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Old July 15th, 2008, 01:24 AM   #1
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Using Nikon still lenses on the EX3

Does anyone know whether it would be possible to use Nikon manual focus lenses on the EX3 ?
Thanks !!

Ofer Levy, nature photographer
http://www.oferlevyphotography.com
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Old July 15th, 2008, 02:17 AM   #2
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Yes, no problem. You can get a mount adapter made quite simply. Whether or not they'd do full justice to the sensor is debatable, but if I had an EX3 I think that's probably what I'd do.
www.lesbosher.co.uk, www.mtfservices.com and others make adapters.
Alternatively Century make an adapter to put Nikons on 1/2" Sony mount, and the EX3 will come with an adapter to that mount, so you could stack the two. BH Photo sell the Century adapter.
Steve
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Old July 15th, 2008, 07:22 AM   #3
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Thanks for that Steve !
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Old July 15th, 2008, 08:11 AM   #4
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Ofer, I don't know exactly what you meant in your question, but I can tell you what is the most common use for Nikon Lenses with video cameras. You can use an adapter like that mentioned by Steve, but most people use a 35mm adapter like the Letus Extreme or the Brevis, and then snap a Nikon lense to that. Prosumer video cameras have a small sensor size which limits its Depth of Field, and a 35mm adapter allows the camera to focus on a vibrating piece of ground glass which has a full 35mm image projected on it by your lense. Long story short, it gives you a 35mm DOF image from your still lenses on your video camera. I checked out your website, AWESOME pictures that you have taken, you are quite a talented photographer and would love to see what you would put out on video! One problem, most 35mm adapter have limitations with handling shutter speed and lense aperature - they can isolate the grain on the vibrating glass. To get great video of fast moving objects, you need to use high shutter speeds and that would need something more expensive with a spinning glass wheel like the Letus Ultimate, which is an awesome piece of kit but very expensive. If you already knew all of this, I apologize, but I didn't know if you wanted to snap a Nikon directly to the camera, or if you wanted to get a nice 35mm DOF with your lenses which is what most people are trying to get when using still lenses on their video camera.
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Old July 15th, 2008, 02:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Spence View Post
Ofer, I don't know exactly what you meant in your question, but I can tell you what is the most common use for Nikon Lenses with video cameras. You can use an adapter like that mentioned by Steve, but most people use a 35mm adapter like the Letus Extreme or the Brevis, and then snap a Nikon lense to that. Prosumer video cameras have a small sensor size which limits its Depth of Field, and a 35mm adapter allows the camera to focus on a vibrating piece of ground glass which has a full 35mm image projected on it by your lense. Long story short, it gives you a 35mm DOF image from your still lenses on your video camera. I checked out your website, AWESOME pictures that you have taken, you are quite a talented photographer and would love to see what you would put out on video! One problem, most 35mm adapter have limitations with handling shutter speed and lense aperature - they can isolate the grain on the vibrating glass. To get great video of fast moving objects, you need to use high shutter speeds and that would need something more expensive with a spinning glass wheel like the Letus Ultimate, which is an awesome piece of kit but very expensive. If you already knew all of this, I apologize, but I didn't know if you wanted to snap a Nikon directly to the camera, or if you wanted to get a nice 35mm DOF with your lenses which is what most people are trying to get when using still lenses on their video camera.
Thank you Bill for your input and kind words !
I would prefer to use the still lenses with a simple adapter as I would like to get the best possible picture with no degradation. I am already using a few still lenses on my Sony HVR Z7 and I am pleased with the results. I just got an email from Mike Tapa who told me he will probably be able to make the simple adapter that I need so all is good...(-:
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Old November 3rd, 2008, 12:07 PM   #6
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What Nikon still lenses would you recommend getting for the EX-3?
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Old November 3rd, 2008, 12:48 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ravi Kiran View Post
What Nikon still lenses would you recommend getting for the EX-3?
Seeing as the EX3 stock lens has things covered very well out to 80mm or so, you will most likely want something for longer focal lengths. The exception is that you might want to get a 50mm f1.4 and a 80mm f1.8 or something like that to get more light and shallower depth of field than the stock lens provides at these focal lengths. So for shooting sports scenes across a field or pulling in that rare bird in your nature film you would consider lenses around 100mm to 135mm. Anything longer than that will get extremely difficult to use.

With a Nikon lens, you will have no auto-focus, but more importantly no image stabilization. Anything you buy for the longer focal lengths will NEED a tripod and a good solid setup at that. With the fact that the lens won't be using its full image circle, you will be using the sweet spot of the lens. That also means that it won't be optimized for that sweet spot though and you will most likely need to use the most expensive of the lenses in whatever focal length you buy to meet the resolution requirements of the sensor. Expect to pay....
Examples:

Nikon | Normal AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D Autofocus Lens | 1902 | B&H

Nikon | Telephoto AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF Autofocus Lens | 1933

Zeiss | 100mm f/2 ZF Manual Focus Lens | 1424-665 | B&H Photo

Nikon | Telephoto AF DC Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D Autofocus Lens

Now those prices would seem steep to some casual photographer, but they are cheap compared to most cine lenses. I can't guarantee their performance on an EX3, but they are very good lenses for DSLRs and 35mm film. Of course you can used at better prices. If you need to compare different lenses and their performance, you can look at:
FM Reviews - Main Index
Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C) Lens Tests
Both of those sites should give you an idea of the potential of a specific lens design, and the chances of getting a good one.

