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Which lenses will fit onto which bodies?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Henriette, Aug 19, 2009.

  1. Henriette


    Jul 17, 2009
    Looking at the Nikon webpage showing all the different Nikkor autofocus lenses I find myself somewhat confused.


    Nikon does two types of digital camera bodies, right? FX and DX. Looking at the lenses, DX lenses will obviously fit DX bodies, but can you use them for the FX bodies as well?

    What about all the other lenses? Can you use them all for both FX and DX bodies?

    The reason I ask is because I’m looking for new lenses for my D40, but I would like to be able to use these lenses in the future as well, even if I decide to upgrade from my D40 at some point.

    Also, I’ve stumbled upon the term “Prosumer” a couple of times. The meaning is obvious, but what would be considered the “prosumer” equivalent of the AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR for instance?

    Hope someone can help me. Link(s) to page(s) explaning the above is fine as well :smile:

    Thank you.
  2. Hi, this is a frequent point of confusion. Essentially every lens ever made for a Nikon slr will fit every Nikon slr ever made.

    That's the easy answer. It is a little more complicated in practice, however. While you can mount and use any Nikkor/Nikon lens, some will not meter properly in all modes (some only will meter properly in manual, for example depending on which body you are using), and some AF lenses will not AF. Older AF bodies and Nikon's higher end "pro" bodies have a motor built in to drive a small screw on the lens that operates it's focus mechanism, newer lower level bodies lack this motor. AF-S lenses will focus on all AF bodies because they have a motor inside the lens.

    Regarding dx vs fx, since the light sensor in a dx body is consierably smaller than the fx sensor, the result is that he image you see is a "cropped" version of reality. When viewed at the same sized enlargement as the fx produced file, it appears to be 1.5X closer. Some call this "reach", and that is the net result, but it's arguable whether or not it's advantageous over the cleaner files from the fx sensor and then enlarged the same amount in post processing.

    One thing the dx sensor has done has been enabling the development of smaller, cheaper fast lenses. A lens designed specifically for a dx sensor will fit on an fx camera, but most often the image will be vignetted since the image is engineered to cover a smaller frame of reference. You can use any film or non-dx lens on a dx body with no vignetting, but the focal length will appear magnified 1.5X (ie, a 50mm/1.4 lens becomes a 75mm/1.4). This is nice if you're looking for telephoto and problematic if you need wide. If you shhot wide and have a dx body, you'll have to use a dx lens. The wider the dx lens, the more vignetting will occur on an fx body. Not as complicated as it probably sounds; and not as big a problem, either. I hav a Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens that I love. I bought it prior to fx for my D200. It's a dx lens. I still use it on my D700 body, but it only vignettes up to around 14mm. I still have a VERY wide 14ish through 17mm functionality on my fx body.

    This is still a pretty basic description of the differences, but hopefully it helps...
  3. Weston


    Dec 29, 2008
    Springfield, OR
    Basically, the lenses you could use that give full metering and autofocus, are the af-s lenses. DX or non-DX will work the same.
  4. Richard_R


    Mar 26, 2009
    I would consider the 16-85VR to be a prosumer lens. It's above the standard kit type lenses in quality and build but it's not at the pro build or quality of something like the 24-70 f2.8 lens.
  5. LSSE

    LSSE Guest

  6. Henriette


    Jul 17, 2009
    Thank you for all your answers. I'll have a look through the links.
  7. You don't really need a link.
    All Nikon lenses use an F bayonet mount. The only restrictions are:
    DX lenses will only cover the DX sized sensor with the image they project. The DX zoom lenses will project an FX sized image anyway, but only part of the way through the Zoom.
    FX lenses will cover the sensor area of DX framed cameras with no trouble.
    The oldest non AI lenses could damage your new DSLR because the body of the lens will hit the meter coupling arm on the camera body before you can get it on all the way. You can still get most of those lenses modified to AI specs.
    The D40, D5000, D3000 and other new low priced cameras will only autofocus with AF-S and AF-I lenses. AF-S and AF-I lenses have the focus motor built into the lens. The only lesnes with AF-I motors were long telephotos.
    All other lenses use the focus motor built into the camera. It turns a screw built into the mount at the 7 o'clock position looking at the camera. This in turn makes the lens focus by the built in coupler in the lens.
    The top cameras will meter and shoot with the older non AF lenses. The newer low cost cameras like the D3000 will not meter with the older non AF lenses, but if you know what exposure to use, they will still take images with manual settings.

    But I second the Thom Hogan link. Please ignore Ken Rockwell. My opinion only of course.

    Rules for buying lenses:
    Always buy the very best lens you can afford. You will use that same lens for several bodies, so the cost of ownership spread over the years is low. 'Fast' lenses will allow faster shutter speeds by allowing more light to come in. They are lenses with f2.8 or lower maximum apertures, like f2 or f1.4. You can close down a fast lens to get better image quality and more depth of feild, but you can't EVER open up a slow lens to get a better shutter speed in low light.
    If you can't afford the most expensive lenses remember that when you stop the lens down a little, it will give esentially the same quality as the expensive lenses.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2009
  8. Henriette


    Jul 17, 2009
    Hi Chris.
    Thanks you for your answer. Right now I'm thinking about the 35mm f/1.8G DX, but looking into the future I'm not sure if I should be looking at the 50mm f/1.4G instead - or something non-Nikon? Any thoughts on that?
  9. MrSLR


    Jan 13, 2009
    Depends on what your shooting style is. The 35mm 1.8 is very popular here, and on DX format (your D40) that focal length would be considered normal range. Great for walk arounds, plus its small, light, and is fast (aperature wise).

    In my personal opinion, id opt more for the 35mm 1.8. 200 dollars and a amazing lense (from the photos ive seen)
  10. I second that. Unless you are ABSOLUTLEY sure you intend to go with a FX camera SOON, buy the 35 f1.8 lens. It will serve you well and take great images. It is the focal length we learned with years ago.
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