Nikkor series E lens

edited January 2016 Posted in » Nikon D3300 Forum
I have a series E lens, but when I put it on my D3300, it throws a no lens detected fault. How can I fix the problem? I have a few series E lenses and would like to use them on the D3300 for video. Any response will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.


  • edited January 2016
    If I need a ring attachment, please tell me which type or the name of a pretty good one.
  • edited January 2016
    The series E is a manual lens, and on the D3300 manual lenses can only be used in M mode. It does not need any adapter and will not harm the camera.

    Manual lenses not only will not auto focus, but will not operate the camera's meter. You must use completely manual mode, setting the shutter speed with the camera's dial, and the aperture with the lens, and guessing the exposure.

    This actually is not so hard once you're used to it. You can get a histogram of the exposure by going to the camera's playback menu, "Playback options", and enabling the "overview". This will give you a graph of exposure along with other information. Use the up and down controls on the camera's rear control to toggle between the different playback options.

    A good starting point for getting an exposure you can at least see is the "sunny 16" rule. The starting assumption is that, in open outdoor sun, with the lens set at f/16, your shutter speed should be approximately the reciprocal of the ISO. f/16 is a bit stopped down, so figure that if you go outdoors on a sunny day, set the camera to ISO 100, shutter speed of 1/200, and the lens at f/8. For less light, slow down the shutter or open up the lens or both.

    Once you're used to this, it actually is not at all hard to get a good shot.

    The histogram is a graph in which the left edge represents the blackest shade, and the right the lightest. Your goal is to get an exposure in which the graph occupies the most space between the extremes, and does not quite hit the right edge. If your scene is very evenly colored and lit, the graph will look rather like a mountain peak, centered. Most real life scenes will be much less orderly, but what you mostly want is to insure that the information is not crowded to either end.

    You can also, in the same playback menu mentioned, enable the "highlights" view. This will show the whole image alone, but with overexposed highlights blinking. That's a quick way to see how much overexposure you have. Ideally, you want almost no blinking, although in a high contrast scene you may well see a few spots, such as windows or reflections, blown out.

    This likely seems rather complicated at first, but I urge you to go ahead and try anyway. The digital camera can erase hundreds of mistakes. Most of the time you'll probably find the correct AF lenses more useful, since many of those old manual lenses are very good performers with virtues it's hard to duplicate elsewhere.

    How these lenses perform in video, I cannot say; I have not tried any for that. I have several old manual lenses that I use in still photography on the D3200, and they work very well with some patience.

    Do remember that the camera's Live View, which includes the view in video, uses its own metering system to enhance what you see. A good exposure in the finder does not guarantee a good exposure in the file, so check what you're actually getting.
  • edited January 2016
    Thanks, the info is great. I cannot get rid of the error (no lens detected) when I install the series E lens. The camera will not function in still or video mode. It functions only when all the contacts in the camera body are satisfied. Is there an adapter which will satisfy the contacts and trick the camera into thinking it has a modern lens on it?
  • edited January 2016
    @pippo - I thought this got sent days ago, but for some reason did not.....

    You should not get that error if you put the camera in manual mode (the M on the top dial). In manual mode, the camera should function with no lens attached at all. M mode is the only one you can use.

    There is no adapter for this, because the distance of the lens from the image plane is critical. Anything that intervenes, if there is no glass, will be a macro ring that disallows infinity focus, or if there is glass, a tele-extender that changes the focal length.

    It is possible to install an aftermarket chip in some manual lenses which will allow the meter to function in a limited way, but I don't think it's worthwhile in this case.
  • edited January 2016
    With my Nikon D3300, it will not record video or take stills, it just shows a (missing lens) error when I use my series e lenses. Is there a known fix for this?
  • edited January 2016
    Thanks for the response Bruto, but on my led/screen I do get the (no lens) error, in any mode. The new lenses have 5 or 6 contacts that marry to that camera, which I am assuming also tells the camera there is a lens. The series e lenses do not have those contacts, so I assumed there might be an aftermarket ring or attachment for the old lens to trick the camera. Thanks for your post.
  • edited January 2016
    I do understand the issue of the contacts, but if you get the "lens not connected" error in M mode, there is something wrong. All the shooting modes will return this error, except for M mode. If the camera is working right, it should be possible to fire in M mode even if there truly is no lens attached.

    I use old manual lenses and non-electronic attachments routinely on a D3200, which is essentially the same.

    Just as one last thing, try this. Make sure that the top dial is set to "M" mode and completely remove the lens. Now turn on the camera. There should be no "lens not attached" error and it should be possible to trip the shutter (of course you'll get just a blur). If this is not the case, then the camera is at fault.

    The rear display should say "Manual" on the top, and show shutter speed, but there will be a "---" where aperture would appear, and there will be no meter reading.
  • edited January 2016
    Hello, just my 2 cents. I own a D3300 and verified by trying the test without a lens. In the manual (M) mode, the "lens not attached" error message disappeared and I could trigger the shutter and record video. That is the only test I could try, since I do not have an old manual lens to use on the body. So, in theory, it should work on the D3300 just as @Bruto stated.
  • edited February 2016
    Gentlemen, thanks so much for all your help. I tried to use the series e lens again and this time everything worked out fine. Getting old can be a cross to bear. LOL
  • I'm glad it worked this time.

    Some of the series E lenses are pretty nice, and many are dirt cheap, and though manual lenses can be pretty slow to use, they can be a lot of fun. You'll need to practice your manual focusing a bit. Don't rely too heavily on the little green dot, though it helps. Remember that those old lenses actually have distance and depth of field scales, which can help a lot too.

    Good luck.
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