Nikon F mount to Z mount adapter with AF & AF-D Autofocus Support?

Zarathustra[H]

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Hey,

So, should I give up on this dream?

Nikon doesn't seem willing to make one. There were rumors that Kipon was about to announce one, but that was in 2019, and I haven't heard anything since.

I was always told that the wise man puts his money in glass. Don't be afraid to get older professional glass they said. It is high quality, and Nikon will always keep the F-Mount they said.

I have invested in quite a lot of AF-D lenses which are among my favorites. My 35-70mm F/2.8D probably being my favorite lens of all. Its both maddening and sad that this might be the end of the line for these fantastic lenses.

Of course, there is no one forcing me to go mirrorless, but I have been putting off investing in a new body for so long, and tit feels silly to invest in an expensive DSLR now...

Thoughts?
 

toast0

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I looked around a bit, but AF-D is tough, because you'd need a focus motor in the adapter. That doesn't seem to have happened, which means you're probably stuck with replacing lenses or using the upper range F mount bodies. Or manual focus, like a caveman.

There is a nikon f to z adapter, but no focus motor, so that doesn't help, but it probably covers enough of the market for most, killing 3rd party interest. Plus you need a skilled 3rd party to get the focus details correct.

I saw some hopeful speculation that Nikon might do it in the future, when they release more pro level mirrorless, but I didn't see any basis for the hopefulness.

I've got a D3100 and a D3300, so I can't use af-d either (but I also never got far in buying lenses).

I haven't looked at lens pricing lately, but since everything is overpriced these days, it might be a good time to sell it all, and start anew with mirrorless and go slow on new lenses until things go back to normal.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I looked around a bit, but AF-D is tough, because you'd need a focus motor in the adapter. That doesn't seem to have happened, which means you're probably stuck with replacing lenses or using the upper range F mount bodies. Or manual focus, like a caveman.

There is a nikon f to z adapter, but no focus motor, so that doesn't help, but it probably covers enough of the market for most, killing 3rd party interest. Plus you need a skilled 3rd party to get the focus details correct.

I saw some hopeful speculation that Nikon might do it in the future, when they release more pro level mirrorless, but I didn't see any basis for the hopefulness.

I've got a D3100 and a D3300, so I can't use af-d either (but I also never got far in buying lenses).

I haven't looked at lens pricing lately, but since everything is overpriced these days, it might be a good time to sell it all, and start anew with mirrorless and go slow on new lenses until things go back to normal.

Yeah it's sad.

Maybe I should just get a good deal on a used high end F-mount instead.

My understanding is that Z bodies really are mostly abotut he size and weight anyway, and having a big heavy camera really doesn't bother me at all.

There are some theoretical image quality benefits to not having a prism in there though, but I haven't seen anything that suggests the difference is truly noticeable.

The biggest benefits to Z bodies seem to be their very capable autofocus and IBIS, both of which seem like nice to haves, but I could probably live without.

Used D850's and D780's are still pretty pricy though, at least on B&H's used pages.
 
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toast0

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Yeah, so I think, eventually (possibly soon), Nikon is going to end the F mount, and even more eventually, it'll be hard to find gear.

Mirrorless is simpler, the lenses are smaller and cheaper, sensor movement image stabilization is easier (because smaller sensors, but still) and the market for dedicated cameras is drying up.

I think you could probably go either way: one last body to go out with, or dump everything and start fresh... But nothing is well priced for buying right now (I know, I'm a broken record).
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Yeah, so I think, eventually (possibly soon), Nikon is going to end the F mount, and even more eventually, it'll be hard to find gear.

Mirrorless is simpler, the lenses are smaller and cheaper, sensor movement image stabilization is easier (because smaller sensors, but still) and the market for dedicated cameras is drying up.

I think you could probably go either way: one last body to go out with, or dump everything and start fresh... But nothing is well priced for buying right now (I know, I'm a broken record).

Hmm. I did not realize they used smaller sensors. How small? Like DX or even smaller?

