Legacy (stone age) lenses and the D7000


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Jan 17, 2012
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Cherry Hill, NJ USA
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I am looking for some information regarding lens compatibility.

I’m thinking of getting a Nikon D7000 with a third party (Sigma 17-50mm f 2.8) ‘walk around’ lens to start with.

I have access to some lenses used on a Nikon N2000 film camera. I know that these will be manual focus. I expect that the Nikkor 50mm f1.8 will work as an auto exposure prime portrait. What I’m hoping is that I can use the Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f2.8-4.0 to get a feel for what I need in a second lens. Again, I know it will be manual focus and I strongly suspect manual aperture as well.

Can anybody give me some feedback on my ‘hopes and expectations’? Is there any chance that attempting to attach these lenses could damage the camera? They are 30 years old (more or less) but in near mint condition. I understand that the F mount goes back 50 years.

Any feedback gratefully received.
ANything that is Ai, AI-converted, or Ai-S will work on the D7000; those three categories of manually focusing lenses will mount and will give Aperture priority automatic and manual, match-diode metering.

Any 50/1.8 Nikkor or Nikon Series E lens is a "new-style" lens, and will work. So yes, the 50mm 1.8 from 30 years ago, will work. The Series 1 70-210 is probably an Ai or Ai-S mount lens.

What you do NOT WANT TO DO is to mount any pre-Ai lenses on a D7000; they can damage the camera.

Here's one of several articles on Nikkor lens compatibility. Nikon Lens Compatibility
Eureka! That's the right answer! AI-S all.

Any insights on my initial choices?
I had a D7000 paired with a Sigma 17-50 f2.8 and I think they were a match made in heaven. Sharp images and no problems with either.
Towards the back of your manual is a clear explanation of how to config the old lenses along with a chart of which lenses are compatible and what functions of each will work.
Older nikkor prime lenses are fantastic... just as good as newer ones (some even better, if build quality matters to you), ai and ais lenses will work. Older zoom lenses aren't typically as good as modern lenses.

I once owned a vivitar series 1 70-210 f3.5... it was a very good lens, with a wide constant aperture. I don't know if the f2.8-4 performs the same, but it probably does.
Some of the older simple primnes like the 135mm f/2.8 AI or AiS are very compact, sturdy, and very affordable, and they focus well on AF bodies.

The 200mm f/3 Ai and Ai-S are also very compact,light, and perform very well.

The 85mm f/2 Ai or AiS are REALLY SMALL lenses!!! Not much bigger than a 50/1.4 AF-D. The 105mm f/2.8 Ai or Ai-S models are REALLY NICE lenses. The 105mm lenses are the lenses NIkon really made their fame on...and the 105/2.5 Ai-S is a honey!!! CrC close-range correction,msilky-smooth focusing, built-in lens hood, and FABULOUS focusing action make this one preferrable in Ai-S over the older Ai version.

The 300 f/4 Ai is low-cost; the 300/4.5 Ai-S ED-IF is built like a tank, and nice lens...I have a nice clean example..it's really "the" preferred low-cost 300mm MF Nikkor to go for in the affordable range.

Wide-angle lenses are much harder to focus on a small-body AF camera.

Two things: the Ai versions of most Nikkors have STIFFER focusing action than Ai-S models, and typically have a longer focusing throw than Ai-S models. ALSO, the Ai-S lenses have linear diaphragm mechanisms. For the user, the stiffer focusing feel of the older lenses versus the Ai-S series is probably the more concerning,apparent, "real" difference.

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