NikonToCanonAdapter - Would you buy a Nikon (Zeiss) lens for your Canon EOS ??

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by igmolinav, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. igmolinav macrumors 65816

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    Aug 15, 2005
    #1
    Hi,

    I am looking into a lens with a Nikon mount. The lens is a Carl Zeiss brand lens. Carl Zeiss manufactures its lenses for Nikon, Canon, and Pentax cameras.

    E-bay sells a ring for lenses with a Nikon mount, to be used on a Canon EOS EF camera body.

    The rings are the following:

    Merchant 1:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/AF-Confirm-Niko...69796?pt=Lens_Accessories&hash=item4aa2de7ca4

    Merchant 2:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/AF-Confirm-Niko...32166?pt=Lens_Accessories&hash=item5ada0b5426

    I have two questions in this regard:

    Do you think the adapter recedes the lens, (so that when shooting the with the Nikon lens mounted on the Canon camera, the adapter "bulks up" the lens. As a consequence of this, the lens is not "in of focus" anymore as if it were on a Nikon body) ??

    Have you had a good experience using Nikon lenses on a Canon camera, (or viceversa) ??

    Thank you very much in advance, kind regards,

    igmolinav.
     
  2. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    #2
    As far as I know, none of the Zeiss lenses (Distagon *T) for either Nikon or Canon are manual focus. It is full manual, and some of the adapters do have some sort of AF confirmation, meaning a focus point will light up when the image is in focus. You can still meter in AV mode with any adapter.

    Fotodiox makes the best adapters. I had a Mamiya to EOS adapter, and it was great. As far as the adapters making the lenses larger, my Mamiya extended the lens maybe an inch or so.

    I only use manual focus lenses right now. I enjoy it, and if you search the "alternative forum" on FredMiranda.com, you will get lots of information.

    Also, many people are using the Nikon 14-24mm on EOS bodies.
     
  3. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Which Zeiss lens is it? If it's one of their Distagons, I believe they offer all of those lenses in both ZE (Canon) and ZF (Nikon) mounts. So why not just buy the Canon mount version?

    Ruahrc
     
  4. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #4
  5. Policar macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    I believe Nikon's F mount system has a greater flange focal distance (distance between rear element and film plane) than does Canon's EF system. So the adapters are calibrated to fill that distance and, in theory, they should keep the focus scale accurate when using Nikon lenses on a Canon body.

    I have not found this to be 100% true in practice, though. The adapters just aren't as precise as they could be, and focusing is very hard in the first place with manual focus lenses unless you buy a custom split prism viewfinder.

    I believe the Zeiss communicates with the camera body for aperture (not focus), which allows you to focus wide open and then shoot stopped down. This is very, very valuable. With a Nikon adapter, you stop down manually, so if you want to focus wide open you then have to stop down to your desired f-stop and meter again before shooting to make sure you have sufficient stop, or you can just focus stopped down, which makes the viewfinder dark and increases the depth of focus dramatically...making focusing accurately very hard.

    The nikon adapters seem to work great and I use one all the time, but if you're interested in a lens that's also available for Canon and you only want to use it on a Canon body, buy the ZE mount version. It's probably about the same price and will give you a much better user experience, which is worth it for such a nice lens, which makes every lens in my huge collection of lenses jealous.
     
  6. gnd macrumors 6502a

    gnd

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    #6
    What you probably meant to say instead of hyperfocal distance was flange focal distance.
    Hyperfocal distance is something completely different.
     
  7. Policar macrumors 6502a

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  8. igmolinav thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #8
    Hi,

    Thank you for your posts : ) !!!

    @ HBOC - Yes you are right, this lens I am looking into is manual focus, but for Nikon. At the moment, I have an older Nikon digital body, but I may buy a Canon one and I would like to be able to use the lens with it via an adapter.

    I have also heard good reviews for (the expensive ring adapters from) Novoflex. I just saw an adapter on the internet but it doesn't have the "information buds". I think Novoflex and Dioptrix are great, but they may not transfer the aperture and metering info, do they ??

    I'll also look into the Fred Miranda forum.

