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Nikon RF lenses on a digital body
Old 06-21-2019   #1
Jan Van Laethem
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Nikon RF lenses on a digital body

I have been using the Nikon RF system for quite some time, but with film and development prices steadily increasing, I’m wondering if there is an alternative to use my RF Nikkors on a digital body, preferably full frame.

There are adapters to put the lenses on a Sony Alpha 7 or a Nikon Z6 / Z7, although not all of them seem to accept the 5cm external mount.

Has anyone taken this route and is using RF Nikkors and / or Voigtlander S-mount lenses on a digital body ? I’d love to hear your thoughts about handling, focus and image quality.
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Old 06-21-2019   #2
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This very informative thread might help you figure out the problem.

https://www.rangefinderforum.com/for...ad.php?t=79631
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Old 06-21-2019   #3
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Do I need an adapter yo use Nikon RF Lenses
On a Nikon DF ?
If so what is a good adaptet ?

Thanks in Advance ... Best Wishes~ H
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Old 06-21-2019   #4
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I've been using all my Nikon S mount rangefinder lenses on my Nikon Z6 and have been very happy with the results. Get yourself an Amedeo adapter (Nikon S to Leica M) and then a Leica M to Nikon Z adapter, and you should be good. You can see a thread I started a few months ago, talking about the results of the different lenses on the Z6.

https://www.rangefinderforum.com/for...hreadid=167782

If you look at Kevin's list above, it says the Nikon S mount 35mm f1.8 and 21mm f4 don't work with the Amedeo adapter, that only applies to using the Amedeo on a Leica M body. They both work fine when mounted on the Nikon Z6 full frame body. Below is a shot from a few weeks ago, with the W-Nikkor 3.5cm f1.8 S mount lens on the Nikon Z6.



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Old 06-21-2019   #5
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A Sony alpha or Nikon mirrorless would definitely be the way to go. You can adapt virtually any lens to it without limitations. I also have a Leica M240, and you cannot use all the lenses on that camera because some lenses have a very large back glass element that hits and can damage the rangefinder mechanism of the Leica. With the Sony, there are no items between the lens and the sensor.
If you have the money though, go for a A7version3 at least. I hear they have a much better battery life. I went with a A7version2, and battery life is quite low. Nothing compared to my Leica M240. I can use the Leica for months at a time taking a few shots here and there. With the Sony, you can go through a whole battery in one session easily. I haven't fully tested how many shots, but if you go to for example the beach with the family for a few hours, you will want at least 2 batteries.
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Old 06-21-2019   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helenhill View Post
Do I need an adapter yo use Nikon RF Lenses
On a Nikon DF ?
If so what is a good adaptet ?

Thanks in Advance ... Best Wishes~ H
Helen,

I don't know of an adapter that will mate Nikon RF lenses to a Nikon Df DSLR. The flange focal distance for the Rangefinder lenses is too short for the SLR cameras because of the swinging mirror. For a Nikon RF lens to focus properly on the Df, the rear element of the RF lens would have to be within the mirror box of the Df camera, thereby hitting the mirror when you tried to make an image.

This is why the mirrorless cameras work so well, no mirror or mirror box and the RF lens can be mounted the proper distance from the image sensor.

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Old 06-21-2019   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helenhill View Post
Do I need an adapter yo use Nikon RF Lenses
On a Nikon DF ?
If so what is a good adaptet ?

Thanks in Advance ... Best Wishes~ H
My Nikkor 50 1.4, 50 1.1 use Amedeo adapter to allow them to mount on Leica digital. You could combine different adapters together to meet your needs.
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Old 06-21-2019   #8
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Although the Nikon Rf lenses can be adapted to modern mirrorless cameras (Sony A?, Nikon Z?, Canon R...) the edges and corners will likely suffer a bit compared to film...particularly for wider lenses. They do work well on Leica digital bodies. Here's a recent shot of mine with the Nikkor 50mm f1.4 Millenium on the M10

https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/to...0/241#14886125
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Old 06-21-2019   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CVickery View Post
Although the Nikon Rf lenses can be adapted to modern mirrorless cameras (Sony A?, Nikon Z?, Canon R...) the edges and corners will likely suffer a bit compared to film...particularly for wider lenses. They do work well on Leica digital bodies. Here's a recent shot of mine with the Nikkor 50mm f1.4 Millenium on the M10
Yes I've noticed that many lenses that I've used on the Sony have major corner vignetting. Its a matter of finding out the right lens profiles on LR, and a little extra editing work as well. I recently discovered, for example, that the lens profile for the modern Zeiss Sonnar 50/1.5 ZM, works perfectly for the vintage Sonnar of Contax mount. It completely disappeared the corner vignette of the images i took recently. Suddenly my 82 year old lens breathes new life haha
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Old 06-21-2019   #10
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Get an Amedeo adapter for Nikon S to Leica M (he makes two versions: the 50mm-internal mount-only version or the internal/external version) and add a close focusing helical adapter for the digital body (Leica M to Sony, for example.)

Not sure if the latter is available for the full frame Nikon/Canon mirrorless as I haven't looked.

