I recently took the plunge into DSLR cinematography by purchasing an $800 Canon T2i. If you scoff at the idea that video shot on a consumer grade Rebel can be taken serious by pros, I look forward to showing you some of the video I’ve been shooting. I’ll post a proper review of how this unpretentious game-changer is working for me in my documentary work soon. But today I want to talk about lenses.
Both Lara and I used to be professional photographers, and during those years, we acquired a fair bit of top-notch Nikon glass. So when I was looking for a HD video DSLR, I looked in vain at Nikon – Canon is so far ahead of every other DSLR manufacturer in this regard that it’s not worth discussing. I’d long heard about adapters that allow you to use Nikon lenses on Canon bodies, but I’d always dismissed them mainly because they don’t work with autofocus or other electronics, which is a big deal on modern still cameras.
But video is another matter entirely. Manual focus is the only way to go with video. Furthermore, one of the limitations of the T2i interface is that, if you’re using modern Canon lenses, you have to hold down a button on the back with your right thumb AND AT THE SAME TIME rotate a dial with your right index finger to change the aperture. That’s lame. Wouldn’t it be nice to just rotate the aperture ring instead? Using a lens adapter, you can.
Looking at lens adapters can be confusing: They range in price from a $270 model from Novoflex, to a $79 model from Fotodiox, to a $9.99 model sold by a top-rated Hong Kong ebay member Kawaphoto. I’ve since purchased and used 4 of them, and here’s what I’ve discovered.
I began by ordering the cheapest one from Hong Kong, and it arrived in less than a week via mail. With a little guesswork in how to correctly attach the thing (it comes with no instructions), I figured out how to rotate and lock it into place. Then I gingerly seated it on the Canon, worried that the protruding elements of the old Nikon lenses would hit the mirror or other electronics on the Canon. In fact, I had to remove a protruding element on my Nikon 35mm 1.4 lens in order for it to fit. But once that was done, it clicked into place and was good to go. The video produced was sharp and the lenses focused normally, no problem focusing to infinity (but it does allow you to go beyond infinity, which is slightly annoying if you routinely focus by looking at the focus ring instead of through the viewfinder).
I was so impressed with the fact that I could now use my Nikon glass on the T2i that I initially overlooked the fact that there was a little bit of play between the lens and the camera body. I ordered two more of the same inexpensive adapters, thanking, screw the expensive ones, these are great! But I got a wakeup call when the next batch arrived. One of them seemed to be fine, but one of them was a loose fit, which allowed the lens to rock back and forth when I turned the aperture dial, throwing the image slightly out of focus and jogging the image. At that point, it was clear to me that the cheap adapters, while they work, are not machined to exacting specifications. While not a big deal for only occasional use, I found this highly annoying with heavy use.
So I shelled out for the next cheapest model, sold by Fotodiox on Amazon for $79. It arrived quickly and much to my surprise, I discovered that it was made from plastic on one side, metal on the other. That worried me at first until I rotated it onto my lens and it snapped into place requiring a reassuring amount of force. The fit was like night and day from the all-metal cheaper version. Obviously made to much higher specifications, it holds the lens without any give at all. I can now twist the iris and focus without any fear of slippage.
Because all adapters are a bit of a pain to take on and off of your lenses, it’s a good idea to purchase one for every lens you are planning to use, and simply leave it on all the time. This means buying Canon lens caps for all your Nikon glass (in this business it seems every time you buy something, it means you have to buy yet another thing to support it, followed by yet another thing to carry it in, etc.)
I have not tried the more expensive version from Novoflex, because the $79 Fotodiox model works perfectly for me, and is the one I recommend if you’re shooting video professionally. If you’re only occasionally using Nikon glass on your Canon, buy three of the $9.99 adapters, try them all out when they arrive, and throw away the two that fit the least well.
Hey! I have a Canon T1i and I was thinking of getting a Nikon macro lens. I don’t know about you, but I feel like Nikon cameras produce crisper images than Canons. Do you think getting a Nikon lens for my Rebel would give me the same image quality as compared to shooting with a Nikon camera? Thanks, have a wonderful day (:
Hi Reiko, it’s really a subjective thing. Both Canon and Nikon glass can produce professional results. The main reason I prefer Nikon glass is because I like the manual aperture ring and big focus ring on Nikon lenses. All newer Canon lenses lack an aperture ring and often have manual focus that feels like an afterthought. Beyond that, if you want a real experts opinion on the difference between Canon and Nikon, read this: http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/nikon-vs-canon.htm
Hi Dan! what a great find, I found your blog talking about putting nikon lenses onto a T2i. What Nikon lenses should I be looking for that produce a good image? I noticed the Canon FD lenses don’t work so well, and they have a 2/3 of a stop loss when you mount them on an EOS body. I was going to do some ebay buying of nikor lenses. Since, I heard they work better with EOS cameras. ( the older stuff) I appreciate your help!
