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Novoflex Nikon Lens To Canon EOS Body Adapter

It has always intrigued me that there are a lot of third party lens manufacturers, but not a single third party camera manufacturer. What does that mean? Well, heard of Sigma, Tokina, Tamron, Vivitar, and others? They all make lenses for their own cameras and other manufacturer's cameras. For example, they make lenses for Canon, Nikon, Minolta, and others. Yet, none of them, or anyone else, has made cameras that would allow attachment of Canon, Nikon, and Minolta lenses. Interesting isn't it?

I did, however, came across an adapter that allows Nikon lenses to be mounted on Canon cameras. Wow, what a great idea! Canon has already boasted a collection of over 50 EF lenses to choose from. These fifty lenses are all made by Canon; the number does not even include third party lenses. Now, with this adapter I could use a whole selection of Nikon lenses as well.

The adapter does come with a price, thought, literally. It is expensive, at least to me, at almost two hundred dollars. But I figured, with the amount of lenses available on E-Bay on-line auction, I can now pick and choose among a wide selection of great lenses.

The Novoflex lens-to-body adapter arrived in a plain, white, no-nonsense package. It only had a product identification label on it. No fancy packaging like those found with multi-million dollar manufacturers, such as Canon or Sony. It included a very simple instruction sheet and the actual body/lens adapter. The instruction sheet is single-sided with both German and English. The English is quite poor, obviously translated by a non-native English speaker.

The adapter is very thin, made out of two metal layers. The metal lens mount ring is silver and is friendly to Nikon mount. The metal mount behind the lens mount ring is dark and flat in color; it is friendly to Canon EOS mount. I assumed the two different paint and material is designed so that less friction is produced when attaching and detaching the adapter from the camera body. But then, I did not currently see any problems with my lenses and camera bodies where the two mounts are made out of the same material.

Nikon lens rear element and mount. Novoflex EOS adapter mounted on the Nikon lens. Note the little tab for lens release.

The instruction manual suggested that the adapter is to be attached to the lens first. Then the lens and the adapter are to be mounted to the camera body. Removal of the adapter is the reverse of the attachment process: first remove the lens/adapter combination from the camera and then remove the adapter from the lens. To remove the adapter, a little tab has to be pressed down to unlock the lens from the adapter. It was really difficult pressing down that tab. I felt that the lens release could have been designed a little better.

I have tried mounting the adapter to the Canon camera without the Nikon lens. It was an fun exercise, but the adapter was extremely hard to remove from the camera body. I had to mount the lens on the adapter, remove the combination, and then remove the adapter from the lens.

Mounting the Novoflex adapter to a Nikon lens is relative simple and effort-less . . . as long as you realize to rotate the lens counter-clockwise. Nikon's non-conformance to industrial standards created by other manufacturers had always baffled me. The lens counter-clockwise rotation is just one of the many nit-picks that Nikon had tried very hard to be different from other camera manufactures. Perhaps Nikon felt that they had to compete with others on all levels. But it is really the users, or their customers, that lose in this competition.

The Novoflex adapter instruction manual warned of some Nikon lens incompatibility with Canon cameras. Actually, I assumed that is what it meant, here is the actual broken English verbatim:

"With Nikon-lenses, having a wide stand back protection of the rear lens, there will be a malfunction of the Canon EOS, the mirror will get caught on. These lenses can not be used with the adapter and the Canon EOS."

Based on the above passage, I assume they are talking about Nikon lens with rear element that sticks out quite a bit. It might contact the mirror in the Canon EOS SLR, causing damage. Got a better interpretation? Let me know. I tried two Nikon lens with this adapter on my Canon EOS D30, without any problems. The two lenses are: 1) Sigma 17-35mm D Aspherical EX Lens; and 2) Sigma 20mm f/1.8 D EX DG Aspherical Lens.

The lenses work quite well on my Canon EOS D30 digital camera. However, operations will be a little different from a normal Canon EF lens. Since the adapter does not provide any electrical contact translation, the Canon camera and the Nikon lens does not communicate with each other at all. The only electronic feature that the Canon EOS camera can perform through the Nikon lens is the through-the-lens exposure metering function. The Nikon lens has to be set to manual mode, where the aperture and focus is set on the lens.

A Nikon lens mounted on a Canon EOS camera. The adapter is so thin that it is virtually unnoticeable.

Unlike Canon EF lens, Nikon lens has an aperture ring on the lens. The aperture ring can be set to any f-stop supported by the lens any time, permanently. It is like having an automatic depth-of-field preview button. Since there is no electronic communication, the Nikon lens can only be used in manual focus mode. It would be wise to turn the aperture ring to the wide-open setting for focusing, then stopping down for exposure metering and then the final shot.

These same operations are not much different from using a macro lens and, perhaps, a wide-angle lens. But users who have always used auto-focus and have never used manual-focused before will probably be frustrated with this Novoflex adapter and the Nikon lenses.

Overall, the Novoflex adapter opens up a huge lens selection possibility for Canon EOS users. It is an important asset for existing Nikon users, with assorted precious Nikon lenses, who wants to move onto the Canon EOS platform. Finally, Nikon and Canon equipment can unite into one. Novoflex also makes a number of other lens-to-camera adapters for other brands of camera and lenses. Look around; more possibilities are out there.

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Copyright © 2004 by Chieh Cheng. All Rights Reserved.