Can I use other brands’ lenses with my Nikon?

Ymmmm…. the answer is: better not try.

I need to get another lens for my camera, a fast lens that will allow me to take nice portraits.  I currently use a Nikon and was wondering if I can use another make lens with it (e.g. some older Russian lens – they are regarded as good and sturdy, and might be bought cheaper than other).

Well, different brands use different mounts and in most cases you need an adapter to fit them onto your camera.  Unfortunately, Nikon’s body is one or two milimeters thicker than most other brands and, after reading a lot about it, I concluded there is no point in trying.

Whether you own a Nikon or a different camera, there are certain disadvantages to using an adapter. Most adapters are just a piece of metal (some have a glass element) and they break electronic communication between lens and camera body. As a result, your cannot use automatic programming and the camera won’t tell you which aperture to use. You also need to set focus manually.

I found some sources which cover this topic very well. On Cameraquest you can read about it and they also sell a huge range of adapters. There is also an online article by Karen Nakamura which I recommend; it will give you an indication on what will work with your camera.

An important detail I managed to find out is that adapters without a flange (collar) that fits between the lens and the lens mount on the camera body will actually let you focus to infinity. There are adapters that fit completely inside the mount opening and do not create an extra thickness between the lens and the body – however, they might not be available for all lens-camera combinations.

I am trying to find out if there is any loss of quality of a photo with a lens adapter. Any comments welcome.


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