Why are old Nikon MF lenses so expensive?

Started May 2, 2014 | Discussions thread
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iljitsch Contributing Member • Posts: 664
Why are old Nikon MF lenses so expensive?

One of the reasons I got a D7100 instead of a D3300 or D5300 was that it is fully compatible with older Nikon lenses. Which of course means that I have to get at least one...

However, I'm now experiencing quite a bit of sticker shock looking for those manual focus AI or AI-s lenses. I gather that the prices are lower in the US, but here in the Netherlands I'm seeing prices over € 100 for even fairly uninteresting lenses and over € 200 for anything really worth having. And the weird thing is, those prices are often close to those of the AF versions of those same lenses. For instance, this is what I'm seeing for 85 mm on the Dutch equivalent to Ebay right now:

AF-S F3.5 G ED DX VR Micro: asking prices 275 - 330, bids 155 - 205

AF f/1.8D: asking prices 200 - 260, bids 110 - 240

f/1.8 AI: bids 55 - 150

f/2 AI: asking prices 170 - 200, no bids

Now I would be willing to pay that kind of money for a lens with good optics that is actually useful, such a macro lens where you'd be focussing manually most of the time anyway, or a wide angle lens that's faster than most zoom lenses for astrophotography.

But who in their right mind would pay € 150 for a manual focus f/1.8 tele lens with paper thin depth of field if you can get an autofocus version for only about € 50 more?

I highly doubt that there are hordes of photographers out there every weekend with manual focus lenses mounted on their cameras, so I guess collecting old lenses must be a thing. (Of course it helps (the prices) that manual focus Nikon lenses can work on pretty much any camera with an adapter.)

 iljitsch's gear list:iljitsch's gear list
Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR +4 more
Nikon D3300 Nikon D5300 Nikon D7100
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