Nikon 1 series with other brand lenses ... worth it ?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by johnw63, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. I didn't know, until recently, that you could get adapters to mount other brand lenses on the Nikon 1 cameras. I was thinking that was a mostly Sony NEX feature. If I were to do that, is it really worth it ? Could I mount older Nikon AIS lenses ? I have a very nice Minolta f1.2 MD lens that I would love to try in digital.
  2. The Fotodiox "dumb" adapters offer a very affordable way to try lenses on the Nikon 1. For several months I've used the Fotodiox F mount adapter on my V1, with a 24/2.5 Tamron Adaptall, 50/2 AI Nikkor, 85/2 AIS Nikkor, 105/2.5 AI Nikkor, 180/2.8 pre-AI Nikkor and a few T-mount lenses. The 2.7x multiplication factor wrings a lot of magnification out of compact lightweight medium telephotos. That's a huge plus for me since serious back and neck injuries, pain and weakness make it very uncomfortable to tote longer fast telephotos anymore (I even sold my 300/4.5 AI ED Nikkor last year because I couldn't handhold it anymore). The Fotodiox adapter works great on the V1's EVF with a few limitations. No idea how well this would work with the rear screens on the J or S models - I expect it would be difficult without focus peaking aids.
    Metering is completely disabled, including auto ISO, with this adapter so you must either guesstimate or use an external meter or other camera TTL meter. I'm pretty comfortable with guess metering and can usually nail the correctly exposure within a couple of test frames. I also have handheld incident and spot meters to help.
    The best results have come from the 24/2.5 Tamron, and 50mm through 105mm manual Nikkors, with good sharpness wide open and minimal chromatic aberration (although more noticeable CA than with the 10-30 VR kit zoom). The 180/2.8 pre-AI Nikkor and T-mount lenses show fairly extreme chromatic aberration that can be corrected in Lightroom or other software.
    Focusing through the V1's EVF is a little fiddly with the 24/2.5 Tamron due to the short focus throw. The 50/2, 85/2 and 105/2.5 Nikkors were relatively easy to manually focus, despite the lack of any focusing aids with the V1.
    Here are a couple of concert photos taken near the stage with the 24/2.5 Tamron Adaptall wide open on the Nikon V1, via the Fotodiox adapter. I used the 10-30 kit zoom to estimate exposure, then switched to the faster Tamron (which approximated a 60mm lens on 35mm film or FX). Both are at ISO 1600, shutter speed 1/60th, at f/2.5, handheld while leaning against a support.
    A lot of highlight recovery was needed due to the extremely contrasty stage lighting and there's a little posterization in the singer's face. But I was happier with the V1 photos taken of this concert using the manually focused 24/2.5 Tamron than I was with the 10-30 VR Nikkor kit zoom, which is a very good lens but too slow for dim lighting. I wish I'd also taken the 50/2 AI and 85/2 AIS Nikkors for this situation.
    (Laura Vall of "The Controversy" singing with MASS Ensemble at 2013 Fort Worth Main Street Arts Festival. Click for larger views.)
  3. So, could you use LTM lenses on the V1? I'm guessing you could.
    Kent in SD
  4. I don't know, Kent, but Fotodiox has lots of these "dumb" adapters in various mounts and all get good reports from users on Amazon, dpreview, etc. I'm very satisfied with the Nikon F mount Fotodiox adapter because it includes a tripod shoe that's good enough for my Nikkors, the longest and heaviest of which is the pre-AI 180/2.8.
  5. Kent - the flange distance for the 1-series is about 1cm shorter than the Leica mounts, so I'm sure you could get an adaptor in there. I've not looked, but I'd be surprised if nobody made one. The biggest problem with Leica lenses tends to be a short sensor-to-lens distance and a corresponding lack of telecentricity, but the sensor size is small enough on a 1-series that it shouldn't be a problem. I'm not sure it would be my first choice of cheap Leica body, but it ought to work if you want the crop - and if the lenses are sharp enough (depending on how old your lenses are!)
  6. I've got adapters from Leica LTM/screwmount to Nikon 1 as well as Nikon F to 1 and C mount to 1. They are all cheap $10-15 adapters and work fine for what they are but I don't enjoy using the combination. It's just too slow and cumbersome and I hate the 2.7X crop factor.
    I recently got a Sony NEX-6 and it supports focus peaking, metering, Auto ISO, when using old manual lenses. Combined with the 1.5X crop factor I really enjoying using old lenses on the NEX-6.
  7. It's not a "feature" of any camera, it's just taking advantage of a certain system's design. You can use ANY lens in front of ANY camera. I could use a Nikon 1 lens on my Nikon DSLR, for example. I would just have to build an adapter out of something like construction paper so that no light would get in, and I would run into issues such as the image circle not fully covering the sensor and being unable to focus more than a few inches away. Overall, the basic rule is as long as your sensor is the same size or smaller than the sensor/film of the original camera system, and the film-to-lens-mount distance (i.e. the register) for your camera is smaller, you can get an adapter that will allow you to use these different lenses. These adapters aren't magical in any way; they are just a hunk of metal that move the lens the correct distance away from the sensor to preserve full focus capability. You could achieve the same thing by just holding the lens in front of the camera and using your hand to block all other light coming in.