This will allow the rangefinder lenses to focus much closer than they do on rangefinder bodies.

Good quality close focusing helical adapters can be had for as little as about $25.

There is also the Techart adapter which allows autofocus on Sony bodies, and also allows closer focusing.

Some wides may be problematic, not just with vignetting, but also color shifts and corner smearing, depending on the lens and the body. This is because such rangefinder wides generally sit much closer to the film/sensor, and the light won't hit the sensor in a telecentric manner. This isn't an issue with film but it can be with digital sensors.
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Old 06-21-2019   #11
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Ok Thanks gentlemen !

I won't look into purchasing a DF body
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Old 06-21-2019   #12
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If you've got Nikon RF glass Helen, you might consider a Z6. Their price has been coming down, and I find it a real joy to shoot with the Nikkor glass. The camera has the usual diopter adjustment (which can be locked, unlike the Df) and a "zoom to focus" feature that I use all the time with the old rangefinder glass, and it makes nailing focus with these old eyes a dream. And while the corners aren't probably as sharp as on film with these old Nikkors, I'm not a pixel peeper, so it doesn't bother me.

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Old 06-22-2019   #13
Jan Van Laethem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helenhill View Post
Ok Thanks gentlemen !

I won't look into purchasing a DF body
What Timmyjoe has pointed out is correct. I think the Df is a very good choice if you want to use older Nikkors in F-mount (AI and first generation AF). For Nikkors in S-mount (rangefinder) you'd need a mirrorless camera.

That said, just this week I have been testing a friend's Sony Alpha 7 with some of my F-mount Nikkors via an adapter. It's basically an extension tube, so you can mount your F-Nikkor further away from the sensor of the Alpha. I understand there is also an adapter to put F-Nikkors on the mirrorless Z6 and Z7.
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Old 06-22-2019   #14
Jan Van Laethem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
I've been using all my Nikon S mount rangefinder lenses on my Nikon Z6 and have been very happy with the results. Get yourself an Amedeo adapter (Nikon S to Leica M) and then a Leica M to Nikon Z adapter, and you should be good.
Thanks Tim for the suggestion to go for two adapters and for posting the picture. It's good to see our older Nikon glass giving excellent results on a digital sensor.
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Old 06-22-2019   #15
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You're welcome Jan. One note, this is the Amedeo adapter you need:

https://shop.cameraquest.com/nikon-c...mount-adapter/

In the old days, it was the only one available, but now he has different variations depending on the Nikkor S mount lens you're using, and the camera body you're using. The adapter shown above will work with most, if not all, the Nikkor S mount lenses and as long as you're attaching it to a Leica M to Nikon Z adapter (and not a Leica M camera) it works well with the Nikkor 3.5cm f1.8 and the Nikkor 2.1cm f4 S mount lenses too.

The one lens you have listed in your signature, the Nikkor 10.5cm f2.5, is the one Nikkor S mount lens I've never tried on the Z6. I bet it's going to render really nice for portraits. Someday I hope to get one of those.

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Old 06-23-2019   #16
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I just picked up one of these, made up from a L39 adapter and a Kiev mount. $US 65 plus postage. Initial testing of it seems to work fine with my internal and external mount S lenses.


https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ADJUSTIBL...Z/303166077172


Here's some quick phone pics.







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Old 06-23-2019   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
Get an Amedeo adapter for Nikon S to Leica M (he makes two versions: the 50mm-internal mount-only version or the internal/external version) and add a close focusing helical adapter for the digital body (Leica M to Sony, for example.)

Not sure if the latter is available for the full frame Nikon/Canon mirrorless as I haven't looked.


This will allow the rangefinder lenses to focus much closer than they do on rangefinder bodies.

Good quality close focusing helical adapters can be had for as little as about $25.

There is also the Techart adapter which allows autofocus on Sony bodies, and also allows closer focusing.

Some wides may be problematic, not just with vignetting, but also color shifts and corner smearing, depending on the lens and the body. This is because such rangefinder wides generally sit much closer to the film/sensor, and the light won't hit the sensor in a telecentric manner. This isn't an issue with film but it can be with digital sensors.
I have not been following this thread closely so maybe my response is off the mark but in relation to close focusing helical adapters an M39 to M39 helical adapter can be found on eBay for somewhere in the $40+ range -m42 ones are more common and more cheap - in the $20+ range as you suggest. They look pretty well built. Mated to an M39 to Nikon mirrorless adapter that might help as part of an adapter stack.

It just so happens that I have been looking into these helicals recently as I have a lens which appears to be for a Paxette camera - a camera which used m39 mount but with a different (longer) flange focal distance to the standard Leica 39mm Thread Mount. The adjustable helical is useful for that purpose too given it allows me to use a lens with an otherwise compatible 39mm mount but which requires a longer flange focal distance to focus correctly.

Even cheaper are m39 extensions tubes. Sets of 4 of these can be found for as little as $10 but it depends on whether amongst those 4 tubes there is one which has the correct length required to meet your specific need. Which I suppose is why the helical is a better solution being fully adjustable rather than limited to fixed extension lengths.
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Old 06-23-2019   #18
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I haven’t seen the M39-M39 helicals, will have to look into those...

