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Someone was interested in buying my D3000 body (I had upgraded and want to keep the lenses). He had a very old Nikkor-P lens, which seemed to fit onto my camera alright. But the LCD screen said "lens not detected". Then, in checking on this, I read that it could have damaged my D3000. Is that true, and how serious could the damage be?

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For your (and perhaps his) future reference: – drewbenn Dec 22 '11 at 18:03
Thanks, Drew. That's the very site where I saw it said NO! definitely do not use as it could damage the camera body. But what damage might it do, I wonder(?) – Catwoman3 Dec 22 '11 at 18:07
Someone with more experience will probably weigh in soon, but I think I've read that the lens protrudes too far back into the body of the camera, and the mirror can hit the lens when you take a picture. – drewbenn Dec 22 '11 at 18:30
Thanks for your help. Luckily it wouldn't let me take a picture. – Catwoman3 Dec 22 '11 at 18:59
Yep the 'damage' is to the mirror and possible even the sensor if the rear of the lens projects too far into the body of the camera. I used to have a 500mmm lens that you had to lock the mirror up to prevent similar damage. – user7226 Dec 23 '11 at 13:34

I've heard of several examples of people using old Nikkor-P lenses without trouble on more modern camera bodies (which of course, isn't the same as proving it is ok). Around the web, here are a couple of place I'd suggest taking a look at.

  • Ken Rockwell includes the 105mm/f2.5 in a telephoto roundup, shot on a D3 (full frame, perhaps not a great analog for your D3000)

  • A post on the DPReview forums shows no problems either. This was shot on a D7000 which has a very similar body/mirror layout to your D3000.

    In fact, looking specifically for the 105mm f2.5 lens on smaller camera bodies there are many many examples of good results - enough that I'd personally be comfortable using it on my camera.

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If you are talking for AI-P lenses, then there is absolutely no risk (see the other's answers giving the compatibility link).

But it looks you are talking more of a pre-AI lense (original F-mount) where the P was meaning "Penta" for 5 elements. For these case there are two answers:

  • The lense is original, it can cause a problem with cameras who have the small AI indexing around the mount, which is not the case for the D3000 but it is with D300 for exemple.

  • The lense is a modified AI, then it must be considered like an AI lense in the compatibility charts.

For better seeing what I am talking about, here are some links:

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Here is a very detailed Nikon lens compatibility chart.

I'm going to assume this lens comes into the "Pre-AI" category, in which case it would appear that it will mount on a D3000, but you won't get metering. I see no mention of damage. This official chart backs that up.

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Here is a chart from Nikon: D3000 Lens Compatibility . No mention of damage. I believe drewbenn is correct that any damage would be physical damage caused by rear elements of the lens hitting the mirror, as opposed to electrical damage of some sort.

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You don't mention putting the camera on manual mode. You probably already did this, but I have to wonder: did you?

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