU, removable prism, and interchangeable screens aside it has the same functionality as an F. Anyone who can't take good pictures with an FG is incapable.

    So you'll know, I have an FM2n, FG, and N8008S. The N8008S is sort of a replacement for the FG; all it adds to the FG's capabilities that's worth much is a higher flash sync speed, and that's why I got it.

    Cheers,

    Dan
     
  11. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    Sandy, I have an FG and have no problem using my non-AI lenses from my older Nikon F. But still, I think you can find plenty of AI non-autofocus lenses for sale at rather low prices. Any of these should work and would avoid any question of damage to the camera. It's so light weight, I sometimes throw it in with my large format gear just to have a camera that's good for what 35mm does well.
    juan
     
  12. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Sandy,

    There are so many bargains available now for Nikon AI/AIS lenses that you should have a wide range of choices. I'm not sure which focal lengths you may be interested in or the subject matter you want to shoot, but I've always prefered to use a 35 mm as my normal lens. Or perhaps even a 28 mm lens which I also use as a 'normal' lens, giving a similar 'normal' view in the vein of French impressionist painter Gustave Caillebotte. Preferably in a f 2.8 copy for compactness. Vivitar once made an awesome 28 mm 3.5 which was extremely sharp, there may be some around but haven't been made since the '79 which probably means a non AI/AIs mount.

    The 55 Micro Nikkor and 85mm f1.8 or 1.4 or 105 mm f 2.8 can also be excellent sharp lenses with great bokeh for portraits. The 135 mm focal length always seemed to be too long.

    The FG was a favorite body of the late Galand Rowell when a compact and light body was needed. The meter works very well.

    My 2 cents,
     
  13. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    The FG was my first foray into decent cameras. I still have the receipt from 1982. I walked into Canoga Camera to buy a Canon AE-1 which was very popular at the same time, and the salesman sent me home with the little Nikon for the same $$. Bless that salesman. I had an AE-1 later that wasn't half the camera the little Nikon is. Aperture priority vs shutter priority. Too bad the 36-72 was Nikon's first attempt at a zoom and they are not loved by anyone. Steer clear of the 50 1.8E. Look for the most ordinary of 35-70 F3.3-4.5AF zooms that came with most packaged 6006 and 8008 cameras. I've got 20X30's on permanent display made with that lens. The 2.8 100 E series was nice, as was the 28mm series E. Any of these are cheap and good. The FG was the first body with electronic shutter speed control. Also, never advertised, the circuitry for the auto exposure will reach out way beyond the advertised when it calculates low light exposures. I had the camera sitting on the hood of the pickup one night making a night time exposure that had a moon. The shutter tripped and I never heard it close so I figured the battery must have died. Several MINUTES later the shutter clicked shut. Later I made that feature work very well for me. It was so good I would take the nikon body with an f1.8 lens into low light areas where a normal light meter would fail, trip the Nikon, add reciprocity to whatever it decided, and get good shots on Velvia every time.
     
  14. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Dan,

    Yes, those are exactly the limitations I am talking about. And they are limitations IF those things are what you need. The DOF preview being another one, probably the biggest one. I think I was pretty clear about that... I also don't see where you got the suggestion that one can't take good photos with an FG, as a matter of fact, my entire post pretty much a big vote of confidence for the camera. The FG is often criticized or dismissed by people who hold against it things that it was never designed or meant to do, and I think that's silly. I don't think that interchangeable screens and prisms, MLU, DOF preview, pro-level durability, etc. are necessary for taking a good photo. I think its clear from what I wrote that they are features that have their uses and are needed by certain people for certain things - BUT that is no knock on a camera that was designed with different parameters in mind, and yes, a different end user in mind. Or do you suggest that Nikon had the same consumer in mind for its FG as it did for its more advanced cameras like the F3 or FM/FE series? Or are the people buying those cameras just hacks who couldn't take a decent photo with an FG and therefore should just not bother in the first place?
    I have to say, I am a little dismayed and confused by your indignation in response to my post which was really a defence of a great little over-achieving and underappreciated camera which I myself own and enjoy, for what it is, rather than knocking it for what it was never meant to be.


    Peter.
     
  15. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Go with the 50mm F1.8 E series lens. It's compact.
     
  16. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    The camera system I chose as my main 35mm slr outfit is the Canon FD line up, and for the most part, I am very happy with my choice.

    BUT,

    After owning an AE1 AND and a Nikon FG, I have to say that I mostly agree with you. I think saying the AE1 is not "half the camera" is a bit of an exaggeration, but my time with both has proven one thing to me beyond doubt: the FG is a better camera. First and foremost, it has been far more reliable - and any camera that lets you take the photo is better than one that fails in that regard. Shutter priority vs apperture priority is a matter of taste and application (and one could argue that there was the Canon AV1 if that is your concern), but the FG in, my humble opinion is a better overall package and for a camera of that class AP is probably more useful than SP for most users most of the time. And that, along with a capable (for its time) Program mode is really what was needed and called for. With the small addition of a DOF preview, I would say that the FG had its Canon equivalent beaten hands down in all respects - as it stands, I still think the FG is the superior choice, but perhaps by a smaller margin. Another thing I usually overlook with my big hands but my wife raves about, is the ergonomics - the FG is just more handy. Best $5 I ever spend!

    Peter.
     
  17. sanking

    sanking Member

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    This is the zoom that came with my Nikon FG. I am not terribly impressed with it.

    So what are the really good Nikor zoon lenses of this type (28-80, 35-70, etc.) And small size is more important than range to me.

    Sandy
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2006
  18. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    The later 35-70 f3.3-4.5AF is ubiquitous and cheap. It is also excellent. 52mm filter thread.
     
  19. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    The earlier AF 35-80/4-5.6D (with the metal mount and the rubber focusing ring) is a really good lens, too. Longer range than the 35-70, slightly larger (but not large), slower aperture obviously. They sell for a pittance these days, but I'm keeping mine - it's just too good optically to not keep it.
     
  20. fparnold

    fparnold Member

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    My standard response, because I own them and have kept them for 20 years after use, would be the 35 f2, and the 24/2.8 for a normal to wide. They're reasonably compact (the 24 especially), both take 52mm filters, and are sharp. For longer than 50, I don't know. I like my 105/2.5, but sometimes the doubling of focal length from 50 seems too much, and I think of the 85/1.8 instead. Zooms I don't know about, because the slow maximum apertures (of the ones I can afford) scare me off.
    <br>
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    On the FG, you might want to consider the 45 2.8 'pancake' lens, as that would be the most compact system possible. You'd have the direct-viewing of the SLR, in a package not much less compact than many rangefinders.