Nikon D3200 lens compatibility?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by peter_mechels, May 11, 2013.

  1. Hello, I am a relatively new photographer. I took a photo class in high school, but we never talked much about SLR cameras. After a year
    away from it I recently got back into photography and I bought a Nikon D3200 and I am in love with it! There is just one thing I have on my
    mind now. Up until just recently I had this idea in my mind that any lens could be slapped on the end of a camera and it would work!
    Obviously I was mistaken. Now here I am wondering what lenses i could get for my camera that are compatible with it, because I really
    don't want to get a high quality lens and find out that it doesn't work with it.

    I am in the market for a nice macro and telephoto lens.
    Could anyone help a novice in need?
  2. It needs to be a Nikon mount, so Nikon lenses (obviously), and then other brands like Sigma or Tamron will say in the description which
    make they're for, i.e. Canon, Nikon, etc.
    What type of photography are you interested in doing? It will help people in making suggestions.
  3. I'm interested in macro photography, but other than that it just really depends on the day. It's more of a hobby for me, so I
    don't think I could narrow it down to just one type of photography.

    I know that is not the helpful answer but It would be a lie if i narrowed it down any further than that.

    I just know so little about lenses that I really cannot choose it on my own, so any help at all would be appreciated.

    Currently I only have the AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm lens that came with the camera. It's nice for an all purpose but now I'm interested in something with a little more oomph if you know what I mean.
  4. Virtually all Nikon lenses will be compatible with this camera. But not all Nikon lenses will autofocus or meter on this body.
    What exactly do you mean by "it doesn't work with it". You don't mention your budget, but Nikon's 105mm f2.8 AF-S macro lens would be an excellent choice, and is fully compatible including autofocus with the D 3200, but it is a little pricey.

    As a basic guide, all AF–S lenses will be 100% compatible with your body, including autofocus. AF-D lenses will not autofocus but are fully compatible otherwise. Older lenses may or may not meter on your camera depending on the lens, but again are still compatible.
    "I am in the market for a nice macro and telephoto lens"
    What is your budget?
  5. I guess I want really clear with that comment, what I was saying is that not all lenses are going to work the best for this
    camera. Ideally I would like an auto focus lens, but when it comes to it, I could probably make due. As for my budget, I'd
    be in it for a $400 macro and telephoto lens. I'm in college right now, I'm not exactly made of money haha.

    And thanks for the info!

    I can save up a little more if there was one within the 400-600 range, I just would have to save up longer.
  6. In the telephoto area, do you want a fixed focal length lens or a zoom that goes out in the longer range ?
    When you say, "macro" do you need it to be a TRUE macro lens, which means it will go down to a 1:1 image or just one that can get rather close-up ? Ones that go down to 1:1 are going to be more specialized and come with a specialized price, if you know what I mean.
    As was said above , for a Nikon lens to be FULLY compatible, you need one that has "AF-S" in it's name. That basically means the focus motor is in the lens. Many Nikon cameras below a given price need that because they don't have a focus motor in the camera anymore. So, I would suggest a long zoom that has AF-S in the name for your telephoto use. However, most of the time, when people get in to close-up photography and further, down in to true "macro" stuff, they focus manually, because the camera doesn't know what exactly they need in focus when you're in that close. That means you can get a lens that does not say "AF-S" but just AF and it will work in ALL other way with your camera, but not auto focus. Now, the question of just HOW much magnification you want to get will dictate how much you need to pay.
  7. Least problems and most of compatibility is if you get a "G" type Nikkor lens.
  8. on a tight budget i would go for the nikon 55-200vr and the 18-55vr.
    the first a nice sharp, light tele-zoom, the second a nice wide, through normal focal length with fairly close focus.
    both can be found rather cheaply on the used market, or if you can stretch to it, the 70-300vr and 16-85vr, then save for a proper macro later on. a used tamron 60mm or 90mm should be ok but check if it has a built in motor as earlier models do not.
  9. ...what I was saying is that not all lenses are going to work the best for this camera.
    Well, that's only partially true, really. A good lens is a good lens, no matter which camera you hang on to it. But, there are usability factors indeed....
    To sum up what is spread out over the answers already given, for the D3200 the following matters:
    • Autofocus and metering works completely: lenses with AF-S or AF-I in their name. The equivalent for Sigma is HSM, for Tamron it is a bit trickier, but it is often mentioned as 'BIM' on sites of stores. For all intents and purposes, these are the lenses you most likely want.
    • No autofocus, but metering works completely: lenses with AF-D or AF-G in their name, but no "S" (sometimes, you will find the D is written at the end, i.e. AF 35mm f/2D, or AF 70-300 f/4-5.6G). Most AF-S lenses also have the "G" in their name, but the AF-S takes precedence, so they fit under the first bulletpoint.
    • No autofocus, metering works except for the 3D Matrix metering: lenses with AF or Ai-P in their name (but no "D" or "S"). The 3D matrix metering is not a big miss, by the way; you can regard this as the same level of compatibility as the previous point.
    • No autofocus, no metering, but can be mounted and used in manual mode: all other F-mount lenses (called pre-AI, AI and Ai-S). That includes all lenses made for the Nikon F since 1959. On a budget and for learning how to do everything manually, there are gems in this category for little money, but probably not your first choices.
    Nikon nomenclature is lovely, isn't it?
    The second usability factor is what a lens is designed to do. Focal length matters, and when looking at macro lenses, both the reproduction ratio (1:1 or 1:2) and the minimal focus distance matter a lot.
    For example, within you budget you can find the AF-S 40mm f/2.8 Macro lens, which goes all the way to 1:1 (meaning 1mm in real life is projected as 1mm on the sensor). But to reach this, you will be very very close to the subject - which won't work if the subject is still alive. If you want to do macros of insects, the minimal you should be looking at are lenses as the Tamron 90 f/2.8 macro or the Nikon AF-S 85mm f/3.5 macro - both just within your budget, leaving you no money for a telelens.
    If you just want to get more close-up pictures, but not real macro, forget about a macro-lens for now. Get a decent telelens, which with your budget for me would be the Nikon 55-300VR, which is a really nice lens at a good price. If you manage to stretch the budget, the 70-300VR comes in sight, which is a step up (in all ways: size, weight, price, quality).
    Another few reasons to maybe forget about a macrolens for now could be that macro-work isn't all that easy, and frequently requires flash (to have sufficient light), a very good tripod and it's mostly manual focus work as said before - it's got a bit a learning curve to it. With the telelenses mentioned above, you may possibly already be able to do what you want to do, so given your budget only allows realistically for one lens: get a telelens first.
  10. You can do a lot with the lens you
    have. Add the Tamron 90 macro and a
    55-200 Nikkor and you'll be set for
    quite a while. There will be a lot to
    learn with that setup.

