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Nikon Lens Compatibility
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Digital SLRs    Pro 35mm    Mid-price 35mm   Cheap 35mm

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Introduction    Nikon Reviews   Nikon Lenses   Nikon Lens Technology Guide    All Reviews

skip to   Digital SLRs    Pro 35mm    Amateur 35mm   Cheap 35mm

 

Overview

These tables help figure out which lens does what on which camera. It's not a table of camera features for selecting a camera. Cameras vary more than I can fit in a table. Want to know my recommendation for the most flexible film camera ever, and a steal at 2007's used prices? Get an F4. It works with everything from 1959 through today with few exceptions.

As you've read at Nikon System Compatibility, it's amazing how lenses and cameras made over all of Nikon's SLR history often work just fine with each other. Not that you'd want to use them, since the 18-55mm II lens included with the D40 way outperforms the older lenses not only optically, but also offers autofocus, zooming and auto exposure, but if you have old lenses lying around, a big advantage of the Nikon system over any other is that many items, regardless of age, plug and play with the rest.

This is a general guide. There will be some oddball items not covered. For these, always read your owners manual or ask Nikon USA at (800) NIKON-UX (digital) or (800) NIKON-US (film).

When a camera or lens is introduced, of course its manual can't talk about compatibility with future products. For instance, my TC-16A autofocusing converted explicitly says it's only compatible with the N2020, which was true when it came out in 1985, but it works great on my F4 and F6. The F5 manual says it works, too.

 

This Applies to Nikon Brand Lenses Only

This chart does not apply to any brands other than Nikon.

Nikon often includes secret features in cameras and in lenses to make them compatible with the next five years or so of secretly planned technology.

For instance, the 1988 F4 is completely compatible with AF-I and AF-S lenses which didn't appear until 1992 and 1998.

Nikon AI lenses in 1977 already had secret lugs on the back which couple lens information to cameras for Matrix metering, not introduced until the FA of 1983.

Zoom AF lenses, ever since they were introduced in 1986, have always had focal length encoders which insert data into today's digital cameras' EXIF data.

AF lenses of today (mockingly even the G versions) still have mechanical lugs for backwards compatibility with the matrix meter of the 1983 FA, and manual focus lenses still have prongs for coupling to the 1959 F.

Often crappy lenses like Sigma or Tamron might work on a camera today, but they won't work on your next camera. Beware!

 

DX Lenses

DX lenses are lenses without enough coverage for film or FX cameras at some, or all, focal length settings.

DX lenses often give black corners on anything but a DX camera.

Except for the potential of black corners on film or FX, DX lenses as as compatible as every other G lens.

All DX lenses are G, and are either traditional AF (screw) or AF-S.

Use the G and AF or AF-s columns to see their compatibility.

DX, like G, is a handicap, not a feature, but except for the potential for black corners doesn't otherwise alter compatibility.

 

Nikon Series E

All Nikon Series E lenses are also AI-S. Read that column.

 

Manual Focus Terminology

"Split" is a split-image central rangefinder.

"MP" means microprism focus. If I say Split & MP," that means a microprism collar around a central split image.

"3-pt" means three-point ( > 0 < ) electronic manual focusing aid.

"1-pt" means one simple electronic "OK" focus confirmation dot, which is nowhere as fast or as precise as the three-point system.

 

Guide to Lens Types (see also my detailed page of explanations)

Invasive
Fisheyes

1960s

7.5mm Fisheye

Pokes into camera.

 

Pre-AI

1959-1977

pre-ai

Only one row of aperture numbers.

AI Converted

1959-present

AId

Factory conversion: looks like AI, but has a machined prong.

AI home

Home conversion; looks silly.

AI, AI-s

1977-present

AIs

Stamped stainless prong.

AI-s has the smallest aperture (largest number) in orange on the smaller scale.

AF, AF-D (screw)

1986-present

AF

About 5 electronic contacts. Rotating screw coupling on mount.

 

AF-S, AF-I

1992-present

AFs

7-10 contacts. No rotating screw.

 

VR

2000-present

VR

Says VR.

Has about 10 electronic contacts.

G

2003-present

G

No aperture ring.

 

Invasive fisheyes

Invasive fisheyes are weird old lenses which poke into the camera, like the 7.5mm f/5.6 and 8mm f/8. They require a full-time mirror lockup. Attempting to put them on any current camera will break the mirror. Some of these fisheyes are too big around to mount on some of the F-series because they bang into some of the finders. Be careful.

 

Mirror Lenses

You're on your own here. Read your manual, ask Nikon, and try it yourself. Most fit on most cameras, since mirror lenses have no aperture rings to conflict, while some won't fit much of anything. Be careful.

