Using Nikon Lenses on a Sony Nex-7
This is a quick follow on from my Dublin post the other day. I had mentioned how I had taken those nice shots of Dublin in the sun on a Sony Nex 7 with some Nikon Lenses, and I wanted to share some insights on the experience. One of the things I really like about the Sony is its focus peaking function. If you have never heard of this before, basically focus peaking highlights the area that is in focus by outlining it in a strong colour on your camera's LCD screen or viewfinder. It is a very useful focus aid, and coupled with the wide range of adaptors available for Sony's e-mount Nex systems, it makes using third party lenses on one of these cameras a much easier experience. That's the theory anyway. So what is it like in practice?
I set out to test this at the weekend with two high quality Nikon lenses and my Nex-7. I was using a Novaflex adaptor to mount the nikon lenses on my little Sony. The novaflex is a good quality adaptor, and it's made from solid metal. It has no give on it and you really can't find anything to complain about. There is a smooth aperture control on the adaptor, so it works with Nikon "G" series lenses which don't have an aperture ring.
I was using two different lenses. A modern 50mm f/1.4G, which is a superb lens in its own right, and an older (see picture at the top) Nikon 105mm macro lens which is amazingly sharp too. Given the Sony's 24mp Sensor, I was curious to see how well these would perform, and if you read my post form the other day you'll see I wasn't disappointed, but more on that in a minute. First, what was it like to actually use these?
The 50mm was easy to use and focus. The only thing I found, and this is true for any time that you use the focus peaking function, is that sometimes it doesn't kick in, or it gives you a weak signal and you think it's in focus when it's really not. You can also zoom in to check that your shot will be sharp, but this requires some button pressing jujitsu while trying to maintain the composition. I find though, that if you get it in the zone, you can rock the focus control back and forward slowly around the focus point and you'll usually pick it up. You will generally know when it is right, because the red outline (I have mine set to red) becomes much thicker. It takes a bit of practice, but once you get the hang of it it's pretty easy. You'll learn to know when it's iffy and when you can trust it, and as I said, you can always zoom in and set focus that way if you're having problems.
On the 105mm it was a little trickier. Because of the crop, the 105mm becomes an effective 157mm lens, so with the combination of light body, and long focal length, holding it steady can be quite difficult. It also has a much narrower focus plane, so you have to be very delicate when moving the focus ring. Again, you get the hang of it after a while, but working with the 105mm is a lot slower than using the 50mm as you need to be a lot more careful. Not that that is a bad thing of course.
Image wise, the results are amazing. Both are sharp lenses to begin with, but coupled with the Nex-7s superb sensor, the results are amazing. There was one minor issue though. Chromatic aberration was quite severe, especially on the 105mm. And not just the red/blue type but severe purple and green fringing too. Luckily you can fix it in Lightroom, but if you didn't have Lightroom (or Camera raw), the fix would be a lot harder.
If you want to see some shots taken with this combination check out my post on Dublin in the sun from the other day. These were all taken with this combination.
Here's a few to whet your appetite!