Here’s the Nikon prime lenses I currently own:
300mm f/4 and 1.4x Nikon teleconverter
All of my Nikon primes, with the exception of the 300mm, have 52mm lens filter size. This is really handy, because it allows me to use the same expensive variable neutral density filter interchangeably. The 20mm f/4 prime isn’t a fast lens, but it is a small lens that is quite sharp. I use it primarily as my Steadicam Merlin lens, because I like the light weight and fact that it doesn’t open more than f/4 is fine because I always shoot around f/4 – f/5.6 because I need the depth of field with the Merlin (there’s no way to focus during a take).
The 35mm 1.4 is a great lens, heavy piece of glass that is actually radioactive. Really. Nikon made these during the 70s for a very short period of time. It turns out that as they age, they develop a warm cast to the glass from the radioactivity (which is low-level enough to be harmless unless you put your eye next to it all the time). This isn’t a bad thing here in Seattle, where it’s cloudy all the time. The 50mm 1.4 is one of my favorite portrait lenses, and has beautiful bokeh. The 300mm f/4 lens is fantastic, but if I were going to buy this one again, I think I’d look for an image stabilized Canon lens – you have to be VERY careful shooting video with this lens because you’ll see every mistake in panning; even people stepping on the ground nearby the tripod causes it to vibrate visibly and can ruin a shot. Image stabilization takes care of that.
My most recent lens purchase is the Canon 17-55mm 2.8 IS lens, which I realized I needed because I like to hand hold a lot of shots, and my nikon primes really were not getting the job done in that department, possibly because I’m 45 and my hands aren’t as steady as they used to be. The image stabilization really helps with that. But for low light on a tripod on Tiny Saddle, I love my Nikon 35 and 50. One thing to note: I also have a Nikon 50 f 1.8. It is smaller and far less expensive than the Nikon 1.4, and almost as good, frankly. So if you’re looking to save money and get a 50, I would recommend the 1.8 over the 1.4.
One other Nikon lens I recommend: 75-150 f/3.5. It’s a manual focus zoom, and I picked one up at a local camera used lens shop for $65. The zoom range is consistent throughout, which is nice, it’s also a 52mm filter size (matching all the my others), and it’s tiny. This makes it wonderful to travel with, and it’s a very sharp little lens. Galen Rowell famously used this lens to take his popular photograph “Rainbow over the Potala Palace.”
Hi Dan, I just got my 1st nikon lens, a 50mm 1.4 My adaptor is the cheapy from Hong Kong. Seems to fit nicely. What’s the best recommended shooting method with video? I’m using the T2i. I have tried AV and Manual modes….
Great lens! For shooting video, your only option will be the video mode. AV and Manual are for stills. But the good news is that you can shoot with it in auto or manual in stills mode: just go to the menu, and under Movie Exposure, select either Manual or Auto. If you select Auto, your camera will automatically set the shutter speed in response to your changes of aperture. That isn’t such a great thing if you’re trying to shoot cinema style at 50th of a second, so I generally set everything to manual, set my shutter to 50th (at 24p) and then dial my aperture until I find the right exposure. Make sense?
i’ve got interested with your experienced mixed Canon and nikkon.
well, i am using Canon 60D and i’ve got interested with Nikkon 70200 VR II.
i would like ask you a few issue :
1. would those nikkon lens + canon body could work properly as well as their use in 1 brand?
2. is there any issue or an appropriate problem mixing their 2 together?
I wouldn’t purchase new Nikon G series glass for use on Canon. That’s because the G series doesn’t have a manual aperture control, like all other Nikon lenses do, and plus all the autofocus stuff you’d be paying a premium for won’t work on the Canon.
So if you’re going to buy new glass, get the Canon glass. But if you’re looking to buy used glass, get Nikon manual lenses.
Its been quite interesting to see how the old Nikon lens being used on the Canon Body. I am intending to buy a Canon 5DMKII and a 7D for documentary and Inde movie making. I had initially planned for Carl Zeiss DSLR lens kit. However also planing for the spare camera some Nikon lenses. Well u said already manual focus but would u pl. suggest what series or type of Nikkon lenses should I be looking for in ebay? I am bit confused with different series and types avilable in the market. Having said that would you recommend carl zeiss dslr kit over old Nikon? Thanks and appreciate ur reply. Rgds Andy
If cost isn’t an issue, I would definitely recommend the Zeiss glass over Nikon, for two reasons: 1. it’s slightly better glass and 2. it’s available in EOS mount, so you won’t have to use adapters at all. The Zeiss CP.2 compact primes are the cream of the crop for narrative filmmaking, and I think they’d work fine for documentary work as well, although if that’s your primary focus, then the Zeiss ZE series will do nicely and less expensive.