    I have heard very cool things things about that Nikon lens. I have also heard good things about the Tokina 11-16 mm. f/2.8

    @ Ruahrc - Because of the price on this used CZ lens for Nikon, I am more tempted to buy it for Nikon, and then also use an adapter for Canon. (Hopefully such adaptor can transfer the information).

    The lens is a Distagon. The person has three and is unsure to sell all three. I just want (and have money for) one. These are the 18, 21, and 25 mm.

    @ gkarris - The pictures are very nice : ) !!!
    Not all Nikon bodies with an external lens can meter. Most Canon bodies will be able to meter with an external lens. It seems to me that Olympus bodies can also meter with external lenses, is that right ?? Do your Fotodiox adapters have "Transfer buds" ??

    @ Policar and gnd - That is my fear. That using the adapter may bring the lens too far apart between the sensor (or film plate) that it may affect the image. However gkarris has had luck with his adapter for Olympus cameras. Perhaps adapters "love more" Olympus cameras ; ) !!!: http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-99.html

    @ Policar - If the adapter has "transfer buds" will I need to stop down the lens. Won't the Canon meter ??

    Thank you again, very kind regards,

    igmolinav.
     
  9. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    #9
    Canon will meter with any adapter. I have heard that some Nikons do not meter correctly..

    How much cheaper is the Nikon mount Zeiss compared to the Canon mount? How much is the adapter? Might be economically a wiser choice to just buy the Zeiss in EOS mount.
     
  10. Policar macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Yes, Canon SLRs meter with anything (including a loupe I taped to the front of mine, which provided surprisingly nice soft macro images). But a lot of the auto metering stuff and exif info is lost with an adapter, as is some accuracy. Generally my digital rebel meters about a stop fast with Nikon glass, but that's okay--I just adjust by a stop. It's not ideal, but I find it workable.

    True, you can stop down a Nikon lens manually and the metering will work on a Canon body, but generally you focus wide open and then the camera automatically stops down when you take a shot. So the camera and lens communicate so the camera can meter wide open, but for a given f-stop at which the photo will actually be taken. I'm pretty sure this functionality is lost with adapters, though the chipped adapters seem to provide a focus confirm function that may-or-may not be good enough. I haven't tried it.

    My advice is buy your best lenses for the camera you intend to use them with. Zeiss makes the best lenses ever, period. Lecia, Schneider, Nikon, Canon and the rest do okay, too, given that they are all imitators. Don't spoil the great optics and user experience with adapters unless you really need to. Either buy a ZE lens in the first place or replace your old camera with a new Nikon body. Nikon's current stable of dSLRs is phenomenal. You could just get one of those?

    Of course, if you need to use the lens on multiple cameras from different companies, your best choice is a Nikon mount and an adapter for the Canon. Due to the flange distance you can't go in the other direction.
     
  11. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #11
    What?

    Some of the best pics I ever have taken was with a Contax Zeiss lens on my Olympus and Canon using an adapter...
     
  12. Policar macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    In your case it seems you really needed to: the Contax primes don't have exact equivalents with EF mounts so far as I know, and you're sharing them between systems. I never said your images were bad, just that adapters are problematic. Why get defensive?

    All I'm saying is, if you only have one camera and you can use an adapter or avoid using one, avoid it if possible. The downsides of adapters (questionable infinity focus, stop-down and less accurate metering only, no in-camera aperture control) won't change the quality of your images, but they certainly detract from the user experience and might result in missed exposures and defocused images. The Nikon F, built 50 years ago, had prongs for wide-open ttl metering for any f-stop, in-camera aperture control, etc. It's not like these aren't significant features unless you only shoot wide open.

    If you can get around these problems, more power to you. But I wouldn't wish them on anyone if a better option were readily available.
     
  13. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #13
    I understand.

    I guess if you're into "let the camera do everything" - then yes...

    I'm used to a Pentax K1000 - so using Manual anything on a camera is not a problem at all, and usually achieves better results anyways...
     
