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Nikon Lenses on Sony Cameras with Auto-focus | Three Adapters Tested

By Justin Heyes on May 4th 2018

Because of the short flange distance of Fuji and Sony mirrorless, adapting lenses from another system is relatively easy. When switching to these mirrorless systems a whole range of both vintage and modern glass is at your disposal. If you want to adapt classic Leica M39 lenses or more modern glass, like the Zeiss Otus 85mm f1.4, you can do so just by using the appropriate adapter, though with modern AF, the challenges are greater.


Due to their fully electronic nature, Canon lenses are the most adaptable to mirrorless and retain most, if not all of their functionality. Third party manufacturers, like Metabones, are not licensed nor endorsed by Canon and instead they reverse-engineer the signals so that cameras like Sony A7R III or the Panasonic GH5 can understand them.

Concerning Nikon, however, AF adapters are more problematic due to their mix of electronic and mechanical components. The last several years have seen a number of Nikon AF Smart adapters come to market, but they happen to be strikingly similar. In one of his latest videos, Matt Granger shows the different adapters available and test to see which one comes out on top.

Commlite was the first company to the world’s first Nikon AF adapter, and Matt did test the pre-production model a few years back and found it completely unusable. The other two adapters on the market, the Fotodiox Fusion and Vello’s Nikon AF Adapter, appear to be just re-branded Commlite adapters with slight firmware tweaks.

Each adapter enables you to mount Nikon glass to a full-frame or APS-C Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras and retain ‘full’ automatic functionality, with some caveats, as demonstrated when Granger tests a series of supported and unsupported Nikon lenses with varying results.

It is interesting to see how far the technology has come to adapt lenses from other manufactures onto mirrorless bodies. With adapters from Commlite and Metabones, making the switch to mirrorless is becoming an easier choice to make. As a Nikon user myself, I am definitely interested to see what improvements can be made in the future. Let’s just hope that Fotodiox solved the issue that bricked several Sony cameras.

Additionally, since Nikon has made it public that they intend for their new mirrorless to drop by spring 2019 (which we can assume is FF), and that it will be using a new mount, it does make us wonder how much further development will come to adapting older Nikon lenses.

Check out more great material from Matt here.

[REWIND: PSA: Sony Users – Fotodiox’s FUSION Nikon to Sony Adapter Could Brick Your Camera]

About

Justin Heyes wants to live in a world where we have near misses and absolute hits; great love and small disasters. Starting his career as a gaffer, he has done work for QVC and The Rachel Ray Show, but quickly fell in love with photography. When he’s not building arcade machines, you can find him at local flea markets or attending car shows.

Explore his photographic endeavors here.

Website: Justin Heyes
Instagram: @jheyesphoto

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