10 Incredible Lenses to Use on a Classic Nikon FM SLR

Nikon FM cameras seem to be the current flavor of the month. If you get one, these are the first lenses you should buy.

Unless you live under a rock or have refused to succumb to the powers of Instagram, you’ve no doubt seen the images Gal Gadot posing with a classic Nikon FM. The Nikon FM is one of the great 35mm film cameras, and in recent times its popularity has surged along with people’s love for all things film. Introduced in 1977, it is a tough-as-nails classic that uses the Nikon F Mount. If you plan on picking up a Nikon FM, we suggest a closer look at the lenses we list after the break that pair amazingly well with it.

The lenses below work incredibly well on the Nikon FM, as well as any other Nikon F Mount classic SLR, and even a Nikon DSLR. What makes them such an excellent fit for the Nikon FM is that they all feature an aperture control ring, which is vital as vintage cameras do not offer electronic aperture control. The lenses below, designed in the ’70s, 80s, and ’90s, are surprisingly still in production today. Check out the 10 lenses we would definitely pair with the classic Nikon FM.


Nikon 20mm F2.8D AF NIKKOR Lens


Here’s what Optical Limits had to say about the lens:

“The Nikkor AF-D 20mm f/2.8 is able to deliver very sharp images straight from its largest aperture. Stopped down to f/5.6 the sharpness is on a very high level across the whole FX image.”

Buy now ($621.95): Adorama


Nikon NIKKOR 24mm F2.8 AIS Wide Angle Manual Focus Lens


Here’s what Melia Photo had to say about the lens:

Using the lens is as easy as using any other lens, the aperture clicks are precise, the focus ring is smooth and it’s a great compact, lightweight lens to have in your kit. In terms of the image quality, it doesn’t disappoint, it has a great minimum focusing distance of 0.3m, creates some nice bokeh with lens fall off wide open if shooting scenes with distinct foreground and background separation.

Buy now ($536.95): Adorama


Nikon 24mm F2.8D AF NIKKOR


In our review, we said:

I found the image quality of the Nikon 24mm f2.8 D to be outstanding. The sharpness of the images were great. I shot this lens mostly stopped down past f5.6, but I always found the images sharp throughout the range.”

Buy now ($391.95): Adorama


Nikon 28mm F2.8 AIS Manual Focus Lens


Here’s what SLR Lens Review had to say about it:

“For a lens first designed in 1970s, Nikon’s Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 AiS is one very impressive piece of optics. Despite its age, the lens can rival some of the more expensive modern primes. Combination of excellent overall image quality, superb build quality, good color reproduction and affordable price, should put this lens at the top of shopping list for many photographers.”

Buy now ($539.95): Adorama


Captured with Kodak Ektachrome E100

Pro Tip: Have you recently picked up a used Nikon FM or any other 35mm film camera and aren’t sure which films to buy. Check out our reviews of Kodak’s TMax P3200Ilford’s FP4 Plus 125, and Kodak’s Ektachrome E100. You can find these and many more films for sale at Adorama.


Nikon 35mm F2D AF NIKKOR


Here’s what Compose Click had to say about the lens:

“Being as this Nikkor 35mm is an externally-focusing lens, I didn’t have high expectations for its autofocus speed. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Nikon 35mm f2D has plenty of speed for the often-moving subjects that I shoot during my wedding photography. It’s not a speed demon like the 70-200 or the 24-70 but focuses at a very reasonable speed.”

Buy now ($386.95): Adorama


Nikon 50mm F1.4 NIKKOR Ai-S Manual Focus Lens


Nikon FM

Here’s what Photography Life had to say about the lens:

“The NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4 Ai-S is a superb performer – whether mounted on a classic Nikon film camera, or a modern high-resolution DSLR like Nikon D800. Although the lens starts pretty weak at f/1.4, its performance is actually better in the center compared to modern AF-S equivalents. When stopped down to f/2, the lens shows very impressive center performance.”

Buy now ($459.95): Adorama


Nikon 50mm F1.2 NIKKOR Ai-S Manual Focus Lens


Nikon FM

Here’s what Photography Gear Review had to say about this lens:

This lens is Manual focus lens with very nice – smooth rotation on the focusing ring from closest focus to the infinity. This is a good lens for video shooters, the lens is very sharp in low light and the focusing ring is perfect for this lens.

Buy now ($699.95): Adorama


Nikon 55mm F2.8 Micro NIKKOR AIS Macro Manual Focus Lens

Nikon FMHere’s what Photography Life had to say about the lens:

“A great classic with impressive performance, especially when stopped down to f/5.6. CA levels are controlled extremely well and the lens is distortion-free. A great buy”

Buy now ($399.95): Adorama


Pro Tip: It doesn’t matter if you use modern lenses or vintage lenses, one thing you will need to do is clean them regularly. Lenses become exposed to dirt, dust, debris, water, and grease all the time. If you don’t clean them after each use and give them a deeper clean bi-weekly, you will run into problems with them. Pick up an affordable lens cleaning kit and keep it in your camera bag. Clean as you go, and you will prevent any issues before they happen.


Nikon 105mm F2.8 Micro-NIKKOR AIS Manual Focus Telephoto Lens


Nikon FM

Here’s what Matthew Durr Photography had to say about this lens:

In terms of pure technical rendering, it wins hands down. Some odd bokeh at certain focus distances and a problem with flare keep it from true top-tier performance, but as a whole, the 105mm micro performs as a stunning macro and a great all-around telephoto at a surprisingly reasonable price.

Buy now ($799.95): Adorama


Nikon 135mm F2 AF-D DC NIKKOR


Nikon FM

Here’s what Optical Limits had to say about the lens:

“The DC-Nikkor AF 135mm f/2 D is a very high quality, versatile tele lens. The resolution figures are excellent when using the Nikkor as a conventional lens. The Defocus Control (DC) feature gives you superior control over background and foreground blur – some portrait and still-life photographers will certainly desire such a detailed controlled over the bokeh (the out-of-focus blur) although it requires quite a bit of experience to master it.”

Buy now ($1,391.95): Adorama

Lead image by Ronny Olsson