I'd imagine this may have a negative impact on image distortion. There is a reason professional portraiture is typically done somewhere between 90mm and 130mm to get natural looking features without distortion. Shrink the sensor too much and you'll be standing pretty far away to take a portrait :p
 

toast0

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Ok. Sorry, looks like Nikon mirrorless at least is the same size sensors. I'm an idiot and thought everyone was doing mirrorless at around the micro 4/3rds sensor size... Which isn't the case.
 

toast0

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So, continuing my pennance for my dumb assumption earlier; for Nikon Z vs Nikon F; I'm not sure there's a huge difference in size or complexity of the lenses. It seems like, for the few lenses I can find that are directly comparable (same focal length, same aperture, both have focus motors), the F mounts are a bit heavier, but that's likely lens based image stabilization, and could be metal vs plastic.

In camera vs in lens image stabilizing is an active debate; I did see a thread that suggested because the Z mount has a larger diameter, but the same sensor size, that makes it more possible to do in camera stability (more room to move), and certainly the removal of the prism helps there too. But other vendors put in-camera image stabilizing in DSLR, so if Nikon wanted to do it, they could have (other than the weirdness it puts into the market for lenses). Prices go either way, too. There's clearly more 1st party lens options on F, assuming you don't want to use the FTZ converter.

After all that looking around, I'd say, stay with what you've got (and maybe get a new body if you want).
 

Randall Stephens

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I'm on a D7200 and have looked at both the FX "upgrade" and the mirrorless options as a path "forward." The edge to edge focusing on the mirrorless sounds nice, and supposedly the video capabilities are superb to the dslr. But honestly, none of that will make me a better photographer, so I just stick with what I've got. If you really need a new body, just find something that works with your current lens collection and call it a day.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I'm on a D7200 and have looked at both the FX "upgrade" and the mirrorless options as a path "forward." The edge to edge focusing on the mirrorless sounds nice, and supposedly the video capabilities are superb to the dslr. But honestly, none of that will make me a better photographer, so I just stick with what I've got. If you really need a new body, just find something that works with your current lens collection and call it a day.

True.

I'm still on my ancient Nikon D90 I bought new in 2009 after I upgraded from my first SLR, a D40x recommended by folks here in this forum.

It's still not a bad camera, and it works just fine, but I dinf I whip it out less and less often, partly because my cellphone camera has become good enough to replace it for regular day to day pictures, and partially because while it was an absolute superstar in this category when new, time has not been kind to the relative low light performance of the D90.

I guess what I'm saying is, I havent rushed to upgrade until now, so a little while longer won't kill me, but I do eventually want a new up to date body, and I'd prefer if it worked with all of my existing lenses (except my ultrawide, which is crop sensor only. I definitely want to go full size sensor next time around)
 

Randall Stephens

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I almost bought the d750 but then realized it was basically my d7200 with an fx sensor. If you have the fx glass already just snag a d850 or 810 and be done with it.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I almost bought the d750 but then realized it was basically my d7200 with an fx sensor. If you have the fx glass already just snag a d850 or 810 and be done with it.

FX sensor can make a huge difference if you have the glass for it. Immensely better low light performance!

Yeah, I have a nice little kit thus far:

Nikon 50mm f/1.4D (full frame capable)
Nikon 35-70mm f/2.8D (full frame capable)
Nikon VR 70-200mm f/2.8G AF-S (full Frame Capable)
Nikon TC-20E AF-I 2X Teleconverter
Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 (Doesn't need a focus motor, but is DX only)

When I bought my 35mm-70mm lens it was missing the lens hood, so I bought a HB-26 hood from a 70-300mm f/4 (same diameter) to use with it. I'll likely have to replace that hood with something smaller, because with an FX sensor it will almost certainly result in vignetting at 35mm.

So once I move full frame, all of my lenses will work except the Tokina 11-16mm, but once I do, the 35-70mm lens will kind of fill that space (not quite as wide, but still pretty wide)

What I will be missing is the long reach. Maybe a 300mm f/2.8 prime would make sense,but I'm not looking to put a second mortgage on the house especially for for a reach that I don't need extremely often. I do have the teleconverter, but it does soften the image a tiny bit, and it brings me down to f/4 from 2.8 :/

I also want to pick up a good cheap portraiture lens. I've heard good things about the Tamron 90mm F/2.8 macro lens for use in portraiture. I think I should be able to pick up an older one that requires the in body scew motor to focus for not too much money.

