Lens shopping - what fit's a Nikon F3 manual focus?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by I'llGetItRightSoonerOrLater, Jul 16, 2003.

  1. I'm starting to shop for a new lens, but most lenses are now AF plus
    Nikon lenses cost a fortune. Does anyone know which AF lenses will
    fit a Nikon F3 and what other brands can be used on a Nikon? I know
    about Tamron, Sigma, and Vivitar but the quality is sometimes
    questionable. How about Minolta or Canon, etc.?

    I'llGetItRightSoonerOrLater, Jul 16, 2003
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  2. I'llGetItRightSoonerOrLater

    StillMan Guest

    Any Nikon AF lens will fit on your F3, but the ones with a "G" designation
    will not allow you to shoot in aperture priority or manual because there is
    no way to set the aperture.

    There are a few good lenses from third party manufacturers, but it would
    take some research to find out if any given one has a good reputation. If
    you ask about a specific lens, I'm sure someone here will be able to give a
    first hand account.

    Canon or Minolta lenses would not fit on a Nikon without some surgery,
    making it very impractical. John Shaw (well-known nature photog) has a Canon
    tilt-shift lens that has been converted to Nikon. I think it would be
    cheaper to pick up a used Rebel body for a specific lens if Canon was the
    only manufacturer and you didn't want to switch systems.
    StillMan, Jul 16, 2003
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  3. Get a Nikon Manual Focus lens!!

    I've bought a couple from keh (www.keh.com) and they're beautiful! Great
    prices, and you're not paying for the AF feature that you won't use...

    Good luck!

    Chino Cherokee, Jul 16, 2003
  4. I'llGetItRightSoonerOrLater

    EDGY01 Guest

    << I'm starting to shop for a new lens, but most lenses are now AF plus
    Nikon lenses cost a fortune. Does anyone know which AF lenses will
    fit a Nikon F3 >><BR><BR>

    Stick with the manual focus lenses for the F3. First, they're a better lasting
    lens than any AF lens, and if you buy them used where they are plentiful,
    you'll save a fortune.

    EDGY01, Jul 17, 2003
  5. I'llGetItRightSoonerOrLater

    el sid Guest

    i thought that the G lenses will not work on any nikon camera that does not
    electronically control the diaphgram and the F3 does not have that ability.
    el sid, Jul 17, 2003
  6. I've never understood that comment about "not paying for the
    AF features ...". New MF lenses don't appear any cheaper
    than AF lenses. And used MF lenses don't appear any cheaper
    than *used* AF lenses. Am I missing something?
    Michael Moore, Jul 17, 2003
  7. You are correct...The "G" Nikkors can only be used on the latest Nikon
    bodies, if you are interested in having any aperture control at all......
    William Graham, Jul 17, 2003
  8. I have an AF Nikon, but most of my glass is non-AF. You are right, the older
    non-AF Nikkors are beautiful lenses, and they can sometimes be picked up for
    very little money.....Even with an AF body, I can use them in the AF mode,
    and just substitute my left wrist for the AF motor drive.....
    William Graham, Jul 17, 2003
  9. I'llGetItRightSoonerOrLater

    Bhup Guest

    Hi what you will find is that,with AF lens the amount of rotation is minimal
    from close to infinity, the AF lens are more prone to focusing error when
    you want to focus quickly manually. The MF have a great build quality and
    the focusing is easier. BUT if you intend to go down the AF route then its
    work having a few AF lens in the bag With the F3 the F4.5 ish zoom lens are
    not that bright and you will have to get a better focusing screen than the
    standard K screen on the F3.

    Best value for money in my book for the F3 is
    Nikkor 55mm F3.5 micro ( about £70)
    and the
    135mm F3.5 , ( about £60)
    50mm F2.0 (about £30)
    Yes the F2.0 I have both the F1.8 and the F2.0 is a cracker every one turns
    their noses up at the 50mm F2. and can be bought for a few grains of salt.
    If your budget stretches to a
    180mm AFn ( about £220- £300)
    The AFD version is allot dearer optically identical.

    Bhup, Jul 17, 2003
  10. Thanks for all the great replies and suggestions. I think I'll
    definitely search for a used MF lens before trying anything else.

    I'llGetItRightSoonerOrLater, Jul 17, 2003
  11. I'llGetItRightSoonerOrLater

    Roger Guest

    My favorite F3 kit includes a 28mm f2.8 AIS, 50mm f1.8 AI and 85mm
    f2.0 AIS lenses. Which ones you would like depends on your
    photographic preferences. There are a huge number of AI and AIS manual
    focus lenses available. Pick the ones that fit your focal length
    preference. Hold out for bargain prices. I got a lot of mine by
    establishing a good relationship with a small local repair shop and
    let the owner know what I was looking for. As he bought up lots of
    used equipment, he often let me have stuff that he didn't intend to
    resell at pass-through prices.

    Roger, Jul 17, 2003
  12. I'llGetItRightSoonerOrLater

    T P Guest

    Please don't insult your F3 body by using anything other than Nikon
    lenses! With a very few exceptions, Nikon manual focus lenses will
    perform better and last longer than independent brands, and will also
    hold more value when you come to sell them.

    Most AF Nikkors will fit your F3, but they tend to have loose focusing
    rings that don't work well when focusing manually. Avoid all AF
    Nikkors with the G mount (successor to the F mount) as they have no
    aperture ring so cannot be used on your F3 other than at full

    Nikon manual focus lenses are solidly made with metal barrels and they
    focus beautifully.

