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Using old Sigma UC 70-210 zoom with new D3200

Hi all, I've just taken up photography again after 20+ years. I have been given a Nikon D3200 with a standard lens but i have an old Sigma UC Zoom lens that i used to use with my Nikon SLR. I have looked at the connections and they do not appear to be the same so not tried to connect. Can someone let me know if there is any possibility of utilising this lens again and how i might go about it - an adaptor perhaps and what limitations it would have. Many thanks in advance for any advice / assistance you are all able to provide.


  • edited January 2018
    If this is a Nikon F mount lens it should mount and function on a D3200, but it will probably work only in full manual mode.

    Autofocus on the D3200 works only with an AFS lens. Older AF lenses will meter but not auto focus. An AF lens with an aperture ring must have its aperture ring locked, or moved to the minimum (largest number) aperture or an error will occur and the lens cannot be used.

    added note: assuming this is an older AF lens it will probably meter correctly. But note that occasionally a lens with an aperture ring will not mount properly without a little help. Note that at about the 9:00 position on the camera's lens mount (looking from the front) there is a little switch to the outside of the flange. The aperture ring has a corresponding boss that pushes that switch down. Although it usually works fine, some lenses have a sharp-cornered boss that hits that switch and does not push it down correctly. To avoid denting the switch, be careful here, and if you need to, give the switch a little help with a fingernail. Make sure the aperture ring boss pushes it down, and that the lens is fully clicked in. If your lens works without an error message, you have it right.

    If the lens is manual, you'll get an error message in any mode but manual, and although there is also a minimum-aperture boss on AI and later manual lenses, it does not do anything here.

    Manual lenses will work only in full manual mode. They will not interact with the meter at all. You can still use these lenses. You must guess the metering (which is not hard with practice) and can then fine tune it with the image review histogram.

    To enable the histogram go to the playback menu, and playback options. You'll see a number of options to check. You want "overview." Once the option is checked, you can cycle through those you've selected using the up/down function of the rear control. The overview will show you some data, a histogram, and a small image. You can read up on histograms, but basically it's an exposure graph, and you want your data to lie between the left and right margins. If data is crowded to the left, it's too dark, and if crowded to the right, overexposed. Try to get it so that your brightest data just comes close to the right without hitting it. Do not worry about where the highest point lies, as it's relative, and depends on what your scene contains. What you want is to avoid pushing it too far to left or right.

    There is also a playback option called "highlights," and this will flash areas that are overexposed to the point where data are lost. You must sometimes sacrifice specular highlights, such as light bulbs, the sun, a bright overcast sky, etc., but should avoid areas where you want information.

    There are no adapters for old lenses. The D3200 can only auto focus with a lens which has its own motor, and has no mechanical meter follower, so can only meter with a lens which has an electronic CPU. But it can function with nearly any Nikon F mount lens right back to the 1960's.
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