  14. Policar macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Sorry, didn't mean to strike a nerve. I use lens adapters, too, and they've definitely got their place and are workable. If you can learn to live with their limitations, you can get great results, and old glass, particularly Zeiss, can be phenomenal. I just passed on two Hasselblads kits (only because of the price), one with seven lenses, another with four, so I've got major Zeiss envy and know how gorgeous those lenses are. I've heard the Contax stuff is just as good.

    Good pictures are good pictures regardless of the level of automation they were taken with. Annie Leibovitz switched from medium format to digital specifically because her subject matter called for a faster, more automated response than medium format provides--not because she didn't know her technique. In my opinion, lens adapters get in the way more than they provide additional manual control, but they're certainly useable and if they work for you, awesome. It's just that, in general, I recommend sticking with lenses designed for a given mount for the smoothest experience and least difficulty with exposure and focus--nothing more than that.
     
  15. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #15
    In general, I guess you're right... I wouldn't agree with the statement if you're talking more "serious" photography.

    But this is a computer forum, not a photography one...
     
  16. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    #16
    Should tell these guys that;).
     
  17. Policar macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    I'm sure they're already aware of the trade-offs. The OP in this thread, however, was not, and so I listed them.

    Again, you're talking to someone who uses reversed loupes for soft focus macros, who tests the shutters on his 4x5 lenses relative to the shutter on his dSLR via a light-tight macro tube and gaffer's tape contraption, who built one of the first home-brew 35mm lens adapters for digital video and later shot a feature with a quarter-million dollar budget on a similar adapter, whose primary formats are 6x7 and 4x5 slide film, and who's building a bellows/rail system to use 6x7 lenses as tilt/shift on his digital SLR... I know the trade-offs of lens adapters pretty well. I also think they're not worth it when you can easily avoid them. As a mac owner, I'm sure you appreciate the value of "it just works."

    That said, although I have a fair amount of techncial experience in this area, I am still a beginner to photography and so recognize just how little gear matters compared with what you get from it. So if it works for you, use it and be happy and don't chastise me for offering good advice to others.
     
  18. igmolinav thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #18
    Hi,

    Thank you for your answer again : ) !!!

    I think I'll try first the adaptor for Canon with a Nikon lens on a Canon camera. If it goes well, I would buy the used Zeiss. The Carl Zeiss lens 25 mm. f/2.8 either for Canon or Nikon costs around $850 new. A two years old model, what should it cost ?? How much do lenses deppreciate on a yearly basis ??

    How was your experience with that lens ?? Do you have some pictures to show us the quality of the lens ?? If you had the money, would you buy it ??

    Thank you again, very kind regards,

    igmolinav.
     
  19. Policar macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Even a relatively bad Zeiss lens is usually very good so I wouldn't worry, but google around and you'll find reviews.

    Not to be insulting because I assume you've considered this already, but the first thing to do is to make sure you're getting the right focal length for your needs. A 24mm or 25mm lens should is very wide (not quite ultra-wide) on full frame and a walk-around semi-wide on a 1.6 crop sensor. Try one of your zooms out at this focal length only for a day. Is 25mm the one focal length, above all others, for which you demand the sharpest images? I recently bought some lenses because they were affordable and sharp, not because they were the focal lengths I wanted, and I'm not sure I'm happy about the decision.

    I doubt you'll save more than 25% or so by buying used. Modern name-brand lenses don't depreciate in value very fast. For a fair amount more money, you can get the 24mm f1.4 L, which is probably an even better lens in terms of technical perfection at wide apertures. If you're okay using a manual focus lens with a Nikon adapter, you can get a very very good lens for $170 used (pass on the inferior f2, which is more expensive):

    http://www.keh.com/camera/Nikon-Manual-Focus-Fixed-Focal-Length-Lenses/1/sku-NK060000005000?r=FE

    Zeiss has a cult surrounding it because their lenses deliver excellent "micro-contrast." This means that even when they don't deliver great resolution (mtf at 30lp/mm) they still have a punchy, contrasty look that some feel is more "3d" (which correlates, generally, with good mtf at 10lp/mm). Micro-contrast and acutance have much more to do with perceived sharpness than actual resolution, so people love Zeiss, because they design their lenses with this in mind.

