Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Nikon lens, part deux

This is a continuation of a prev post, click here for part un

Ever since I purchased my Sony NEX-5n, I have rarely used my Canon EOS T2i, so this day (last week) I decided to dust it off and shoot a few photos. For decades I had been a Nikon user but circumstances conspired me to purchase this Canon for a big vacation to an exotic place where I felt I needed something more modern & capable. The T2i was available on the shelf, but the replacement Nikon D7000 was merely announced and would not be available until after our trip, so Canon it was. I normally don't purchase entry level models but at the insistance of my smarter cousin I went for the Rebel, while my heart wanted to go for the 60D with its articulating screen. Both cameras had the same sensor and images would be indistinguishable, except for perhaps burst speed, the second LCD screen on the top and the dual control dials. If you like to fiddle with dials then the 60D would have been more appropriate. With the Rebel you have less dials and to access the 2nd functions you had to press other buttons, but I managed to figure it out.

Now, one thing that I did not consider with this Canon purchase was the fact that I could use Alternative Lenses. ( <-- click this link for more information, particularly the 7th post down ) There is a table (on the 7th comment) which shows which lenses can be used with which bodies. Luckily the Canon EOS system has a shorter flange to sensor distance than lenses from many manufacturers so I am able to utilize Nikon lenses and mount them on my Canon T2i


Here is the same Nikon lens I mounted on my Sony NEX 5n on the previous post, along with the Nikon Ai/Ais to EF adapter. You have to use lenses which have aperature rings, otherwise there is no other way to change it, or you will be shooting "wide open" by default. You can sometimes "trick" the lens into a certain aperature my mounting it onto your electronic body, setting the aperature to F5.6 or F8 and unmounting it. Often times the setting will "stay".

Nikon zoom lens with Ai/Ais to EF adapter

I have attached the adapter, and can now mount it onto my T2i

Canon T2i with Nikon 70-300 zoom

The T2i seems to meter with no problems. I usually set it to "A" aperature priority so you just manually set the aperature and the body selects the shutter speed which is visible in the viewfinder or on the rear LCD display. You have to change a few settings since the manual lens has no contacts the camera thinks that no lens is attached, so you just set the menu item for it to fire without a lens attached, and of course you focus manually.


Focusing screens of modern cameras do not have the fresnel which makes manual focusing easier, so with older, failing eyes it is hard to actually be sure of your focus point. The Sony NEX 5n has "focus Peaking" which is a great feature to pinpoint your focus point. If you change your focusing screen to allow for manual lenses then you lose the AF points, which isn't good.

There is a little know hack for Canon T2i cameras which allow it to focus peak. You can read about it here . It is similar to the hack for other Canon P&S cameras (read more here) . When I had my Canon G10 I installed CHDK to try out the other functions which Canon left out, like Time Lapse, Zebra mode and higher bit rate for video. I am not sure if a certain someone has checked into this. This hack does not affect the warranty on your camera and does not replace the installed firmware. The "hack" is installed on your memory card and you "load" it when you want to use these extra functions. As soon as you "turn off" your camera, the hack has been erased. It has to be loaded fresh each time you start your camera.

You can use alternative lenses either handheld or on a tripod, which I chose because of the long effective focal length of 480mm (300mm x 1.6x crop factor), and also because I only had 10 toes, I could not hold it steady enough to take a photo of this combo, without a bit of assistance

Here is a photo, for reference. Canon T2i, Tamron 17-55 2.8 lens set at 17mm = approx 28mm

Canon T2i, Nikon 70-300mm, set at 70mm = 112 mm approx

then I went to FULL Zoom, set the Nikon 70-300mm lens to 300mm which worked out to 480mm (300 x 1.6x crop factor). and here it is . . .

Canon T2i, Nikon 70-300mm set at 300mm = approx 480mm

I only carry a flimsy tripod on my bike so it didn't feel that steady so I tried to fire at a higher shutter speed, and used the self timer to eliminate "pressing" shutter shake. I also loaded the tripod with my own weight to hold it down, and held my breath.

Here is a rare shot of the photographer "in Action"

Canon T2i, Nikon 70x300mm zoom set at 70mm, using radio remote shutter release

I have numerous Nikon Ai/Ais Manual focus lenses, as well as Pentax M42 screw mount, Leica M39 and Zeiss which I am able to mount on both my Canon T2i EOS, and my Sony NEX 5n.

This Nikon lens is very versatile, so far I have shown you photos taken with my Nikon 70-300mm zoom on two different cameras. This lens also works on Nikon bodies. I still have my Nikon D80, and a few Nikon film cameras. Let me know if you have any questions or you wish help in buying some of these adapters. I purchased all of mine on eBay from vendors in China or Hong Kong.


  1. Very informative post. I had not heard of these adapters before your posts. A colleague had picked up the Sony NEX last fall and has several Nikkor lenses. I mentioned your posts and he has started looking for adapters.

    1. Richard:

      All the older Nikkor lenses Ai/AiS should work with no problems. You just can't use the modern ones with electronic aperatures, you need the aperature RING. If you go to that forum Mlenses I put in the link you will find that ALL adapters will Work. The price differences are for better quality machining, materials and finishing. The cheap ones "GO PAST" infinity, and the good ones have less "mount slop". Usually the ones in the $15. range (includes shipping via: Express Post) are the ones I buy. If you need help or the names of the vendors I bought from, let me know. I do not endorse or recommend them, but I have bought a few, and my cousin has also purchased from the same places, and all of our adapters work without problems, so maybe better than to try a different vendor and have problems

      Knowing what I know now, I am glad to have both the Canon T2i & Sony NEX-5n as I can use most of older prime lenses on both cameras

  2. I wonder from time to time if I should consider a digital SLR but then I whip my stupid pocket camera out of my...pocket. Only when chasing moving subjects do I grumble about not having an SLR. Digital has made everything easier.

    1. Mr Conchscooter:

      There are times I use my P&S, and then there are times I use my dSLR, or Sony NEX. Depends what I am shooting. The NEX would be good for you as you can snap photos while looking down, as the LCD flips up for viewing and most people wouldn't know you are taking photos. Most of your shots are only for WEB viewing. I am a hobbist and I have a wide carriage printer. I print my own prints up to 13" x 19". I do all of my own framing and mounting, so for me I need a more capable camera. Also as you say, nothing beats the speed of a dSLR for fast action and focusing. If you need a Cdn houseguest it can be arranged for 2014. Save the spot under the stilt house, and leave the Keys to the Bonnie where I can find them, thanks in advance

  3. My what a big lens you have......

    It is amazing how clear the zoom is on that lens I am glad you can put your Nikon lens on a Canon camera. It is good that they can make adapters.

    I remember back in the day I had a Minolta 35 mm camera with the interchangeable lenses and filters. It was fun to play around with but of course we had to wait for photo developing. There was no instant gratification like there is with digital.

    1. Trobairitz:

      Sometimes you need bigness, and sometimes smaller is better. It makes things easier when you bring only one lens and it fits other cameras. My first SLR camera was a Minolta SR-1, but I only had the one lens

  4. xoxo! im trying to get caught up, im sorry, ive lost a week... great pics as usual bob!