I have a D50 and I would like to use my manual focus lens (a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AI) from my analog SLR. It fits on the mount and all seems to be good, but the status on the LED display blinks F - - and the view also blinks F - -. When I try to press the shoot button, nothing happens. I have heard that Nikons will allow for these lenses to work. How does it work?

  • That's curious...I use the old 105mm 2.8 Micro on my D50 without any trouble, certainly not like you've mentioned. For what it's worth! The D50 should be able to handle most any compatible lens, except possibly rather old or eclectic ones. Jul 18 '10 at 0:29

The "F--" indicates that the lens isn't set to its maximum aperture, or that the camera can't control the aperture directly, which is necessary for most automatic exposure.

To make this work, you'll need to do use manual mode (M), and you'll need to change the aperture using the aperture ring on the camera.

Metering won't work, the solution there is to use the histogram to judge the correct exposure.

I believe that focus confirmation will also not work, and the solution there is to do your best, and use higher apertures (f/5.6 or higher). Shooting at f/1.4 will likely be quite difficult to do reliably - it can be difficult on cameras built for manual focus; if you want to try, a good solution is to focus as best you can, then move slightly forward (maybe 5-10cm), and take several pictures, moving backwards a small amount (2cm) each time.

  • This is the right answer. I had to learn this with an older 50-300mm f/4.5 I borrowed from a friend. Now that was a lens that was as long as my forearm...
    – mmr
    Jul 24 '10 at 7:17

There is a Nikon SLR Camera and Lens Compatibility chart at nikonians.org that probably can answer your question. It depends a bit on what lens it is.


As ex-ms says - you have to go fully manual.
I use a Series E 50mm/f1.8 on my D50, it was originally from a Nikon EM, but works very well on the D50.

Interestingly - the focus confirmation can work through the lens, you get the little green light on the far bottom left of the image viewer come up when your image is focused (via whichever focus area of the camera is active).

I also updated the camera by adding a split-prism focusing screen internally, which helps quite a lot when setting up the shot. (for reference I bought this one : https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005ODKB3Y/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

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