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  1. #1
    David Lyga's Avatar
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    a plethora of Nikon bodies, a dearth of normal Nikon lenses

    This posting is purposely placed into this forum because it asks the readers to express alternative ways of doing things: namely putting lenses on Nikons that have no right to be on Nikons.

    Nikon film bodies abound. Getting a normal lens for them is something else. This Nikon '50 - 58', in any configuration, be it pre-AI or post-AI, is a big problem with cost, as it is, in too many cases, more expensive than the body! (Other off-market focal lengths like 135 and 28 abound.) So I ask (and will expect some annoyance with the 'fact' that 'it cannot be done, so why even ask?'): can it be done effectively?

    Most SLR systems offer their respective 50s at very modest prices: Minolta MC/MD, M42 in many variations, even Pentax and the other manufacturers like Ricoh, et al. But with Nikon you are largely stuck with Nikon (although Russia made a Nikon mount camera and their normal lens works fine on Nikons). So, I ask, has anyone ever tried to 'modify' another's normal lens and place it on a Nikon? Of course this would be manual aperture only, we understand. But I ask this because many lenses, if you take them apart, can be modified to give a slight increase in infinity focus, so that they would give that needed ability to the Nikon mount (which has a film plane to mount distance slightly longer than most SLRs). Of course, the mount has to be modified to allow it to fit securely onto extant Nikons: but would you change the mount on the lens or on the Nikon body?

    These are seemingly stupid questions to ask but maybe someone out there has tried to perform such modification. - David Lyga
    Last edited by David Lyga; 02-05-2013 at 10:16 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Lyga View Post
    This posting is purposely placed into this forum because it asks the readers to express alternative ways of doing things: namely putting lenses on Nikons that have no right to be on Nikons.

    Nikon film bodies abound. Getting a normal lens for them is something else. This Nikon '50 - 58', in any configuration, be it pre-AI or post-AI, is a big problem with cost, as it is, in too many cases, more expensive than the body! (Other off-market focal lengths like 135 and 28 abound.) So I ask (and will expect some annoyance with the 'fact' that 'it cannot be done, so why even ask?'): can it be done effectively?

    Most SLR systems offer their respective 50s at very modest prices: Minolta MC/MD, M42 in many variations, even Pentax and the other manufacturers like Ricoh, et al. But with Nikon you are largely stuck with Nikon (although Russia made a Nikon mount camera and their normal lens works fine on Nikons). So, I ask, has anyone ever tried to 'modify' another's normal lens and place it on a Nikon? Of course this would be manual aperture only, we understand. But I ask this because many lenses, if you take them apart, can be modified to give a slight increase in infinity focus, so that they would give that needed ability to the Nikon mount (which has a film plane to mount distance slightly longer than most SLRs). Of course, the mount has to be modified to allow it to fit securely onto extant Nikons: but would you change the mount on the lens or on the Nikon body?

    These are seemingly stupid questions to ask but maybe someone out there has tried to perform such modification. - David Lyga
    I've never had any trouble finding 50 - 55mm standard Nikkors. Prices - 50/2 H for 25 to 35 dollars. 55 Micro Nikkor /3.5 for $85, still in the bubble. You just have to look.

    The only SLR lenses that can be easily and properly adapted to Nikon bodies (without unacceptable kludging) are Leica R lenses, there is/was a conversion mount which replaced the mount on the lens available for around $100. I've always wanted a Summicron for my F.

  3. #3
    David Lyga's Avatar
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    Yes, they certainly are around, E, but when Nikkormats can be gotten for as little as 10 bucks, the 35 bucks for a normal lens seems outrageous. Digital caused this because of the lens transferability. Minolta and M42 normals can be gotten for even as low as 5 bucks each, sometimes even less. - David Lyga

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    So buy bodies with Minolta or M42 mounts. I like Nikons, so I pay what Nikon equipment costs and I don't complain about it. That's really all there is to it.

  5. #5

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    Nikon normal lenses are incredibly inexpensive; the fact that bodies are worth next to nothing because they take film and were produced in huge quantities doesn't make the lens price any higher. And check prices on other good 50's, Nikon is toward the lower end of prices. As a matter of fact, I adapted my 55 Micro Nikkor to Sony Alpha because I would be unlikely to get more than $65 for it, while a Minolta or Sony macro would be several times as much.

    You are paying less for a body and lens than ever before. Not much to worry about.

  6. #6
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    The Nikon mount is the magic. The old lenses can easily be adapted many of the late model cameras so they hold their value.

    Other manufacturers who changed their mounts doomed all their old lenses to irrelevance.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

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    No except that with a bellow I use several different enlarging lenses on my Nikon.

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    Not to mention the fact that changing mounts and modifying lenses requires machine work, which is very expensive (unless you do it yourself)
    and completely swamps the cost of the lens. Say you spend several hundred dollars at the local machine shop (assuming you have one, and it can make things like lens mounts...) to save thirty dollars on a lens to go on a camera that, whether you like it or not, is obsolete and nearly worthless.

    Top quality, professional grade bodies and glass have never been a better bargain for those who like to use them. I'm using equipment I never could have justified buying 25 years ago, and it cost peanuts - some of it (Nice clean Nikkormat FtN with a 50/2) was free, some so cheap as to be nearly free - a very clean Pentax H1a with lens for $15.

    What do you want here?

  9. #9

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    There are many circumstances in which the lens cost is more, and sometimes quite a lot more than the camera body, even for "normal" lenses, the situation with Nikon is nowhere near special.

  10. #10

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    David,

    To answer your actual question, which I did not in my earlier post, Nikon is not a platform that is very amenable to adapting other lenses. Do a Google search for Nikon flange distance and you'll get a bunch of info on why this is so. It can be done in some cases, but not as easily or often as with Canon.

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