compatiblity of AF lenses with digital bodies

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by karen_dover, Apr 5, 2010.

  1. I am presently working with a D70s and my old NIKKOR AF lenses 35-70mm and 70-210mm, along with extension rings and a macro adaptor. Although I was originally informed upon purchase of the new digital body that the lenses and body would be fully compatible, I now hear that any aperture-driven commands established on the digital body are not accurately received by the lenses. Apparently, it is only in the fully manual mode, which I infrequently use, that they will be successfully communicated. Is this true?
    I must say that the loss of full-frame, which I enjoyed with my film/analog body, is really felt in my photos, as well as the fact the 35-70mm is effectively a 50-105, so I am missing out on the intimacy in my shots. In general, I feel like I am working much harder to create a picture that evokes an emotional response. A trial with an 18-200VRII lens was like child's play comparatively......which leads to my next question.....if the opportunty presented itself, would forum readers choose a D300s and a 'walk-around' 18-200VRII OR a D700 with full-frame capacity and use of my beautiful older lenses to full capacity, with the option to add a wide-angle for more dramatic shots? It's about the same investment financially, but the end-result may be quite different. I tend to do available-light photography, often on workshops, and I do love the freedom and flexibility of one lens, despite the known limitations. The weight of my equipment can be an issue, frequently forcing me to leave my camera at home. Multiple lenses will only increase this....As well, will the D700 adapt perfectly to these older lenses, and will there be any predictable compromise? Last question, is the D700 getting an upgrade soon?
    I look forward to your input....I have been most impressed by your comments on other questions posed.
  2. I use my D700 with my 35-70 f/2.8 and all my old AIS lenses, all of which work perfectly.
  3. Karen -
    Do a google search on this site for the lens question - it's been asked a few times before...
    (or go to Thom Hogan's site and look for his compatibility chart)
    In general - All AF lenses will AF on D300 / D700. All AIS lens will meter (correctly) with D300 / D700.
    As for your other questions -
    1. D300s vs D700 - depends on what I'm shooting and why... If I'm just kicking back with the kids / vacation or even shooting sports - then D300 / D300s is fine for what I need. I'd only use the 18-200 as a family lens though - would not do sports or serious portrait work with it...not that you couldn't do that - but just not something I'd do.
    2. Weight difference would not factor into the decision - I don't believe the there is a significant difference between the 2 bodies - Lens selection might make a difference, but in general the bodies are the same weight.
    3. D700 is now almost 2 years old - following normal upgrades - it would seem somewhat logicial that Nikon would be thinking of an upgrade as a normal release cycle.
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I now hear that any aperture-driven commands established on the digital body are not accurately received by the lenses.​
    I wonder where you hear that from. All sorts of wrong and misleading information is posted to the internet; that is certainly not a reliable source of information. A digital SLR body sends information to the lens in the same way as a film SLR: Nikon uses a mechanical lever from the SLR body to control the aperture on the lens (with the exception of PC-E lenses).
    Karen, you have two not-too-expensive lense from the film days. If you need a D700 anyway, that is fine. Otherwise, it does not make a whole lot of sense to spend thousands on a D700 in order to "rescure" two lenses that worth a few hundred dollars. Personally I dislike the 35-70mm/f2.8 AF because its zoom range is way too limited; 35mm is clearly not wide enough for general use.
  5. Since you specified available light photography and the desire for closer proximity to your subjects for a greater sense of intimacy, something like the 17-55/2.8 DX Nikkor might be worth considering. But any good f/2.8 midrange zoom would do.
    For dim available light photography of people, lens speed is more critical than VR. Sure, VR in addition to speed would be great, but a slow variable aperture zoom with VR is less useful than a fast lens for the type of photography you've described.
    Regarding whether to get a D300 or D700, if I could afford it I'd get the D700 for one reason: ultimate value in dim available light handheld photography. Nothing to do with the DX vs. FX argument. Not really anything to do with wide angle lenses or any of the usual arguments. Objective test results show the D700 offers a significant advantage in low noise, high ISO photography. That's important to my style of shooting. But the D300 isn't bad at all and I wouldn't be disappointed. In fact, I'm considering the D90 because it performs very similarly to the D300 at high ISOs and I'd rather have a smaller, lighter body.
  6. the D70s is a very good camera. i still use mine. so with the 70-210 af-d. unless it's the camera limiting your desires and objectives in shooting, there is no need to upgrade. just get a nice wide to normal zoom lens for your walkaround and casual shooting. i have always liked only two for this --- the sigma 18-50mm that i use and the tamron 17-50mm that i also have but don't use as much as the me, the 35-70mm lens is very limiting on DX. well, i can say also for FX. nice to have at least a 28mm on the wide end.
    for available/low light, i will forget about the 18-200mm. this is where you will need the f/2.8 lens. the only thing that the 18-200mm will give you is the freedom to use one lens. well, VR will help a little.
    i will echo shun on the question why buy the D700 just to use your two lenses. get two fast lenses. one wide to medium and another long zoom for reach. or use your 70-210mm.
    you will hear a lot more opinions and suggestions. good luck in your decision.
  7. Great comments so far, all valid and very helpful. To Shun Cheung, the misinformation was actually provided by a respected staff member at a Nikon dealer (Henry's), which is why I decided to launch the question to this forum, as I suspected I would get a full-sprectrum response, upon which I could base my conclusion.
    I do agree, my old lenses are not of great quality and should not be the determining factors in my decisions about my future purchases. I do feel limited and frustrated by my present equipment and i would just like to avoid throwing good money after bad. Your experience-based responses are most welcome.....keep them coming!
    Thanks, Karen
  8. I am missing out on the intimacy in my shots​
    As some already said, if you stay with the DX format, you can get various DX only 17-50/2.8 lenses that covers the 25-75mm range. The Nikon AFS version goes a little longer to 55mm so you will get 25-83mm, which covers more than the 35-70mm does on FF. The AFS technology is just spectacular. You can also choose various 28-70mm lenses that will cover 42-105mm. DX lenses and camera bodies are smaller, lighter, and cheaper than the FF counterparts. The choice between DX vs FX has really nothing to do with focal length coverage.
  9. karen, the easiest, least expensive thing to do in your situation is get some wider lenses. you dont have anything in the 18-35 range, so...maybe a used 18-35 or a tamron 17-50 VC or a nikkor 17-55. your available-light shooting would also get a boost from the 50/1.8, which is also one of the sharpest, most inexpensive, and lightweight lenses around.
    if you want UWA, DX is actually the format with plentiful, fairly inexpensive options, like the sigma 10-20 or tokina 11-16. both of those are about 5-600 dollars. pop those on a d90 or used d300, and you're out the door for far less than a d700+14-24 or 16-35/4.
    need a fast, low-light lens? in DX there's the nikon 35/1.8 or the better sigma 30/1.4. the FX-compatible 24/1.4 which just came out is well over $2000.
    not to say that FF doesnt have benefits. but when you factor in the cost of the lenses needed to fully kit it out, you're looking at a far greater investment than just a D700.
    as far as upgrading the d70, that was a great camera in its time. it's still capable of great results, but...a d90 or d300 will give you more pixels for crop latitude and larger prints, and better high-ISO performance, among other things.
  10. "my old lenses are not of great quality"