All things considered, when you look at the lens on the EX series, it is a real bargain and hard to beat for its purpose.
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Old November 3rd, 2008, 03:12 PM   #8
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Ofer Levy has a decent set of long Nikkors on his EX3. Nærfoto Bjørn Rørslett: Professional Nature Photographer is Bjorn Rorslett's site and is a mine of info on Nikon lenses.
Some of the very best manual focus Nikkors can now be had relatively cheap, crackers like 55mm f2.8 micro, 105 micros, 105mm f2.5, 180 f2.8, all these are truly superb. The 300mm f2.8 is also a benchmark lens, while the 400mm f2.8 and f3.5, the 500mm f4P and 600mm f4 and f5.6 and the 800mm f5.6 are also A1. The old favourite 200-400mm f4 has a superb rep, but is rare, expensive and has no internal focussing. The 50-300mm f4.5 ED is also a great lens, though I know Ofer doesn't rate it as highly as the primes.
Some of the Sigmas are also very good, like the 120-300 f2.8 and the 300-800 f5.6, but be sure to get the older ones that still have aperture rings!
Oh and check out Aperture Photographic Tel. 020 7242 8681 who have the incredible and rare 300mm f2 at a mere £8000! Also saw the 360-1200mm Nikon on ebay just recently, but let's stay sensible!
Steve
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Old November 3rd, 2008, 07:46 PM   #9
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I"ve now tested the MTF adapter with much of my Nikon glass. It is fantastic and opens a whole new range of creative possibilities. A word of caution though, I am getting very strong CA on wide to standard lenses (which all become tele length using the adapter) on wide and sometimes even moderate apertures. Used with a long lens like a 80-200 f2.8 or 400 f2.8 it is pretty good given the right atmospheric conditions and a stable given tripod.

Dan
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Old November 4th, 2008, 05:04 AM   #10
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I always thought that aperture did not affect lateral CA, not like it affects the sharpness of a lens?
The reason that the longer lenses are better may well be their use of low dispersion glass. Bjorn's site often gives useful info on CA for specific lenses.
Steve
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Old November 4th, 2008, 12:31 PM   #11
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As Steve has mentioned I have been using a few Nikon ED manual focus lenses on the EX3 using Mike Tapa's adapter for the last couple of months.

From my somewhat limited experience I can tell that the Nikon 300 f2.8 ED AIS, 400 f3.5 ED AIS, 500 f4 ED P and 600 f5.6 ED P deliver fantastic results !
I see no or very little CA or any other noticeable artefact. The sharpness, colours, contrast, DOF are simply superb - even when compared to what I am used to from my still photography experience.
You should take my input with a grain of salt as I am new to videography but I feel that the EX3 must be one of the best cameras for wildlife in every price range. I just can't see how the quality of the footage can be improved much further.
Cheers,

Ofer Levy Nature Photographer
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Old November 4th, 2008, 01:51 PM   #12
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Ofer great to hear you Nikon lens are working so well with Mike Tapa's adapter. How are the Nikon's to focus while hand held following a moving object? Such as following a bird over cranked? Or are all of your shots tripod mounted?

Are you using the XDR Flash?
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Old November 4th, 2008, 03:03 PM   #13
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Paul, I'm sure Ofer is not using the long lenses handheld, he'd need to be an amateur and a body-builder for that! In my opinion not only is a tripod vital for any long lens work, but a VERY GOOD tripod is needed, folks trying to get away with the cheapy Manfrotto/Bogen ones are always going to struggle I think. For a full-size camera and long lens setup I think you need something like an O'Connor 2060, Ronford Baker 2004 or Sachtler Video 30. You can get away with a Sachtler 20, Ronford Baker 2003, O'Connor 1030 or the like, but they're not really ideal, but would be great for an EX3 telephoto setup.
Ofer, any footage to show yet?
Steve
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Old November 4th, 2008, 03:25 PM   #14
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Steve yes a 300mm hand held is very hard to get a stable picture. I did not know if Ofer had a stabilizer unit that he might use with the 300. I am able to go 3/4 zoom on my EX1 hand held with rock solid results on a custom two gyro rig. For me a tripod is a treat since 90% of the time I have to be hand held. I am looking for better glass options an a possible EX3, Scarlet, Panasonic, an others so the reason for the question.

Wow a $9000 tripod head that can take 83 lbs seems like overkill unless you deal with a lot of wind.
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Old November 4th, 2008, 03:46 PM   #15
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I don't think you can spend too much on a tripod, it's an A1 vital piece of kit.
In 35mm terms, a 300mm lens on an EX3 is the equivalent of about 1500mm, so I'm astonished that you can hanhold it with "rock solid" results! My O'Connor head tripod is 9kg and my previous Ronford Atlas 30 was 11kg, and even with these often you get some wobble with long lenses, even without strong winds. It's more of an issue these days than it used to be as people are now viewing on larger screens, so any unwanted movement is more noticeable.
Steve
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