I run several camera systems at the same time... crazy I know. Most systems are very similar and very capable. My Nikon system is really my high end professional gear—big, powerful, strong ecosystem. My Olympus gear (Micro Four Thirds) is small, great for travel, some wonderful lenses, and impressive innovation. Finally, I also have a FujiFilm X-T20 and a clue of lenses—Fuji is making some of the best camera and lenses around these days and also the only affordable medium format cameras on the planet.
I can get into more details about why these systems are all in my camera bag but one of the reasons I have my Fuji system is for using adapted lenses.
There is a common fallacy that “old lenses” are not functional for digital cameras. It is an unexpected and untrue statement but I assume it is for two reasons: camera companies want you to buy the newest gear and a lot of people believe that old is bad and new is better.
I can’t speak for the camera companies but they are in the business of selling equipment so it seems likely they wouldn’t dissuade someone from believing that their old film lenses from the 1960’s aren’t good. Fact is, normal and telephoto lens optics haven’t really change much. Mostly is is some technology like image stabilization and various lens coatings. Wide-angle lenses have come a long way—Nikon is probably the front running in this area but in past, wide-angle lenses weren’t so hot. Otherwise, lenses from decades ago frequently have some very wonderful and unique qualities that aren’t found in many lenses today because, you know, sharpness is everything according to so many photographers.
I’ve been fortunate to find and play with some absolutely incredible old lenses from long before I was even born but the problem is, these lenses have mounts that are all but extinct. Or, like my Nikon 50mm ƒ1.8 E-series, does use Nikon’s F-mount and still work on my Nikon cameras but it is also a great lens to mount on my Olympus or Fuji cameras—it is worth using on any camera.
Lens adapters can be very expensive—$99+ in many cases. However, I was searching around on eBay for a few deals on said adapter when I stumbled on K&F Concepts.
These adapters are usually around $25 and are really well made. All metal construction, these adapters come is a protective case, and K&F have adapters for just about every mount imaginable. From Nikon F to Fuji X mount to Exakta to Micro Four Thirds, all of my fun “vintage lense” have new life on my cameras.
It is important to note that adapted lenses do not communicate with the camera; one will not have any meta data such as aperture, focal length, and the like. Some lenses, Nikon G-type for example, do not have aperture ring and therefore specific adapters with an aperture ring are needed.
Notice the different between the general Nikon F adapter and the Nikon G adapter. The scalloped metal ring controls the aperture lever for G-type Nikkor lenses. It is important to also note, the aperture ring does not have actually click stops to certify what aperture one is using but there is some feedback from the ring (clicks) to know it is functioning. Using these adapters ensures one will get comfortable with both manual focus and manual controls as a whole.
Sadly, as it stands, the E-type (not E-series) Nikkor lenses are not supported at all because only a Nikon camera can control the electronic [E] aperture. The good news, those are very new lenses. Nikon only makes a few. But since these adapters are really about working with older, vintage, or specialty lenses, it should not pose a problem.
I can’t recommend these more. For $25ish, one can get a bunch of these for the price of one Metabones adapter. They are low enough cost to allow one to collect all sorts of old lenses and enjoy the artistic elements of lense that are essentially extinct.
An old photography adage: You date the camera but marry the lens.
Keep those old lenses around and put them to good use with these simple and great adapters.