Regarding Nikon, any of the older manual focus ones are outstanding, such as the AI series. Even the older ones, such as the Nikkor-N, work fantastically with EOS adapters if you simply remove the protruding lever with a philips head screwdriver. I have a Nikkor-N 35mm 1.4 that I use all the time with great results.
Thanks a lot for the advice on both Zeiss ZE and Nikon lens. Appreciate it.
By the by I had watched some of your Videos..they are awesome. All the best!
Hello Dan, i have been surfing the net day and night trying to find out if it’s possible to adapt a 24×70 nikon lens on a Canon body. I been reading a lot of getting prime fix lenses like the 50mm, 85mm, 14mm and so on but nothing about attaching Zoom Nikon lenses to canon bodies. Is it possible? what are the advantages and disadvantages if i do it so?
I m considering to switch to nikon gear in the future, i believe they produce sharper images than canon, but i don’t have the budget for that now. So i would rather start slowly buying nikon lenses until i get to the point where i can just buy a full frame nikon body…
Hope you can advice me on this, 🙂
You can use both primes and zooms with adapters. There’s no difference whatsoever, as long as the lenses you’re using are manual (the G series Nikon’s being the exception). If you want to use G series lenses on your Canon, you can do it, but you’ll need a more expensive adapter like this one: http://www.dpreview.com/news/1007/10072602novoflexeosnikntadapter.asp
I’ve just bought the ‘amateur’ Fotodiox Nikon to EOS adapter, and while it works great with all my Nikon lenses, when I use it with my Nikon 20mm f/4 AI it locks up the aperture ring. I wondered if you ran into a similiar problen, and if so what you did to resolve it.
Very interesting. I don’t have any problem using my Fotodiox adapter with my Nikon 20mm f/4 lens. However, I have the opposite problem: if I try to put the 20 on a NIkon camera, it locks up the aperture ring. I have only tried this once, because I purchased the lens used for use with my Canons. My wife has a Nikon and one time she wanted to borrow the lens, which is how I discovered this issue. Go figure!
thank you so much for this, I was wondering if I can use my Nikon 70-200mm VRII & Nikon 24-70mm with 550D! I’m learning video these days and really want a good camera to deal with it!
couldn’t make it with my Nikon D90
do you recommend to use the adaptor or I should buy some Canon lenses?
The 550D is a great camera for shooting video, definitely the way to go vs. Nikon D90. And yes, you can use all of your Nikon glass without any problem, as long as you have an adapter. Autofocus won’t work, of course, but that doesn’t matter for video, for which you’ll be using the lens in manual focus mode anyway. I prefer the manual focus Nikon glass for use on Canons, simply because they have bigger focusing rings. But there’s no reason you can’t use Nikon autofocus lenses with Canon.
Weird stuff indeed.
I’ve contacted Fotodiox on this issue, and they say that the little black plastic inset on the back of the lens is what’s causing it. They came up with 3 solutions: using force to rotate the ring (hoping that things will get smoother over time), using a little oil on the adapter itself, and finally taking the inset completely off.
Hope this helps someone, although personally I prefer trying a different adapter than risking damage to the lens / camera body.
Ah ha. I’ll take a closer look at the plastic inset on my lens if I need to use it on a Nikon again. Thanks Elias.
Hey Dan this is Ayaan,
I’m a beginner photographer.. I own a canon EOS 1100D. Just want to know Can I use Nikon/Nikkor glasses to take some good shots or video footage? Are those lenses compatible with Canon OS 1100D?
Yes, you can use your camera with an EOS-Nikon adapter, such as the ones I’ve described in this post. Have fun with it.
hello dan, thanks for all this.
just wanted to be clear on the nikon lens series and compatibility with my eos t3i.
i read that the pre AI lenses can destroy your mount but maybe this only applies if you use a pre AI lens on a Nikon dslr only? and now, of course, i lost the link to the site mentioning this.
You can easily modify the pre-ai lenses to work. I have a pre-ai 35mm lens that I used a jewelers phillips head screwdriver to remove the flange that sticks out from the lens. Removing that allows it to be used on Canon lenses with an adapter without any compromise to the image quality.
I’m trying to use a SIGMA zoom master 2.8, 35 to 70 mm lens with a fodor adapter on a Cannon t3I . I an trying to take pictures of Jupiter an Venus in the western sky. I get good pictures,but I get a glowing orb in several pictures. That orb moves around in 8 sec. exposures take one after another. and a day later the same thing. My other lens don’t do that . I cover the view finder. Any ideas on the UFO looking flaw?
