Original Nikon F lens compatibility with digital SLR cameras?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Seth, Oct 1, 2004.

  1. Seth

    Seth Guest

    Forgive me in advance as I'm rather inexperienced as a photographer...

    I'm happy to say that my father has passed down his venerable Nikon F
    camera (late 1960s) to me tonight, along with a whole bunch of
    compatible lenses (telephoto, wide angle, etc.) All these years, my
    father continues to be an incredible photographer and it certainly
    meant a lot to me to pass down a bunch of his beloved equipment.

    However, I'll be first to admit that I'm definitely of the computer
    generation. I've been doing digital photography from the early years
    (I still have my Sony DSC-F1, which was 640x480!), and I currently
    quite a bit of design work with my Canon S300 (point and shoot) to
    supplement my graphic design work. For years, I've craved a digital
    SLR camera for more flexibility, but couldn't dream of owning all the

    So the question is this: Are there affordable SLR digital cameras out
    there on the market that are compatible with all the wonderful lenses
    that I just received? I believe that these lenses are not AF lenses,
    and are from the early 1970s. I believe that they are 52mm. My
    father and I have been under the impression that any digital SLRs
    won't accept these original lenses. Are we wrong in this respect?

    Thank you so much for your input in advance!

    - Seth Diamond ()
    Seth, Oct 1, 2004
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  2. Seth

    Tony Guest

    Tony, Oct 1, 2004
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  3. Seth

    Dave Busch Guest

    I use my 60s-70s lenses on my Nikon D70, along with extension tubes,
    bellows PB-4, etc.

    Your pre-1977 lenses will need conversion before they can be safely
    used. After conversion, they'll have auto diaphragm operation, but
    exposure and focus must be set manually.

    John White does the conversions for an incredible bargain price of
    $35. He has good information on compatiblity, etc..

    He did my 55mm Micro-Nikkor, 85mm f1.8 and 105mm f2.5 first. I'll
    probably send him my 200mm f4 next, maybe with a 35mm f1.4 or a 16mm
    semi-fisheye, perhaps a couple other lenses after that.

    Dust on the sensor is enough of a problem with dSLRs that I tend to
    change lenses less often than with a film camera and rely on three DX
    zooms instead most of the time.

    Dave Busch, Oct 1, 2004
  4. Seth

    BobS Guest

    BobS, Oct 1, 2004
  5. Seth

    Ken Burns Guest

    If the lenses are pre-AI lenses, then they will be incompatible. If the
    rear edge of the aperture ring protrudes rearward beyond the surface of the
    mounting flange, then the lenses cannot even be mounted onto a digital SLR
    body without damage.

    Ken Burns, Oct 1, 2004
  6. Seth

    Ken Scharf Guest

    At one time someone was converting pre-ai lenses by grinding down
    part of the body to 'simulate' the ai coupling with the camera.
    I've seen some of these converted lenses, and they do indeed work.
    Nikon was performing this service for a few years after they converted
    to ai, but now I don't know who does this anymore.

    Also at one time Nikon's newer bodies would still work in manual focus
    mode with at least one auto metering mode with the older ai lenses.
    I think the F3 and F4 would at least offer spot metering.
    What a shame they dropped even that compatibility! I think some of
    those old ai lenses had better glass and more rugged bodies then the
    newest breed of auto focus lenses. The 105mm F2.8 micro may have been
    the sharpest nikor of it's type EVER made.
    Ken Scharf, Oct 2, 2004
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