    Rick H.
  11. It is awesome that Nikon has maintained the original F mount all these years but my frustration with Nikon in not providing backwards compatibility (with respect to metering/auto-aperture) with all F mount lenses is already well documented and their continued lack of providing many essential AF lenses with AF-S upgrades.
    If you can stomach learning how to manual focus, and taking the extra time it takes to check exposure settings, and focus, using the rear LCD playback and histogram, there are many used AIS lenses that can not only fit your budget but can outperform much more expensive current "do-it-all" VR lenses. Of course stopped-down metering technique is also not an insignificant hurdle.
    Autofocus is not necessary with Macro since you need precise control anyway, so with a lens like the Nikon 100mm f4 AIS you would really only be losing metering and auto aperture. You can readily find one of these for half of your $400 total budget.
    For the other half of your budget I would recommend the Nikon 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 D ED AF which at least gets you auto-aperture and metering, or if you want one of the sharpest lenses available consider the Nikon 180mm f2.8 ED AIS, but again no auto anything.
    The three lenses I have suggested are very specific for reasons. You have to be very careful of every letter that you find in the names of Nikon lenses, and yes, it does get extremely confusing.
    P.S. With any lens choice you may make, buying used is a huge advantage. The sites I check on a regular basis are,, and that you are in North America.
  12. In the telephoto area, do you want a fixed focal length lens or a zoom that goes out in the longer range ?

    I think zoom would be better than fixed focal length because if I find a picture that is a little closer than a fixed could
    handle, I could still take the picture.

    When you say, "macro" do you need it to be a TRUE macro lens, which means it will go down to a 1:1 image or just one
    that can get rather close-up ? Ones that go down to 1:1 are going to be more specialized and come with a specialized
    price, if you know what I mean.

    I think closer would be better, but I don't need something that can see the etching in the point of a pencil.

    Thanks for the suggestions everyone, I will be looking into each lens you suggest!
  13. Nikon's venerable F mount is an amazing work of engineering and I think it's one of the reasons Nikon lovers are just more, well, in love, with their system than Canon users are. Or Minolta-Sony, or Pentax, or Olympus. Everybody but Nikon has dismayed current owners by changing the lens mount entirely (Canon and Minolta) or not delivering FF bodies (Pentax) or simply coming so late to the autofocus party they became an afterthought (Olympus). It's pure genius that Nkon sells all the different sub-mounts that let you use all their lenses, somehow, on a DSLR. The "ancient" non AI lenses fit and work on the very latest D3200. Some bodies let you meter with old AI Manual focus lenses and even store their configuration params in the body as non-CPU lenses. Even more amazing is that Nikon's lenses can be adapted to mount on Canon's EOS bodies and they work fine as non-AF lenses.
    When I was a wedding photographer I used Canon a lot, but privately, personally, it's been the old stuff that I love. Not just Nikon, mind you, I like ALL the old stuff. I am old. :) Nikon's the only system in the world where I can play old foggie or newfangled kid or mix them all up on a whim.
    Congrats on your new camera! If it's made for Nikon or by Nikon, there's a good chance it will work on your new body. I recommend you look for a manual focus Nikon Series E 50mm 1.8 lens to play around with. They're cheap and amazing.
  14. $400 for a macro and a tele... here's what I'd do.
    For the tele lens, Nikon 55-200 VR refurb for $160. If you look up the Adorama VIP program and pay the $8 for the paid membership before you buy the lens, Adorama will extend the warranty one year for free. For the macro, you can have the Nikon 40mm for $277 from Adorama (the refurb is only $17 cheaper so I wouldn't bother) and be only a bit over budget.
    Or, if you don't mind having to use manual focus and not having the meter (so you need to be in M mode and figure out the exposure, probably by taking test shots and looking at the histograms) buy a used Nikon manual focus micro lens. will sell you a 55mm f/2.8 AIS (which is the model with the most resale value) with the front and back caps for $159 in EX condition. That comes with a 6 month warranty. You get 1:2 magnification (an object that's 2 inches wide will fill the frame) but if you want 1:1 (a 1 inch wide object fills the frame) get this extension tube. All together you'd come in under budget.
  15. Hi Peter,