Thank You Jim
It sounds like a ghosting issue. When you are pointing any lens at a direct source of light, and the source of light moves, you can get strange reflections, especially on older and less expensive lenses that don’t have modern coatings, which are designed to prevent that.
Thank you so much for the article, extremely helpful. I am about to purchase the Canon t2i and I inherited a bunch (6) of Nikon lenses. I am new to all of this but would like to start shooting videos. I was hoping I could use these on my new Canon T2i. Some of the lenses I have are
Nokkor-P Auto 1:28 f = 180mm
Nikkor-Q AUto 1:3.5 f= 135mm
Nikkor 300mm 1:4:5
(I just wrote down what was written, I have been having a little trouble Identifying for sure what lenses these are.
Are these lenses too old? Would they work well with the Cannon (after getting adapters)
I don’t have direct experience with any of the lenses you mentioned, but I googled them and had a look. All of them should be fine. The thing to watch out for is that the flange on the adapter side is sometimes too deep on a few of the older non-AI Nikon lenses, which will cause them to bottom out when mounted to modern EOS camera bodies with an adapter. I had this problem on my old Nikon 35mm f 1/4. In my case, it was easy to solve: with a jeweler’s phillips head screwdriver, I was able to remove the flange altogether. It serves no purpose on today’s cameras that I can discern, and my 35mm lens has worked flawlessly ever since.
So the reflection is from the coating or lackoff on the len It self… What len would you recomend (50 to 85mm) to take star pictures.. I’m working on clock drives and small teleascopes but picture of the night sky are nice.
I tend to shoot moderately wide when I do astro time lapses. I’d generally start with about 28mm (17mm on my APS-C Canon 60D). If I were going tighter, it would be because I wanted to zero in on some specific thing, which it sounds like you want to do with the specific planets. So a 50 or 80 could be perfect for you. But with shots of this kind, you really have to play with it until you find what you want.
Thank you Dan,
I recently purchased couple of manual Nikon AIS lenses and waiting for the adapters to arrive.I’m wondering how easy or difficult it is to pull focus using Nikon AIS manual lenses on a Canon Mark II 5D DSLR. One of my professional stills photographer friends mentioned that I would have a hard time pulling focus with these manual lenses. Could you please advise.
If you have a good follow focus, you’ll be fine – provided your lenses are in good working order. If the focus barrel on any of your older lenses is difficult to rotate, it can be reconditioned at lens repair shops for about $40-$50. I’ve had two of my older Nikkor lenses reconditioned, and they focus smooth as butter! I prefer a heavier throw than most newer Canon lenses provide, and Nikon lenses deliver that. So for me, they are easier to pull focus with than Canon glass.
Also, I was unable to get good results with my efforts at follow focus until I purchased a Genus Bravo follow focus. It has a heavier pull than every other follow focus I’ve tried, and for me, that makes all the difference.
Thanks, Dan. from from I understand for pulling focus well a FF unit like the Genus Bravo is a must. However, what my professional photographer buddy meant was when you’ve reduced your aperture using the aperture ring on a manual Nikon lens (or, under low light condition), since the light coming through is so little, it becomes extremely hard to have sharp focus, irrespective of doing manually or with a FF unit. What’s your thought on that
That brings me to my next question.
I don’t have a Follow Focus at the moment and it’s really confusing me from all the mixed reviews you get about different FFs . Some people regret purchasing a sub $1,000 FF unit because they end up upgrading to a more pricier and robust FF at a later time, virtually spending twice on a FF unit. I don’t want to necessarily break the bank on a FF but it appears even RedRock Micro, Genus and other affordable FF units have their limitations and different people have differing opinions (Planet 5D, Philip Bloom, Shane Hurlburt etc).
I was wanting to get the LETUS FF @$799 because you can switch it on either side so it can be used for both Canon and Nikon lenses and also it appears to be somewhat of a copy of the ARRI-MF1 (that retails around $2,000+). But I can’t seem to find any decent reviews on this product, so not sure about it. I wonder whether even ARRI’s MF1 is rock solid like some of its gears used in high-end TV/film productions. So the dilemma is whether to purchase or rent an FF.
Lastly, does your Genus Bravo allow you to pull focus on both Canon and Nikon lenses, meaning can you switch from side to side?
Appreciate feedback from a filmmaker like yourself who has experiernce in shooting with DSLR & Nikon manula lenses on a regular basis.
I think your friend is referring to an issue that affects still shooting in Live View with Nikon glass. Nikon lenses appear too dark when shooting stills in Live View; but when you’re shooting video, what you see is what you get. At least on my Canon 60Ds, it’s never been an issue for shooting video.
