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?

  • 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
  • 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
  • A 500mm lens? Normally, the rearmost element of an old school 500mm lens is a town and a half away from the mirror.... Sep 17 '19 at 15:33

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 lens (original F lenses) where the P was meaning "Penta" for 5 elements. In that case there are two answers:

  1. The lens is original: it can cause a problem with cameras who have the small AI indexing ring around the mount (For example: D300, D500, F5, F6) but it looks the entry level digital cameras like series D3xxx and D5xxx does not have such AI indexing ring, then it would mount without issues, except there will be no metering. There is one Exception in the digital world: The Nikon Df can also accept pre-AI lenses by changing the meter coupling level as in the old Nikon F4.

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

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

AI Conversion links:

Apart of this and just a historic reminder, the Nikon F4 (analog) have the AI indexing switchable in order to mount such old lenses. I also own a bellows PB-4 which is supposed to be in pre-AI but as there's no aperture ring, I can mount it on my D300 without issues even the camera have the AI indexing ring (which is not compatible with the pre-AI lenses).

The potentially breaking thing, is the aperture ring of the pre-AI which is not the same shape as the AI mount and could not be mounted.

When you try to mount the lens, you can see if it goes smoothly or not, in the later case, do not force to mount it.

  • What, exactly, do you mean when you use 'F-mount' inside a gray box? All Nikon/Nikkor AI, AI-S, AF, AF-S, AF-I, AF-P, etc. lenses are considered 'F mount' lenses. Do you mean "pre-AI" lenses?
    – Michael C
    Jul 1 '18 at 9:36
  • Yes, there is many terminology for the original F mount (or pre-AI) some documents refers also another type "K (not related to Pentax K-mount) which seems to be like AI lenses but it looks the aperture ring compatibility is more like a pre-AI. I used the same terminology from this site.
    – рüффп
    Jul 1 '18 at 11:37
  • That site seems to call "pre-AI" lenses 'F' lenses, rather than 'F-mount' lenses. Though that may seem subtle, I think it is rather significant since even the most current Nikon cameras and lenses are still considered to be 'F mount'.
    – Michael C
    Jul 1 '18 at 11:41
  • 1
    I agree to use only one term and the term "mount" is too generic compared to "type" and leads to confusion. I edited my answer.
    – рüффп
    Jul 2 '18 at 17:38

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.


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.


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.


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


I am a fan of John White's lens conversion services. He also has docs detailing lens and body compatibility: Lens/Body Compatibility

I have used his services to convert these lenses to mount and meter with my D7200:

  • Nikkor-S 50mm MF f/1.4
  • Nikkor-S 35mm MF f/2.8
  • Nikkor-H 28mm MF f/3.5
  • Nikkor-P 105mm MF f/2.5

According to the chart, the D3000 is safe to mount any lens for it has no metering tab (nor any possibility of metering).

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