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Lens Adapters: A Look at Your Options Coming From Canon or Nikon

· 5.July.2016

One of, in my opinion, the absolute biggest advantages to owning a mirrorless camera is that ability to adapt virtually any lens ever made. This allows you utilize everything from old school film lenses (and even older if you know what you are doing) to modern day DSLR lenses. This can be extremely beneficial for individuals looking to get into Photography on a budget, or switch to a mirrorless system from an established one.

Fujifilm’s X-Series is no different and there is a vast array of lens adapters for all sorts of lenses that allow you to take advantage of them on your Fuji body. Today, though, we are going to focus on Canon EOS to Fuji X and Nikon F to Fuji X adapters for those of you who are thinking about or have already begun a switch to Fuji from one of those established DSLR brands.

To start, there are essentially three types of lens adapters for Canon and Nikon shooters looking to use their glass on a Fujifilm body: Standard, Focal Reducers, and Specialty. It needs to be noted before we go any further that unlike Sony, at this point there are no autofocus adapters on the market for Canon or Nikon to Fujifilm, so no matter what adapter or adapter style you choose to go with at this point you will need to be ok with the idea of manually focusing. (Don’t worry though, Fuji’s cameras offer some great manual focus aides that makes it easier than you think it will be)

The Standard Adapters

The standard adapters available to Canon and Nikon owners looking to make use of their DSLR glass on their fresh Fujifilm body are pretty straight forward. On the lens side of the adapter is the correct mount for the lens to attach securely (be it Canon EF/EF-S or Nikon F), and on the other side is the Fujifilm X mount, which connects to the camera. There is nothing in between, no glass, just open air. These adapters are essentially just holding the lens at the correct distance away from the sensor in order to ensure accurate focusing.

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An example of these standard adapters is the Metabones Nikon F to X Mount adapter pictured here.

The one key issue with many of the standard adapters though, is that that they lack any aperture control. This means a user would be stuck at whatever aperture their lens defaults to (some stop down all the way, some open up completely, and some just stick with whatever the last used aperture was/is.) As you could imagine, this is a really limiting factor, and as such, I don’t recommend most of these standard adapters for the Canon EF/EF-S or Nikon F to Fuji adapters. It is really important to read the product description of the adapter you are buying before you buy it to avoid headaches when it arrives and you are unable to fully use your lens

However, there are many standard adapters which do offer the aperture control, though your results from these will vary depending on the method of aperture control that they have. All of the Canon EF to Fuji X adapters for instance have their own manual aperture at the back of the adapter. It does the job, but in general it can be a bit of a pain to get your aperture set accurately, and give that you are introducing an object between the lens and the sensor you have the potential for odd rendering and unique flares.

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This Fotodiox dlx Series Pro Nikon ‘G’ to FX (Fujifilm X Mount) Adapter is an example of a standard Nikon adapter with aperture control.

On the other hand, the standard Nikon adapters (most anyway) with aperture control use the mechanical lever on the rear of Nikon lenses to control it’s actual internal aperture, so no need for one to be build into the lens. One thing you will find in common with these adapters, all of them not just the standard, is that a lot of companies have felt the need to liven up the product designs with bright vibrant colors (orange and red in the Fotodiox adapter pictured above).

So another aspect for you to consider is how you feel about the idea of a distracting color on your adapter. The more expensive adapters generally don’t have this, instead sticking to the all black, but many of the cheaper lenses do have this issue. You may care, you may not, but its something that you should note before making your decision about what adapter to get.

Focal Reducers

Focal Reducers up the adapter game by placing a specialized lens inside the adapter. This internal lens focuses the output of the canon/nikon lens connected to the adapter and reduces some of the crop factor experienced when utilizing these full frame lenses on an APS-C body like your Fuji. The most famous of these adapter brands is the Speedbooster series from Metabones, which reduces the crop factor by .71x, allowing photographers using it to produce an image with more of that full frame ‘look’ that we always hear people talking about.

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Speedboosters and other Focal Reducer adapters allow you to shoot FF lenses at closer to their intended field of view.

The big downside/downfall to these focal reducers, beyond the added element of potential image quality loss is the price. These adapters are much more expensive than their simpler counterparts. The metabones Nikon-Fuji Speedbooster shown above is $500 on its own, and if you are of a like mind to me, at that point you may as well just buy a native Fuji lens if there is one similar in view and spec to what you are wanting to adapt.

Metabones aren’t the only company making these focal reducers though, Fotodiox makes one, and there are some knock-off Chinese brands out there as well that can be had for a much more reasonable price. That said, they are still a good chunk of change more than the standard adapters.

Specialty Adapters

This last category is more of a catch all really, but there are some interesting adapter offerings that should be noted, especially these two offerings from Fotodiox: the ND-Throttle and the Shift.

The ND-Throttle is a really interesting offering which pairs an ND filter with a lens adapter, giving you the ability to shoot wide open with your adapted lenses, even in bright sunlight. This has some limitations, and the same potential for odd image quality issues, but for those who need ND filters regularly this is a killer option.

The Shift is a similarly interesting offering, which essentially turns your Canon EF lens into a tilt-shift lens. It could be a fun way to try playing with some tilt-shift without having to spend the money on a dedicated lens for it, while at the same time giving you a use for your EF lenses that you decide to hold on to after you switch to Fuji entirely.

Other Adapters Entirely

The above mentioned adapters are simply the adapters that apply to those looking to use Canon or Nikon lenses, that is to say nothing about those of you looking to use your old Olympus, Pentax or Minolta film lenses. But that will need to be another post entirely. The fact remains that adapter support of Fuji’s mirrorless x-series has been great and there are a ton of options out there, most of which will do exactly what you need them to do.

Only you know what is best for you, maybe its buying adapters, maybe its buying native lenses, maybe you like both. All I know is that I love lens adapters, and I use my Olympus OM to Fujifilm X adapter (like $10 on Amazon) for some shots during virtually every shoot. I love trying new things and being creative within the confines of a set limitation, and utilizing lens adapters such as these give me that freedom.

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Anthony Thurston

Anthony is a photographer based out of the beautiful pacific northwest. He specializes mostly in boudoir photography, but also enjoys a variety of other photography niches in his free time. Find Him On His Website.

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