Here is the exact setup I use for all adapted lenses, the close focusing adapter is quite inexpensive but well made.

The photo below is specifically a Kipon Pentax K to Leica M adapter, attached to the Leica M to Fuji close focusing adapter



I'm now using this double adapter setup for all vintage lenses, so far I use it with the following adapters:

C/Y to Leica M
Pentax K to Leica M
Konica AR to Leica M
Nikon F to Leica M
Leica Thread Mount to Leica M (the usual LTM adapter)
Nikon RF to Leica M
And of course, Leica M which is just the close-focusing helical by itself.

(1) first adapt the lens to Leica M
(2) use a close-focusing helical adapter from Leica M to whatever your digital is, in this case Fuji, but the same concept works with Sony, and I assume Nikon/Canon.

Many vintage lenses don't have min focusing distance that is all that close, for example the Contax/Yashica 45/2.8 Tessar only focuses to 0.6m which is kinda blah for a normal focal length.

Or the Nikkor 105/2.5 F-mount early Sonnar-type, which only focuses to 1.2m

This allows every lens to focus close. Wides and normals will get closer than teles.

It should work well using the $65 Kiev helical posted above. Interestingly, Amedeo originally built his adapters with donor Kiev helicals, until he designed his own, which is a true work of art.
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Old 06-23-2019   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
I haven’t seen the M39-M39 helicals, will have to look into those...

Here is the exact setup I use for all adapted lenses, the close focusing adapter is quite inexpensive but well made.

The photo below is specifically a Kipon Pentax K to Leica M adapter, attached to the Leica M to Fuji close focusing adapter



I'm now using this double adapter setup for all vintage lenses, so far I use it with the following adapters:

C/Y to Leica M
Pentax K to Leica M
Konica AR to Leica M
Nikon F to Leica M
Leica Thread Mount to Leica M (the usual LTM adapter)
Nikon RF to Leica M
And of course, Leica M which is just the close-focusing helical by itself.

(1) first adapt the lens to Leica M
(2) use a close-focusing helical adapter from Leica M to whatever your digital is, in this case Fuji, but the same concept works with Sony, and I assume Nikon/Canon.

Many vintage lenses don't have min focusing distance that is all that close, for example the Contax/Yashica 45/2.8 Tessar only focuses to 0.6m which is kinda blah for a normal focal length.

Or the Nikkor 105/2.5 F-mount early Sonnar-type, which only focuses to 1.2m

This allows every lens to focus close. Wides and normals will get closer than teles.

It should work well using the $65 Kiev helical posted above. Interestingly, Amedeo originally built his adapters with donor Kiev helicals, until he designed his own, which is a true work of art.
Interesting approach you use.

I have not gone so far as you but I occasionally use a double adapter set up mainly to avoid having to buy additional adapters when I want to use a lens on both say, an M4/3 camera and a Sony camera. By having say an Exakta to Leica M adapter, because I already own Leica M to M4/3 and Leica M to Sony adapters this means I only need to buy one additional adapter not two to satisfy this need. I have noticed an increasing number of "X camera" to Leica M adapters becoming available on eBay - I suspect this may be because of the advent of AF adapters like the Techart Pro AF adapter for Sony A7 series cameras which have a native M mount on the lens side of that adapter. The availability of the extra adapters for miscellaneous cameras to Leica M allows lenses for those camera systems to hook into the Techart system too by the simple expedient of stacking the adapters using Leica M as the go-between.

Here is the M39 helical on eBay I am looking at but as it is specifically for Paxette which has a significantly longer flange distance than normal LTM 39mm mount it may not suit your purpose. But the advantage is that M39 is pretty ubiqitous and can be hooked into many other adapters by using intermediate adapters such as LTM to Leica M. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Braun-Paxet...53.m1438.l2649
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Old 06-27-2019   #20
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I somewhat practice the two-adapter method but I take it further in that I've converted my S mount lenses to M mount with functional rangefinder coupling. This allows me to use them on my M240 and with appropriate adapter on my Sony A7ii.

Here are a few lens conversions I've done:




Mounted on the camera is actually the 28mm/f3.5 lens lens from the Nikon P&S AF600. The lens in the bottom left corner of the second photo is the 35mm/f2.8 lens from Nikon P&S One Touch L35AF. The three lenses in the middle are Nikon S mount lenses converted to M mount (50/2.5 Voigtlander Color-Skopar, 35/1.8 Nikon, 28/3.5 Nikon). The last lens is the Contax Biogon 35/2.8 converted from Contax RF mount to Leica M mount.
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Old 07-05-2019   #21
Jan Van Laethem
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Originally Posted by kirio View Post
I somewhat practice the two-adapter method but I take it further in that I've converted my S mount lenses to M mount with functional rangefinder coupling.

Interesting approach. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-06-2019   #22
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Interesting thread. I just got a Fotasy adapter for attaching LTM lenses to Nikon Z. I haven't explored S-mount to Z adapters yet. Sounds like the double (S to M-mount and M to Z) may be the best.
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