    The 35-70 f/2.8 is one of the best zooms Nikon have made.
  11. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    To Shun Cheung, the misinformation was actually provided by a respected staff member at a Nikon dealer (Henry's), which is why I decided to launch the question to this forum,​
    Karan, I have a high profile on If I say something flat out wrong, I have no doubt that I'll get corrected in no time. If you are interested, you should get clarification from that person at Henry's: exactly how Nikon film and digital SLRs control the lens' aperture differently? Most likely there is some mis-understanding.
    Additionally, unless you tell us a budget you can spend, it is very difficult to provide meaningful suggestions. The D700 is definitely late in its production cycle; even though you don't mind that, after spending $2500 (higher in Canada) on that body; if you have no money left for some additional lenses, I think that is not a good approach.
  12. Mark, my apologies, I made a typo!! My lens is actually a 35-105....and I only wish it were the f2.8. It is a 3.5-4.5.
    Sorry for the insult intended!
  13. Shun, I felt your opinions on this forum were very trust-worthy and extremely informative, and therefore it is here that I came for my answer. I was not comfortable with the Henry's answer, so I chose to search elsewhere. I am in agreement with the opinions expressed thus far, and I don't feel it is an 'incompatibility' issue of body to lens. I am very interested in the comments about lens options/choices, as I suspect a few faster lenses added to the D70s or a D300s upgraded body will give me what I am looking for and ease the limitations I am experiencing.
    I would just like to ensure that my choices are sound and based on great advice. It is obvious that there is not just one simple option.....but the view is becoming clearer, thanks to all your excellent comments. THANK YOU!!!
  14. Karen, the Nikkor 18-70mm will give the about the same on your D70s as the 35-105mm did on film. You should be able to find one for less than $200. I enjoyed using one when I had a D70. A nice small light package. Do note the the D700 is a much larger and heavier body. I have used many older AF-D Nikkors with the D70, D200 and D700 without any problems, you have been misinformed.

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