I have a Nikon D5100 (which has no AF motor in the body) and a Tamron 90mm SP macro lens. The lens has no AF focus motor either (or at least it doesn't seem to be compatible with the body), and has an aperture ring.

What settings should I use in order to to use the lens correctly? Should the aperture size on the lens always be the same as on the body? Can I use aperture priority, or should I always use manual?

  • \$\begingroup\$ What happens when you try to use any aperture value on the lens' ring other than the highest f-number/narrowest aperture? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jun 17, 2018 at 13:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Exactly which model of this lens do you have? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Jun 17, 2018 at 13:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm it's a Tamron SP AF Di 90mm 1:2.8mm Macro Φ55. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 17, 2018 at 18:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @WilfredHughes Hmmm — I guess a pre-2008 version of that without a built-in focus motor. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Jun 17, 2018 at 18:25

2 Answers 2


If the lens does not have full manual controls and is incompatible with the body, there is likely no way to use the lens with full functionality. If the lens can be controlled manually, you may be able to treat it like any other adapted manual lens.

  1. Choose method of focusing:

    • Per-Shot Focusing. Focus wide open. Stop down the aperture. Take the picture. Reopen the aperture for the next shot.

    • Zone Focusing. Stand next to a wall. Focus wide open on part of the wall at moderate distance. Close down to a smallish aperture (between F8 and F16). Check depth of field by examining focus along the wall. As long as aperture is not changed, subjects within the zone will be in focus. (This is how disposable cameras "focus".)

  2. Choose method of setting exposure:

    • Full manual. Pre-set shutter speed and ISO. Decide aperture and focus according to preferred method.

    • Aperture priority. Decide aperture and focus according to preferred method. Let camera decide ISO and shutter speed by half-pressing shutter or by pressing exposure lock.


The camera supports the following modes, like it does with any other lens type G or D AF NIKKOR1

  • Focus:

    • AF (Auto Focus) NO
    • Manual Focus (with electronic focus confirmation) Yes
    • MF (Manual Focus) Yes
  • Modes:

    • M (manual) Yes
    • Other modes (Auto, P, A, S and others) Yes
  • Metering:

    • 3D Yes
    • Color. NO
    • Spot & Center weighted Yes

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