 

Explanations of Terms Used in the Tables    skip to    Digital SLRs    Pro 35mm    Amateur 35mm   Cheap 35mm

 

"OK" means everything works as originally intended. "As intended" means a feature supported by both the camera and by the lens. AF lenses will not autofocus on manual focus cameras, and manual focus lenses won't autofocus on any camera, which is as intended, so that's OK. The invasive fisheyes never had any had metering and never had through-the-lens viewing, so for them, that's also OK.

Newer cameras have more potentially incompatible features than older cameras. A newer camera may have more incompatibility warnings below than an older camera, but may still provide more features than an older camera with an OK. For example, I mark when a matrix-metering camera loses that capability, but older cameras that never had a matrix meter are marked OK since they never had it. For instance, I mark the ancient invasive fisheyes as OK on some cameras, but these lenses offer no through-the-lens viewing, no metering and no focusing. You have to use an external meter and clip-on viewfinder with the first fisheyes of the 1960s!

 

P, S, A and M refer to Program, Shutter-preferred, Aperture-preferred and Manual exposure modes. On cameras on which a mode is supported by the camera, but not with a lens you've mounted, the camera will default seamlessly back to a mode which is supported. For instance, if Program mode isn't supported, the camera usually defaults to Aperture-preferred mode.

 

Matrix Metering, introduced in the 1983 FA, is Nikon's magic metering system which gives perfect exposures over many difficult conditions, including pointing directly into the sun. All Nikon's pro cameras have had it since the F4 of 1988, and all digital cameras have it. Only the FA manual focus camera has it, and most of the AF film cameras have it. See my individual camera reviews for details.

 

VR, Vibration Reduction, is a stand-alone feature. It either works or doesn't on any particular camera, regardless of the compatibility of everything else.

 

No AF is an inconvenience, but guess what: Nikon AF cameras still all have an electronic dot (or arrows and a dot) in the viewfinder which tell you when you've got perfect manual focus. It's slower, but just as accurate.

 

P Lenses: Not shown on the chart, P lenses are manual focus lenses with computer chips that enable full compatibility with all AF and digital cameras. You still need to focus by hand, using whatever electronic aids are in the camera, and otherwise they behave just like AF lenses.

 

G lenses are crippled versions of other lenses. G lenses have had their aperture rings removed to save cost. G is not a feature. G is a handicap. Most cameras haven't needed aperture rings for 20 years. If your camera needs it, you may be out of luck.

A "G" lens means nothing more than a lens without an aperture ring. It's like a blue "handicap" parking pass in the USA: it tells us nothing else about itself other than that it's handicapped. G lenses are either traditional AF or AF-S, and may or may not have VR. You have to read those columns, too. You only get the features that apply in all of the columns that apply to your lens. G takes away, it never adds features.

Used on a camera listed as "NO: underexposure" means that they will seem to work OK, but only shoot at their minimum aperture. You can use these, but will need to recalculate the exposure and shoot at only the smallest aperture, or more adventurous but dangerous, jam something into the spring-loaded stop-down lever in the back of the lens to keep the G lens open to a more practical or full aperture and meter accordingly. This is silly; if you want to shoot G lenses on film and your camera doesn't support it, today you can have your pick of great used cameras for under $100 that work perfectly with them.

 

Concatenation

Many of these lens designations can apply to the same lens, for instance, a lens could be DX, AF, VR and G all at the same time. Therefore you'll need to check under every designation which applies. For instance, the DX 10.5mm fisheye is both AF and G, and the 18-55mm II is AF-s and G, leaving open more potential avenues of incompatibility.

See my detailed page of explanations for more.

 

Caveat

These are what I've seen myself. My manual for my D40, for instance, says that non-AI can NOT be used, but I find they work as well as AI lenses. Be careful and never force anything; all because my 50mm f/2 Nikkor-H works great doesn't mean that other non-AI lenses will.

This page has taken a lot of work and is brand new as of September 2007. There are bound to be errors, so please let me know if something's in error. Thanks!

 

Acknowledgment

Many thanks to the folks who've sent old cameras to my Retirement Ranch. This old gear has been invaluable to plug and play to see what works with what. THANK YOU for helping me help everyone!

 

Don't See Your Camera?

This is based on the cameras to which I've had recent access. If you don't see your camera, that means I haven't' gotten to play with one lately. As soon as someone donates one to my Retirement Ranch or I find one cheap, I'll add it. For instance, thanks to people's help I just ordered a used N5005 for a whopping $25.

