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Old Jan 24, 2007, 3:36 PM   #1
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I posted this in the dSLR forum - and thought that it may have belonged here moreso than there.

Question is regarding some lenses I have for my old Nikon FE film camera, and whether they could/would work on a Nikon D40, D50 or D80.

I am on the verge of putting a crowbar in my wallet & buying my first Digital SLR. I've more or less gotten it down to one of the Nikons, either the 6 megapixel or 10 megapixel cameras. Basically cost wise is about $300 difference in them.

I have several lenses that fit my old Nikon FE 35mm camera.

A couple of them are 35mm Nikon/Nikkor lenses, which I am sure would fit the D80/D50 cameras.

Another one is a Quantary f4 70-210 zoom lens, which may or may not work on the D50/D80.

The third one - and this one is the most important to me - is a 135mm Vivitar f2.8 lens. A similar one is here:


All of the lenses are manual lenses.

From what I understand, on the D40 with manual lenses, you lose all metering functions on it. On the D50, I think that you may have basic metering with manual lenses. Can anyone confirm this? (I would assume it would be the same on the D80).

The other question I have is will my Vivitar 135mm f2.8 lens work on any of the Nikon digitals? How about the Quantaray?

I've called both Nikon & Vivitar to ask the same questions, but that was futile. Nikon won't say anything but a Nikon lens will work on any of the cameras, and Vivitar says since the lens wasn't manufactured for a digital camera, it "may or may not" work, from the best I could gather. The tech person I spoke with wasn't very specific as to what might not work - I could never get him to say if it was a physical hardware mounting problem, or if it had a different focal point or what.

Can someone who's possibly been down this road before offer any advice?


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Old Jan 26, 2007, 12:40 AM   #2
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I am sorry that I cannot give specific advice since I have never had a Vivitar or Quantaray lens, but surely the point in question is the lens mount which, on Nikon cameras anyway, hasn't changed. It might not autofocus and/or you might lose some of the functions like flash control but I see no reason why it won't actually work on the camera since both have the bayonet fit. My 20 year old Nikon lenses work fine in manual function so, since the lenses were made for a Nikon fit, I am sure they'll work. Take the lens to a camera shop and try it!
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Old Jan 26, 2007, 5:45 AM   #3
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I had posted a similar question on another forum, and got this answer:

"Metering will not work with non-CPU lenses on the D40 or D50 (or D70/D70s/D80). If the lenses are pre-AI, they should not be mounted on the D50/D70s/D80 without being AI-modified. Apparently, pre-AI will mount ok on the D40 due to a modified design of a switch near the lens mount which detects minimum aperture. Check out John White's AI conversion web site, he has pictures of the various types. He can also do AI modifications for a nominal charge. He is very well known. The main difference between AI and pre-AI physically is that part of the back of the aperture ring is cut out on AI lenses. Without this cut out, the solid aperture ring on pre-AI lenses can interfere with that switch I mentioned on the D50/D70s/D80.

I'm not certain if the lenses I have are AI or not.
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Old Jan 26, 2007, 11:39 AM   #4
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I can't help you with the non-Nikon lenses, but you should post the exact specs and label of your Nikon lenses so others can help you more.

Somebody just posted this Nikon link. It might be helpful.

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