A much bigger challenge for pulling focus is the fact that on all Canon DSLRs except the 7D and the new 5DMKIII, resolution on your lcd (and any monitor attached via hdmi) drops when you hit record, making it very difficult to judge focus while rolling, no matter what kind of lens you’re shooting with.
Regarding choosing a follow focus, my first purchase was a dirt-cheap unit from Jag-35. It was all I could afford when I started out, and it was better than nothing. I also rented the Red Rock Micro ff, and I didn’t feel it was enough of an improvement to justify the additional cost. But my frustration at getting consistent pulls with the Jag-35 eventually led me into my local camera shop, where I was able to put my hands on several different units. The Genus Bravo immediately felt different to me: it has a heavy pull, very damp, with virtually no play. That’s exactly what I was looking for, so I bought it on the spot, and it’s made all the difference in my ability to get consistent good results. And yes, the Bravo allows you to reverse the gear so you can get consistent direction for both Nikon and Canon, and you can flip it to either side.
What I’d say is that you should actually get your hands on several different units before you drop the big bucks. If you can’t find them in a local shop, then renting several would be a great way to go before making a purchasing decision. My local shop, Glazers Camera in Seattle, has a great option where they will refund the rental if you make a decision to purchase the unit within a week or so after.
So, how do you address the bigger issue of racking focus on Cameras such as 5D mark ii and the 60D you’re using( since resolution drops)? I have a 5 inch Marshall monitor that has peaking filters for focusing aid. Any other tips?
I’m in Vancouver and our local stores don’t seem to have deals such in Glazers in Seattle. Perhaps on my next trip to Seattle I’ll check the FF units there.
Thanks for suggesting trying the FFs before shelling big bucks.
Also, I found a comment by Shane Hurlburt about Letus FF being the best in the market. Then again, he’s also affiliated with them as he recently partnered with them to bring the MCS line.
Shane writes “The Letus follow focus is the best out there. My AC’s love it because it has X, Y and Z axis control, no other delivers this. Then you add the Panavision gear box in there and it is smokin’”
The Bravo is on a sale for $489.99 so I’m seriously considering it based on your experience while the Letus unit runs at $760 at B&H and Shane Hurlburt is speaking highly of it.
As you can tell, I’m itching to get an FF unit sooner rather than later and have been scouring the net to read reviews and deals.
Hmmm.. what to do..
If you’re shooting narrative or scripted videos, you can usually acquire focus at both the close and far point before you’re rolling, and make a mark on the focus wheel for both. Then, you don’t have to judge focus based on the monitor – you just time your pull so that it ends up on the marks at the same time as the actor does.
If you’re doing anything else, where you have to judge focus based on what you’re seeing in the monitor, you have to do the best you can with the low resolution image. It’s tough, but not impossible. And most monitors have focusing aids such as peaking that will help. I use Magic Lantern firmware, which has a punch-in while recording feature, that allows you to blow up a portion of the frame to get a focus confirmation, and that helps sometimes if the target isn’t moving much.
I’m pretty sure that anything Hurlbut recommends will be good stuff. So you probably can’t go wrong there. B&H allows returns no? So buy it, try it, and if you hate it, return it. And be sure to let me know whether you like it!
Thanks, Dan. Will let you know when I’ve tried one of these.
I am keen on using Nikon glasses for my T2i(for video). I’ve read few articles online mentioning Exposure problems(Metering) with these glasses. This is the only thing that is stopping me from buying it. One more question what are your views on Nikon 85mm F2 AI lens.
The only issue with metering is if you’re using LiveView for taking stills. In that scenario, there’s a bug that causes Canon to display the image too dark. But this is not a problem for shooting video. Just switch to video mode, and you’re all set, what you see is what you get. Works flawlessly.
Re: the 85 F2 AI – it’s a sweet lens. I have the 85 f 1.8, but it’s not as sharp as the f2, according to this excellent review, which I recommend you read if you’re considering the purchase: http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/85f2ais.htm. Ken Rockwell is a highly trusted source about used Nikon lenses.
Hi and thanks, interesting stuff…..
I got three different adaptors and selected the best one for my Canon 5D ii. I removed the lens locking pin so the adaptor can stay on the camera all the time. I can remove it using the lens release button on the 5D, I have Nikkors 24 2,8, 35 2,8, 50 1,8, Micro Nikkors 55 2,8 and 105 2,8. extension tubes etc. Using the adaptor minus the locking pin allows me change lenses quickly and simply. I used these lenses for years on my Nikon F3 and FM2 and now they are working excellently on my Conon DSLR. The reason I bought Canon was simply this…. I prefer the handling, menus and custom settings on the Canon. I’m a stick in the mud and prefer to everything manually.
