Trying to use an old Nikon FM lens on my camera

edited June 2012 Posted in » Nikon D3100 Forum
The basic lens I have now is 18-55mm and my sister had this bright idea to use her old Nikon FM 50mm to get closer shots. Ideally I want a macro lens or something closer but that's down the road. So I put the lens on and it says "not connected" with a "?". When I hit the "?" on the screen it says I can only use this lens on manual mode. So I switch to manual all excited and shoot some photos. Problem is they all come out black on my screen. Is this lens too old to use or is there something else I can try? Would love to use it if possible as my sister no longer uses this camera.


  • edited June 2012
    I think you would need to convert that lens for it to work on a modern camera - see this page:
    Is that the same lens?
    Anyway, I wouldn't bother with it - just send for some cheap extension tubes if you want to do some macro work. Search for "Macro Extension Tube Ring for Nikon DSLR Camera D3 D3S D3X D90 D3000 D3100 D5000 D5100 D7000".
    You can get a more expensive type which has connectors between the camera and the lens aperture mechanism, but by the time you've paid for them, you could almost buy a macro lens, and its quite easy to hold the aperture open with a little bit of bluetack on the movable tab on the lens itself. Just don't forget to remove it when you're done!
    You can also get sets of close-up lenses which attach to the main lens, and they are ok. The main advantage of the tubes is that there are no extra bits of glass to cause extra problems.
  • edited June 2012
    I have just got an old Tamron x2 teleconverter from ebay and had thought it would work fine on my camera, but I have the same problem as above. It says "no lens attached" and the aperture is totally closed so that all pictures are black!

    Is there a solution to this or have I bought a pup? Cheers!
  • When you use an old AI lens on the D3100 in manual mode, you have to set both the aperture and speed. You can set the aperture on the lens. You can set the speed by pressing the +/- button on top of the camera and turning the command dial until you get the right speed. Then you have to focus and take your photo. Take a series of photos with different exposures to determine the correct exposure. You have to do this because auto exposure is not available in manual mode.
  • edited June 2012
    PTK, thanks for your reply. Yes, I can set the shutter speed, but how do I set the aperture on the lens if the camera controls won't let me adjust it? I would love to be able to get it to work! Cheers!
  • robbo,

    Thanks, went on holidays right after I posted this. The link you provided looks identical to the lens I have. Will take a look and see if I can figure out how to adjust it. Cheap extension tubes sound great and I've never heard of that but hey DSLR is all new to me so I have a lot to learn.


    How do you figure out the right speed? Will have to experiment on that.
  • edited June 2012
    JPP: I use old and new lenses on my D3100. Even use my Bronica medium format lenses on the Nikon with an adapter from Fotodiox (ebay). To use these lenses, I must use Manual mode. To set the Aperture I can do one of 2 things. Select the Aperture in the Aperture mode and check it with the "i" button. Adjust it as you desire (keeping in mind what will happen to the shutter speed for any given ISO). You won't have any "vibration reduction" as they aren't built into the older lenses. Now that you set the aperture, change the mode to Manual and adjust your shutter speed and/or ISO. Your old lens should be physically set to the smallest aperture on the aperture ring (highest f-stop).

    Another way is to pre-set your shutter speed in "Speed" mode and change the mode next to Manual and adjust the f-stop. Again, be sure the lens aperture ring is set at the highest f-stop.

    Take test shots with either approach. For Macro, I would suggest the first method as with macro-photography the DOF is quite shallow and usually you want a medium-small aperture, like f11-16. You may have to adjust your ISO upwards.

    Using those lenses will really give you a finer appreciation for the "Light Triangle Relationship" that is ISO, f-stop and shutter speed.

    Best of luck.

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