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|Category:||Lenses and Optical Items|
G-volution - David Clapp takes a look at the new Nikon G/EOS adapter.
Mark from 16-9.net is releasing Version 2 of his acclaimed Nikon G to EOS adapter. I compared the phases of its evolution that has made this unlikely combination turn the heads of many photographers by previewing a prototype of what is yet to come.
A Step Towards the Light
When I like a new product, I tend to rave about it a little too often. My product of the year had to be the fruition of a remarkable lens adapter from Mark Welsh at 16-9.net, an adapter that sorted out my wide angle gripes by pairing the impeccable Nikon G 14-24mm f/2.8 onto my Canon cameras. With nothing in the Canon wide angle line up to get close to it, the lens was the last link in the chain of consistently matched optics that I had been searching for. With the Contax 28mm f/2, Contax 35-70mm f/3.4 and the impeccable Canon 70-200mm f/4 IS seeming like a match made in heaven, it was clear to me that my Canon 17-40mm f/4L had to be retired from the equation. Although a good lens on the Canon 5D, the 21Mp sensor was clearly inhibited in the corners and in comparison, the images were looking flatter, softer and unmatched with the other three.
Nearly a year later and I'm finding that the Nikon 14-24mm is simply the most superb wide angle zoom ever made. With jaw dropping sharpness at all focal lengths and apertures, it has expanded my photography into new areas with complete image confidence.
I can't believe I ever survived without 14mm super wide imagery for interiors and landscapes, but it is the consistency of this optic that makes you adamant the only factor inhibiting spectacular creativity is your own minds eye and never the equipment. This is the way it should be.
|Using the 14-24 at 14mm - Unsurpassable Image Quality.|
|Absolute top left corner.||Center Crop.|
Working Method...not for some.
After the adapter started to ship in September, some users found the combo was not for them. No-filters and a quirky working method was just too restrictive for some, whereas I seemed to find the complete opposite. I'm used to operating lenses manually and I actually prefer using cameras this way, so it was easy to see the benefits completely outweighing the restrictions. The lens mounted on the rotating adapter became intuitive and quick to use. After testing and memorising hyperfocal distance data, I found myself using it for all manner of coastal, landscape and architectural imagery without any difficulty and very few mistakes, even on moonlight shoots. I am certain those that have sold this incredible optic and the adapter may not have given it a chance.
Polarisers, Grads and Computers - let us pray for the computerphobic.
To get the most out of the 14-24mm lens in high contrast situations like sunrises, sunsets or even interiors, it it's worthwhile remembering that your computer processing skills will have to be good, whether you shoot this on a Nikon or Canon body. You cannot rely on filter and polarisers so compromises will have to be made, but boy-oh-boy are the benefits worth it.
Grads - My experiments with hand holding 100mm graduated filters in front of the lens only seem to work on 24 - 21mm. You have to cup your hand over the top of the lens to stop light bleeding in through the gaps in the petalled hood, but it can be done. Any wider the 21mm and it's literally always a failure.
Polarisers and ND's - It's possible to use a polariser, again at the 24mm end. I have hand held a 77mm Heliopan polariser carefully in front of the front element without problems, but again it takes a little getting used to. As the lens is shot wider and wider the uneven effects of polarisation seem to do little to complement an image anyway. If necessary I go back to the 17-40mm f/4L or the 24mm TS-E.
Computers - I exposure blend my images when the camera cannot capture the full range of light, but it is this problem that turns people away from the idea of this superb optic more than any other. If you want to get the most from this lens, improve your computer skills. The synergy of computers and cameras is the future so mastering this essential photographic skill, just like 16-9.net Nikon adapter, will only make your imagery exemplary.
Almost Version 2....v1.95. The improvements.
After keeping in touch with Mark about the adapter, he was very pleased that I was as elated about the product as he was. I was offered a prototype of new upgraded V2 adapter to test. Mark assured me that this is still not the final product, more like a version 1.95, and that there will be some finer refinements to the production V2.
- The use of the best quality Rayqual adapter over the older Fotodiox version.
- Extended stainless steel lever to accommodate extra clearance required for the Canon EOS 5D MkII.