    I don't know whether all Zeiss lenses have great micro-contrast. I don't own any and have only used a few. It's a subtle difference and easy to emulate in photoshop, so realize with Zeiss you're paying a lot more for something a little closer to perfect. The reason I don't own any Zeiss gear is because I live with 80% of the performance (which is usually enough, as most prime lenses out-resolve most sensors at normal apertures) for 20% of the price. Neither do I own any Leica or Schneider lenses (or my dream camera, the Mamiya 7), though I really, really wish I did! Just because I don't use them doesn't mean I don't think the Leica M6, Mamiya 7, Hasselblad 503, and Linhof Master Technica are the best cameras in the world. Zeiss primes occupy a similar category. Most German gear and cult cameras (Mamiya 7, Hasselblad 500 series) are priced like luxury goods, because they are.
     
  20. igmolinav thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #20
    Hi,

    I never liked the 50 mm. in full-frame format. A wider lens is better for me.
    On a Canon, it is 40 mm. It is ok. On a Nikon, 37.5 mm, perhaps a bit too wide to have as a normal lens.

    Yes, I'll do that. That's a better way to be sure !!!

    What does lp/mm mean ?? How this measurment helps you evaluate a lens ??

    So, in a way, people who pay for that extra money, could save it by using photoshop, isn't ??

    When would that 20% of the performance be needed ?? Who pays, or in which situations is needed to pay that extra 80% ??
     
  21. Policar macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    I should stop posting after this since I've never used the lens in question and it's now coming down to my personal biases. Plus I have to research some new lenses of my own... All I really meant in my above post is that Zeiss lenses, like most luxury goods, are at the high end of diminishing returns--yes, they're better, but you pay a lot more for a relatively small increase in performance because most Nikon and Canon primes are also very good and usually more affordable. Also, different lenses are better for different things, which makes performance even more impossible to quanitfy. I'm not sure the Zeiss has a floating element for close focus correction, which means it might be worse than the Nikon for sharp corners when shooting macro photos. But who shoots macros that need ultra-sharp corners?

    I found a comparison between the 24mm f2 AIS (which I own and consider to be mediocre; the f2.8 should be sharper and cheaper) and the Zeiss.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ngudu/sets/72157594306061595/with/276597878/

    Does the Zeiss have a bit more contrast? A little, and the difference is probably more pronounced at f2.8. It's pretty subtle at f4; the biggest difference between the photos is that each lens is focused at a different point and the Nikon image is slightly overexposed. Is the difference worth it? That's up to you. I do prefer the warm color cast of the Zeiss but you can emulate that in Photoshop. To me it seems the Zeiss is definitely better but not dramatically so, only enough to improve, not make or break, a photo. You can get great results from either. The myth that old lenses are dramatically worse than new ones (excepting zooms; old zooms are usually bad) is manufactured by marketing departments and propagated by gear-heads more concerned with how their cameras look than their images.

    I use three focal lengths for 90% of what I shoot, so I divide my budget primarily between those lenses. If you use one focal length for most of what you shoot, go ahead and buy the best you can afford! Trust me, there are times I wish I had Zeiss (instead of Mamiya) medium format lenses. Almost all my lenses have inferiority complexes, but most are still decent performers.

    Mtf and lp/mm are the analogue way of measuring resolution (on film and lenses). Lp/mm is how many line pairs (alternating black and white lines) a lens or film can resolve per millimeter. Mtf is how much contrast and clarity those lines have. Good mtf at 10lp/mm means details have a lot of contrast and seem to pop out at you. Good mtf at 30lp/mm is a measure of absolute resolution, which is less important except in huge enlargements. If you learn to read mtf charts you can guess how much micro-contrast and resolution a lens will have at different f-stops, but it might just turn you into a techie and stop you from actually taking photos... So if you want the Zeiss and can justify the cost, go out and get it and enjoy it.
     
  22. igmolinav thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #22
    Hi,

    Thank you, I see what you mean : ) !!!

    Very interesting, thank you again : ) !!!
     
  23. igmolinav thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Aug 15, 2005
    #23
    Hi,

    I forgot to say it will take a bit of time for me to learn it, but I am on my way
    : ) !!!
     

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