Nikon Getting drawn back to Nikon DSLRs & old F-mount lenses!

Jonathan F/2

Top Veteran
Los Angeles, USA
* Cross posted at Fred Miranda, but I think it applies here as well!

Lately I've been getting drawn to the low prices of DSLRs and old F-mount lenses. For example when I had tested the Z6, A7III and D750, the D750 surprisingly had sharper OOC raws over the Z6 and was not too far behind the A7III. Also I've been seeing minty D700 bodies with low shutter counts selling close to $300 USD, which is still very capable of professional results. My local camera store is selling used D810 bodies for around $800-900 USD. Lastly long forgotten, but sharp F-mount AF-D lenses (especially from 3rd party lens manufacturers) can be purchased for very affordable prices. I've seen people on forums and elsewhere shooting the latest and greatest, but I think there's something to be said about maximizing cheaper gear to it's fullest potential.

What I found best with older equipment is to run the fastest memory cards possible, shoot raw, AF fine tune adjust every lens or if need be send the camera to Nikon for a focus adjustment for best results. I'm shooting a pair of D750 bodies right now that were both simultaneously calibrated by Nikon (under the worldwide shutter recall) to the exact same parameters making AF fine tune easier since I can use the same values for each lens.

Also if one isn't shooting action, center focus is the best focus point for any DSLR and the old school shoot/recompose technique does wonders for sharp images. I also do shoot with the Sony A7III, but I feel like it's forced me to shoot better with my DSLR bodies by improving technique and trying to match the focus precision of CDAF/OSPDAF cameras. Also my attraction to AF-D lenses is that they seem to take AF fine tuning much better and don't seem to have focus issues similar to built-in motor lenses like Sigma's HSM.

I'm now a bit obsessed with finding older lenses that might hold-up well in real world conditions. The cheaper the better!

My two lens finds I feel can hold up with modern lenses and cameras - the Sigma 15-30mm DG and Tokina 20-35mm f/2.8:

Pictures of the Sigma 15-30mm f3.5-4.5 EX DG Lens and the Tokina 20-35mm f2.8 AT-X Pro Lens
by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

The Tokina 20-35mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro, stopped down to f/4:

LACMA and The Grove - photos taken with the D750 + Tokina 20-35mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro lens and the Sony NEX-5T + Olympus 9mm f/8 BCL fisheye lens
by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

The Tokina has killer flare that new lenses try to suppress:

Sample images with the Tokina 20-35mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro lens for Nikon F-Mount
by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

The Sigma 15-30mm DG tends to get moire and false colors, a sign of excellent sharpness:

by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

The Sigma is still plenty wide for most uses:

by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

DSLRs are sexy dinosaurs especially with old lenses - 105mm 2.5 AI-S and 50mm 1.8 AI-S all-metal Japanese edition:

by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr
Last edited:


Belgrade, Serbia
Real Name
Mladen Čoko
They did some sorcery and trickery with the D750 image quality. Everything I've seen from that camera is in the different league, quite often besting cameras with more megapixels. It just looks better! I dunno...
I wonder how this Tokina compares with the Nikkor 20-35mm f2.8..


Hall of Famer
I've often thought about buying MF lenses for my Nikon DSLR from now on, not only Nikkor/ F mount glass, but the Takumars with an adapter. I know we're supposed to preference focus peaking, but I don't seem to have a problem focusing through the OVF; more camera, less computer, a more rewarding experience with a better end result. Is it me or do those earlier cmos cameras render a bit more 'organically' than the current releases? On thing though - whilst some F mount lenses are indeed cheap, I do feel in quite a few instances as if the market's alert to all of this. Certain beauties, like the Nikkor AI-S 105mm F1.8 ain't cheap anymore.


Hall of Famer
Recent experiments with modern mirrorless cameras have pushed me to consider if I should get my Df fit with a focusing screen and go deeper into the wonderful world of manual-focus Nikkor lenses!

A split prism focusing screen like Nikon K3 or a Canon Ec-B would be the ticket?
Just acquired a PC-Nikkor 28mm f/3.5 - gobsmacked how small it is - a really sweet lens.

Generally, I will use this with a D800 or on an Olympus E-M1 II with a Metabones Speedbooster.

Nikon 28mm 3.5 PC09.jpg

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