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Thread: Canon FD lenses on Nikon F-lens mount?

  1. #1
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    Canon FD lenses on Nikon F-lens mount?

    I am pround to say that I am finally a Nikon owner; I have recently purchased a Nikon D5100.
    I have, however, still an old canon lens that has been used with the Canon AE-1, and has a canon fd lens mount. The lense is pretty good, and if it is possible I'd like to continue using it. Whilst I understand that one cannot use newer canon lenses on nikon cameras (due to the larger flange distance that nikon uses), I wonder whether it might be possible to use older canon lenses; does anyone have any experience with that? I have seen that there are adapters available online, but am much in doubt since the older canon cameras (with the fd mount) used a flange distance of 42mm, which is even less than what they use today, if I'm not mistaken.
    Last edited by Yersiwx; 3rd August 2013 at 06:45 PM.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Canon FD lenses on Nikon F-lens mount?

    http://www.amazon.com/Adapter-Canon-.../dp/B00BJG6O90

    But you will be shooting 100% manual to do so; the autofocus won't work and neither will the metering. Given the terrible focus screen that all autofocus cameras have, I think you may find it frustrating to get a good shot.

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    Re: Canon FD lenses on Nikon F-lens mount?

    Actually, the register distance on Canon FD (42mm) is even shorter than the register distance for Canon EOS (44mm). You can't (fully) adapt Canon FD for Canon EOS with a simple ring any more than you could for Nikon F (46.5mm). The only SLR mount that's got a deeper register distance than Nikon F is Leica R, and that's only by 0.5mm, so making a ring that would work isn't really possible.

    If the adapter ring doesn't have a glass element in it (to act like a short teleconverter, which will give you a hit on max aperture and sharpness--particularly if it's affordable), then you won't be able to focus the adapted lens to infinity (think macro extension tube)--might be ok if it's a macro or portrait lens, though. And you can probably focus to infinity if it does have a glass element in it, but then, well, it's a short teleconverter.

    Nikon F is probably one of the toughest mounts out there to adapt manual SLR lenses to. The easiest way I know to do it without adding the glass element is to use a Leitax mount-conversion kit (i.e., replace the mount on the lens with something a little shallower), but they only make them for Leica-R, Contax/Yashica (Zeiss!), and Olympus OM.

    The easiest mounts to adapt FD glass to would be the mirrorless compacts: Sony NEX, Fuji X, and micro four-thirds. They all have register distances that are <20mm. They can even take rangefinder lenses.

    The compromises that come from the lack of electronic communication with the lens may not be all that tough if you're an oldtime manual shooter (which if you have FD gear, you were). It's not like EXIF was around in film days, and all we really had were M and A modes. And if you shoot most of the time on a tripod, liveview and magnification can help with critical focusing where the dimmer/smaller viewfinder lets you down. And you can always stop down and zone focus. If you're really ambitious, you might also be able to swap the focus screen for a split-circle/prism collar one. But the installation might be a little tricky.
    Last edited by inkista; 3rd August 2013 at 03:58 PM.

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    Re: Canon FD lenses on Nikon F-lens mount?

    I think I'll try one of the adapters; they're cheap enough to give it a try. I'll buy one without a glass element though, I don't want it to distort the picture quality (as the glass part is probably not THAT good..). The lens is more of a portrait lens anyway, so the inability to focus to infinity doesn't really bother me and the necessity to use manual focus only gives the whole experience a special touch
    I'll come back to you guys with some results.

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    Re: Canon FD lenses on Nikon F-lens mount?

    I think you are wasting your time and money because my research* suggests that there is a 4.5mm 'extension' for the lens which if it is relative short focal length will make it doubtful even for close work. The only satisfactory solution I would suggest is to get an engineer [ fitter and turner etc amateur or trade] to shorten the lens mount for you so it will focus to infinity. As to if this would work does rather depend on how far back the actual lens is in the mount, or if it will project into the camera body and foul the mirror.

    *Since I don't know the gear personally. Do Nikon and Canon use compatible bayonet mounting despite the different flange distance? A Nikon adaptor might be the basic requirement of the adaption, how I would approach it.

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    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Canon FD lenses on Nikon F-lens mount?

    Quote Originally Posted by jcuknz View Post
    ... Do Nikon and Canon use compatible bayonet mounting despite the different flange distance?...
    No. The main reason you need the adapter ring is to provide the correct physical linkage. It's not just flange number/placement/size and thread gauge, but Nikon lenses mount counterclockwise, and Canon lenses mount clockwise.

    Another possibility might be to scrape up the cash to purchase the FD lens's Nikon equivalent. For example, if it's the FD 50mm f/1.2L, then getting an old manual-focus AI 50mm f/1.2 or 50/1.4 might be worth pursuing. Pre-AI Nikkors won't be compatible with the prosumer Nikon dSLRs (general word is it's ok on the D3xxx and D5xxx entry level bodies, though). Look for holes in the "bunny ears."

    BTW, found this page where someone converted an FL 55/1.2L to Nikon F with a mount replacement. He couldn't get it to focus past 4 feet on his D700. But someone in the comments describes how he gets infinity focus out of said conversion on crop bodies (mirror collision on full frame).

    http://makingnottaking.blogspot.com/...n-fl-55mm.html
    Last edited by inkista; 4th August 2013 at 04:22 PM.

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