    You can find many used Nikon manual focus lenses at very reasonable
    prices ... try KEH of Atlanta, GA:

    or eBay auctions:

    My suggestions for some top quality Nikon fixed focal length lenses
    would include the following (choose the focal lengths you want):

    20mm f/2.8 AIS Nikkor
    24mm f/2.8 AIS Nikkor
    28mm f/2.8 AIS Nikkor
    35mm f/2.0 AIS Nikkor
    50mm f/1.8 AIS Nikkor
    50mm f/1.4 AIS Nikkor
    55mm f/2.8 AIS Micro Nikkor (good macro lens)
    85mm f/2.0 AIS NIkkor
    85mm f/1.8 AIS NIkkor
    105mm f/2.5 AIS Nikkor (perfect for portraits)
    135mm f/2.8 AIS Nikkor
    180mm f/2.8 ED AIS Nikkor
    300mm f/4.5 AIS Nikkor

    There are some good Nikon zooms too:

    35-70mm f/3.3-4.5 AIS Zoom Nikkor (very cheap, a gem! .. but beware
    imitations such as a plastic f/3.5-4.8 made by Cosina and badged Nikon
    for sale with the dreadful FM10 and FE10 cameras which are junk)
    28-85mm f/3.5-4.5 AIS Zoom Nikkor
    75-150mm f/3.5 Nikon Series E (outstanding for portraits)
    70-210mm f/4 Nikon Series E

    Finally, some cheaper Nikon fixed focal length lenses:

    28mm f/2.8 Nikon Series E
    100mm f/2.8 Nikon Series E (good for portraits)

    Suggested outfits:

    3 top quality lenses 1:
    28mm f/2.8 AIS Nikkor
    50mm f/1.4 AIS Nikkor
    105mm f/2.5 AIS Nikkor
    (a good fourth lens would be the 180mm f/2.8 ED AIS Nikkor)

    3 top quality lenses 2:
    24mm f/2.8 AIS Nikkor
    35mm f/2.0 AIS Nikkor
    85mm f/1.8 AIS Nikkor
    (a good fourth lens would be the 135mm f/2.8 AIS Nikkor)

    3 cheaper lenses:
    28mm f/2.8 Nikon Series E
    50mm f/1.8 AIS Nikkor (avoid the Series E version)
    100mm f/2.8 Nikon Series E

    I hope these recommendations are useful. Try searching on eBay for
    "completed items" using the advanced search option and you will
    quickly get an idea of how much you will need to pay.

    These fine lenses are particularly cheap at the moment as so many
    consumers are selling their top quality manual focus 35mm gear to help
    fund the purchase of inferior digital gear and autofocus lenses.

    Finally, there are many (older) AI alternatives to the above listed
    AIS lenses which are at least as good, but may come slightly cheaper.

    There are some independent lenses that I would recommend, including
    the Tamron SP, Vivitar, Tokina and Sigma 90mm f/2.8 macro lenses (all
    discontinued except the Tamron) plus the Kiron 28mm f/2 and 105mm
    f/2.8 macro. The Tamron 17mm, 24mm and 28mm SP lenses are also good,
    but the last two are bettered by the AIS Nikkors.

    You have purchased a fine camera, one that probably took more of the
    shots that influenced the world in the last two decades of the 20th
    century than any other. Enjoy it to the full by using the lenses that
    worked best with it.

    If you need any further advice, please ask on here and I will do my
    best to help. Good luck!

    T P, Jul 18, 2003
  13. you mean f/1.4, certainly.
    The manual focus 1.8/85 was never available in AI,
    let alone AI-S.

    Christoph Breitkopf, Jul 18, 2003
  14. I'llGetItRightSoonerOrLater

    T P Guest

    Thanks for the correction. I meant to go back and
    check every lens I had listed, but then I didn't.

    T P, Jul 18, 2003
  15. TONY! (Sorry for shouting). You should really know better than to
    further confuse innocent people.

    A G lens _is_ set to its smallest aperture (fully stopped
    down, that is) on those bodys.

    Christoph Breitkopf, Jul 18, 2003
  16. I'llGetItRightSoonerOrLater

    T P Guest

    Don't be sorry, you did the right thing!

    Thank you!
    T P, Jul 18, 2003
  17. You and StillMan are agreeing. For some reason StillMan chose
    to phrase it that the lens won't work in aperture priority or
    manual, but since those are the only two modes the F3 has, what
    he's really saying is that it won't work in any mode.

    And others have already clarified that it sort-of WILL work,
    but only at minimum aperture, which is enough to make it pretty
    nearly useless. In any case, you have no aperture control of
    a G lens on an F3.

    Richard Cochran, Jul 18, 2003
  18. I'llGetItRightSoonerOrLater

    StillMan Guest

    I thought the F3 had shutter priority as well as M & A. You are correct that
    a lens permanently stopped to its smallest aperture would be all but totally
    useless in anything but S & P modes.
    StillMan, Jul 18, 2003
  19. Ah, finally. The definitive Polson-Nikkor scale (on which our Sun is
    somewhere in the "main sequence", and budget AF lenses are Cepheid

    Just expand on each choice a little and you have yourself an article.
    Martin Francis, Jul 19, 2003
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