Received this via Flickr today:
Can the AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G lens auto-focus on the D5000?
In general, new Nikon lenses work with all the new Nikon dSLR bodies.
More specifically, for Nikkor lenses you should be looking at “S” appended to the “AF”. The letter stands for “SWM” or “Single Wave Motor” which is Nikon’s designation of a piezoelectric motor, first introduced in consumer photography by Canon as “USM” or “Ultra-Sonic Motor”.
In order to save cost, sell more lenses, and make a lighter, more compact body, Nikon removed the traditional screw motor from their entry-level dSLR bodies starting with the Nikon D40. This means that the following Nikon bodies are missing an internal AF motor: D40, D40x, D60, D3000, D5000. When buying third-party lens, you need to look for ones with announced auto-focus compatibility with any of these cameras—most notably, Tokina lenses do not seem to support piezoelectric motors currently. If this is an issue, upgrade to a Nikon D90-class camera (D100, D70, D50, D70s, D80, D90).
A more-important thing to consider with these cameras is will the lens auto-expose on these bodies? Nikon auto-exposure is the most advanced exposure system on the planet, and the more data it gets, the better it behaves. One of those pieces of data is distance-to-subject information which it gets from the lens. For marketing reasons, Nikon has decided to make it so that consumer bodies will not auto-expose without this information. This means that you need a “D” (for distance) or “G” (a D without the manual aperture control) Nikkor. On 3rd party lenses, they must have announced compatibility (which many do). For instance, in the manual prime world, they will have lenses “chipped” for “CPU” compatibility. This becomes an issue when buying old lenses or lenses that can’t be chipped like a lensbaby. If this is an issue, upgrade to backward-compatible pro body like the Nikon D300s, D700, D3S, D3X. At that point the camera will behave significantly differently than an entry-level camera (and weigh a lot more). So be warned! It might be better to shoot and chimp to adjust your exposure. 🙂