I don’t think you’re stuck at all: the entire film industry still uses manual iris lenses, with manual focus. Autofocus simply isn’t good enough yet on professional grade video cameras. One of these days it’ll get there, as it did with still cameras, but not yet.
Your approach is interesting, but how do you keep the lens from coming off unexpectedly with the pin removed?
If you get the right adaptor (I selected 1 out of the 3) you’ll find the lenses fit quite firmly and snug so the chances of them rotating the 45 degrees or so and dropping off is unlikely, possible, but highly unlikely. Removing the pin saves a lot of hassle and once the adaptor is clicked onto the body it’s like having a Nikon body, the lenses just twist on and off. The flange stops the lens over twisting so it lines up and stops where it should. Having an adaptor on each lens would be a problem for me as I intend to take my Nikon FM2 and slide film with me on a tip to toe of Italy – mainly for the gardens. I won’t take any Canon lenses just the Nikkors – no point really…..
Great site! I’m an entry-level Canon digital camera user and am having a great time with it. But one thing: I’m using the 55-250mm lens a lot and have discovered that the docking ring on the lens for the lens cap is incredibly fragile and starting to lift from the body of the lens. It’s like buying a pick-up truck and finding the steering wheel is made out of Dresden china. Anything to suggest that won’t void the warranty?
That is really lame! I’m sure, though, that if the ring is lifting like that, that there’s a defect, which Canon should cover under warranty. Canon doesn’t make junk. So definitely return it and have it fixed while it’s still covered.
I am a new user of Canon T2i and i am planning to get a used Nikon NIKKOR-S.C Auto 50mm f/1.4 lens. I assume the autofocus will not work with canon…is it easy to take pictures manually using this lens….i am buying this mostly for portrait shots…one of my friend suggested it is difficult to manual focus.
There’s not much point in buying an autofocus Nikon lens for use with a Canon DSLR, because the autofocus won’t work. Of course, it will still work in manual focus mode. But your friend is correct. If I were you I’d get the fully manual version of the same lens instead. You can get them on ebay for less than $150.
I’ve been looking for a good Nikon DSLR with movie mode. I have been using a D80 for about 3 years now and I love that camera but I’d like to upgrade to something that has a film mode. I’ve been doing research on the Nikon D5100/D7000 (as well as almost every other Nikon there is actually). But all the results I’ve seen from those camera’s are not as good as I want them to be (flickering light, super shaky movies etc) and I don’t have enough money to buy a professional body.
Will buying a Canon body help prevent these problems or do I need lens stabilization/a more expensive and professional camera for those problems to go away?
And if a Canon body will handle those problems better what body do you reccomend?
Thank you very much in advance!
I haven’t used any Nikon DSLRs myself, but I do think that Nikon has pretty much caught up to Canon with their latest round of DSLRs. So if you’ve been using Nikon and are more familiar with them, you might as well stay with it. Plus, your lenses will work without having to use adapters. My guess is that the flickering and shakiness is coming as a result of sloppy filmmaking. Any of the new cameras should be able to produce excellent results. DSLRs in general suffer from what’s known as “jello shutter,” which means you have to be extra careful to hold them still when shooting. Both Nikon and Canon are very unforgiving in this way. I would go so far as to say that you simply can’t handhold them, ever. Unless you have hands of steel. Put it on a tripod, monopod, shoulder rig, etc, and you’re good to go.
Hey Dan. This is great info. I am wondering, which lens CAN the adapters from Kawa be used on and which CANNOT? For example, can it be used with the Nikkor-S, or the Nikkor non-AI? To be honest, I don’t even know what these mean, as I just heard about this possibility today while websurfing for a lens upgrade for my Canon and I know zero about Nikon lenses period. The old ones certainly look beautiful! Is it any manual focus Nikon lens? Does it have to be old? ps: I have a rebel canon t2i.
The Kawa adapters (and most others) will work with most Nikon lenses, even very old, non-ai lenses. The only lenses that won’t work are G series glass from Nikon, because these are newer Nikon lenses that lack an aperture ring, so you won’t be able to set the aperture on these. The best ones are non-AI, AI, and AIS lenses. These are all manual focus, with manual apertures, and the older ones can be found quite inexpensively used. Some of the old non-AI lenses have a protruding lever from the back of the lens that prevents them from screwing into Canon. My 35mm non-AI lens was like this. But the solution was simple: I simply removed the offending lever with a jeweler’s screwdriver, and it now works great with an adapter on my EOS 60D.
Shopping for used NIkon lenses is a great way to go, to give yourself an affordable and high quality selection of lenses to use with your T2i.
