Communities

Writing
Writing
Codidact Meta
Codidact Meta
The Great Outdoors
The Great Outdoors
Photography & Video
Photography & Video
Scientific Speculation
Scientific Speculation
Cooking
Cooking
Electrical Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Judaism
Judaism
Languages & Linguistics
Languages & Linguistics
Software Development
Software Development
Mathematics
Mathematics
Christianity
Christianity
Code Golf
Code Golf
Music
Music
Physics
Physics
Linux Systems
Linux Systems
Power Users
Power Users
Tabletop RPGs
Tabletop RPGs
tag:snake search within a tag
answers:0 unanswered questions
user:xxxx search by author id
score:0.5 posts with 0.5+ score
"snake oil" exact phrase
votes:4 posts with 4+ votes
created:<1w created < 1 week ago
post_type:xxxx type of post
Search help
Notifications
Mark all as read See all your notifications »
Gear Recommendations

Can I use my old Nikon film lenses with a new digital camera?

+7
−0

I'm a new photographer. Until recently, my only experience with pictures came from cheap digital cameras and phones -- until I discovered a nice SLR camera* lying around at home. I found some rolls of 35mm film and several lenses with that camera, and have been taking pictures with it for the past few months.

I think I'm ready to buy a low-end/starter DSLR and get a lot more practice with photography (and I'm looking forward to seeing the resulting images much faster :-). I think it would be a waste if I had to buy all new lenses with a new camera -- the three that I have are pretty good.

Can I buy a new digital camera that is compatible with my old Nikon film lenses?

I'm basically a complete camera newb, so I'm going to include as much detail as I can in case it's relevant. Please let me know if I need to add any other information or more specific pictures of the lenses to clarify :-)

Camera details: Nikon N6006 with AF.

Lens details:

  • Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8
  • Nikon AF Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8
  • Vivitar 28-200mm f/3.5-5.3 Macro Focusing Zoom Lens 72mm

The two Nikon lenses have autofocus, the Vivitar lens does not. All of the lenses have a manual aperture ring without (as far as I know) any possibility of giving aperture control to the camera.

Budget: $300-500. I'm including budget to keep this question on-topic per ArtOfCode's #6 description here, but I'll upvote answers with a) specific model recommendations AND/OR b) general guidelines so I know how to find a camera that will work.


* I had some trouble uploading a picture of my camera and lenses directly (as I might have done on Stack Exchange). I'm including a Google Drive link until I can figure out how to include a regular picture in the question post.

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.
Why should this post be closed?

0 comment threads

1 answer

+6
−0

Your lenses (and the N6006 / F-601 body) use the Nikon F-mount, one of the longest-lived and supported lens mounts ever. It has gone through a few updates over the decades, in order to support features such as autofocus, fully electronic aperture control, etc.

Lens–Body Compatibility

Your Nikon AF lenses use Nikon's original screw-type autofocus. Your generation of lenses were shortly followed by so-called "D" lenses (AF-D). Your lenses are often referred to AF (non-D), but the "D" distinction doesn't really matter. As far as Nikon camera body compatibility is concerned, AF (non-D) and AF-D lenses are the same.

Nikon publishes and updates their Lens Compatibility Chart. The takeaway from the chart is that your lenses will work with any Nikon DSLR you attach them to. The only caveat is that on low-priced consumer-targeted DSLR bodies, those lenses will not autofocus. Other than that, all of your lenses will work perfectly on any Nikon DSLR.

Regarding Aperture

All of the lenses have a manual aperture ring without (as far as I know) any possibility of giving aperture control to the camera.

Actually, that's not true — any Nikon DSLR can control the aperture of any of these lenses. Nikon's F-mount uses a lever-actuated aperture control from the camera body, even with lenses with an aperture control ring. In order to let the camera control the aperture, all you need to do is turn the aperture control ring to the smallest aperture (i.e., the largest F-number printed on the lens) on the left end of the aperture dial. On your 50 mm lens, it's the "22" in orange; on the 105 mm lens, it's the "32" in orange; on the Vivitar lens, it's "22" (but I don't think it's marked by any color). By setting the aperture to the smallest value, this provides the full range for the camera body to move the aperture control linkage.

Image Sensor Format

When talking about DSLR bodies, you will often see the distinction between "full frame" and "crop sensor" bodies.

  • Full frame refers to 35mm film equivalent frame size (24 × 36 mm). In Nikon terminology, these are "FX" bodies.
  • Crop frame, crop sensor, APS-C refers to sensors that are 1.5 times smaller than full-frame, measuring approximately 16 × 24 mm. Nikon labels these bodies "DX".

The smaller sensor area of crop sensor bodies provides a narrower field of view than you would see in a full-frame body, using the same lens. This change in field of view is related by the aforementioned 1.5× crop factor applied to the lens's focal length. Thus, your 50 mm lens, when mounted on a Nikon DX body, would have the same field of view as a 75 mm lens on a FX or film body such as your N6006.

In short, all of your lenses would have slightly more apparent "reach" when mounted on a DX body.

Camera Suggestions based on price

In general, DX bodies are less expensive than their similarly-featured FX counterparts.

Searching MSRP for new camera bodies only (no body+lens kits), I don't think any Nikon body will meet your price requirements. As I mentioned, the lower-priced consumer targeted Nikon D3xxx and D5xxx series bodies (all of them DX) will not allow your lenses to autofocus. For that functionality, you would need to step up to a D7xxx series (also DX).

At just under $500, you can get a D3500 with 18-55 mm kit lens.

I would recommend finding a refurbished or used D5600, or if you're lucky, a well-priced D7500. These are the current latest models in their respective product lines. More recent inexpensive DX lenses, including the typical 18-55 mm or 55-200 mm kit lenses, are fully autofocus-capable, and will quite often come with a body you find on the used market.

When searching for camera bodies, to get a reference of new MSRP prices, I'd start with photo/video sites like B&H Photo/Video or Adorama. I don't have any specific recommendations for finding used gear, but both of those sites often have refurbished gear.

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.

0 comment threads

Sign up to answer this question »

This community is part of the Codidact network. We have other communities too — take a look!

You can also join us in chat!

Want to advertise this community? Use our templates!

Like what we're doing? Support us! Donate