I've always read things like "I'd usually never buy a Tamron lens, but their 90mm prime is fantastic"

I mean, the Nikon 135mm f/2D would likely be the best choice, but I'm not looking to spend $900 used...
 

Randall Stephens

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I’d love a bigger sensor but the glass weighs a lot more, which means the wife wouldn’t want to even try to carry it and use it. As for reach, yeah the fx longs are $$$ new. But if it motivates you to carry the camera around vs using the cell phone…. I mean, you have 35-200 covered with two lenses, it could be worse
 

Zarathustra[H]

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If I were to buy right now, I'd probably go for the D780.

I have no need for the ridiculous 46MP of the D850. Even the 25MP of the D780 is a little bit much and pointless, as most of my shots are downscaled for on screen viewing. The D780 is much cheaper, and as a bonus it has better low light ISO performance than the D850, which is nice.

Still it's a little more than I want to spend, even used. Will have to think about what to do...
 

Randall Stephens

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You’re right I got the 750 which is the old one confused with the d780. The d780 matches the 1/8000 shutter speed of the d7200 which is useful for me because I shoot a lot of hummingbirds.
 

TheGardenTool

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I spoke a few times with UnknownSouljer over the past year on some ideas and his thoughts on the current market. I used dSLRs professionally for awhile, but no longer. During that time had access to the pro gear most of the times I wanted for personal use as it could always be justified as additional practice and training time. As long as I wasn’t using it for anything I was being compensated nobody had an issue with it.

During that time, I did buy a couple different APS-C bodies to own personally. I never ended up investing much in glass. A couple f/1.8 primes at most at a time. Nothing fancy then or left as I dwindled it down to just a 50mm and a single old body. Now comes the time I’ve been looking to expand back into growing out the personal collection.

I’m going to switch Mirrorless just haven’t decided exactly which system. The primary reason is: the writing is on the wall that dSLRs are going to end sooner than later. I figured there would be a really long pro-body hold-out, but the Tokyo Olympics I think is the turning point even for that usage case. Sony had an estimated 10-30% of the press from reports I saw. Canon still had a lot of R5 and R6, along with good feedback from the R3 bodies they fielded for testing. Nikon is finally releasing a pro-level Z body as well.

That said I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sticking to dSLRs. There will be enough used glass floating around for our lifetimes. Depending on the use case, does one really need the newest features? I even learned there has been a big uptick in people switching back to film bodies over the past couple of years.
 

UnknownSouljer

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Hey,

So, should I give up on this dream?

Nikon doesn't seem willing to make one. There were rumors that Kipon was about to announce one, but that was in 2019, and I haven't heard anything since.
Yeah, I'd give up.
I was always told that the wise man puts his money in glass. Don't be afraid to get older professional glass they said. It is high quality, and Nikon will always keep the F-Mount they said.
A lot of the glass will continue to be relevant, but not in the market you're thinking of. A lot of AI and AI-S and even Pre-AI lenses are getting 'cinevised' and used on cinema cameras. Certain lens sets have actually increased as a result of this. The Canon FD lens set as an example has lenses that people now pay $4000 for. And that mount hasn't been actively used by Canon since I think around 1995.
I don't think Nikon F glass will quite reach that height, but I could be surprised. I looked into building an AI set for this reason. But it's hard to justify building a "for fun" set, when I'm shooting on Zeiss Classics right now anyway.
I have invested in quite a lot of AF-D lenses which are among my favorites. My 35-70mm F/2.8D probably being my favorite lens of all. Its both maddening and sad that this might be the end of the line for these fantastic lenses.

Of course, there is no one forcing me to go mirrorless, but I have been putting off investing in a new body for so long, and tit feels silly to invest in an expensive DSLR now...

