I just had a back and forth comment conversation about adapting Nikon Manual lenses, and here's a video from Caleb Pike of that might help break down some of those questions. As far as adapting random lenses to smaller sensor cameras, Nikon's manual aperture ring makes them one of the favorites. The fact that you can still buy some of these Nikon AIS lenses 'new' as opposed to taking chances on 50 year old lenses is another plus. [Thanks Caleb].

It doesn't stop there. These Nikon lenses of course can also be used on Canon DSLRs without a large adapter, just a very thin shim-like adapter (check out Nikon to Canon EOS adapters). Caleb mentions a few great places you can grab these Nikon lenses, but you can also find some 'new' and 'used' lenses at B&H Photo Video. (Click here to find New and Used Nikon Manual Aperture Lenses).

19 thoughts on “Nikon Lens Guide – DSLRVIDEOSHOOTER

  1. just a quick correction

    to the point of non AI lenses not working on modern nikon cameras, technically this is incorrect

    all Nikon lenses will work on all Nikon cameras IN MANUAL MODE

    non AI will still work on modern day nikon cameras, I use a 24mm and 50mm non AI on my Nikon D7000, you just cannot meter with them in A S or P (A you can but only wide open or with EV compensation)

    to put it simply, all Nikon Fmount lenses will work on all Nikon Fmount cameras, if not in all modes, definitely in manual mode.

  2. Ali

    Nice post and chat helped me out big time ended up buying a 28mm 2.8 and 100mm 2.8 ais both are great!

  3. So, after your post and Caleb's website, I'm looking into trying some Nikkors. I want to use them primarily with the m43 cameras, maybe the nex-5n for video, but the idea to be able to slap it on a EOS body to use it with in low light situations is quite appealing, so I'll probably start by shoppint for a Nikkor 50 1.2. However I found this

    which is a FD to EOS adapter WITHOUT glass. It's a Chinese seller and I asked him specifically if it can focus to infinity since the adapter does not have glass and he replied back that it can. Does this make sense to you, or you think the guy doesn't know what he's talking about?

  4. Hey Emm:

    I reread that old post you had about using the FD 85mm 1.2 on a EOS body. If you were to use it with a FD to EOS adapter wouldn't that mean that you'd go to approximately f 2.2 and the focal length would be about 106?

  5. debuys

    I am a MFT shooter. I have the Oly 45/1.8 and Leica 25/1.4. Honestly they are not that far off from the 50/1.4 and 24/2.8 FD lenses they replaced, especially when stopped down to f/4 or smaller.

    DSLR shooter guy is definitely bent towards a full frame Canon EOS body and Nikon glass. I'm glad for him his needs are so singular.

  6. The one thing I realized after reading Caleb's post but also this guy's post...

    is that for use with EOS bodies, FD lenses have two disadvantages. a) They have an additional 1.25 or 1.26 crop factor b) because their adapters have glass in order to aid the infinity focus, the quality of the image not only depends on the quality of the glass, but more importantly you also have about one stop light loss.

    I bought all of my FD lenses for use with the GH1/GH2 where the adapters don't have glass (or an additional crop factor) but if you want to use them with EOS bodies, the Nikkor lenses are a better choice, because you can use them without these two issues with EOS bodies!

  7. Aries

    Don't buy those super-cheap China adapters for $15. Learn from my mistakes and get a decent one like a Fotodiox Pro Adapter.

    The cheap ones either get stuck on the lens or the have a little wiggle that ruins your pulled focus shot.

  8. My main purpose for these is to use them for video in low light situations, in churches etc, to use mainly with the GH1/GH2. But if I can slap the 50 1.2 on the 5Dmk2 or the 60D for stills why not. I have FD 50 1.8 and 1.4 and I just bought a 1.2. I think I'll buy a Nikkor 50 1.2 next and put them side by side with the FD 1.2 and compare.

  9. Jacob

    Be very careful with FD to EOS adapters. Unless I'm mistaken, most have a piece of glass that is the size of a 2.8 f-stop, so if you open your lens more than that the image will be so soft that it's unusable. The only one I've seen that is different is one sold by The Lens Doctor on eBay (he's been mentioned on this site before), which lets you go to a max of f/1.4.

  10. Emm

    Post author

    @Apostolos - The Nikon may be sharper at it's widest aperture. Both 'can' have the ability to be very sharp if you stop down. Also don't forget that you can get these Nikon lenses new, and you can't get a new FD. But..FD lenses are dirt cheap, and i've bought plenty for around $30 bucks (before they became popular). You can still find cheap FD lenses like F/3.5 or F/4.0 and they are still great for budget filmmakers trying to get different focal lengths.

  11. I watched a couple of this guy's videos and I think he clearly is your competitor in offering practical information for indie shooters. 🙂

    Now are you saying that as far as m43 cameras go, there's no clear winner between a Canon FD 50 1.2 and a Nikkor 1.2 but the Nikon would have an advantage if I were to use it with my 5DmkII and 60D? Why, because the adapter for the Nikon lenses don't have have glass, therefore it might be sharper?

  12. MN

    Of course, it's easier to do the focal length math of the micro 4/3rds cams. 24mm=48mm. 50mm=100mm.

    Bonus for math idiots like me that can't handle fractions.

  13. Emm

    Post author

    @Apostolos - They both work great on mft cameras, but Nikon might cross over to Canon EOS better.

  14. Since I bought my first GH1 last year, I've bought quite a few lenses for them, almost all of them Canon FD. I just bought a a Canon FD 50mm 1.2 and I have to say for the most part I've been fairly luck with them, getting them used on Ebay and Craigslist. Recently I was made aware that Nikon still makes the manual 50 1.2, but of course it's much more expensive than the used ones on Ebay. Do you have an opinion or preference between the two, i.e. a Canon FD 50 1.2 or Nikon 50 1.2 for use with the m43 cameras?

  15. The only thing I don't like about the older Nikkors is the heavy amount of chromatic aberration at wider apertures that is worse than most modern lenses.

  16. MN

    I'm surprised I got much done in Japan, actually. Seemed like I was looking through windows of camera shops more than anything else.

  17. MN

    Great post. I use old Nikon and Pentax lenses on my Canon and Panasonic DSLR's.

    And why not? Great glass! -- and the most important phrase for a motion picture shooter: "Iris ring"

    I just shot a PR campaign in Japan with 30-40 year old Nikon lenses. Looks awesome and I had great control of the light.

    Of course, this whole DSLR video thing has made these lenses cost more now than they did 6 years ago, but I'm a huge fan of old lenses.

    I have a few non-iris-lenses and I really don't like 'em. I'm just an old fashioned shooter I guess.

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