The Nikon F mount dates back to 1959, with later Automatic Indexing (AI) and then electronic contacts added. All lenses found will have AI these days, but you never know. Non-AI lenses required the lens to be set at f/5.6 and then the aperture ring to be moved wide open/fully closed to calibrate (index) the exposure meter. This is what the external metal clip is for on older manual focus lenses. Eventually the indexing became internal and conversions were offered by Nikon.
Most lenses can be used on current DSLRs, but watch out for older fisheye optics that have protruding rear elements. These need the mirror to be locked up to use.
Also be aware that some recent lower cost DSLR bodies no longer have AF motors in the body so will only offer AF with lenses with built in motors. All other AF lenses will then be manual focus only.
If our Nikon users would like to add any further points or precautions, please do so.
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