Opinions: Can I use my old Nikon lenses on a new Nikon digitalcamera?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Twibil, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. Twibil

    Twibil Guest

    I'm about to retire my old Nikon film cameras and go digital for all
    the obvious reasons, but I can't seem to get a straight answer to the
    question of whether or not I can use my collection of old Nikon SLR
    lenses on one of the new digitals.

    I *assume* that they won't integrate with the newer automated onboard
    systems, and that doesn't bother me as I've always preferred selecting
    my settings manually anyway, but I've also been told that the older
    lenses will screw up the color balance if used on a digital camera and
    that said imbalance can't be corrected for, even with computer

    Problem is that a couple of old film camera vets such as myself have
    told me that they *do* use their old lenses on their new digital
    cameras and that they're getting good results that way, but the guys
    I've spoken to at camera shops tell me the exact opposite: "It won't

    I strongly suspect they're just angling to sell me an entire new
    collection of lenses, but I don't *know*.

    What say the assembled multitude? Nikon users in particular?

    Thanx, ~Pete
    Twibil, Jan 23, 2009
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  2. Twibil

    Guest Guest

    which lenses?

    manual focus lenses ai lenses will remain manual focus (obviously) and
    you'll need to get a d200 or better for metering to work.

    autofocus lenses will autofocus and meter on all but the d40/d60
    series, where they will be manual focus.

    if they're *very* old (non-ai) then they need to be modified before
    mounting them on any recent nikon camera except for a d40/d60 which
    does not need them to be modified.

    there are a couple of exceptions such as the 6mm fisheye that required
    mirror lockup just to mount the lens.
    they want you to buy new lenses. find a new camera shop, one which
    gives you honest advice.
    that's exactly correct.
    Guest, Jan 23, 2009
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  3. The basic rule is very simple: if the lens is at least AI-P (introduced
    end of the 80s) then you can mount it and all features of the lens will
    work with any current dSLR with one exception: autofocus on a
    D40/D40x/D60 requires an AF-S lens.

    If your lenses are older and are AI (introduced end of the 70s) but not
    AI-P then they will mount on any dSLR, including the D40/40x/60, but
    metering will work only on the higher end models. Your best bet in that
    case is to add the chip and convert the AI lens into an AI-P lens.

    If your lenses are yet older and are not even AI, then they won't mount
    on dSLRs without hardware modifications and trying to mount them can
    cause damage to lens or camera. Exception being again D40/40x/60, which
    can mount even the very first Nikon F-mount lens.

    For a detailed compatibility matrix please see
    True for pre-AI-P, where it depends on lens and camera.
    Urban myth. Whoever told you that doesn't know what he is talking about.
    You can use any "film" lens on a digital camera without problems, there
    is no difference. Some people claim that new lenses are "optimized" for
    digital sensors. This may or may not be true, but you can use a "film"
    lens without any drawbacks just fine on a digital camera.
    And that's correct.
    'cuse my language, but that's bullshit.
    Jürgen Exner, Jan 23, 2009
  4. Twibil

    Paul Furman Guest

    There isn't a simple answer, list your lenses and we can categorize them
    in a meaningful way.

    If the lens won't meter on the camera, that means you can't even look at
    the meter & adjust, you'll just have to guess. That's doable with trial
    & error looking at the LCD on back but pretty crummy. Generally that
    means you'll want a D200 or above to meter with old manual focus lenses.
    If you have AF lenses, those will meter on any new camera but not AF on
    less than a D80, D70, D50.

    Paul Furman

    all google groups messages filtered due to spam
    Paul Furman, Jan 23, 2009
  5. Twibil

    Twibil Guest

    Bingo. *That's* the information I needed.

    Much grass.
    So far I've heard variations on the same song and dance at three
    different places. (It's a plot, I tell you!)

    Thanx, ~Pete
    Twibil, Jan 23, 2009
  6. Twibil

    Twibil Guest

    Told me everything I needed to know in detail.