    I have a Nikon D3200 as well and I can tell you that you can get macro lens very cheaply!

    I was lucky enough to buy a very old Minolta MC Rokkor PG 50mm f.1.4 for just $10. It was covered is sand and gunk but
    after careful cleaning it came up fairly nice. I then bought a $10 adapter from EBay. This adapter has no glass and in
    effect works as a macro extender on the Nikon.

    This lens can be bought on EBay for $40 or so. It is highly rated and as a macro lens on my Nikon it is superb! Have a
    look at the following example

    I also managed to buy a busted up Nikon 50mm f2 AI Nikkor. I paid $20 for this and again it's a very good lens, however,
    it is once again a manual focus only lens.

    Those two lenses are the best lenses that I have. They are both incredibly sharp!

    I also have a brand new AFS 35mm 1.8G. That's also a good lens but I have issues with the auto focus which tends to
    front focus.

    These days the 50mm Nikkor is pretty much glued to my camera. It also produces nice macro but when I need to get
    more closer I switch to the Minolta Rokkor.

    I have two other lenses, a Sigma zoom and a Soligor 200mm. Both of those lenses are junk. I wasted a combined $70 on
    those two and plan to give them away to a charity shop.

    All up I have benefitted the most from my two cheapest lenses!

    I hope this helps you.

  16. On a further note - I am looking to buy Non - AI lenses. Some responses here state that these lenses will work on a
    D3200. However, the official manual states that this is not the case.

    Can anybody with personal experience clarify that Non - AI lenses work on D3200 without any issues as I do not want to
    damage my camera. I may still acquire these lenses and do the AI conversion myself.

    Kind Regards,

  17. To be honest if you are on a budget and are looking for a cheap macro lens.. I use this I picked this up for £70 second hand and have taken some pretty decent Macro shots with it
    Undoubtabley it isn't the professionals choice however I was stood about 1 and a half meters away from the bee in the links below and therefor didn't disturb it and it still remained good clarity. (both of these shots were handheld also and you would obtain a sharpe image if using a tripod)
    The beauty of this lens also is that as well as macro it is a fairly good telephoto (although it does go slightly soft at full 300mm (most do however) In the links below there are some full 300mm shots taken with this lens and a shot where I have used the lens @ 300m with a 2X magnifyer to get a 600mm focal legnth (sturdy tripod essential for moon shots)
    Falcon @ 300mm
    Moon @ 600mm (300mm with 2X magnifyer)
    If you want an all round lens on a budget and then have some free money to spend on another lens for when you find your niche I would reccomend this one.
  18. Can anybody with personal experience clarify that Non - AI lenses work on D3200

    I have a D3200 and I use my pre AI lenses on it. Obviously, focus is manual and metering is either with a separate meter or sunny 16.
    You can find a lot of contradictory advice. I have read Nikon literature which says you can and can't use them. In the end I spent a while looking at the mounts and decided that there was nothing to prevent putting them on the camera and tried them. A quick press of the live view button confirms that everything works (i.e. the mirror doesn't hit the back of the lens).
  19. An old thread, but I feel compelled to add some information. It is true that old pre-AI lenses will mount to cameras such as a d3200, if you mount the lens to the locked position you will lose the ability to completely close down the aperture. The trick to maintaining full use of aperture range follows. 1) Set lens to smallest aperture (highest F stop number). B) Start to mount lens on camera while watching the blades of the aperture through the front of the lens. 3) As you near the lock position, you will reach a point where the blades will start opening on their own - back off a little from where they start to move and you will maintain full aperture range of the lens. While not locked in position, I find the connection to be solid enough for me. (I did not stumble upon this myself, but credit a youtube video by "FromTheRawVideo".
  20. If you are willing to shoot in manual mode, lots of lenses are available to meet your needs. A previous poster mentioned the Minolta adapter; I have one and it works well. There is also a lense-reverser (F mount to 52mm filter thread) that works for macro work.) There is a Leica adapter, but it doesn't focus to infinity. I mounted a D3200 to a view camera to use my old lenses, and this worked very well for macro work, plus also regular photography. Photo at I am currently building an adapter to mount a Mamiya Press 250mm lens to the D3200. This should work well for moderate telephoto work. I'll post an update here in the future.

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