Shun Cheung , Nov 01, 2005; 10:05 a.m.
In reality, nothing has changed, or the real change is that prices for pro-sumer DSLRs have reached the affordable level. As Ilkka has pointed out a number of times, for many years, Nikon's policy has always been putting the capability to meter with non-CPU lenses in their prosumer and professional grade AF SLRs and DSLRs, but since that feature requires a rather complicated mechnical linkage, it is not available on consumer-grade (D)SLRs for cost reasons.
The F5, F100, F6, D1, D2 and now D200 can all meter with non-CPU lenses while the N80, N75, D100 (largely based on the N80), D70(s) and D50 cannot.
Back in the film era, since prosumer models such as the M8008, N90, F100, etc. were quite affordable, people who needed metering with non-CPU lenses would simply get those models and this wasn't an issue. However, since DSLRs are a lot more expensive than the equivalent film SLRs, the D200 is really the first "affordable" prosumer-or-above DSLR. (You can argue that the D2H was affordable for a while during it fire sale.) In the last two years, a lot of people went with the D70 to save money and they had a hard time accepting the fact that their $1000 DSLR is a low-end model.
Expect no metering with non-CPU lenses again in Nikon's future consumer-grade DSLRs to replace the D50 and D70s.