    Thanx, ~Pete
    Twibil, Jan 23, 2009
  7. Twibil

    Twibil Guest

    Well, no, that's why they invented primitive stone hand-held light
    meters many eons ago. };-P

    My old Gossen Luna Pro still works just fine, and will even do a
    couple of things that in-camera light meters won't.

    Thanx, ~Pete
    Twibil, Jan 23, 2009
  8. But if they paid their assistants enough to be knowledgeable
    photographic experts who would buy anything from them at the prices
    they'd have to charge? The public has clearly told shops via the
    market that they want to be served by the cheapest idiots employable.
    Chris Malcolm, Jan 23, 2009
  9. Twibil

    Chris H Guest

    Shirley not? Users getting it wrong? How can that be when we all know
    that all camera shop sales men are thick as pig shit, are only there
    because there were no more jobs at Mac-Donalds or are failed
    photographers who want to get their own back on the rest of us.

    I mean we know all camera users are intelligent, pleasant and polite
    people who have well researched the subject, know their equipment and
    are not trying to prove how clever they are because it is all they have
    in life.
    You will only get sued and it will add to the "fact" that camera shops
    are staffed by idiots.

    So do you want loose or loose and get sued? As a business you know
    which one is cheaper.
    Chris H, Jan 23, 2009
  10. Well, no, that's why they invented primitive stone hand-held light
    meters many eons ago. };-P

    My old Gossen Luna Pro still works just fine, and will even do a
    couple of things that in-camera light meters won't.

    --My 1939 Weston also works well in this digital age, and it
    --is easy with it to introduce exposure compensations while
    --taking the readings, an often useful advantage with snow,
    --backlight, etc.
    David Ruether, Jan 23, 2009
  11. Or check the exposure histogram. You need to learn how to read them and
    they don't help with snap shots, but it won't get more precise than

    BTW: what on earth is that |GG| in the subject line for?

    Jürgen Exner, Jan 23, 2009
  12. Twibil

    Guest Guest

    what else would they want to do? their job title is *sales*man and
    they're there to sell. how else does the store make money? certainly
    not from talking about the weather. this is particularly true if they
    are on commission.
    that's fine.
    you can only go by what they say. if they say it's a d60, it's a d60.
    if they're incapable of reading 3 characters on the front of the
    camera, then they are probably inept enough to end up damaging the
    equipment no matter what you do.
    deliberately giving out misinformation is not exactly the best way to
    gain respect of customers.
    Guest, Jan 23, 2009
  13. Twibil

    Twibil Guest

    Not to seem like a trouble-maker here, but I've been your shoes re the
    misinformation issue in retail sales, and what I always told my sales
    force was "If you don't have an easy yes-or-no answer to a customer's
    question about system compatibility, tell them you don't *know* the
    answer, explain *why* you don't know, and offer to research the
    question and get back to them with what you've learned in short

    There's no crime in being honest, but saying "yes" or "no" when the
    answer is complex or unclear can come back to bite you in the ass
    either way, and that's how you lose potentially good customers.

    Twibil, Jan 23, 2009
  14. Twibil

    Guest Guest

    Guest, Jan 23, 2009
  15. Twibil

    Paul Furman Guest

    After a while of using an in-camera meter, it gets tedious to go back.
    Sorry, that's my google groups filter. It marks messages as read in
    thunderbird but I can see them in the thread if someone replies. A lot
    of discount tennis shoe spam goes away with that. I try to remember to
    delete in the title.
    Paul Furman, Jan 24, 2009
  16. Filter on string googlegroups in the Message-ID header, and that kind of
    make-work isn't nececssary.
    Blinky the Shark, Jan 24, 2009
  17. Twibil

    ASAAR Guest

    It does more than just mark messages. It splits threads, making
    it more difficult to review previous replies in what should have
    been the same thread. Are you saying that you occasionally forget
    to remove the "|GG|" before posting your replies?
    ASAAR, Jan 24, 2009
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