Film SLR lenses for DSLR?2009-04-19T17:32:08+02:00

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Film SLR lenses for DSLR?

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  • albertabrie
    Participant
    Post count: 13

    I’m thinking of buying an entry-level DSLR and need some advice. I have 4 Nikon SLR lenses(50mm, mikro-nikkor, macro and 70-120mm zoom lenses) and would like to be able to use these until I can replace them with newer lenses. The lenses are quite old … thus no autofucussing etc.

    As far as I can figure out they should work on a Nikon d40/d60 but would only be able to work in manual mode, and then without any useful lightmeter… Is it feasible to try this… or is it just going to be a totally frustrating experience?

    It looks like there are much more 2nd hand canon lenses available… so my 35mm SLR lenses aren’t going to be worth much I should consider Canon SLR’s as well?

    Any suggestions/opinions would be welcome!

  • hvos
    Participant
    Post count: 24

    Any brand DSLR camera is good but if you have old Nikkor lenses you can use them on a secondhand D80 or D70 (or a nice D200 if you have cash). I would not suggest them for the D40/60, you need autofocus most of the time. Metering you can work out but not autofocus.

    The Nikkor lenses are, in age order:
    Pre AI, AI and AI-S, AF, AF-D, AFS, VR and G. The pro and semi-pro (Dx and Dxxx) series Nikon bodies work with any lens from AI upwards, the D90/80/70 with AF onwards, and the D40/60 with AFS onwards. Stay away from G lenses (my opinion).

    If it was me – by all means get a D40 with the kit lens and try from there. New about R4500. Micro / macro you focus manually in any event, so you can still use your old lenses to a certain extent.

  • Teamus
    Participant
    Post count: 43

    I use older manual focus lenses on my D200 all the time. I started out on an FM2, so im pretty used to the manual focus, though the accuracy of focussing manually with the D200 isnt great. I tried the older lenses on a D40, and they do work. It may just take some practice, but there is no reason why it cant be done.

  • shakes
    Participant
    Post count: 314

    Not a Nikon shooter, but won’t you get at least a focus confirmation on the DSLR bodies with old lenses? Alternatively one of the Katz-eye type thingies could give better results with MF… Don’t know whether you can do that with Nikon… I know Nikon has a very long list of compatibility related info so some should be fine with it.

    And Won’t you be able to meter with one of the through the lens metering settings? prolly depending on Auto or Manual stop down? I find I need metering more than auto focussing – but that’s maybe just because I have never metered manually, except through trial and error…

  • Bernard Voges
    Participant
    Post count: 253

    I would not suggest them for the D40/60, you need autofocus most of the time.

    Rubbish.
    Folks have been manually focusing for decades. Also albertabrie points out that his lenses are not AF, so there is nothing focuswise a D70/80/90 will do for you that the D40/60 won’t. The only benefit of a D80/90/300 etc would be an improved exposure matrix.

    As much as it pains me to point anyone in the direction of this site, check out http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/afmf.htm

  • janosa
    Participant
    Post count: 575

    You should be fine with the manual lenses. I recently got my dad a D60 and gave him most of my old manual lenses. He now has a 20mm f2.8, 50mm f1.8, 135mm f2.8 and a 70-210mm to supplement his kit lens. He is more than happy and copes just fine, even with his old eyes.

    Shakes is right, you do get focus confirmation in the viewfinder which is very helpfull, as it can be a bit tricky to focus manually.

    Also, perhaps you can sell the old lenses to help fund the new purchase. What you will get for them is completely dependant on which models they are and what shape they are in.

    If your interested in how some of the old lenses will perform optically, Bjorn Rorslett has a near complete review list on his website with a nice description & little bit of history on each lens.

  • hvos
    Participant
    Post count: 24

    How quick people are to use words like “Rubbish” to describe other people’s comments. What happened to manners Lupe? (and b.t.w. there is a difference between the D40 and D90 when using AF lenses). In any event, I stand by my comment that we need autofocus most of the time, as we (sometimes) buy a DSLR to capture speed and movement, and thus quick focussing, thus AF capability. Good luck Albert with your search.

  • James Voortman
    Participant
    Post count: 619

    Stay away from G lenses (my opinion).

    Why???

    Some serious glass comes in the G type. It just means that you don’t get an aperture ring (which most of us don’t use anyway because we lock it on auto so that the body can shift the aperture). On some of my AF-D lenses the aperture ring is so narrow that it is difficult to use. I prefer to use the thumbwheel on the body when working in A mode.

    The fact that most of the cheaper lenses are issued in G type does not necessarily mean that all G lenses are inferior. Take the 105VR macro for example. A few other pro lenses in this format too.

  • albertabrie
    Participant
    Post count: 13

    Thanks for all the replies! Looks like I’ll manage with the old lenses after all … at least for a while :)… will read up a bit more to figure out all the lens terminology (seems like I have AI and AI-s lenses)… then need to decide on the camera 🙂

  • Peter Betts
    Participant
    Post count: 1250

    James Voortman;153819 wrote:
    Why???

    Some serious glass comes in the G type. Take the 105VR macro for example. A few other pro lenses in this format too.

    What about inferior G lenses like the 14-24 f2.8, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8, 200-400 f4 , 200 f2, 300f2.8, 400f2.8, 500 f4 and 600f4 all current junk G lenses…I wouldnt like to own one of them:D:D:D

  • EtienneB
    Participant
    Post count: 420

    If you are going to stick with the MF lenses, another consideration would be the view finder. Shakes alludes to it but doesn’t mention it directly. Always try and go for a camera with a prism rather than a mirror, the prism is brighter.

    The D40, D60 and D70 use a mirror, the D80, D90, D200 & D3 use prisms. Also remember that the coverage and magnification will also vary from camera model to camera model. I think that for MF the magnification is more important than the coverage, but that is just personal opinion.

    As a last thought, if you’re shooting MF on a tripod then live view is also quite helpful to focus.

    I envy you your patience and skill with MF…Alas, I’ve been spoilt.

  • James Voortman
    Participant
    Post count: 619

    Peter Betts wrote:

    What about inferior G lenses like the 14-24 f2.8, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8, 200-400 f4 , 200 f2, 300f2.8, 400f2.8, 500 f4 and 600f4 all current junk G lenses…I wouldnt like to own one of them:D:D:D

    Ah Peter, I just knew you would chime in and fill the gap that I so carefully crafted for you.;)

  • albertabrie
    Participant
    Post count: 13

    In the end I settled for the Nikon D60 :). I’m very happy with it. Going to take some practice to really get the hang of using the older lenses, but I’ve managed to get one or two nice shots so far. Thanks for all your help!

  • hvos
    Participant
    Post count: 24

    Peter, go read your Nikon lens guide again. Those (expensive) lenses are referred to as AF-S or AF-D, even though some are G-type lenses (no aperture ring). There are also G-type lenses without extra features such as AF-S or VR (for example the AF 70-300 G (the cheap plastic one), which I was referring to, as I have one). Thanks James, you are right, G type does not make it inferior, personally I do not like them, thus I should have been clearer.

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