NITSAN SIMANTOV. PHOTOGRAPHER. FILMMAKER.

East Grinstead photographer and filmmaker Nitsan Simantov. Wedding photography and commercial video production in London and West Sussex.

Gear: Lens adapters

This is not going to be a complete guide to adapters, but there are a few very important things here you should know. If you've already gone a different rout than what is recommended here then just keep this in mind for future gear decisions.

  • Invest in manual Nikon-fit lenses where possible. (F mount, which includes Non-AI, AI, AI-s, etc. Not Nikon FT1 though.) They are the most adaptable and there's a very large choice. They are usable on most Nikon cameras and pretty much anything else.
  • If you would like a wider choice of lenses you can also consider M42 mount, Olympus OM mount, Non-electronic Canon EF mount lenses (Such as Samyang) and some Pentax mount lenses. This isn't a complete list of adaptable lenses but they are the main ones I look for. With all of these you can get low cost adapters for Canon cameras and all mirrorless cameras. The important thing about sticking to Canon-adaptable lenses isn't only so that you can use a Canon camera, it's also important because it keeps your kit compact and quick to set up. This is because your lenses are all adapted to canon on the lens side using tiny flat adapters that you often don't even notice and that remain on the lens, and on the camera side you only need one larger adapter which brings your camera to be EF lens compatible, this is also the place where you can add extra features to the camera (see below). This means no swapping adapters around while shooting. If you don't do this, you may find yourself carrying several large adapters to allow all your lenses to fit the camera.

Adding features:

Using a mirrorless camera allows you to add some important features between the lens and the camera:

  • Internal filter system

This is useful for reducing harsh reflections which will show up with pretty much any filter which is in front of the lens rather than behind it. Mainly these will show up when you have some back-lighting or strong highlights in the shot.

  • Helicoid focusing

[Definition: A helicoid is a spiral or screw-like shape. A helicoid focus system is a system which moves the glass by the use of a mechanical spiral, this is often found inside lenses.]

A helicoid adapter is an adapter that gives you another focus ring behind the lens. This allows you to use the lens as usual, but then focus much closer than the lens would normally allow just by turning the second focus ring. This just works by extending the lens away from the camera. There is no glass in this filter and you don't get dark blurry images like most macro tubes, because it only moves forward a maximum of about 5mm. This is an absolutely amazing solution, and it makes many lenses go from being a pain in the ass to being gorgeous versatile lenses. For example, my Voightlander 35mm f1.4 and Samyang 85mm f1.4 are both lovely, but on their own they only focus from about 80cm to infinity, which is very annoying for portraits on both lenses and actually pretty much anything I would want to shoot with a 35mm can't be focused on because it's way too close. The helicoid adapter fixes this issue and I freakin' love it. On full frame this is my adapter system of choice. 

  • Focal reducers

This only works on crop-sensor cameras or in crop-mode on full frame cameras. This adapter takes the image given by a full frame lens and projects it onto a smaller sensor area. You basically get a full frame image on a crop sensor. This means you get a wider and brighter image as well as a shallower depth of field for any given field of view on a subject.

This is my adapter of choice when working with crop sensors.

HIGH RES RAW IMAGES: http://bit.ly/166tpd1
Lens Turbo links:
● Amazon UK link: http://amzn.to/XgX6t3
● eBay USA Link: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-532...
● eBay UK link: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/710-534...
● Amazon USA link: http://amzn.to/1mdT4xz
● B&H Link: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/len...



What to avoid:

  • Invest in dedicated mirrorless lenses only if you're willing to sell them later. They can be great for their compact size and sometimes great video autofocus capabilities.
  • Never buy FD lenses unless you are 100% sure you will always use mirrorless cameras. Currently there are still great DSLRs on the market, and there's a fair chance someone like Nikon or Canon will make the next great camera you will want to get. With FD lenses you're pretty much screwed. They are adaptable, but in order to focus to infinity you will need glass adapters, which lower quality, reduce light and add extra crop, basically all the stuff you don't want in a lens system.
  • Never buy Canon EF lenses unless you're a stills shooter and are willing to sell on eBay later if needed - or you have way too much money and you're not sure what to do with it. There are much better alternatives for filmmaking, and this is not a lens system you want to get stuck with, especially since they require electronic adapters and because Canon have very often been unfair towards indie filmmakers. For example the $12,000 1DC, which is basically just a $6,000 1DX with a few tiny changes to allow it to shoot 4K.
Things Nitsan wants to share:
Lots more great stuff: Over 350 photography and filmmaking product reviews and tutorials: youtube.com/nitsanpictures Join the great Facebook discussion group here (Over 8000 members!) http://on.fb.me/14JZybI