Hey y’all, what lens adapters are you using? (Can we count on ANY to work reliably?)


posted Thursday, October 11, 2018 at 6:37 PM EST


We're looking to better-standardize our camera testing methodology, so want to adapt high-quality Canon EF or Nikkor lenses onto Fuji X and Micro Four Thirds bodies.

We know this is a really popular method for using your legacy lenses on your new bodies, so we were curious what adapters you all, the Imaging Resource readers, have found to be the most consistent.

We expect many of you to suggest well-known brands like Metabones for this, and we agree that they are generally a really great option. But there are caveats to that. For example, in my personal experience it can be hard to reliably use a Metabones adapter with a new camera setup.

Back when I first got the Panasonic GH5, one of the first things I did was grab my Metabones Speedbooster off my GH4 and slap it on the shiny new camera. Unfortunately, once I had gotten out into the field, I realized something was amiss. When trying to change focal lengths or apertures, something just wasn't right. At one point, the camera seemed to totally lock up on me. Another time, the viewfinder acted like I was perpetually in 400x zoom (for when you want to check focus, the same idea that is present for Manual Focus Assist) and wouldn't pop out of it. Finally, the whole system eventually froze up. Once I took the Metabones off and replaced it with native glass, there were no problems.

Later, I did some digging as to why the GH5 and Metabones were seemingly incompatible, and it turned out that Metabones needed to update their firmware to work properly with the new Panasonic. (They've since done this.) Makes sense; camera companies change things all the time.

In that personal use case, that was fine, I had other options. But for the IR lab, we need something with more consistency. Often we get cameras into and out of the lab before any third party companies get their hands on them, which means we can't rely on eventual firmware updates for things to work. So while Metabones may be an excellent resource eventually (and I personally maintain that this is the case), they might not be the best option for the Imaging Resource lab.

So in short, when we are relying on these things for scientific testing and when we have to mount them on a new body that the mount adapter companies haven't seen yet, we might run into issues.

We do have a somewhat special use case though: We don't care much about autofocus working properly, since we pretty much always focus manually. What we do care about, though, is aperture control: Our preferred EF- and F-mount lenses have electronically-controlled apertures.

So all that said, we're looking for some insight from the masses. We could (and will) get in samples of various adapters and try them with the collection of bodies we have at IRHQ, but you our readers have the experience of hundreds of lenses on dozens of bodies.

What success have you found, what problems have you encountered and what would you guys recommend when it comes to adapting your lenses?

Let us know; we're about to take a significant step in improving the standardization of our camera tests, but could really use the benefit of your experience when it comes to how well mount adapters have worked across multiple bodies. (For instance, have any of you used a mount adapter across both a GH4 and GH5, with good success? We'd like to hear about it!)