Thoughts?
The great thing about cameras is the utility of the tool that doesn't necessarily have to be bound to what is the newest or latest and greatest. Honestly most people would be fine with cameras that are 10 years old at this point (except people do have the expectation of being able to shoot in the dark due to cellphone tech). And if you're into film there are plenty of people shooting on cameras that are easily in excess of 50 years old. Some Leica enthusiasts are using cameras that are 70+ years old like the M3.

The point? Only you can really make the decision on whether being technologically relevant is more or less important to what it is you're trying to accomplish. It's not as if these older cameras will magically cease to function just because they are no longer the current system. If you want to be technologically relevant or want to have the latest and greatest, then yeah, buying a dSLR system at this point doesn't make much sense. But if you don't care about that, then do what you want.

Yeah it's sad.

Maybe I should just get a good deal on a used high end F-mount instead.

My understanding is that Z bodies really are mostly abotut he size and weight anyway, and having a big heavy camera really doesn't bother me at all.

There are some theoretical image quality benefits to not having a prism in there though, but I haven't seen anything that suggests the difference is truly noticeable.

The biggest benefits to Z bodies seem to be their very capable autofocus and IBIS, both of which seem like nice to haves, but I could probably live without.
The big upgrades to moving to mirrorless is really about the glass. Because prisms and mirrors were the most often used way to shoot film, it necessitated lens mounts that had large flange distances. Without getting too technical, the longer the flange distance, the more difficult it is to create precision optics.

With shorter flange distances, it's possible to not only make lenses that are sharper, but also more corrected, and lighter too. (Leica has used a rangefinder system for nearly 100 years, which doesn't necessitate a mirror. All of their lenses are significantly smaller and lighter as well as having beautiful rendering.)
To give a little history on this, when the D800 and D800E came out in 2012 with 36MP that was "crazy" for a 35mm camera. And indeed it caused a lot of 'problems' for Nikon's glass. A lot of the lenses at the time couldn't resolve all the lines on the sensor. And indeed they more or less had to refresh a lot of their lineup. I say this to reiterate: having a mirrorless system makes it a lot easier to design lenses that will resolve all of these high megapixel counts. Even if you never buy an 8k 50MP camera, it's good to know that your lenses aren't limiting your sensor. I will say though that in practice this matters a lot less, unless you're all about sharpness (there are other schools of thought). If you're all about sharpness and resolution then the move to mirrorless and mirrorless glass is probably the most significant thing you can do.

Everything else is a side benefit, which doesn't mean it's not relevant. But as I've become an old curmudgeon, I recognize my limitations in the field more and more. Size and weight matter a lot to me. As I have done the 15+ mile trek in the mountains and the 12+ hour camera carry and shoot. I'd take every gram of savings.

IBIS and better AF also can't be minimized, although that's mostly a separate technology. I do have to say, when I got my first Sony camera and saw eye-AF in action, I immediately understood what all the fuss was about. I came from Canon dSLR's; the 50mm f/1.2L is gorgeous but also mostly pointless. It was literally impossible to get that lens to be perfectly in focus at f/1.2 on a 5D2 other than random chance*. On Sony with the 50mm f/1.2 GM you can get a lock perfectly on the nearest eye basically 100% of the time. If you're a portrait shooter that loves boke, that capability can't be understated.

Also the Z Mount is the widest and shortest mount. Nikon intentionally did this as it wants to be the king of conversions. In other words, it's basically theoretically possible to adapt any and all lenses on to Z-Mount, at least mechanically. Electronically on the other hand is a totally separate issue. Still, if you're a vintage glass fan and you don't mind shooting manually, there is a ton of lenses that can be adapted to mirrorless in general and Z in particular.
Used D850's and D780's are still pretty pricy though, at least on B&H's used pages.
I would also look at used D810's if you don't care much about video. The D780 is upgraded in nearly every way over the D810, but it's still a relevant camera to explore. The biggest downside it has is that newer cameras will have better high ISO performance. It's biggest advantage is that it's native ISO is below 100 at ISO 64, meaning it still outclasses a good chunk of newer cameras due to having a lower noise floor and higher dynamic range. Otherwise I might look into a Z5/6 I/II and just use the FTZ converter. The D780 is basically a Z6 in dSLR form. Yes, I said that right. The Z6 came first, and the D780 basically took everything from that camera and put it into a dSLR body. In my mind I'd rather have the Z6 II (which of course came after the D780) and simply use the FTZ converter when I need it. Or save the money and get a used Z6. There is no downside other than the lack of focus motor (as discussed before) and honestly optical viewfinders are better than digital ones. Although digital ones do have certain advantages: exposure preview, exposure overlays such as zebras, focus overlays such as focus peaking (a necessity if you're going to use any manually focused glass), it makes it possible to "see in the dark", and also not get blinded by the sun, etc.
Again, that will come down to whether or not you care about the tech or not.