- Improved accuracy of coloured markers used in visual aperture setting.
- Aperture pin has now been altered to provide greater accuracy. This used to contain some play at the f/22 end.
- The adapter can be shipped with or without AF confirm electronics and EXIF data chip.
Click on the images below to take a closer look at the new V2 prototype (above) and the older Levered Version (below).
|New almost V2 prototype.||New almost V2 prototype.|
|Older Levered Version, now discontinued.||Older Levered Version, now discontinued.|
|The new lever at its maximum travel, doesn't interfere with the dismount button on the 1DS III.|
Other than the lack of AF confirm contacts (which I specified that I wouldn't need, so Mark left them off) and a new shaped lever control, this version is even easier to use. The lever is smooth and positive, staying clear of the dismount button when pushed up to the maximum position of f/22. There are the same three marker points on the side - f/22, f/8 and f/2.8 although I believe it's far better to set the aperture using the in camera metering system.
How it works
You can see clearly how the adapter works. As the lever is operated on the side of the adapter, a small silver pin slides the Nikon aperture lever into position. This in turn controls the aperture blades inside the lens and sets it at the correct f-stop.
This is the lens in f/2.8 setting, the silver adapter pin pushes the Nikon pin.
The lens is set to f/22, the Nikon aperture lever is at the end of its travel.
Removing the Weather Sealing Gasket.
All things come with a compromise, but just like the last Levered Adapter, it requires the removal of the rubber weather sealing gasket near the lens mount. Here's a few pointers to take into account -
- The adapter doesn't have any weather sealing, so once mounted on a Canon camera the lens isn't weather sealed anyway, with or without the gasket.
- Once the gasket is removed it is hard to get back in, but it can be done with a nail cuticle tool or similar. Without the gasket, you may effect the resale value of the lens so keep it safe. Put it in the original lens box in the loft.
- Why you would ever want to part with the lens is beyond me.
I have thought long and hard about this and I can only envisage one scenario where this could prove troublesome - you are an extreme weather/harsh environment shooter carrying both Nikon and Canon bodies on the same bag and switch the lens between systems. It's of no consequence, so I have removed the gasket even for this test.
AF Confirm or Live View - the choice is yours...
The adapter can have AF confirm contacts as well as the EXIF data chip so that RAW software can distinguish between which lenses you use. Again, I have never seen the point in this, but my findings using AF confirm adapters, as well as AF lenses, has proved to me time and time again that live-view is the answer. I literally never bother using AF anymore, as it can prove to be inconsistent. There have been many times that my Canon lenses mis focus on static subjects, so I feel I'm far better off composing the scene and manually focusing the lens using Live View. This doesn't even prove to be a problem on 14mm scenes.
Absolute top left corner.
Nikon 14-24mm at 14mm - Focused using live view, this wonderful building made of wood and brick made a superb way of testing the lens' superb resolution at 14mm. Tests concluded there was literally no difference between f/4-f/11, making this a massively usable aperture range. This photograph was taken at f/11 for 2sec at ISO100.
Some Final Thoughts
As a user of the original Rotating Adapter, this is a worthy upgrade. Although not the final version, I am more than happy with this prototype on my 1Ds III and the change in working method has been extremely straightforward. When the final V2 goes on sale, the adapter will probably have reached its final stage of evolution. The base adapter will be even higher quality, the aperture lever will be larger to give easier operation on the 5D MkII, the markers and moment tuned to give greater precision.
The decision upon whether the 14-24mm is right for your Canon camera will no longer be about the adapters operation, but about the lens and its technical compromises upon your own photography. Can you work without filters? If so, are your computer skills and image processing techniques advanced enough to gain the best from this incredible piece of glass? I seriously think these are now the big questions. The adapter does exactly what it's supposed to do.
As for Mark, a one man band, whose original business model was based upon sharing his adaptation with a handful of enthusiast lens tinkerers, he has sure inspired a lot of photographers, professional and amateur alike. His personal ideal has always been the same - to get the best image quality out of his own gear, no matter what the lens mount, age or design. If your adapter has been delayed, relax, be patient and persevere. The combo of 21Mp and the only wide angle lens to match is well worth the wait.
Visit David Clapp's website.