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Old Apr 1, 2009, 8:20 AM   #1
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My father was a professional photographer, and he passed away in 2002, before the advent of digital photography. I am very much interested in photography, and have done some work with film, and I'm interested in purchasing a DSLR.

My main criteria is what will work best with these lenses? Not knowing enough about these to sound intelligent, I present this raw list:

nikkor-s auto 1:1.4 f=50mm Nippon Kogaku Japan No. 847435
nikkor 85mm 1:1.4 242670
vivitar telephoto 135mm 1:2.8 No.3705036
nikkor 24mm 1:2 233615
nikkor-sc auto 1:1.2 f=55mm 294481

That's all the information I can glean from looking these things over. From my internet research thus far, it sounds like a Nikon D200 will work with most of these things pretty well? I really don't care if it can autofocus all of them, I like manual focus. And metering would be nice, but I'd like to know options.

Thanks for helping. I really want to move into digital and not lose these thousands of dollars worth of investments if it is possible.
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Old Apr 1, 2009, 3:17 PM   #2
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The only I would suggest is that you make sure the camera has a full size sensor. Otherwise, if you get like a D90 or other model that has the smaller sensor, the effective focal length will be 1.5 times the actual focal length. And I'm not familiar enough with all the Nikon models to know what sensor is in the D200.
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Old Apr 1, 2009, 6:28 PM   #3
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None of these lenses will work with a D200 unless they are AI, converted to AI, or AIs. The Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4 and Nikkor-S.c 55mm f/1.2 certainly weren't born AI though your father may have had them converted. The others I can't tell from the description. Check out this Nikon FAQ page for help in determining whether they are AI or not.

http://support.nikontech.com/app/ans...tail/a_id/5366

There are other pages on Nikon's site that will provide information about what focusing and metering functions either work or don't work with old MF lenses.
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Old Apr 1, 2009, 6:33 PM   #4
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jphess wrote:
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The only I would suggest is that you make sure the camera has a full size sensor. Otherwise, if you get like a D90 or other model that has the smaller sensor, the effective focal length will be 1.5 times the actual focal length. And I'm not familiar enough with all the Nikon models to know what sensor is in the D200.
The D700 is the only "consumer" grade DSLR by Nikon that has a full frame sensor.

The older D200 has an APS-C sized sensor with the 1.5x crop factor.

The D700 will work with Nikon Ai series lenses (1977)and later. However, I'm reasonably sure the Nippon Kogaku lens is Pre Ai, so I think it would need to be converted. Not sure of the others, but the Nikkor-sc auto 1:1.2 f=55mm, is also a Pre Ai lens, I believe.

Other people may be able to confirm this.
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Old Apr 2, 2009, 2:31 AM   #5
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You get maximum compatibilty using a D700 as this maintains the field of view being a full frame sensor, The D200 and D300 have the same lens compatibility but an APS-C sensor so you get a 1.5 longer effective focal length. I thing the d80 and d90 have slightly less compatibility with the meter. The D40, D60 range have the least compatibility, mainly down to the lack of an autofocus motor, probably not an issue with these lenses.

So as it stands, other than the APS-C sensor, the D200 will give you as much lens compability as any other Nikon DSLR. Spending more on a D300 or D700 won't help. If the lens doesn't work on a D200 it won't work on any other DLSR in the range.

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Old Apr 2, 2009, 9:50 AM   #6
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dnas, you hit right on with the Pre-AI estimations. I did some more research, and those 2 are pre-ai, the other three are not, and all are MF. That's fine, I like MF.

So I'm on the edge of buying a d200. Will the lack of the full-frame sensor really cause me to lose a lot? Or will that just cause some cropping?
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Old Apr 2, 2009, 5:27 PM   #7
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saxartist wrote:
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So I'm on the edge of buying a d200. Will the lack of the full-frame sensor really cause me to lose a lot? Or will that just cause some cropping?
You will not loose any more than you gain.

To bias an opinion in distinct favor of a "full frame" digital body (FX in Nikon jargon) is somewhat inappropriate when discussing this issue with someone lacking a long experience with film. For every bit of wide angle you loose, from a film standpoint, by going with a DX body you gain the same amount of telephoto. The 24mm lens would be a significantly wide angle lens on an FX body, but it only a wide normal lens on DX. In exchange for this, the 85mm, which is a very modest long lens on FX, becomes a nice general purpose longer lens on DX.

You just need to keep this "translation" in mind when deciding. If you go with a DX body, like the D200, you need to realize that there would be no wide angle in the old set of lenses. You should give serious consideration to getting the D200 with a decent general purpose wide to tele zoom (e.g. 18-55 or similar) so that you have a wide angle in your kit. Even though such a zoom duplicates some of the old lenses, it provides a version that supports AF and more automatic exposure.

The old lenses would balance the optically slow zoom by offering some very wide apertures. The beautiful image characteristics of the 85mm f/1.4 and the ability to get very narrow DOF make it a great portrait lens on DX. The fast 50mm and 55mm lens would also be useful in a similar vein, provided you get them converted to AI if they haven't already been converted. The 24mm f/2 should make a great "fast normal" for available light street shooting and similar low light shooting. The speed of these lenses will also make manual focusing much easier than trying to manually focus the common 18-55 DX lens.
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Old Apr 2, 2009, 7:05 PM   #8
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There is one other important aspect you need to consider.

All of your old lenses are manual focus. The D200, D300 & D700 all support metering with older manual focus lenses. However, because non of these have a manual focus aid on the ground glass focusing screen (split screen, etc), then you have to consider HOW to manually focus them.

The job would be easier on a full frame (D700) with a larger viewfinder. However, the best aid in this case for manual focusing is "liveview". A central area in the liveview can be magified, providing very goodassitance for manual focusing.

The D300 & the D700 have "liveview", while the D200 does not. So my suggestion is to get the D300 for DX sized sized sensor, or the D700 for full frame.


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Old Apr 3, 2009, 6:14 AM   #9
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The issue comes down to money then, I can't justify, sadly, spending twice as much money. I'll still be able to focus with the viewfinder won't I?

Edit: Ah, I reread that post, and the thing about the speed helping focus makes sense. That sounds fine, and I can fill my lens needs in the future with additional lenses obviously.

Thanks for all the guidance. Probably going to go with the D200.
$700 > $2700 as the case may be.
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Old Apr 3, 2009, 8:05 AM   #10
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saxartist wrote:
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The issue comes down to money then, I can't justify, sadly, spending twice as much money. I'll still be able to focus with the viewfinder won't I?

Edit: Ah, I reread that post, and the thing about the speed helping focus makes sense. That sounds fine, and I can fill my lens needs in the future with additional lenses obviously.

Thanks for all the guidance. Probably going to go with the D200.
$700 > $2700 as the case may be.
It is actually rather difficult to focus manually with just the viewfinder. Really.

And focusing accuracy is VERY important with large aperture lenses with a small depth of field, which is what you have.
I'd still go the D300.
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