Nikon camera and lenses

Do Nikon Lenses Fit all Nikon Cameras?

Photo from PxHere CC0

The most important thing to research when purchasing Nikon lenses is making sure your lens is compatible with your camera. “But aren’t all Nikon lenses compatible with all Nikon cameras?” some might ask. This is actually a common misconception. If this were true there would be no need for a lens compatibility chart, and yet it exists.

Not all Nikon lenses fit all Nikon cameras. Many of them do, but there are exceptions to this rule. AF-P and E-Type lenses are incompatible with many Nikon cameras altogether. While some lenses fit certain cameras but have limited functionality. For example, some lenses have broken autofocus or light metering when used with certain cameras.

There are three types of lens compatibility. Full compatibility, limited compatibility, and not compatible. I’ll now explain what each type of compatibility means in detail. Then I’ll explain which lenses fit with which cameras.

Full compatibility

Full compatibility means the lens is completely functional with a specific camera and all functions of the lens and camera will work properly. If your lens has full compatibility with a certain camera you can use them together without any issues.

Limited compatibility

Limited compatibility means that you can use a lens with a certain camera, but not all features of the lens or camera will work properly. There are actually two different types of limited compatibility.

Limited Compatibility† means that the lens will fit with a camera but the autofocus will not work. You have to use manual focus mode instead.

Limited Compatibility‡ means that the lens will fit with a camera but through-the-lens light metering will not work. You need to use an external light meter or set your exposure manually.

Not compatible

Not compatible or no compatibility means that a lens will not function with a camera at all. You will not be able to shoot a photo or even attach your lens to the camera if it’s not compatible.

You can determine lens compatibility through your lens type and your camera model number. Now we’ll go over each type of lens and its compatibility with each Nikon camera.

Nikon AI Lenses

Nikon AI Lens
J-P Kärnä, CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/, via Wikimedia Commons

Nikon AI lens stands for Aperture Indexing lens. This means that the lens can communicate its maximum aperture with the camera. However, most modern lenses can do this nowadays.

AI lenses have Limited Compatibility‡ with the Nikon D3x00 series, Nikon D5x00 series, Nikon Dx0 series, and the Nikon D7500. As mentioned earlier Limited Compatibility‡ means the lens works with the camera but through-the-lens light metering does not function. This will hinder your camera’s automatic shooting mode. AI lenses are fully compatible with all other Nikon DSLR cameras.

To keep things simple I’m adding a full compatibility list to each lens type at the end:

AI Lens Full Compatibility:

  • Nikon D7000
  • Nikon D7100
  • Nikon D7200
  • Nikon D300(S)
  • Nikon D500
  • Nikon D600
  • Nikon D610
  • Nikon D700
  • Nikon D750
  • Nikon D800(E)
  • Nikon D810(A)
  • Nikon D850
  • Nikon D1 series
  • Nikon D2 series
  • Nikon D3 series
  • Nikon D4(S)
  • Nikon D5
  • Nikon Df

Nikon AF-D Lenses

Nikon AF-D Lens
ADwarf, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nikon AF-D Lens stands for Auto Focus with Distance. This means that the lens can measure the distance between the subject and the camera. This helps the camera with automatic focusing and automatic shooting mode. This also improves the camera’s flash system.

AF-D lenses have Limited Compatibility† with the Nikon D3x00 series, Nikon D5x00 series, the Nikon D40, Nikon D40X, and Nikon D60. As mentioned earlier, this means that AF-D lenses will fit with these cameras but autofocus will not work, you must use manual focus. Nikon AF-D cameras should fit with all other Nikon DSLRs without any problems.

