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Old Oct 24, 2006, 5:48 PM   #1
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We have a Nikon EM .... probably purchased in the 80s ... the camera itself is useless but we have three really good lenses. Is there a digital camera we can use these lenses on? The lenses are Nikon 50 mm, a Avigon 28mm, and Avigon 80 x 200 mm.

Thanks for your help, as we are looking to buy a new digital and hate to loose these lenses.
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Old Oct 24, 2006, 10:15 PM   #2
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It's my understanding that only AI lenses (introduced in 1977) can be used on your EM.

If that's the case, they should mount on a newer Nikon DSLR, too. Edit... But, you won't have any metering with any current model below the Nikon D200.

One thing to keep in mind is that your lenses will appear to be about 50% longer on a Nikon DSLR model compared to a 35mm camera (you'll have a narrower angle of view/more apparent magnification with any given focal length on a DSLR). To see how a lens compares, multiply the focal length by 1.5x

In other words, a 50mm lens will have the same angle of view that a 75mm lens would on your Nikon EM (50mm x 1.5 = 75mm), and your 80-200mm lens would appear to be a 120-300mm lens on a DSLR from an angle of view perspective (it will appear to be longer).

That's great if you like to use the long end of your lenses more. But, that also means that you may not start out quite as wide as desired. For example, your 28mm lens would have the same angle of view on a DSLR as a as 42mm lens would on your EM (28 x 1.5 = 42).

That's one reason the "kit" lenses available with most DSLR models usually start out at around 18mm (so you'd have a lens that's equivalent to a 28mm lens on a 35mm film camera).

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Old Oct 24, 2006, 10:53 PM   #3
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I could certainly be wrong (and in this case I'd like to be), but it's my understanding that our venerable AI lenses would not be compatible with the metering in a D50.

I think a D200 would be the lowest cost Nikon DSLR that would be able to meter through an AI lens.

Can anyone confirm (or correct) this belief?

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Old Oct 24, 2006, 11:02 PM   #4
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Thanks Bill. You're right. My Bad. I edited my post above. I've seen this issue come up before and I should know better. I keep forgetting that Nikon won't allow some cameras to meter unless they're using CPU type lenses.

Most other DSLR brands don't have this restriction (they can still meter if you use stop down metering by setting the aperture on the lens, even if the camera is not aware of how it's set).

No meter with AI lenses unless you go to a higher end body like the D200. They'll mount but the camera's meter won't work.

From what I understand, you can get metering with any of the Canon DSLR bodies using an EOS to Nikon F-mount adapter with older Nikon lenses (metering stopped down).

So, it might even be less expensive to go that route unless the OP really wants to spend the money needed to get metering with something like the Nikon D200.

Of course, buying newer AF lenses would be another option.

You can also get adapters for mounting older Nikon F Mount Lenses on other non-Nikon camera brands and meter stopped down. Sometimes you need to use adapters that have optical elements built in to focus to infinity. That's the way a KM DSLR works (you need to equivalent of a 1.2x TC built into the adapter to focus to infinity using a lens via an old lens via an adapter).

B&H carries some of these (the General Brand adapters will allow focus to infinity based on reports I've seen from KM DSLR owners). They usually have one that lets you use Nikon AI lenses on a Maxxum body (for example, the Konica Minolta 5D, 7D or new Sony DSLR-A100). But, it looks like they're out of those right this minute (listed but out of stock).

Lens Adapters at B&H

The meters in some DSLR models will still work with an old non-CPU lens via an adapter (my KM 5D will). You just need to set the aperture on the lens (the camera won't know that it's attached, but the meter still works and the camera can be set to shoot even though it doesn't see a lens, using the correct shutter speed for the amount of light it sees through the lens). The EXIF just reports that you're using f/1.0. But, it still works fine that way.

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