Buying old lens : VIVITAR 58MM NIKON/ NIKKOR compatible MACRO/ ZOOM Lens

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by email2somnath, Jan 10, 2006.

  1. I have a D70s and want to get into macro photography (but don't have
    the budget).
    I am getting an old lens : VIVITAR 58MM NIKON/ NIKKOR compatible MACRO/
    ZOOM Lens with N mount but the seller says it works fine with his D70
    camera (F mount ). Please enlighten me.

    Please let me know how can I get more details about old lenses or is
    there a site which talks about mounts about different 3rd party

    email2somnath, Jan 10, 2006
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  2. email2somnath

    Mike King Guest

    The Nikon lens mount has evolved a lot since 1960 (or so). Older lenses may
    mount but pre-AI lenses (before 1975 or so) may actually damage the lens
    mount or innards on your new toy. Lenses without "chips" will not be fully
    usable in all metering modes if they will meter at all. All this is more
    fully explained in other places.

    Short answer if the lens is AI it won't damage your camera but will not
    meter. If it is AI-S or newer it is more usable but may not work in some
    modes. AF-D or newer is best, easiest to interface with body electronics.

    And Macro Zooms most commonly aren't true Macro, if by macro you mean they
    can go to 1/2 life size it is more accurate to call them close focus zooms
    (and you already own a close focus zoom if you bought the kit lens with your
    Mike King, Jan 11, 2006
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  3. email2somnath

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    There is no operational difference between AI and AI-S on any current Nikon
    camera body. Neither will meter with a D70. (Both will on the pro bodies.)
    Jeremy Nixon, Jan 11, 2006
  4. It will suffice as a learning tool, but there are better choices.
    Do a web search on "photomacrography" and you will probably find

    One odd thing about photomacrography is that throwing money at
    it doesn't produce the best results, only the most convenience.

    Which is to say you can spend several hundred dollars on a very
    nice "macro" lense that will make the images you take very easy
    to get, but it will be limited in what it can do. The price tag
    bought extra convenience, not extra functionality. And worse,
    adding extra functionality will probably *lose* the convenience!

    There are "close up" lense adapters that fit like filters on the
    front of regular lenses. There are also "close focus" lenses
    that allow focusing at a very short distance. When those allow
    something approaching 1:1 sized images, it is called "macro".
    Conveniences are things like auto aperture, auto focus, and
    coupled exposure metering (and manual focusing too, for that

    But a *true* *macro* lense that provides maximum functionality
    has a couple of other characteristics not true of most lenses
    that have all the conveniences and are labeled "macro". Optical
    optimization at close focusing distances rather than at infinity
    is one, and a flat field of focus (which may or may not be
    useful) is another. (See Nikon's "Micro-Nikkor" models.)

    You can give up conveniences, but still get both good optical
    quality and great functionality without spending top dollars.
    And there are some very very inexpensive ways to explore
    photomacrography, albeit with less than optimum results.

    Vivitar once produced a 2x "Macro Focusing" tele extender. You
    can find them on eBay for probably less than $30 in a Nikon AI
    mount (no AF etc). Like most "macro" close focusing lenses,
    this is not the optimum in optical quality, but it does provide
    "macro focusing" for any regular lense. For a very few bucks
    you can certainly find out if photomacrography is something you
    want to put more of your time and money into.

    And (or) you might want to just start with an inexpensive set of
    extension tubes. Later you might want a bellows, but the
    extension tubes will still be useful, so these would be a good
    low cost initial investment. As I'll explain below about
    bellows, you could actually get either Nikon or a Pentax M42
    mount tubes, because a set of adapters (Pentax M42 lens to Nikon
    and Leica 39mm lens to Pentax M42) makes it much more useful.

    Of course a bellows or set of extension tubes makes virtually
    any lense into a close focus "macro" lense, hence there is no
    need to buy special close focus lenses if they are not also
    optically optimized for close focus (i.e., your Vivitar "macro"
    lense). Another good method is to use a lense reversing ring
    with regular lenses to use them at a more optimized focus.

    For top optical quality, many very good quality used enlarging
    lenses are available at very low prices. They are optimized for
    close focusing and are flat field lenses. They are great for
    photomacrography, but you do need to use extension tubes or a
    bellows to focus them (with appropriate adapters).

    Regardless of using regular lenses (reversed or not) or
    enlarging lenses... a bellows is nice, and should be a good
    one. Good Nikon mount bellows are available in a wide range of
    prices. A lower cost bellows can often be obtained by looking
    for a Pentax screw mount (m42, or 42mm) bellows though, and in
    practice the adapters needed are the same for either mount.

    An M42 lense to Nikon body adapter and an Leica 39mm lense to
    M42 body adapter are necessary to use 39mm enlarging lenses.
    And with a Nikon lense to M42 body adapter an M42 bellows can be
    used with Nikon mount lenses. The quality of the bellows is
    more important than which mount it has.

    When shopping for a used bellows... avoid those with a single
    round rod (some of the Pentax mount bellows) and any with a
    relatively thin flat rail (Spiratone). They are too unstable,
    and a narrow bearing surface on a flat rail may actually fall
    apart with a camera and a heavy lens on it.
    Floyd Davidson, Jan 11, 2006
  5. email2somnath

    Jim Guest

    The D70 manual has a very good page on lens compatibility.

    First, if you want to "get into" macro photography, avoid macro zooms.
    Even the best are nothing more than adequate close focus lenses.

    Also, old lenses will fit your D70s if the are AI or newer, with some
    excpetions. Howver, they will not meter with the D70 or the D70s
    unless they are AFD's . In otherwords, you will need an external
    light meter .. and with a true macro lens, a piece of paper and a
    pencil or a calculator to compensate the indiicated exposure for the
    lens extension. With a zoom this even gets more complex particularly
    if yo don't have the original manual with the compensation tables for
    lens extension.

    I have both the Nikon 55m 3.5 Micro-Nikkor P converted to AI. It does
    not work on my D70s.. it mounts, but after that I have a just retreated
    to a circa 1965 SLR with no metering. I also have the Nikkor AI 105mm
    Micro f4 with similar traits. So, I am not prepared to replace
    either of these, so I pull out my N90s or my Nikon Ftn to do my macro
    photography. Some day, I MAY buy a true macro lens for the D70s but it
    will not be a cheap proposition.
    Jim, Feb 6, 2006
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