35mm SLR Lenses on a DSLR

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by weazle1098, Dec 5, 2006.

  1. weazle1098 macrumors regular

    weazle1098

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    Location:
    Gods proving grounds, Massachusetts
    #1
    This is probably a dumb question, but my dad has an old 35mm Nikon SLR, which one I can't recall, but he doesn't use it anymore and I was wondering if that those lenses would work on a Nikon Digital SLR. Since I would like to buy one over the holiday (or even better find it under a christmas tree) I would like to save money if I could, and just use those lenses. Thanks a lot.
     
  2. bearbo macrumors 68000

    bearbo

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    #2
    you'll likely be able to use it, however perhaps without any of the auto feature (auto focus, auto aperture)... aka you'll prob have a aperture ring...

    but yeah, you should be able to use it :eek:
     
  3. Qianlong macrumors regular

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    Oct 23, 2004
    Location:
    .BE
    #3
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #4
    You would need to know the details of exactly which film SLR and which DSLR. In some cases the matchup would work perfectly and in other case it would absolutly not work, to the point of damaging the DSLR. The details really do matter here.

    For example. All of the autofocus lens I used with my film based Nikon N90 work perfectly with my D50 DSLR. but I have some older "non-AI" lenses that were used with my Nikon F2. These work in a limited way on the N90 and can't be used at all on the D50. I have some "AI" lenses for the F2 tht work wel on the N90 and in a limited way on the D50. But if my DSLR were a D200 or a D100 then the older AI lenses would work fully - Complicated? For a beginner, Yes.

    So I hate to answer "it depends" but that is the best answer. The good news is that if you can find out the details you can have a definite exact answer.

    In general however, if the old lenses are manual focus they will not magically become auto focus lenses when you mount then to a new camera body. Likewise if you buy a camera body that requires electronic contacts with a lens for the body's meter to work and the lens lacks those contacts (as all manual lenses do) then the meter will not work. Some of the new bodies lack the mechanical interface and have only electronic one. OK it depends....

    When you are looking at the older lenses there are several types
    1) non-AI these had a little "rabbit ear" thing screwed the the aperture ring that engaged a little metal bar under the viewfinder.
    2) AI and AIS, these lacked the rabbit ears and had a bit of metal milled of the aperture ring that engaged a a tab on the f-mount
    3) Auto focus - gold plated electronic contacs on the backof the lens

    There are sub types of the above and other types (p-type) and some older lenses may have been converted (Nikon offered this service) but you don't need to care that much. Just tell us what you've got.
     
  5. cube macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #5
    So what if you have an aperture ring? If it's a CPU lens, you set the ring at the minimum, lock, and the camera controls it.
     
  6. weazle1098 thread starter macrumors regular

    weazle1098

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    Location:
    Gods proving grounds, Massachusetts
    #6
    Ok thanks guys. Next time I head home, I'll have to dig them out of the closet and see what they are and look around online and see if they would work or not.
     
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #7
     
  8. NoNameBrand macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Location:
    Halifax, Canada
    #8
    I use the following old AI lenses with my Nikon D50:
    Nikkor 28mm f/2.8
    Nikkor 105mm f/2.5
    Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/2.8-4.0 macro (3rd version)

    Here are some snaps I've taken with them: sunflower with the macro and flower & bee with the 105

    Cons:
    • They only work in manual focus, manual exposure, and the meter doesn't work (you set the aperture with the ring and the shutter with the thumb wheel).
    • The built-in flash will not work with them (don't know about an external unit).
    • Heavier than the newer glass I have, especially the macro, though to be fair, they're metal and the newer ones I have are cheaper and therefore plastic.

    Pros:
    • Great lenses for cheap.
    • They're really inexpensive, and yield impressive results.

    See this chart for details on compatability. The more expensive Nikon DSLRs (D1_, D2_, D200) will work in aperture-priority exposure mode and the meter works.

    I would get at least one modern lens (say 18-70mm) so you can use auto-focus and the metering abilities of the camera body, in case you ever expect to shoot something in a hurry (sporting event, for instance).

    I generally keep my 50mm f/1.8 D on my D50 for unexpected things, and attach the old lenses when I know I have some time to get the exposure correct.
     

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