Best 'Budget' DSLR or Mirrorless - Nikon AIS Lenses

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Old-N-Feeble

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I'm not new to digital but it's been over a decade since I've used a digital body so I know nothing about recent offerings. I'm shopping for an inexpensive mirrorless or DSLR with at least 24MP and will accept Nikon AIS lenses (adapter okay if not pricey). The meter must work in Manual and Aperture Priority Automatic. I need to keep the total cost under US$500 (not counting lenses) but might consider a little bit more if the gain is worth it. I prefer mirrorless but I haven't found an affordable one which meets my criteria. I don't care what brand.

I've be researching and searching. I think a Nikon D7100 might be a good option. Used ones are selling for $400-500. Are there better and/or cheaper options? Any caveats? Advice?

Thanks in advance!!
 
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blockend

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It depends if you want to use your AIS lenses at their original focal length. If you do, you'll need a full frame digital camera. These are generally more expensive, though you may find an older model within budget. The Canon 5D MkII has the live view you'll need to focus manual lenses. Another alternative is the original Sony A7, which is a mirrorless camera and focus can be seen through the viewfinder.

If you're happy to alter the apparent focal length by using an APS-C (x1.5) sensor, or Micro 4/3 (x2), your choices become wider and considerably less expensive. I think I'm right in saying the Nikon Df is the only full frame digital camera that accepts all Nikon's manual focus lenses.
 

locutus

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The Nikon D610 has a AI feeler so you will get full aperture metering, it exceeds your 500$ budget though, hunting about you can get one for 700$.

Mirrorless, Sony A7, ergonomics are terrible.
 

alentine

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Wait the used market for some extra time.
After the introduction of mirrorless cameras, I expect the used DSLRs prices will go down.
 
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Old-N-Feeble

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I opted for a used Sony A6000 with very low exposure count. Now I need to buy a couple of lens adapters for Nikon AIS... one fixed and another with tilt/shift. Any suggestions?
 
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Old-N-Feeble

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I decided against a tilt adapter. The only one I found that I like is made by Kipon and it's far pricier than I want to pay just so I can have tilt.

Do the cheaper Fotodiox adapters have the transparent mirror? I don't think I want that feature. Perhaps the mirror is easily removed?
 

blockend

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I decided against a tilt adapter. The only one I found that I like is made by Kipon and it's far pricier than I want to pay just so I can have tilt.

Do the cheaper Fotodiox adapters have the transparent mirror? I don't think I want that feature. Perhaps the mirror is easily removed?
I'm slightly confused. Nikon F lenses should fit to a mirrorless camera by a plain, glassless adapter. It's literally a spacer with a Nikon bayonet on the front and whatever the Sony/Fuji/Panasonic/etc mount is on the rear. I've never heard of a tilt shift adapter, or what internal mechanisms one would entail.
 

Paul Howell

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Mine don't have any glass or mirrors, just an extension to bring the lens into proper sensor to lens distance and mounts, E mount to the camera and M42 for the lens. Your 6000 will meter in both manual and A exposure modes. I don't see much color fringing when using older lens. A sample of my Pentax 400 preset 5.6 on the Sony 3000.
 

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RattyMouse

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The Nikon D610 has a AI feeler so you will get full aperture metering, it exceeds your 500$ budget though, hunting about you can get one for 700$.

Mirrorless, Sony A7, ergonomics are terrible.

Focusing AiS lenses on a DSLR is MUCH harder than on a film camera. An EVF is almost mandatory if you are shooting at f/2.8 or wider.
 

Paul Howell

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If you have a DSLR that has interchangeable focusing screens you can always buy a spilt image screen, I made one for an Pentax SF1, then cut it down to fit a K10. Of course with mirrorless, not so much, stuck with the back screen and EVF.
 

alentine

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I'm slightly confused. Nikon F lenses should fit to a mirrorless camera by a plain, glassless adapter. It's literally a spacer .
In digital, it's more complicated, and includes software compatibility and retro-compatibility, not just optical, mechanical or electric compatibility.
But, still believe, Nikon FTN adapter, has no glass.
 

choiliefan

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I've been shooting all kinds of vintage lenses on a Lumix mirrorless via dumb adapters and a Metabones-type speed booster for Nikon.
There'a a thumb button which magnifies the central area of the viewfinder "screen" making it very easy to nail the focus manually.
Not sure what this feature is called but it's a wonderful thing.
If the Sony his this, you will appreciate it immediately.
 

blockend

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In digital, it's more complicated, and includes software compatibility and retro-compatibility, not just optical, mechanical or electric compatibility.
But, still believe, Nikon FTN adapter, has no glass.
I've shot manual lenses on DSLRs and various mirrorless cameras for 8 years. The only compatibility problems are when the lens flange distance is less than the camera it is being adapted to. For example Canon FD and Minolta MD lenses typically have insufficient distance for DSLR adaptation, but will fit a mirrorless camera perfectly well.

Such lenses can be adapted to DSLRs but require an extra element in the adapter. Even the best are sub optimal and cheaper versions degrade the image substantially. I've found the dumb variety to work perfectly well, albeit in manual mode. DSLR focusing screens are designed for autofocus, and are generally dimmer than SLRs. Focusing lenses is harder, but can be done if using live view and by pressing the magnification button. Mirrorless camera can also be difficult to focus at smaller apertures, focus peaking devices help, but don't cure the issue. As "vintage" lenses are usually bought for their wide open characteristics, this isn't always a problem.

in short, if you work methodically and shoot landscapes and portraits, adapting old lenses to digital cameras offers some advantages. For anything quicker or where image quality is a priority, dedicated lenses are a must.
 
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Old-N-Feeble

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All I care about in adapter functionality is.....

Aperture priority auto exposure (in camera body)
Focus peaking (in camera body)
De-clicked aperture control
Accurate machining and fit
Sturdily built

I bought the K&F dumb adapter.
.........................:smile:.............................
 

choiliefan

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I have a couple K&F Bronica to Nikon adapters and they are of good quality.
 
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