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I've been taking photos with the supplied kit lens with my Sony Alpha 200 for the last couple of years. I'm looking at changing the body to a Nikon D7000 at some point in the future and I'm also looking at getting a 50mm prime lens.

My question is, which lens can I buy that would fit a Sony Alpha 200 and also a Nikon D7000? Should I get a Nikon lens and a lens adapter or is there some form of 'one-size-fits-all' lens?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

There is no such thing as a universal lens. The shape of the connection, position of the contacts (and electric protocol too), distance between the connector and sensor are all different.

There are adapters to bridge the gap which are mostly used for legacy lenses. The reason is that with those adapters you will lose most communication between the body and lens, so you have to focus manual, probably have to set aperture manually and sometimes will have to use the camera in Manual mode only (no metering).

There two extremely important points to note above: - If the lens you use (such as ALL kit lenses for DSLRs) does NOT have an aperture ring, you will only be able to shoot at one aperture (usually either the smallest or the largest). - If you adapt a lens who is supposed to sit closer to sensor, it will be be able to focus very far and you will almost certainly lose infinity focus.

Given all this and my understanding that your lens investment is minimal, I would recommend simply buying the lenses you need for your new camera.

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4  
Just a note that at one time Tamron did produce "Adaptall" lenses that were pretty close to universal for bodies available at that time. They were primarily (exclusively?) manual focus though. The lens had its flange quite far forward, so there was room for a non-optical adapter with (nearly?) any mount. –  Jerry Coffin May 24 '11 at 15:56
    
I wish something like that would be resurrected. These days electronics in the adaptor could allow autofocus and auto-aperture without much difficulty. The only long-term future for Sony/KM, Pentax, Olympus, Sigma etc mounts is through some kind adaptall standard which would allow the whole family to compete with Canon and Nikon. I can only dream :-) –  Max Sang May 24 '11 at 16:00
3  
I would add that once you are stepping up to better cameras such as the D7000 it makes sense to be matching it to better lenses. Adapters to random other lenses can be fun, but not really taking advantage of the camera you have. –  Rob McCready May 24 '11 at 17:30

Generally speaking, it is possible. See this answer:

Is it possible to adapt lens from one brand into another brand's body?

Your Sony Alpha uses the old Minolta mount, which has a flange distance of 44.5mm. Nikon cameras have a 46.5mm flange distance. This means that an adapter could be fitted to a Nikon lens which would allow it to be used with a Sony/Minolta camera, but not the other way round. In general, the lower the flange distance of your camera the easier it is to adapt other lenses. Canon's EF mount is only 44.0mm, which means lots of old Nikon, Pentax, etc. lenses can be used with EOS DSLR's. Because Nikon's flange distance is larger, most old lenses won't work with a Nikon.

However, you will lose autofocus (though you can get AF-confirm adaptors for Canon) and you will have to adjust the aperture manually too. If you don't have much invested in a lens system, better to just get lenses that are designed for your body.

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It is best to buy the lens that matches your camera. The thing is that Pentax, Sony and Olympus have vibration reduction built into their camera bodies. Nikon and Canon lack this feature which is a shame since there are many lenses that could benefit. Canon and Nikon have a better lens selection than the other makes but you have to buy the newer lenses to get VR and it is expensive. If Sony, Pentax and Olympus could come up with a common mount they could give Canon and Nikon a lot of competition. The Pentax K5 is a very good alternative to the Nikon D7000 and has anti-shake built into the body. The only negative thing about the K5 is that the lens selection is not as good as Canon or Nikon. If somebody made a lens adapter that allowed you to use Nikon lenses with all their functions enabled on a Pentax body, I would buy a K5.

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