I've inherited an interesting set of old AI-S lenses from my dad. I use them on my Nikon D5300. They do work, but only in fully manual mode. It's cool that I can use those lenses but it takes me a long time to figure our settings for a good exposure.

I was wondering if there is a way to speed up the process? Is there is best practice workflow to follow? Can I use an external light meter maybe? Is there an app that can help?

I am looking on any suggestion short of upgrading to a more expensive body that has the aperture feeler in it.


1 Answer 1


Probably the fastest and easiest way to cover the bases would be to do automatic exposure bracketing. But if you want to be precise, I'd say either use an external light meter, or get really really good/fast with the Sunny 16 rule, and learning to use your histogram to judge exposure.

The Sunny 16 rule is a good way to approximate for exposure. In clear, sunny skies, assume you can get a decent exposure with f/16, and 1/iso_setting. So, at iso 100, 1/100s and f/16. Or iso 200, 1/200s and f/16. Then adjust and swap stops in your head from there as your starting point.

And then, when you've taken your initial image, look at the histogram for the image on the LCD. Those vertical lines on the histogram tend to correspond roughly with stops of exposure. So, if you need to move things 2 bars around on the histogram, then guesstimate a 2EV (2 stop) adjustment.

Practice, of course, should help to speed up and reduce the number of test frames.

An external light meter or light metering app might be another way to go. Since an external meter is likely to let you take both incident and reflected light readings, it could be more accurate than the in-camera meter (which only does reflected) would have been.

You could also just swap to a Canon dSLR body, and use an F->EOS adapter ring, and you'd have accurate stop-down metering, but only aperture-ring aperture control (I've used a pre-AI Nikkor-SC 55/1.2 this way). But, given that you don't want to swap Nikon bodies, I don't think this would be practical. :D

  • \$\begingroup\$ Using an incident light meter isn't exactly quick by most folks' understanding of it as a synonym for instant. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jul 16, 2015 at 23:03
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelClark True, but possibly still quicker than taking three to five test shots to chimp and adjust. But. Yes. Good thought. AEB is probably the fastest way... adding that at the top. \$\endgroup\$
    – inkista
    Jul 16, 2015 at 23:36

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