AF-D Lens Full Compatibility

  • Nikon D7000
  • Nikon D7100
  • Nikon D7200
  • Nikon D7500
  • Nikon D70(S)
  • Nikon D80
  • Nikon D90
  • Nikon D100
  • Nikon D200
  • Nikon D300(S)
  • Nikon D500
  • Nikon D600
  • Nikon D610
  • Nikon D700
  • Nikon D750
  • Nikon D800(E)
  • Nikon D810(A)
  • Nikon D850
  • Nikon D1 series
  • Nikon D2 series
  • Nikon D3 series
  • Nikon D4(S)
  • Nikon D5
  • Nikon Df

Nikon AF-S Lenses

Nikon AF-S Lens
Photo by Raneko, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Flickr

Nikon AF-S stands for Auto Focus Silent Wave. This means that the lens can autofocus quickly and quietly. This is important when photographing wildlife that can be easily scared by the noise. This can also be useful when photographing fast-moving subjects like in sports photography as AF-S lenses can focus very quickly.

AF-S lenses fit all Nikon DSLR cameras and are fully compatible with all of them.

Nikon AF-P Lenses

Nikon AF-P Lens
Image by Santa3 from Pixabay

Nikon AF-P stands for Auto Focus Pulse. AF-P lenses are like AF-S lenses but they autofocus even faster and smoother. Counter-intuitively, they focus quieter than AF-S lenses also. They work well for everything that AF-S lenses work well for and they are good for video as well.

These lenses seem amazing, but their drawbacks are their limited compatibility. They are completely incompatible with the Nikon D3000-D3200, Nikon D5000, Nikon D5100, Nikon D7100, Nikon Dx0 series, Nikon D100-D300(S), Nikon D600, Nikon D610, Nikon D700, D800(E), and Nikon D1-D4(S). Nikon is very vague about the compatibility of AF-P lenses and the Nikon D5200, Nikon D5300, Nikon D7100, Nikon D7200, Nikon D750, Nikon D810(A), Nikon D850, Nikon D5, and Nikon Df. The best we can tell you about these cameras is to consult your user manual.

AF-P Lens Full Compatibility:

  • Nikon D3300
  • Nikon D3400
  • Nikon D3500
  • Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D5600
  • Nikon D7500
  • Nikon D500

Nikon E-Type Lenses

Nikon E-Type lens
SqueakyMarmot, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nikon E-Type lens means electromagnetic or electric. According to the Nikon website, this helps with aperture control during continuous shooting.

E-Type lenses are incompatible with the Nikon D3000, Nikon Dx0 series, D100, D200, D1 series, and D2 series. They are will fit with all other Nikon DSLR cameras with full compatibility.

E-Type Lens Full Compatibility:

  • Nikon D3100
  • Nikon D3200
  • Nikon D3300
  • Nikon D3400
  • Nikon D3500
  • Nikon D500
  • Nikon D5100
  • Nikon D5200
  • Nikon D5300
  • Nikon D5500
  • Nikon D5600
  • Nikon D7000
  • Nikon D7100
  • Nikon D7200
  • Nikon D7500
  • Nikon D300(S)
  • Nikon D500
  • Nikon D600
  • Nikon D610
  • Nikon D700
  • Nikon D750
  • Nikon D800(E)
  • Nikon D810(A)
  • Nikon D850
  • Nikon D3 series
  • Nikon D4(S)
  • Nikon D5
  • Nikon Df

7 thoughts on “Do Nikon Lenses Fit all Nikon Cameras?”

  1. Thanks for your compilation but the e lens in the photo is an Series E model. It doesn’t have anything “electronic” in it. Back then, we suggested the E stood for Economy.
    Series E lenses had AI-s mounts.

      1. Yes, but in that same article, it states “These new E type lenses are CPU controlled, and not to be confused with 1980’s Series-E lenses, which were manually controlled.” The lens you have pictured is a Series-E lens as John states above. Also note that the lens pictured on that page is an AF-S lens, it’s not a separate lens type

  2. Surely the title is wrong. They all fit the cameras physically but some may not autofocus, some may not meter using the cameras meter, some may be stuck wide open, etc. A more accurate title would be, not all Nikon lenses have full functionality on all Nikon bodies. If push came to shove you could still take picture with an ancient lens but you might have to guess exposure or use an external light meter or manual focus.

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