Lens Knowledge De-clicking and Nikon Lenses/Cameras
Why De-click Nikon Mount Lenses?
This page is intended to give an overview of Nikon F mount lens de-clicking, its benefits, and drawbacks. Duclos Lenses can de-click a wide range of lenses, but Nikon lenses can be challenging as far as user-operation. Read through this quick guide and if you still have questions, don't hesitate to contact us
De-clicking is a common practice among vintage lens enthusiasts and a service that Duclos Lenses pioneered over a decade age as part of the Cine-Mod®. The purpose is to remove or disable the detents that capture the aperture ring of a lens at every whole, half, or third stop in order to achieve a smooth, seamless aperture movement, similar to that of a proper cinema lens. It allows for fine adjustment of the aperture by "splitting stops" and allowing the operator to make adjustments while rolling without introducing distracting, abrupt exposure changes. Which Nikon lenses can be de-clicked?
A de-clicking procedure can be performed to almost any Nikon F mount lens with the exception of "G" lenses or lenses that do not have a manual aperture movement. Lenses without an aperture ring cannot be de-clicked because.. well... There's nothing there to de-click. Nikon F mount lenses that can be de-clicked included Zeiss ZF and ZF.2, Nikon AI and AIS, and even vintage Angenieux zooms that were made for Nikon F mount cameras. Pairing De-clicked Nikon lenses with a Nikon DSLR body.
This is where things get tricky. Nikon F mount DSLR camera bodies utilized a spring-loaded aperture linkage tab that you can see around the circumference of the F mount. This tab ensured the aperture ring of the lens was set to full close which allowed the camera body to control the aperture via its internal linkage. The aperture was forced wide open so that the viewfinder had as much illumination as possible for composing shots and the aperture would only close when the DoF preview button was pressed or when the shutter was released. Otherwise, the aperture is wide open! This spring loaded tab on the outside of the camera body is what causes lenses to "drift" when de-clicked since it's constantly putting pressure on the lens' aperture ring to close the aperture. Do all Nikon lenses have this issue?
No. This is only an issue on Nikon F mount lenses that have the small tab on the aperture ring that interfaces with the corresponding tab on a Nikon F mount camera body. F mount lenses that do not have this tab or that have been modified in order to remove this tab will not have this issue. What if I don't de-click my lens? Then what?
The lens will work perfectly fine as Nikon intended it to work. But that still means the lens needs to be locked at full close and if the aperture ring of the lens is adjusted to any setting other than full close, Nikon DSLRs will produce an error code and not allow the shutter to release. Does this apply to lenses converted to Canon Mount?
Nope! The aperture issues are only applicable to F mount lenses being used with F mount DSLR cameras. Nikon lenses being used with an E mount camera or a Canon EF mount camera, or pretty much any other camera will not have these issues.What about Zeiss Milvus that de-click built in?
The Zeiss Milvus lenses and their factory option for enabling or disabling the click stops were a direct response to the popularity of the Cine-Mod® and the de-clicking service that Duclos Lenses pioneered years ago. The Milvus primes come with a small "key" that can be inserted to enable and disable the click mechanism of Milvus ZF.2 primes. While this is a very handy feature, it will not perform the same as a properly de-clicked lens. There is little to no damping from the factory which means that while the aperture will indeed be click-less, it won't be smooth or damped as it would be after a proper de-clicking procedure done by the technicians at Duclos Lenses. We don't charge for de-clicking the Milvus lenses since it's simply turning a screw. However, we do charge if you'd like your iris movement to be damped for that consistent, cinematic action. Not sure which option to go for? Contact us
anytime. We're always happy to assist.