 

Digital SLRs    back to top    back to explanations

 

Invasive
Fisheyes

Pre-AI

AI Converted***

AI, AI-s***

AF, AF-D (screw)

AF-S, AF-I

VR*

G**

Df

NO
Breaks Mirror

OK
M; use AEL for A
OK
A, M
OK
A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
VR OK
OK
P, S, A, M

D2, D3, D4 series
(all)

NO
Breaks Mirror

NO
Won't Mount
OK
A, M
OK
A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
VR OK
OK
P, S, A, M

D810, D800, D800E, D750, D700, D610, D600, D300s, D300, D200, D7000, D7100

NO
Breaks Mirror
NO
Won't Mount
OK
A, M
OK
A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
VR OK
OK
P, S, A, M
D1 series
(all)
NO
Breaks Mirror
NO
Won't Mount
No Matrix Meter
(CW and Spot Only)
A, M
No Matrix Meter
(CW and Spot Only)
A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
VR OK
OK
P, S, A, M

D90, D80, D70,
D70s, D50
, D100

NO
Breaks Mirror
NO
Won't Mount

No Meter
M
(home conversions may not mount)

No Meter
M
OK
P, S, A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
VR OK
OK
P, S, A, M

D5300, D5200, D5100, D5000, D3300, D3200, D3100, D3000, D60, D40, D40x

NO
Breaks Mirror
No Meter
M
No Meter
M
No Meter
M
No AF
P, S, A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
VR OK
OK
P, S, A, M

* VR is a very valuable stand-alone feature. All VR lenses are either traditional AF or AF-S, in which column you'll see how the other features work.

** G is not a feature. G is a handicap. G lenses are lenses which have been crippled by removing their aperture rings to save cost. This is a classic example of taking away features while making customers think they are getting something new. G eliminates many features with older cameras. Since G lens is a crippled version of something else, you must look in the other columns that apply to your lens, probably traditional AF or AF-s. The features that will work are only those present in all relevant columns.

*** Matrix metering with manual focus lenses in the digital SLRs (D2, D3, D200 and D300) expects you to enter the lens focal length and f/stop in the camera's menus. Otherwise all you get is CW and Spot.

Nikon Europe also has another table for DSLRs. I have not checked it for accuracy, but it is crammed with detail and may help you, too.

Nikon USA has a table explaining what works on the cheapest DSLRs.

 

Professional 35mm SLRs    back to top    back to explanations

 

Invasive
Fisheyes

Pre-AI

AI Converted

AI, AI-s

AF, AF-D (screw)

AF-S, AF-I

VR*

G**

F
(1959-1972)

OK
M
OK
M
OK
M
OK
M
Stop-Down Metering
M
(add prong for regular metering)
Stop-Down Metering
M
(add prong for regular metering)
No VR
NO
Underexposure

F2
(1971-1977)

OK
M
OK
M
OK
M
OK
M
Stop-Down Metering
M
(add prong for regular metering)
Stop-Down Metering
M
(add prong for regular metering)
No VR
NO
Underexposure

F2
(1977-1980)

OK
M
Stop-Down Metering
M
OK
M
OK
M
OK
M
OK
M
No VR
NO
Underexposure

F3
(1980 - 2001)

OK
M
Stop-Down Metering
A, M
OK
A, M
OK
A, M
OK
A, M
OK
A, M
No VR
NO
Underexposure

F4
(1988 - 1997)

OK
M
Stop-Down Metering
A, M
No Matrix Meter
(CW and Spot Only)
A, M
OK
A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
No VR
OK
P, S

F5
(1998 - 2005)

OK
M
NO
Won't Mount
No Matrix Meter
(CW and Spot Only)
A, M
No Matrix Meter
(CW and Spot Only)
A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
VR OK
OK
P, S, A, M
F5 modified***
OK
M
Stop-Down Metering
No Matrix Meter
(CW and Spot Only)
A, M
No Matrix Meter
(CW and Spot Only)
A, M
No Matrix Meter
(CW and Spot Only)
A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
VR OK
OK
P, S, A, M

F6
(2004 - today)

NO
Breaks Mirror
NO
Won't Mount
OK
A, M
OK
A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
VR OK
OK
P, S, A, M
F6 modified***
(2004 - today)
NO
Breaks Mirror
Stop-Down Metering
No Matrix Meter
(CW and Spot Only)
A, M
OK
A, M
OK
A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
VR OK
OK
P, S, A, M

* VR is a very valuable stand-alone feature. All VR lenses are either traditional AF or AF-S, in which column you'll see how the other features work.

