I have three old Pre-AI Nikon lenses that I still use from time to time on my Nikon F, and several AI-S models that I also use on my D200 in manual focus, non-metered mode.

The three lenses are a f2 35mm, f2.5 105 and 55mm Micro-Nikkor. The only current digital Nikon bodies that will mount these lenses are the D3000 and D5000.  The new Australian price for these are; D3000 $A809 and D5000 $A1059. Either way quite an expensive way  of utilising the lenses. To have them converted to AI appears to cost  around a  couple of hundred dollars, and to buy later models second-hand not all that much more.

I’m loath to have them converted as they then are non-original, and the collector in me balks at the idea. and to buy another set seems irrational. So that led me to consider buying a D3000 or D5000. It wouldn’t be the first basic Nikon I have bought as I once purchased an EM for my daughter, and found  most of the criticisms of it unfounded.

The D3000 is Nikon’ s smallest model and weighs just 485 grams or slightly over a pound (I could carry two and they would weigh less than one D700) and while it is stuffed with functions and software that I’d never use, and the LCD isn’t up to the standard of the more expensive models Nor does it work in auto-focus and metered modes, but there is nothing to stop me using it in the old-fashioned way. Setting the exposure manually and focus manually, and forgetting that the LCD exists.  I could even use a hand-held meter. Just the way we used to shoot film, in fact.

The D3000 and D5000 may not be built to the same standards as say, the D300S and the shutter may not be as robust, but I can buy three D3000 bodies for the price of one D300S so longevity isn’t really an issue. Neither, I would suggest, would the final quality of the image (at the sort of ISO rating I usually use) be all that different. May be the real question is whether I can live with a “plastic fantastic” in place of my reassuringly all-metal bodies.

At this moment it all very academic as my wife thinks repairing the deck on the house is more important than a new camera for me.  I sometimes think that she has no sense of proportion.


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