    As Walt says, the 2.7x crop factor is a killer (in a bad way) with the Nikon 1 system; the Sony NEX with its larger sensor, metering, and focus peaking is a much more natural choice. The micro 4/3 cameras are a useful choice if you have older macro lenses and/or you want the 2x crop factor to create "pocket telephotos," such as my Yashica 135mm giving me a 270mm equivalent on my Panasonic. It's frustrating that Nikon doesn't have metering when there's no lens communication; it seems to me a trivial feature to include, considering that the live view is already calculating this to show you the scene; that information would just have to be transmitted back to the camera's meter.
  8. Ariel - Nikons can meter without lens communication. The problem is that the camera doesn't know how much the lens will be stopping down when it moves the aperture lever (which may or may not do anything at all), and therefore you need to tell the camera what the maximum aperture of the lens is so that it knows the difference between the current exposure and the final exposure. If the camera has an aperture ring, it can tell how much the aperture is going to vary, but without one it can't. This needs to be done, I believe, even if you have a lens with no aperture lever and will be performing stop-down metering. The low-end DSLRs simply lack the menu option(s) to tell the camera what aperture your lens is, and the ring to tell the camera what your AI lens aperture ring is doing. It's not a good excuse for the missing functionality, but at least it's an excuse - the ring costs a bit, the menu option complicates the streamlined interface of the low-end cameras.

    I have less understanding of why Canons can't activate their electronic rangefinders without an electronic connection to the lens. Take your pick of how you'd like your system to be crippled. :)
  9. Andrew--
    My 5cm Elmar is from 1930-32, and the rest are vintage 1940s. I really like the look they give. The 2.7 crop is kind of knocking the V1 out of the running for me though. I generally like to shoot wide. There is a CV lens in LTM that's a 12mm, but that would be about 32mm on the V1!
    Kent in SD
  10. Kent, I have used a 50mm f2 collapsible Summitar (1939-53) on my NEX-6. I really like the results and it is fun and "natural" to use. You can google for the CV 12mm results but most examples show a lot of light falloff in the corners.
    The NEX-6 has a very good EVF. The Nikon V1/V2 EVF is also very good but right now the price of each with the kit lens is about the same. The Sony with the newer 16-50 kit lens is basically the same size as the Nikon V1 w/ 10-30 kit lens even though the Sony sensor is much larger. I do really like the Nikon 30-110mm lens. It's tiny and great for light weight hiking. The autofocus on the Nikon 1 series is much better than Sony's.
  11. I recently got a Sony NEX-6 and it supports focus peaking, metering, Auto ISO, when using old manual lenses. Combined with the 1.5X crop factor I really enjoying using old lenses on the NEX-6.​
    Yep, it really is a nice camera for that purpose. The Nikon 1 system is out due to the 2.7x crop factor.
    You can google for the CV 12mm results but most examples show a lot of light falloff in the corners.​
    Not the worst problem though - the magenta color shift is. Fixable with cornerfix but that's an additional post-processing effort. I rather use the Tokina 11-16/2.8 that I already own - no issues on the NEX whatsoever (the lens is large but still manageable on the NEX body).
  12. Been using a Nikon 1 V2 for a number of months now, and recently got a Fotodiox Canon FD adapter for it. Using it with my old Canon FD "L" lenses, I'm very satisfied. Lack of metering is a pain, but otherwise, the results are good.
  13. I bought one of the cheap Leica screw mount adapters for my Nikon 1 V1 to use with an old Russian lens I have. But the little 5cm lens becomes a 135mm telephoto and I don't much care for that focal length. But I also bought the Nikon FT-1 adapter and it works very well with all the Nikon lenses I've put on it. I don't own any AF-S or G lenses so I can't test the AF function, but I believe it works with those lenses. Mostly I use the FT-1 with my Nikon 180mm 2.8 ED telephoto, which is a great combination!
  14. [​IMG]
    Here's an image with the above mentioned combination, Nikon 1 V2, Fotodiox adapter ($19.99), and my thirty plus year old Canon FD 50mm f1.2L lens.
  15. So far I've used the Fotodiox adapter on the V1 with fast manual lenses only on occasions when the 10-30 VR was too slow. Even with the V1's very good EVF it's a challenge to manually focus with fast lenses in dim lighting, considerably more difficult than with my D2H's excellent viewfinder.
    Here are a few from this past weekend at a nighttime Hip Pocket Theatre show, where I mostly took handheld candid snaps using the 50/1.8D AF Nikkor, usually wide open but occasionally stopped down to f/2.8.
    Still frame grab during video at 1080/30p, in-camera b&w mode, ISO 1600.
    V1, 50/1.8D AF Nikkor, ISO 1600, at or near f/1.8. The shot of the guitar player may have been f/2.8, judging from the shapes of the out of focus lights. (Click for larger views.)

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