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I want to pick up a film camera but I have a nice G lens (Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 with VC) and I'd really like to be able to use it.

I'm having a hard time understanding which cameras will be able to work either fully or partially. For example, if I put it on a Nikon FM3A it would work but without any aperture control or autofocus right? Most of the backwards compatibility charts I've seen are extremely confusing.

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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The two lens compatibility resources that I know of are nikonians.org and Ken Rockwell. A caveat is that they only deal with Nikon lenses; it's a harder question to answer with your Tamron.

If it really is like a Nikon G VR lens, then with the FM3A it won't work at all, but it won't damage your camera to attach it. On the other hand, everything including metering, focus, and VR would work on an F100.

Edit

Of course, as danio says, the lens needs to have a sufficient image circle to cover the film. This lens doesn't, so it won't work on any 35mm film camera unfortunately.

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As the SP AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II VC LD is a Di II it has reduced image circle coverage and it will most likely display severe vignetting on 35mm film or a digital camera with a 35mm sized sensor such as the D700 or D3 series.

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Does this mean it wont work on a full frame digital camera as well? –  Chandler Aug 17 '10 at 19:11
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Yes, that's correct. –  Reid Aug 17 '10 at 19:27
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I think you mean D700. As far as I can tell, the upcoming D7000 is a DX (APS-C) sensor. –  Evan Krall Sep 28 '10 at 14:33
    
Thanks Evan - fixed now. –  danio Oct 5 '10 at 16:34
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Looking at Tamron's site, it appears that this lens was designed for APS-C size sensors (which Nikon refers to as "DX"), and contains an in-lens autofocus motor. Nearly all Nikon lenses with a similar AF motor carry the "AF-S" designation, and it appears that Tamron is using "BIM" to indicate the same.

Therefore, I think you can infer that Nikon film bodies that accept AF-S lenses with all of their related features will also work with this lens, with one caveat. Given that the lens is designed for the DX sensor size, photos you shoot may not fill the frame throughout the zoom range. You might have some success at 50mm, but at 17mm, your shots will have a cool "periscope" effect. :-)

I believe that Nikon's digital full frame bodies will support DX lenses with a special "DX mode", in which the camera deactivates a portion of the sensor.

If you're looking to get a film body, you might want to take the plunge with the film equivalent to your lens, the Tamron SP 28-75mm F/2.8. It's more expensive, and will give you a different focal range on your digital camera, but it is a fast zoom and will work with both DX and FX-sized sensors.

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