** G is not a feature. G is a handicap. G lenses are lenses which have been crippled by removing their aperture rings to save cost. This is a classic example of taking away features while making customers think they are getting something new. G eliminates many features with older cameras. Since G lens is a crippled version of something else, you must look in the other columns that apply to your lens, probably traditional AF or AF-s. The features that will work are only those present in all relevant columns.

*** As of September 2007, for $114 Nikon USA will replace the fixed meter coupling lever of the F5 and F6 with a movable one similar to the ones on the FE, F3 and F4. This movable lever can be moved out of the way so that non-AI lenses can be mounted and used with stop-down metering (press the depth-of-field button and read the meter). For aperture-priority automation with these ancient lenses if you have a modified F5 or F6 (or standard FE, F3 or F4), press the depth-of-field button and hold AE lock after you release the preview (stop-down) button. It's much easier to do than to explain.

 

Mid-Price 35mm SLRs    back to top    back to explanations

 

Manual Focus

Invasive
Fisheyes

Pre-AI

AI Converted

AI, AI-s

AF, AF-D (screw)

AF-S, AF-I

VR1

G2

FM, FE, EL2
(1977-1982)

Split & MP
NO
Breaks Mirror
Stop-Down Metering
A, M3
OK
A, M
OK
A, M
OK
A, M
OK
A, M
No VR
NO
Underexposure

FA
(1983-)

Split & MP
NO
Breaks Mirror
NO
Won't Mount
No Matrix Meter
(CW and Spot Only)
P, S, A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
No VR
Sort Of6
P

FE2, FM2, FM3a
(1982 -2006)

Split & MP
NO
Breaks Mirror
NO
Won't Mount
OK
A, M
OK
A, M
OK
A, M
OK
A, M
No VR
NO
Underexposure

N90/F90/s
(1990s)

NO
Breaks Mirror
NO
Won't Mount?
No Matrix Meter
(CW and Spot Only)
A, M
No Matrix Meter
(CW and Spot Only)
A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
No VR
OK7
P, S

N6006
(F-601)

NO
Breaks Mirror
NO
Won't Mount
No Matrix Meter
(CW and Spot Only)
A, M3
No Matrix Meter
(CW and Spot Only)
A, M***
OK
P, S, A, M
No AF
P, S, A, M
No VR
OK4
P, S

N8008/s
(F-801)

3-point
NO
Breaks Mirror
NO
Won't Mount
No Matrix Meter
(CW and Spot Only)
A, M3
No Matrix Meter
(CW and Spot Only)
A, M3
OK
P, S, A, M
No AF
P, S, A, M
No VR
OK5
P, S

F100
(1999-2006)

NO
Breaks Mirror
NO
Won't Mount
No Matrix Meter
(CW and Spot Only)
A, M3
No Matrix Meter
(CW and Spot Only)
A, M3
OK
P, S, A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
VR OK
OK
P, S, A, M

N80/F80
(2000-2006)

NO
Breaks Mirror
NO
Won't Mount?
No Meter
M3
(home conversions may not mount)
No Meter
M3
OK
P, S, A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
VR OK
OK
P, S, A, M

1.) VR is a very valuable stand-alone feature. All VR lenses are either traditional AF or AF-S, in which column you'll see how the other features work.

2.) G is not a feature. G is a handicap. G lenses are lenses which have been crippled by removing their aperture rings to save cost. This is a classic example of taking away features while making customers think they are getting something new. G eliminates many features with older cameras. Since G lens is a crippled version of something else, you must look in the other columns that apply to your lens, probably traditional AF or AF-s. The features that will work are only those present in all relevant columns.

3.) Doesn't show aperture in finder.

4.) N6006 (F-601) always blinks "Fee" with a G lens. Otherwise, the N6006 works great in P mode with a G lens. The other modes can be made to work, but you're pushing your luck: the S mode works, however you have to set the shutter speed while in the M mode and there is no exposure information given, except if you're over or under as shown on the bar graphs. Manual mode works only at minimum aperture and with an external meter (the N6006 indicates and meters for the maximum aperture, but exposes at the minimum aperture instead.) A mode underexposes, since it indicates and meters for the maximum aperture, but exposes at the minimum aperture instead.

5.) N8008 (F-801) works great in P mode with a G lens, however it only works at minimum aperture in A and M modes. With a G lens in A and M modes it does indicate that minimum aperture and appears to work properly otherwise (not yet tested with film).

6.) With G lenses on an FA, set the FA to Program mode, in which case it works only at full aperture. This is great for available light or slow lenses like the 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6G, but stupid with fast lenses in bright light.

