I am new to photography and have a Nikon D3200.

A friend has given me a Vivitar lens: 75-205mm macro focusing zoom, NO. 220441876. Can I purchase an adapter to make this work? If so, which one?

I contacted Nikon but they wouldn't help me with a Vivitar lens.

Below is an image of what the rear of the lens looks like. enter image description here

  • 2
    Are there any other markings on it? Vivitar made (or rather, had produced and/or relabled) lenses with different lens mounts, and you'll need to identify the one yours has. If there are no other further identifiers, please add a picture of the back of your lens. – mattdm Mar 6 '15 at 17:52
  • 1
    If you don't know what type of mount either have, please take a picture of the rear of the lens. – SailorCire Mar 6 '15 at 19:12

That is a Canon FD mount lens. While you could find an adapter to mount it on a D3200, it's problematic, even for adapting onto a Canon dSLR.

The main problem here is the registration distance. This is the distance that the lens is held by the mount away from the image plane (the sensor, in the case of a dSLR). This distance varies between mount systems, and lenses are designed specifically to work at this distance. If the mount you're adapting from has a thicker registration distance than the camera you own, adapting is easy--a simple ring can make up the distance as well as make the physical linkage possible.

However, when the mount you're adapting to is thicker than the one you're adapting from, you're in trouble. Because you can't just shove a lens farther into a camera body without damaging or modifying the physical linkage somehow. And the FD mount's registration distance is 42mm. Nikon F's is 46.5. That 4.5mm is in the wrong direction.

So, if you do find a simple adapter ring and use it, your lens will be sticking about about 6mm or more (because the ring adds to the depth) too far. Which means the lens won't be able to focus past a certain point. Probably measured in feet. It's like using a macro extension tube. While you gain in close focus ability, you lose in far focus ability. So you'll need a lens with a glass element in it to act like a teleconverter to regain focus-to-infinity. But that will increase the focal length, reduce the maximum aperture, and add softness. The cheaper that adapter is, the softer it's likely to make your lens.

In addition, the FD/FL mount was mechanical only. There's no electronic communication between the lens and the body as you'd have with a current Nikon lens. You can't autofocus. You have to set the aperture with the lens's aperture ring. Your D3200 cannot meter accurately with this lens. You can't shoot in any modes other than M and A, because the body can't tell the lens what aperture to use. And you won't have any EXIF information from the lens. In short, it'll be a pain in the ass to use.

And a Nikor 55-200 or 70-300 lens goes for around US$150 new on Amazon. And if $150 is too expensive for a lens for you, then a dSLR may not be the right type of camera for you. dSLRs are expensive because they're system cameras, and you have to buy the other parts of the system to take advantage of their versatility.


That is an FD lens which was made for Canon. You'll need to purchase an FD to F mount, which you should be able to find on ebay for less than $50.

I'd advise you get one with glass so you can continue to focus to infinity.

  • 1
    Although, in this case, one should be able to find a new Nikon-mount version of the lens for about half of the price of that adaptor. – mattdm Mar 7 '15 at 14:16
  • mattdm, not sure I understand "a new Nikon- mount version of the lens". What exactly do I need to purchase? Sorry, but this is all new info I am learning. – Velta Pironis-palese Mar 7 '15 at 15:27
  • @VeltaPironis-palese Different brands of cameras use different systems for attaching lenses. This is the lens mount. Third party lens makers, like Vivitar, often made or make different versions, one for each mount. If you want to use a lens like the s one on a Nikon camera, the best way is to search for a version that says it was made for Nikon. However, unless you have a strong reason to use this exact lens, I would suggest looking for a more modern lens instead. – mattdm Mar 7 '15 at 19:50

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