View Full Version : Which Nikon DSLR for my manual lenses

Philippa Chalkley
03-03-12, 08:04 AM
Hi I am not very familiar with digital yet and am still on Nikon manual cameras (F3 FE2). I do not want to replace my manual lenses, which although over 30 years old (1977 - the oldest) are in extremely good condition ((Nikon 50mm 1:2, Vivitar 135mm 1:2.8 close focus, Nikon 35mm 1:1.4) Please could someone tell me which Nikon DSLR's I would be able to use these lenses with without having to do any compensation calculations. I am not technical ( not interested) so would appreciate any good advice that is simple and clear.

Thanks you


03-03-12, 05:37 PM
Hi Welcome to the forum
Any Nikon DSLR from a D3100 upwards ( I use a D5000 and a D90) will fit your lenses, but you will have limitations. You can only shoot in manual mode, also your flash will need to be set to manual ,and Metering mode is set to centre weighted
and you have no control over focus mode or focus points. Hope this helps... Graham

Philippa Chalkley
03-03-12, 08:28 PM
thanks for this - what does your last sentence mean re the focussing?

04-03-12, 11:28 AM
The are about 4 focus modes
AFA - auto
AFS- single
AFC continuous- moving
A film lens only does manual focus and can't be altered
Focus point are small squares you see it the eye viewer, one will light up when you half press the shooting button There are about 3 modes but only one mode works using a film lens.This is a link of a photo i took with a film lens on a Nikon DSLR... Graham


Phil Hall
08-03-12, 12:12 PM
Hi Phillippa and welcome to the forum.

The good news is that Nikon SLRs and DSLRs share the same lens mount that dates back from 1959, so you can use a fifty year old Nikon lens on the modern-day Nikon DSLR.

You'll naturally have to focus manually, but you'll have to also set the metering (shutter speed and aperture) yourself on the majority of Nikon DSLRs. This means you'll have to guess the exposure yourself, though you'll be able to see the results on the rear of the camera and adjust accordingly until you get it right. This can be a bit of a pain, especially if you've got to do it all the time.

From the D7000 up in the Nikon D-SLR range, metering is possible once you've entered the maximum aperture of the lens and focal length in the Non-CPU lens data section of the camera's menu.

There's also the crop-factor to take into consideration. Because most DSLR sensors are physically smaller than a 35mm negative, the focal length of the lens attached changes. On a Nikon DSLR with an APS-C sized sensor, a crop factor of 1.5x needs to be applied to any lens. For example, your 50mm lens on a Nikon D-SLR will have an equivalent focal length of 75mm.

Full-frame Nikon DSLRs such as the D700 and recently announced D800 share a sensor size that's the same as a 35mm negative, so no crop factor is required, while they'll both allow you to meter with your lenses.

So, if you want the easiest transition with your manual focus lenses over to a DSLR, then the D700 is the way to go, though this will set you back 1799.

If you can put-up with the crop-factor, then the D7000 at 979 is your cheapest option.