I’m shooting with a Canon 60D and recently purchased a non-AI Nikon 50mm 1.4 lens and a Nikon 28mm 2.8 lens. I’m waiting on adapters to arrive before I can begin shooting with them. I’m aware that I will be setting the apertures manually on the lenses, but will the camera body still require an aperture setting? If so, what should I set it at?
Great choice of lenses! You’ll love ’em.
Re: aperture setting, when using Nikon lenses with Canon dslrs you don’t need to set aperture anywhere other than on the lens itself. You can use AV (aperture priority) on the camera and it will react correctly to whatever aperture you set. It’s pretty slick.
I got the t2i camera also. I love mine but someone gave me a Nikon DX. So reading you got one from ebay. Do you know what one so I can order one.
Here’s a big list of options for you: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=nikon+eos+adapter
Thanks so much
Hi Dan, i’m shooting with a Nikon D800 and Nikon glass. I fear that the adapters you’ve reviewed won’t work with lenses that don’t have aperture rings. Is that right? I know you mentioned shooting on aperture priority but is that the only circumstance under which you can use these adapters?
Yes you’re right, the adapters I’m using are “dumb” adapters, so you can only use them on lenses that have manual aperture rings. There are some companies that make “smart” adapters but they are much more expensive. For example, I’m currently shooting a project on a Sony FS700, and I’m able to use my favorite lens, the Canon EF 17-55 2.8 zoom, with all features enabled (IS and aperture control) using the Metabones adapter. It’s pretty awesome.
I recently bought one of the cheap adapters you mention to fit my Nikkor 50mm onto my t2i. Aside from the adapter being stuck to the lents the photos come out fine. Though when i play back video shot with the Nikkor it is for lack of a better term “Wavy”. Every thing i shot looks like its been shot through a film of water.
Hi Rahkaishi, I’ve never experienced the wavy look you’ve encountered. I’d first check the lens by mounting it on a Nikon camera, to rule out something wrong with the glass. If it only occurs when using the adapter, then possibly it’s not seating correctly?
Yes some of the seem to seat loosely on the camera,
however, if you look at the adapter, you will see some slots
cut into the inner diameter. Take a very small regular head
screwdriver and insert it into the slot and twist slightly
to expand the fit of the adapter. With the correct adustment,
you will find the adapter will now fit on the camera snugly.
Thanks much for sharing that tip, Dean. You are absolutely correct. These cheap models are actually very cleverly designed. Why didn’t I see this myself? Heh heh. Love it.
Can’t believe nobody has mentioned the Leitax adapters which aren’t available on ebay. They are cheaper than Novoflex and essentially (reversible but semi-permanent) mount conversions so it’s absolutely rock-solid.
Yeah Leitax are fantastic adapters. I have a full set of Zeiss primes (RT lenses) that have been Leitax’d to EOS. And as far as I’m concerned, they are the ONLY way to go. No play at all, rock solid. Only issue I had with them is I had to have my local camera shop install them for me, because I stripped a couple screws when I tried to do it myself and then I couldn’t get them off. So I recommend not trying to install these yourself, unless you know your way around intricate screwdriver work.
I was hoping to get a 50 mm f/1.4 and f/1.8 nikon lenses but pretty much confused on which one to go for. While reading I came across your blog wherein, the pros and cons were mentioned. I am an amateur photographer but also really keen on learning more. Hope you can help me with the best set of lenses that can capture macro as well as distance astounding pictures. I am using a canon 600D. Kindly suggest and also, the best adapter/s for the same.
I find that the f/1.8 is actually a bit sharper lens wide open than the 1.4. Yet the 1.4 is much more expensive, so as far as value for money goes, I would get the f/1.8. But if you like very dream-like defocused backgrounds, then shooting wide open at 1.4 might be worth the extra cash. But not for me.
Either way you go, I would recommend this adapter: http://www.amazon.com/Fotodiox-Mount-Adapter-Camera-Digital/dp/B002JWYAXA/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1395949738&sr=1-1&keywords=fotodiox+pro+nikon+to+eos+adapter
Hi Dan I have a canon 60d I want to use Nikon prime lenses for videos as well as for picx which lense I should buy and which adapter work good but I want something cheap
I definitely recommend the Fotodiox adapters, they are relatively cheap and good quality. As far as lenses go, I would start with a good 50mm lens, then add a 35mm, an 85mm. That will give you a great base to build on.
I have a Nikon SLR camera with all the lenses..I am use to using a Canon EOS Rebel.But I don’t want to have to buy all the lenses when I purchase my first Canon DLSR.So,I am looking for the cheaper way to make my change.I think personally that canon is a better camera than Nikon.Any help you can help me with making this change I would appreciate it.
