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Which Nikon digital SLR is backwards compatible with older lenses?

Evan Dong , Oct 05, 2007; 10:56 a.m.

I'm taking the plunge into world of Digital SLR. I am somewhat tied in to the Nikon system due to the many manual focusing lenses and also AF lenses I currently have (all AIS, no G or VR lenses yet).

My questions, until the bugs are all worked out on the Nikon Full Frame body, which current body will give me the best bang for my bucks? Majority of lenses are MF AI & AIS. Does the Nikon D40 body allow full backwards compatibility with the older optics? What choices do I have in this regard?




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Shun Cheung , Oct 05, 2007; 11:03 a.m.

Response to Which digital SLR is backwards compatible with older lenses?


David Long , Oct 05, 2007; 11:05 a.m.

Response to Which digital SLR is backwards compatible with older lenses?

Nikon lens/body compatability notes from (dare I say it?) Ken Rockwell here.

Ronald Moravec , Oct 05, 2007; 11:30 a.m.

Response to Which digital SLR is backwards compatible with older lenses?

D200 with Ai manual focus or newer glass works fine. I use a 24 35 &50

D40 requires lenses with the focus motor in the lens, therefore it is limiting.

Juanjo Viagran , Oct 05, 2007; 11:32 a.m.

Response to Which digital SLR is backwards compatible with older lenses?

you can put an AIS lens in ANY of the Nikon DSLR's, from the D40 to the D3,

now: with D40/x, D50, D70/s and D80 you won't get metering and can use the AIS lens in Manual Mode ONLY.

with D200, D2H/s, D2X/s, D300 and D3 you get metering.

for the buck, I'd go with a D200.

Ben Henny , Oct 05, 2007; 12:43 p.m.

You can use non-AIS lenses with the D40. The D40 is the most compatible with older lenses - almost no restrictions. The other cameras you have to watch out for non-AIS and some others. I bought the D40 specifically for this reason - although, as mentioned, it is limiting on the autofocus lens selection; you're stuck with AF-S lenses only.

It's hard to justify the double-priced D200 for me. I'll wait for the $1000 full-frame DSLR. Meanwhile, the D40 does everything an FM2 could ever do, and a 100 more things you'll never use.

Adam Maas , Oct 05, 2007; 01:37 p.m.

While the D40 has almost no restrictions on what lenses it can mount, it is also the modern equivalent of a Nikkormat FS when you do mount non-CPU lenses. Manual only with no metering (You do get focus confirmation if the lens is f5.6 or faster).

The D200 is the best current body for someone with AI-era glass. You get metering (including matrix if you enter lens data), A and M modes, full TTL flash capabilities including all the CLS toys (once again, if you enter lens data) and focus confirmation. The D300 has the same capabilities. The D2's and D3 offer the same basic capability, but store selected aperture for multiple focal lengths.

Sam Thompson , Oct 05, 2007; 04:21 p.m.

You can also mount those lenses on a Canon with an adapter. You lose auto focus but you can use stop down metering even with the lowest Canon Rebel DSLR.

Ilkka Nissila , Oct 05, 2007; 05:23 p.m.

Yes, and who wants to use stop down metering? Try shooting with stop-down metering and use f/8 on a people group shot.

D200 and up are good for MF glass. Be sure to get a Katz Eye focusing screen for it and your life is a lot easier (and more precise).

Byron Delva , Oct 05, 2007; 10:04 p.m.

Is there a way to use the on-camera flash? I currently have a D70s, and just got the 35mm f1.4 about two weeks ago. However I cannot how to make the flash fire. Anybody knows what I am missing here? Byron.

35mm f1.4 @ 5.6 D70s

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