Any old-school camera aficionados out there?

Hi all,

I have a question about a couple of lenses. My dad was into photography in a BIG way, many moons ago. I’ve since become a fan - here is some of the stuff I’ve done with a couple of Fuji point-and-shoots;

Not great but not terrible either. People sometimes go ‘Ooh!’ but I see much better work online every day.

Dad has a Nikon body which uses film and he used to have a darkroom to process his photos. I prefer digital and he doesn’t use his equipment anymore, so I asked if I could buy his lenses. He agreed and we both think that if I offer him a fair price then everybody wins. I’ll buy them if they’ll fit a digital body. We’ve found two but we’re sure there are a couple more somewhere.

Anyway, the first lens was made in Japan and is labelled ‘Vivitar 52mm CROSS SCREEN’ just next to the glass. It’s also labelled ‘TAMRON TELE-CONVERTER 2X BBAR MC FOR NIKON F SYSTEM’ nearest where it’ll attach to the body.

The second is labelled, just next to the glass, ‘500mm 822903 REFLEX MAKINON MC’ and also states it was made in Japan, but has ‘Makinon’ on the lens cover.

Both have sticky labels stating they’re “PASSED” attached.

He was always quite proud of his camera and lenses, and says he paid a good amount to buy them when new. They’ve been stored very well in a Nikon camera bag, along with dozens of filters, a prism (wrapped in soft cloth), a light meter, lens brush, a couple of separate flash guns and other paraphernalia that will take me a while to learn to use.

I’ve been thinking about getting a good camera for over a year, now. If I could buy my dad’s lenses and add a decent DSLR then that would be ideal. He has trouble getting about and hasn’t used any of his old stuff for ages. He usually takes snaps on my old Fuji point-and-shoots I gave to him, but they’re almost always just to sell things on ebay.

So … any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

Take the lenses to the store with you and attach them to the body that you’re thinking about. That will tell you if the electronics (Like Autoexposure) will line up and function.

“Vivitar cross screen” is a filter on the front of the lens, not the lens itself. If you take it off you might see another description.

“Tamron tele-converter” is an adaptor for doubling the focal length of a lens (turning a shorter lens into a longer telephoto, basically). It’s on the camera end of the lens.

Somewhere in between those two is the lens itself. It’s the more interesting part. It will have an identifying label, perhaps on the front underneath the filter. It might say Nikkor.

The 500mm Makinon is a mirror lens. They can be fun to play with but they’re not valuable and have limited uses.

Do the lenses have a semi-circular silver tab protruding from the body?

Given that the teleconverter is Nikon F mount, I’ll assume both lenses are Nikon mount also. They will probably mount on modern Nikon DSLR cameras. There are some unusual old Nikkor lenses that may damage a modern camera, so you should check the specific lens first, but in general almost all old Nikkor/Nikon lenses will physically fit on almost any Nikon camera.

However, if they’re manual focus lenses, then low-end Nikon DSLR cameras won’t meter with them - meaning you’ll have to use the hand-held light meter and set the exposure manually. (Some base model DSLRs might not work at all, I’m not sure as I haven’t kept up). A mid-to-high end camera like the Nikon D7000 will meter with manual focus lenses, meaning you get auto exposure modes using the camera’s own light meter.

Most nikon lenses will physically fit on a modern Nikon dslr but they are unlikely to give you the full range of metering functions that your dslr will offer. To enable the program, aperture and shutter priority modes to work, you need to close the lenses down to their smallest apperture (f22 or whatever is smallest.) so the camra can set the apperture.
the 500mm lens is fixed to f8 as mirror lenses do not have adjustable appertures.

If your dad has a light meter you may wish to learn how to work out exposures manually. Or you could just use the preview on your dslr to experiment with exposures.
The older flashguns may not work with a dslr, and could even cause damage as the trigger voltages used to be very high. my Nikon D70 will not work with my Metz flash, despite it workng fine with my recent film Nikons.

I’ve just put a couple of rolls of film through my 90+ year old kodak brownie with not bad results. I’m starting to enjoy old camera kit.

Thanks to all for your help and advice.

I’ve decided not to use them; I’m technically-challenged when it comes to manual settings on cameras and so need all the help I can get when using them. I imagine they’ll find a suitable new owner who can actually work them with the camera body that will be included in the offer.

Thanks again for your help.