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View Full Version : Strange SLR Question (Nikon camera)


Shey
05-22-2006, 11:05 PM
Sorry if I shouldn't post this here, but hopefully someone can help.

Ok, strange question. My dad is a photographer (golf courses) and he's on a photoshoot when the wind blows over his tripod and breaks the lens on his nearly brand new SLR. I'm not sure of the make because I'm getting all of this info from my mom. I do know the camera is a Nikon. He needs to finish the shoot tomorrow and we're wondering if he might be able to use the lens from his regular Nikon film camera on the digital camera. Does anyon have any experiance with this? Is it even possible? Will it effect the picture quality? Any recommendations of other things he can do? I know it's hard to answer without knowing what kind of camera and lens it is specifically but even opinions would be helpful. Thanks guys!

Oklahoma
05-23-2006, 12:35 AM
Does anyon have any experiance with this?
Persomally I do not have first hand experience with this but I use a Canon DSLR and can speak on them and I have studied some of the Nikon cameras so I know a little about them

Is it even possible?
Essentially yes, there are some factors that may make it not possible. If the lens is a nikkor lens it will work. If the lens is one from Sigma or Tamron it may work. All DSLR's use the same lenses as the 35mm SLR's from the same maker. So a Nikkor lens that fits a 35mm body if it fits the digital it will work some older 35mm cameras have different mounts for the lenses and thus they will not work but if the mount is the same the lens will work if it is a nikkor lens. On the matter of sigma and tamron they make lenses that will work with the camera bodies out at the time so if the lens is older than the digital SLR it may or may not work, you would just have to try it out.

Will it effect the picture quality?
Not really. It does affect focal length however. All Nikon image sensors are smaller than 35mm film so it multiplies the focal length by a crop factor of 1.3 to 1.6 depending on the sensor size; meaning if the lens is a 28-70mm on a 35mm camera it becomes about a 40-105mm lens at a 1.5x crop factor. All other properties of the lens still apply for the 35mm focal length such as distortion or other flaws in the lens.

Any recommendations of other things he can do?
Rent. Some stores allow you to rent lenses from them for a rental price per day. Just find one that you can rent from and rent the same lens that got broken.


Hopefully this will help you out.

staereo
05-23-2006, 08:37 AM
Oklahoma covered this issue very well...

There are a couple of brands that have digital specific lenses that seperate them from their entire line of film camera lenses. Chances are very slim he has one of these brands.

If it is indeed a nikon he is all set to use it.

I'm actually kind of surprised he doesnt keep a set of lenses with him, as a photographer. ouch.

Anyways, to expand on whats been said, because I dont want to repeat facts (Just clarifying the great points from Oklahoma):

"If the lens is one from Sigma or Tamron it may work." As long as the sigma and tamron are meant for the camera brand that makes his dSLR.

" So a Nikkor lens that fits a 35mm body if it fits the digital it will work some older 35mm cameras have different mounts for the lenses and thus they will not work but if the mount is the same the lens will work if it is a nikkor lens." SUPER POINT, typically lenses made in the last 15-20 years are all the same mount for the same manufacturer. If the lens is capable of autofocus, chances are its' mount is ok.

"Not really. It does affect focal length however. All Nikon image sensors are smaller than 35mm film so it multiplies the focal length by a crop factor of 1.3 to 1.6 depending on the sensor size; meaning if the lens is a 28-70mm on a 35mm camera it becomes about a 40-105mm lens at a 1.5x crop factor. All other properties of the lens still apply for the 35mm focal length such as distortion or other flaws in the lens."
Oklahoma, I think YOU ROCK! I love it when people actually understand how image sensors' crop factor works. Only thing I want to add is a silly comment about ghosting. It doesnt matter what lens you have, if it isnt coated or spherical, it may get ghosting from bright lights against a dark background. This is because light reflects off of an image sensor, back to the flat outer glass, then back against the image sensor. This is seriously NOTHING to be concerned about, because its almost certain that even the lens that his camera came packaged with has this very problem. It's just something that differs from using film. Oklahoma rocks for explaining this well. The crop factor is already something your father was dealing with using his last lens, so it won't be any different with a film-intended lens.

There's nothing really worth me adding here, after Oklahoma posted. Covered everything.

Bruce

jtnishi
05-23-2006, 10:57 AM
There is one factor to be added, because Nikon DOES vary from Canon in one very key fashion: while with Canon, the last generation mount (FD) is incompatible completely with the current generation mount (EF, which added autofocus) without an adapter, with Nikon, the lens mount actually hasn't changed much in the last 40 years or so.

If your father is good enough to be able to control the lenses manually, and control the shutter and aperture manually, and if the camera body is relatively new enough, you can technically probably use most Nikon lens direct mounted onto that Nikon body, as long as it was developed after the Nikon F (1959) and uses a variant of the mount. The "compatibility" isn't all that great, admittedly; since the newest mount is fully electronic, while the old mount is of course fully manual. However, the lens should be able to be physically attached to the camera and used without problem (with some exceptions), though perhaps without electronic control if it's too old.

For Canon photographers, if you want to use the old, manual aperture-on-lens non-autofocus FD mount lenses on your brand spankin' new Canon DSLR, you'll need a mount adapter first.

staereo
05-23-2006, 12:55 PM
Very good info Jason! See, I didn't even realize nikon's mount hadn't changed. Cool enough. Even better for the father in this case.

Bruce

Shey
05-23-2006, 02:10 PM
Thank you guys so much! I was able to read your suggestions to him (luckily he understood everything a lot better than I do) and he did get his camera to work. I really appreciate everyone's input. You all really know what you're talking about and I was very impressed with how quickly you responded. Thank you again!