If you trick the FA by moving the aperture-ring feeler a bit, the FA will then use the G lens just fine in Program and shutter-priority modes, but it will read "F - -" instead of the chosen aperture, because the G lenses lack the lug to tell the FA the absolute maximum aperture.

Because of this, the FA also only works in center-weighted, not Matrix, meter mode. If you insist, try sticking a nubbin on your G lens to move the aperture ring feeler as if you had a real AI lens on your FA, and all ought to be fine, lack of Matrix meter notwithstanding, for Program and shutter-priority modes.

7.) N90/F90/s works swell in M mode and A mode with G lenses, however the only aperture you may select is the smallest one.

 

Inexpensive 35mm SLRs    back to top    back to explanations

 

Manual Focus

Invasive
Fisheyes

Pre-AI

AI Converted

AI, AI-s

AF, AF-D (screw)

AF-S, AF-I

VR*

G**

EM
(1979)
Split & MP
NO
Breaks Mirror
NO
Won't Mount
OK
A
OK
A
OK
A
OK
A
No VR
NO
Underexposure
N2020 (F501)
(1986)
ground glass & green dot
NO
Breaks Mirror
NO
Won't Mount
OK
P, A, M
OK
P, A, M
OK
P, A, M
No AF
P, A, M
No VR
P mode***
N4004s (F401s)
(1989)
ground glass & green dot
NO
Breaks Mirror
NO
Won't Mount
No Meter
M
(home conversions may not mount)
No Meter
M
OK
P, S, A, M

No AF
P, S, A, M

No VR
OK
P, S, A, M
N70 (F70)
(1994-?)
ground glass & green dot
NO
Breaks Mirror
NO
Won't Mount
No Matrix Meter
(CW and Spot Only)
A, M
No Matrix Meter
(CW and Spot Only)
A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
No VR
OK
P, S
FM-10
(1995-)
Split & MP
NO
Breaks Mirror
NO
Won't Mount
OK
M
OK
M
OK
M
OK
M
No VR
NO
Underexposure
N75 (F75)
NO
Breaks Mirror
NO
Won't Mount
No Meter
M
(home conversions may not mount)
No Meter
M
OK
P, S, A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
VR OK
OK
P, S, A, M
N65 (F65)
NO
Breaks Mirror
NO
Won't Mount
No Meter
M
(home conversions may not mount)
No Meter
M
OK
P, S, A, M
OK
P, S, A, M
VR OK
OK
P, S, A, M
N60 (F60)
NO
Breaks Mirror
NO
Won't Mount
No Meter
M
(home conversions may not mount)
No Meter
M
OK
P, S, A, M
No AF
P, S, A, M
No VR
OK
P, S, A, M
N55 (F55)
(2005 - 2006)
NO
Breaks Mirror
NO
Won't Mount
No Meter
M
(home conversions may not mount)
No Meter
M
OK
P, S, A, M
No AF
P, S, A, M
No VR
OK
P, S, A, M
Pronea S
(1998-?)
NO
Breaks Mirror
No Meter
M
No Meter
M
No Meter
M
OK
P, S, A
OK****
P, S, A
No VR
OK
P, S, A

* VR is a very valuable stand-alone feature. All VR lenses are either traditional AF or AF-S, in which column you'll see how the other features work.

** G is not a feature. G is a handicap. G lenses are lenses which have been crippled by removing their aperture rings to save cost. This is a classic example of taking away features while making customers think they are getting something new. G eliminates many features with older cameras. Since G lens is a crippled version of something else, you must look in the other columns that apply to your lens, probably traditional AF or AF-s. The features that will work are only those present in all relevant columns.

*** N2020 with G lens: top and bottom arrows blink in finder, but P mode works properly. The A and M modes don't work well, but you can hack it: "A" mode only works at the lens' smallest aperture and gives correct exposure, but finder reads a much faster shutter speed corresponding to full aperture. In other words, you're shooting around f/32 all the time in A mode with a G lens. M Mode has no meter and the lens only works at its smallest aperture. No, I have no idea what the actual smallest aperture is on each G lens compared to the smallest apertures given when set on a modern camera. Unlike most modern cameras, the N2020 has a closed-loop exposure system which makes its final reading at the instant the lens stops down to taking aperture, which eliminates any effects of diaphragm miscalibration.

**** Oddly, all other AF-S and G lenses I tried work great, but for some reason the 18-55mm II isn't recognized, so it won't AF or meter on the Pronea S.

 

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Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

 

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These are blanks for my reference as I add to this page as new gear arrives at the Rockwell Retirement Ranch.

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