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Do Nikon lenses work on Pentax bodies?

Andrew Woods , Jan 30, 2003; 11:41 a.m.

If I wanted to pick up a Pentax K1000, would my Nikon G series lenses be compatible?

It sure would be nice if they were...

Any help is appreciated!


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Neil Lupin , Jan 30, 2003; 11:50 a.m.

NO!!!!!!!!!!! Don't try it, you'll wreck something - your body or the lenses!!!!!

Craig Bridge , Jan 30, 2003; 12:04 p.m.

Not even with an adapter since the G series has no aperture ring!

Stephen H , Jan 30, 2003; 01:13 p.m.

"No", like the guys above said. In general, most mounts are not compatible with any other mount, the exceptions being some old screw-mounts that can be adapted to modern bodies.

On the B&H site, I see a new Nikon FM10 with zoom for $220 or so. That is about what the Pentax K1000 would cost IF they were still making it. Check into this one or one of the many used Nikon bodies available.

The main motivation for using a Pentax K1000 (which I do) is that it is a cheap all-manual camera- certainly not any better than low-end SLR's from Nikon or the other major manufacturers. Lenses are less than Nikon in many cases, but this is a moot point if you already own the Nikon lenses.

Lex Jenkins , Jan 30, 2003; 07:16 p.m.

Dunno 'bout Pentax bodies but I can't get my Nikkors to do a lick of work on my OM-2N. The OM-2N has a balky shutter, bent rewind shaft and a few other problems. I put it and my 55/3.5 Micro-Nikkor together and told the Micro-Nikkor to work on the Olympus. After all, it's a technical lens, right? I even included the M2 extension tube to help out. Nada. Zippo. A week later, they weren't in the same drawer, the Nikkor had taken the dog and the Olympus had filed a restraining order.

And you want your Nikkor and Pentax to work together? Apparently you don't know anything about the history between those companies.

Lex Jenkins , Jan 30, 2003; 11:28 p.m.

Andrew, I hope you know I was joking in the tone of my reply to your question!

Okay, a bit of the history regarding Nikon and Pentax. Some of this is actually true...

When I was a kid first getting into photography during the late 1960s Nikon had several serious competitors that were considered serious pro cameras, Pentax, Topcon and Miranda among them. These were system cameras with several top notch interchangeable lenses, viewfinder accessories like right angle finders, replaceable finders (in the case of Nikon, Topcon and at least one other, Miranda, which I owned), macro accessories, flash units, etc.

The threaded lens mount used by the Pentax Spotmatic was a bit of a hindrance compared with the Nikon's quicker bayonet mount. But many serious photographers still associated the thread mount with the old pre-M Leicas and regarded it as a stronger and therefore superior mount. And not all photographers felt a strong need for fast lens changes - some preferred to carry two or more bodies, each with a different lens. The Spotmatics and their lenses were a little smaller and lighter than the Nikons, giving Pentax the advantage for multi-camera carriers.

Pentax benefited from a couple of shots in the arm during this era of jockeying for position. Honeywell began distributing Pentax in the U.S., which sounded better to Americans than Asahi (remember, this was the Vietnam era and to many Americans one Asian nation sounded pretty much like another). Honeywell "hammerhead" flash units, those big battleship gray pro strobes, were ubiquitous and carried by virtually every photojournalist and wedding photographer no matter what camera he/she used.

The second was Pentax's introduction and subsequent gotta-have marketing of its Super Multi-Coated lenses. Until then nobody knew they needed SMC lenses. After then nobody wanted anything else. Nikon, Canon, Olympus and virtually every other SLR maker already had multicoated lenses, but they didn't make a big fuss over it. Now they were playing catch up.

But Pentax stayed married to the thread mount too long. By the 1970s Canon and Minolta had entered the pro-SLR fray with bad intentions and Olympus would soon follow. The slower Pentax lens change plus the stop-down metering (even after they'd added auto diaphragm operation) were financial anchors and once other camera makers jumped on the me-too bandwagon with multicoated lenses, Pentax market share began to sink along with the anchor. By the time they introduced a bayonet mount SLR the damage was done: Nikon was the king of SLRs, Canon was a distant second and Pentax was in the pack with everyone else.

Like most camera owners wedded to a system, Pentax users could not come to grips with the reality of who was to blame for their system no longer being regarded as among the best. It was no fun being the butt of jokes about carrying three camera bodies around one's neck, one with a wide, another with a normal and the third with a telephoto lens, desperately trying to keep up with users of Nikons, Canons and other cameras that could switch lenses in a flash.

Of course, serious photographers who don't worry about such nonesense kept making fine photographs with their Pentaxes. The rest blamed Nikon. To this day Nikon remains the standard by which photographic twigs and berries are measured, if only to crow about how the EOS is Better-Than-Nikon or bark about how the Minolta is Just-As-Good-As-Nikon or reminisce about when Pentax blew it...their position, that is, not Nikon's...twigs and berries...

And now you know the rest of the blah-blah-blah...

Chuck Fan , Jan 31, 2003; 03:23 a.m.

Thank you, Lex, but I think that had nothing to do with Nikon F type bayonette mount not fitting on Pentax K type bayonette mount.

Lex Jenkins , Jan 31, 2003; 09:05 a.m.

Chuck, I'd quipped in my first post that Andrew apparently didn't know about the history between Nikon and Pentax or he wouldn't be suggesting a melding of the two. He replied in an e-mail that indeed he wasn't aware of the history. I simply chose to follow up here rather than via e-mail. To many of us that history is pretty interesting stuff but since it's fairly well known to most photographers my age or older I took some liberties in the retelling. If you prefer I'll ask the elves to delete my post and try to confine my sense of humor to the more obvious.

Andrew Woods , Jan 31, 2003; 12:00 p.m.

Yea, guys, didn't mean to open up a can of worms here. The history was interesting, though. Back when I knew nothing about cameras, I used to use my ex-girlfriends old Pentax and curse how long it took to switch lenses.

Anyway, the reason I asked was that I'd like to try taking some long exposures of night sky. This will probably kill the batteries in my camera but at least then I'll have an idea of what to do and what I'll need before spending more big bucks.... especially when $10 for a new set of batteries is easier on the wallet.

Thanks for the responses.

Lex Jenkins , Feb 01, 2003; 01:42 a.m.

BTW, let's take the opportunity to dispell these notions that Nikkor G-series lenses cannot be used with any other camera, including older Nikons. A "G" lens will function as a fixed aperture lens at whatever its maximum aperture is for a given focal length. The camera's TTL metering will simply accomodate the slight change from, say, f/4.5-5.6 as the focal length is changed. And the aperture priority AE on applicable manual focus Nikons will function normally. I have a Spiratone Portragon 100mm T-mount lens with a fixed f/4 aperture. It works exactly the same way on every SLR - the shutter speed is adjusted either manually or automatically to accomodate the f/4 aperture, ISO and available light.

If G-series lenses have retained manual focus capabilities (and I seem to recall that they do) then not even focus should be a hindrance to using these lenses on older Nikons. Only physical mating might be a problem with some bodies, tho' I can't think how.

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