You can easily adapt all of your Nikon glass to work with your Canon DSLR. Just pick up the adapters that I reference in this post. Have fun!
Great review, many thanks. I just ordered a Fotodiox adapter for my Nikkor F 50mm f1.4 to my Canon 7D.
I have a Nikkor 28mm and a 105mm. They should more or less fit your advice about starting with a 50mm, 35mm and 85mm.
However, I wonder if I have to consider the crop factor of my APS-C EOS. When you say 50mm lens, it would give 80mm on my APS-C DSLR?
Yes Jean, that’s correct – you simply multiply your lens mm by 1.6 to arrive at the equivalent field of view. So, 50mm x 1.6 = 80mm. And so on.
I have a new rebel T3i and I have just bought a Nikon 50mm f/1.4 NIKKOR-S Auto lens, will this particular 50mm work well with the Canon dslr? How do I know if it has been AI updated?
Do you mean autofocus lens, like this one? http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=97413&gclid=CjwKEAiAmOymBRD0_evS4aTh2hUSJAB7FkhyNETzRQ6ef8Hme6GObCZgCGPMkWdeIumIyz3USctYTRoCegTw_wcB&is=GREY&Q=&A=details
If so, the autofocus won’t work, but you can still focus manually, so you will be fine.
Question: I have T3i and I was looking to get a Nikkor Non-AI 28mm for it to shoot some stop motion. My concern is there is a piece protruding from the back of the lens that will wreak my camera body (in particular, the mirror I think), even with the proper adapter. Other folks have said that’s nonsense. I was wondering if you had any experience with that and advise whether or not I should go for that lens, or start looking for something else.
What do you think?
I have a lot of old Nikon glass, and only one of the lenses wouldn’t fit because of the protruding part. I was able to remove it quickly with a jeweler’s screwdriver, and now it fits fine. You can probably do the same.
I was shooting Canon when I discovered the wonderful world of Nikon manual focus lenses but only because I bought a D700 at the urging of friend whose work I greatly respect. In fact, I loved the lenses so much that I ended up selling all my Canon gear, using the liberated funds to build my kit of MF lenses around the D700. I even started a conversation about these legacy lenses in 2010, about five months after you made this post, that is still going strong… we’re approaching 96,000 posts at the moment.
I’m writing here with a simple reminder that mounting these fantastic lenses directly on the mount for which they were designed has its advantages. Modern DSLR Nikon cameras have a register which permits the photographer to identify the focal length and aperture of up to nine legacy lenses, meaning that the camera will meter with these lenses. Nothing wrong with mounting them on a Canon camera, but that may not be the most elegant or useful way to use these great lenses. I thought I’d mention that fact Dan for folks who stop by your thread. No need to worry about adapters, though older Nikon lenses may have to be modified to work without causing a problem.
These are amazing lenses and I don’t seem inclined to stop buying them and using them. I believe I have forty at the moment. I love them all… beautifully crafted and excellent performers. You might want to check out the last thousand pages of the Manual Focus Nikon Glass thread to see what photographers from around the world are doing with them.
Good luck with your work Dan.
hi, I recently inherited my dads range of nikon lenses, will they fit on my eos1100D cannon camera. I am a novice when it comes to lenses
Hi Susan, yes you can use your camera with Nikon lenses in exactly the same way I’ve outlined in this post. Good to go!
Hi! so happy to find this article and it’s very helpful since I inherited a set of nikon lenses from my dad. I have the canon 80D and bought the metal fotodiox adapter for the nikkor 50mm 1.4 MF lens. when adjusting the aperture ring i don’t see anything change. the photos I take all seem to be stuck on f1.4 with lots of bokeh even when i turn it up to f16. Is there another setting i need to adjust in camera before shooting? I always shoot in manual mode if that helps.
That sounds a little bit like what happens when you use with a Nikon G series lens. Those are electronic aperture lenses, so the manual ring’s won’t work. But they should work fine with the older Nikkor glass. If that’s what you’re using, then it means that for some reason the manual adjustment lever isn’t being engaged properly on the back of the lens. Inspect both the lens and the adapter, and see if you can track down the source of the disconnect.
Im a sony fs5 user (not a fan) and looking to jump over to an EVA1. but my problem is that i also shoot stills with nikon. Is there an adaptor out there that can fix to the body and not the lens. I need to interchange camera systems quickly. probably shouldve given away the nikon years ago.. cant seem to get an answer online.
I don’t know of any lens adapters that are designed to permanently fix to the body like that. It’s likely you’ll want to buy an adapter for each of your nikon lenses, and let them live on the lens. The good news is they are cheap and readily available.