The Nikon mount mess:
- Pre Ai lenses (prior to 1976)
- Ai and Ai-S manual focus lenses with aperture ring
- AF lenses with and without built in motor
- AF lenses with and without aperture ring
- Full frame and APS size sensor sizes
- Cameras with and without aperture ring
- Cameras with and without built in AF motor
- Coupling "horns" of two types
The real fact is that Nikon has no total backward compatibility and even worse, even lenses and camera bodies from the same year may not be compatible. The nikon mount is a mess by definition. Some lenses can even damage some bodies. What was supposed to be good can turn into a real nightmare and waste of time and money.
If you try, for example, to fit an old Nippon Kogakku 50mm F1.4 from 1970 , not modified to Ai, on ANY camera without the folding tab you may break the body's aperture coupling ring and stuck the lens.
There are two types of autofocus lenses, with the AF motor built in the lens itself and without it. Lenses without motor won't AF on camera bodies that don't have motors.
The D5XXX has no AF motor on the body neither the aperture coupling ring. You can use AF lenses with motor and Ai/Ais manual focus lenses that have electronic contacts. No contacts = no light metering.
The D7XXX has AF motor and the aperture coupling ring. You can use all lenses on it , but *NOT* old "Pre Ai" lenses.
There are even lenses with and without aperture ring. You can't use any lens without aperture ring in any non AF nikon, for example, the FM2. The FM2 will accept just Ai/Ai-S lenses or AF fullframe lenses with aperture ring.
- If you have an OLD Nikon like a Nikkormat you need a pre Ai lens with the famous "horns" to couple the lens aperture ring with the camera aperture ring.
- Be advised that there are TWO "horn" types and they're not compatible and mounted in opposite ways. Pre Ai lenses have the aperture coupling "horns" facing to the lens front. Ai and later lenses have it facing backwards, to the lens rear. If you plan to use an Ai lens on a pre-Ai body you need to reverse the horn orientation to have the proper coupling.
|Nikon Pre-Ai coupling "horn"|
|Nikon Ai coupling "horn"|
- If you have a camera like the FM, FE, FM2, N2000 you need an Ai / Ai-S or pre-Ai converted to Ai lens, with aperture ring for proper metering.
- For autofocus cameras like the D40 to D70 and D5xxx you can use AF lenses with or without aperture ring but you need the AF motor on the lens to have autofocus. You need lenses with CPU for proper light metering.
- If we're talking about high end autofocus cameras like the D600 and D7xxx you are allowed to use all nikon lenses but NOT pre-Ai ones, unless they were converted to Ai. Those cameras should work with all AF lenses, with or without autofocus motor and aperture ring.
- Finally if your camera has a retractable tab on the aperture ring, like the Nikon DS, you'll be able to use any kind of Nikon mount lenses on your camera.
If you want a really universal SLR system, go for Pentax. All K lenses work on all K bodies and you have an extra bonus, can also use all M42 screw mount lenses on a Pentax K body with a small and cheap adapter.
Funny fact: Any Canon EOS and any Mirrorless system with the proper adapter can properly exposure meter with any Nikon lens with aperture control ring. Just set the camera to aperture priority. Sorry but the Nikon F mount sucks.