What you need to know about Nikon lenses?
What Nikon offers
Superficial review of the Nikon line of lenses
Most likely, if you are not photographing a Canon DSLR, then you are using a Nikon camera. Although so many other companies make excellent cameras, these two companies own the bulk of the market, and their battle is epic – several decades of struggle for leadership. Nikon is older, the company’s history begins in 1917 as Nippon Kogaku Kogyo Kabushikigara.
Today, Nikon DSLRs are divided into cropped DX (APS-C) and full-frame FX (35 mm), but both lens formats have the same Nikon F mount. Since this type of mount hasn’t changed much since 1959, modern Nikon DSLRs can (with some exceptions) use lenses over the past 55 years. This is one of the features that allowed the company to acquire its fans.
Nikon Cropped (DX) Lenses
Designed for novice photographers using the company’s younger DSLRs, such as the D3000-3200, D5000-5600, D7000-7200, DX lenses are smaller, lighter and, as a rule, more affordable than their FX counterparts. Impressive is the fact that Nikon offers about 2 times more “cropped” lenses than Canon. In addition to conventional whale lenses, you can buy the entire line, from the fish eye, macro lenses, to telephoto lenses.
Sizes of Nikon Dies and Mounts
Please note that cropped and full-frame nikon have the same mount, with very different matrix sizes.
Due to the fact that the mount has not changed for many years, you can use both modern and old full-frame lenses with your cropped camera. Depending on which model you have, you can use lenses up to 1977 without any problems. By the way, most cropped lenses can be used on Nikon full-frame cameras, thanks to crop mode.
On older Nikon models (d7000 and older, d600 and older) there is a diaphragm position control lever. If you use old Nikon lenses without electronics, the lever transfers the aperture value to the camera. You only need to specify the maximum value in the camera settings, and then the camera will cope on its own. In addition, on old Nikon lenses, aperture jumping and autofocus confirmation work (a light comes on in the corner of the viewfinder) allowing you to work as comfortably as possible. For example, Helios-81N on my Nikon D600 is fully functional, except for the lack of autofocus.
Unfortunately, the younger Nikon models (3000, 5000 series, D60, D40) do not have a focus motor built into the camera, so autofocus is possible for them only in conjunction with AF-S G-series lenses (or similar lenses from other manufacturers). Earlier lenses with the letter D will not focus automatically, so they will have to look for modern lenses.
Nikon Full-Frame (FX) Lenses
Most Nikon F lenses released for Nikon cameras are full-frame and are marked FX (which means full frame). These lenses are designed to cover the full-frame matrices of Nikon’s FX cameras, such as the D600, D700 and D800, and their followers. This means that they also close the DX matrix format APS-C (crop).
It turns out that these lenses are larger and heavier than their DX counterparts and, as a rule, more expensive. In addition, although there are many universal zoom lenses and cheap solutions available, many lenses are designed for professional photographers and advanced amateurs. These include super-fast lenses, super-telephoto lenses and high-quality macro lenses.
There are currently around 70 Nikon FX lenses on the market, plus many third-party models such as Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, Samyang. In addition, you can use several generations of Nikon manual lenses with Nikon F mount (in particular, Ai and Ai-S) without adapters and start shooting right away.
Terms to Know
Although Nikon does not aggressively patent names and abbreviations as some other companies, Nikon continues to use some abbreviations and notation on its lenses. The company also uses several terms that are not written on the lens, but are important for understanding the subject.
Designations on Nikon Lenses
Nikkor: The name of the Nikon lens division.
DX: DX-format lenses are designed for entry-level Nikon DSLRs with cropped arrays (APS-C) – D40, D60, D3000, D5000, D7000 and their followers. They can be used on full-frame (FX) cameras in Crop mode.
FX: FX-format lenses are designed to cover the full-frame sensor on D600, D700, D800, D3, D4, D5 (and Df) cameras. Since they have exactly the same mount as DX lenses, they can be mounted on DX cameras, with a few exceptions.
G and D types of lenses: The difference is simple: Nikon type D lenses have an aperture adjustment ring, but G-lenses don’t. Type G lenses have a focusing motor.