The upside, to me at least, would be to move to more compact, lighter, and better performing lenses. With a Z6 II and a good 50mm (I would probably prefer the 50mm f/1.8 S just for size and weight alone - cost just being a bonus factor), I'd more or less be happy to shoot all day. I will note though that there aren't enough Z-mount primes that exist to satisfy every focal length I would want, but I personally would be okay with using an FTZ adapter for those lenses (like a solid 28mm as an example) until Nikon catches up.


I spoke a few times with UnknownSouljer over the past year on some ideas and his thoughts on the current market. I used dSLRs professionally for awhile, but no longer. During that time had access to the pro gear most of the times I wanted for personal use as it could always be justified as additional practice and training time. As long as I wasn’t using it for anything I was being compensated nobody had an issue with it.

During that time, I did buy a couple different APS-C bodies to own personally. I never ended up investing much in glass. A couple f/1.8 primes at most at a time. Nothing fancy then or left as I dwindled it down to just a 50mm and a single old body. Now comes the time I’ve been looking to expand back into growing out the personal collection.

I’m going to switch Mirrorless just haven’t decided exactly which system. The primary reason is: the writing is on the wall that dSLRs are going to end sooner than later. I figured there would be a really long pro-body hold-out, but the Tokyo Olympics I think is the turning point even for that usage case. Sony had an estimated 10-30% of the press from reports I saw. Canon still had a lot of R5 and R6, along with good feedback from the R3 bodies they fielded for testing. Nikon is finally releasing a pro-level Z body as well.
I think for most people that have some money and want a good general purpose camera, the A7 IV at this point pretty much dominates everything dollar for dollar. The competition in the mid-range is destroyed by this camera. Certainly the R6 and Z6 II look like terrible options comparatively unless of course you're already invested in Canon/Nikon systems.

I do think the R5 is better than the A7r IV in the upper middle range, until of course Sony moves to the A7r V. The Z7 II is also a great camera, but unless you're a Nikon fan or otherwise invested in Nikon it's harder to justify as all of these options are high megapixel count cameras - so it comes down to other specs, glass, and of course brand preference, and both Sony and Canon win there (unless Nikon is your preference).
And of course if you're primarily a video shooter the A7SIII basically dominates everything. If your only photos are for social and you primarily use a camera for video, the A7SIII is basically the best option. At this point the A7SIII has won the "Youtuber war" as basically 80%+ of the top Youtubers are all on this camera.

The competition in the top end is probably where discussion would have to take place about "which system is the best". The Sony A1, Canon R3, and Nikon Z9 are all incredible cameras in their own right and you'd have to get pretty specific about which one is best for your particular use case. Me? I'd skip all three and get a Fuji GFX100s. The big draw to these top cameras is either sports or hybrid shooting (8k and the stickiest AF ever!). In these areas they excel, I'd rather play around with medium format.
That said I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sticking to dSLRs. There will be enough used glass floating around for our lifetimes. Depending on the use case, does one really need the newest features? I even learned there has been a big uptick in people switching back to film bodies over the past couple of years.
Indeed. If photography is a hobby for you it's not going to matter much. Even if you're a pro there are plenty of dSLR bodies that will continue to be relevant for at minimum half a decade, if not longer.


*On more recent camera bodies it became possible. But believe it or not, not on the 5D3 either. It wouldn't be until the 1DX series and the 5DIV that the AF system was competent enough on Canon cameras to accurately focus the 50mm f/1.2L. But by that time it was too little too late for me, and I moved to Sony and didn't look back.
 
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