I have a Nikon D3100 camera, and am trying to use an "Automatic Fixed Mount Vivitar 200mm lens" with it. When I attach the lens, I get the message "Lens not attached". and nothing works. HELP!

I can't easily take it to a camera shop, as I live in the Mojave Desert, about 200 miles away from any camera shop. This is a new lens, and a new camera.

  • 1
    Can you be more specific with the model, i.e. max aperture? The current range listed on Vivitar's website doesn't seem to include a 200mm lens. Apr 30 '11 at 17:31
  • Well I got the T-ring and adapter and had the same problem - no lens attached.. but switched to manual mode and you have to play with the shutter speed and it will take pictures....
    – user14468
    Jan 8 '13 at 3:50

If this is an older lens, it probably doesn't have the correct contacts (if any) for your D3100 - that camera generally only recognizes much newer lenses. You will probably need to switch to manual mode and will almost certainly not get any metering on your camera.

  • +1 I don't think this lens has any electronic contacts at all.
    – James
    May 1 '11 at 12:44

Some things you'll want to try:

  1. Give the contacts on both the lens and the camera body a good cleaning. Rubbing alcohol if you have it, a damp paper towel or rag if you don't... Even spit will work in a pinch if you can live with the 'ick factor.' ;-) (Mojave desert. Yee haw!)
  2. Check to see if any of the contact points on the lens or camera are 'stuck.' Depending on brand, contacts are often spring loaded and designed to move up and down slightly. Occasionally that can mean that a contact point gets stuck so it no longer connects when attaching the lens due to poor manufacturing tolerances, or even a bit of dirt. Use a paperclip (or something paperclip-like) and gently dislodge the contact point. They can be pretty fragile, so you'll want to use as little force as you have to... On occasion over the years I've even simply ran my fingers across the row of contact points and it has been enough to get the stuck contact point to pop back out. Here are a few images identifying the contact point that generally causes the error message.
  3. If you're still getting the error message after trying these things you've kinda exhausted your options for dealing with it yourself and you will want to consider taking it in to a professional who has the tools and knowledge to dig deeper into what is going on with your camera/lens.
  • 1
    I want to vote it up...I really do...but you just recommended spit. Spit... man, come on...
    – rfusca
    Apr 30 '11 at 18:56
  • 2
    Hey, if a fella's stuck in the desert... Spit may be all he has! Apr 30 '11 at 19:19
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    @Jay: But...stuck out in the desert...isn't spit the most valuable commodity one has? ;)
    – jrista
    Apr 30 '11 at 19:25
  • 2
    @jrista: No way! The most valuable thing he has is the awesome pictures that he takes! Invest a little spit... Take awesome pictures. That's my motto. ;-) Apr 30 '11 at 19:29
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    This whole answer assumes the lens is new enough to have contacts. From the description of the lens, I think it may not. This info should be added as a potential caveat, I think.
    – Fake Name
    May 5 '11 at 7:29

Set your camera body to Manual (M). Adjust the shutter speed to what you want, and adjust the aperture on the lens. The camera will fire, and stop down the lens automatically.

You won't get any metering, so you'll need to eyeball the exposure, chimp with the rear screen (enable histogram view), or use an external meter.

There's a group on Flickr dedicated to using manual non-metering lenses on Nikon bodies, you might want to check out their discussions.

One of the nice things about the cheaper Nikon DSLRs, like the D3100, is that you can use some really old Nikkor lenses that lack the AI indexing on the aperture ring. As these lenses are not mountable on newer, more capable Nikons without damaging the body, they can sometimes be found for less money than newer lenses.

  • Can you provide some reference for being unable to mount older lenses on "newer, more capable Nikons"? I'd not heard that before.
    – rfusca
    May 1 '11 at 14:31
  • @rfusca The lens compatability chart at Nikonians follows the Nikon manuals and disallows pre-AI lens mounting on the "D40" generation of bodies. However, if you feel like living on the edge, you can trust Ken Rockwell's list.
    – gerikson
    May 1 '11 at 15:17
  • @gerikson - Doesn't that same chart show the giant "No!" for the D3100 also?
    – rfusca
    May 1 '11 at 16:25
  • @rfusca, the Nikonians list is more conservative than Rockwell's. To which one do you refer in your comment?
    – gerikson
    May 1 '11 at 17:15
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    So Nikon bodies won't meter when they don't like the lens attached? Not even in Av mode? That's a weird limitation, isn't it? Jan 8 '13 at 11:17

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