Eriol
05-23-2006, 10:31 PM
Very good info Jason! See, I didn't even realize nikon's mount hadn't changed. Cool enough. Even better for the father in this case.

Bruce

The general rule is that nearly all Nikon lenses made after 1975 will fit modern Nikon camera bodies without difficulty, although older lenses will not benefit from autofocus or CPU data exchanges between lens and the body. Nikon lenses before 1975 are slightly different in the mount area and require a mount adapter.

I know of one Nikon DSLR owner who actually goes to flea markets to search for older lenses, which are mostly cheaper than modern lenses. Why mostly cheaper? Well, some discontinued lenses seems to be so well made that they have appreciated in value.

Here are some links to Nikon camera-lens compatibility charts if anybody needs to figure out what Nikon lenses can be attached to which Nikon cameras:
http://www.nikonians.org/html/resources/nikon_articles/other/compatibility.html
http://www.nikonlinks.com/unklbil/bodylens.htm
http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/nikortek.htm

The fact that many of Nikon lenses and camera bodies are interchangeable is a very significant selling point for Nikon. It ended up being the decision-maker for me when I narrowed it down to Canon and Nikon brands. I think it was Ken Rockwell, a well-known photographer, who said that it seems Nikon builds the lenses first and then designs cameras around the lenses.

staereo
05-24-2006, 07:00 AM
Very cool!

Being a canon guy, i rarely investigate other camera's compatablity. (Other than some of the new medium format digital's compatablity to canon's line.

I love getting this info from time to time though.. keeps me on my toes.

Bruce

Oklahoma
05-24-2006, 08:01 AM
Most of the research that I have done was when I was looking and comparing DSLR's before deciding on the Canon 20D, and from talking to friends who have other camera's. I try to keep up with new things just to stay informed for myself but that is hard because of how fast things change now.



"If the lens is one from Sigma or Tamron it may work." As long as the sigma and tamron are meant for the camera brand that makes his dSLR.

This is very close but not always true. Because camera makers do not release the signal codes they use for their lenses companies like Sigma and Tamron reverse engineer the codes by using the newest bodies available. What this means is that if canon or nikon slightly change the signal codes when a new body comes out all the lenses Sigma or Tamron have already made may not communicate with the body properly. Because of this older Sigma or Tamron lenses may not work on newer Canon or Nikon bodies. Also, because of this Sigma (i know but don't know about Tamron) will rechip the lenses with the new codes that they have for free so you can use it with your new camera; but you have to send the lens to them to have it done.

This is what I meant when I said a Sigma or Tamron may work on the camera.

Just trying to clarify it for people.

staereo
05-24-2006, 08:53 AM
Because of this older Sigma or Tamron lenses may not work on newer Canon or Nikon bodies.

Is there a list of lenses that are out of date to modern bodies? (personally I only am curious about 20D compatability, but others may want more)

I guess this is another sign of me being focused on my own equipment.

I stick to canon lenses, just out of personal choice. Learning hand over fist about other brands than what I use lately..

I guess you get into a groove and sort of start isolating yourself from other equipment after a while. Tunnel vision. Not something I should probably get in the habit of. Especially if Im in the position to have to rent something outside the brands that I am utilizing.

Bruce

Oklahoma
05-24-2006, 09:47 AM
Is there a list of lenses that are out of date to modern bodies? (personally I only am curious about 20D compatability, but others may want more)

Unfortianatly no, if you purchase new this problem will not occur until you upgrade the camera body. The only way you can get some clue as to whether or not you will have this problem is find out when the lens was made and if it was made after your camera body you should be good but if it was made before you just never know. If you send the lens serial number to Sigma they will tell you if it is compatable or not but that is the only way to find out if you don't know when the lens was made.

I know a lot of people who would never consider using a Sigma because of these problems but they do have some very sharp lenses (look at the macros and higher zoom lenses) for decently low prices, and only Sigma makes the bigma (300-800mm zoom with a constant F-stop :eek: ) which is supposedly a pretty decent lens.

As for this being a problem with canon or nikon it exists in both about evenly.

As for Tamron lenses I don't know as much as I don't have experience with them.

I currently have 2 Sigma lenses and they are decent lenses but I want to replace them with canon lenses I just don't have the money to purchase the lenses I want (drat being a poor college student).

Eriol
05-24-2006, 01:05 PM
Very cool!

Being a canon guy, i rarely investigate other camera's compatablity. (Other than some of the new medium format digital's compatablity to canon's line.

I love getting this info from time to time though.. keeps me on my toes.

Bruce

As long as you stick with Canon lenses, you should be fine. The EF/EF-S mounts are recent, so I don't think Canon will obsolete them any time soon.

I tend to avoid third-party lenses to avoid possible incompatibilities. The price points are tempting, but I don't think the savings are worth the risk of these lenses becoming unusable because the camera maker changes the mount or chip data. Also, if you ever need to sell your lenses, the brand name will generally sell better than a third-party name.

staereo
05-24-2006, 01:46 PM
As long as you stick with Canon lenses, you should be fine. The EF/EF-S mounts are recent, so I don't think Canon will obsolete them any time soon.

This is what I do... "I stick to canon lenses, just out of personal choice. Learning hand over fist about other brands than what I use lately.. "... I just meant that I dont think that other lenses are inferior by namesake.. I just prefer canon lenses.

Not only because of their compatability, but moreso because I have overall felt better about the resulting images. They suit me better personally, just as I liked the canon body's images personally as well.

Bruce