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Beware Lens Adapters Getting Stuck

Get Zeiss ZM at B&H Photo and see my Nikon mirrorless wishlist and my Leica M mirrorless wishlist.

I just spent 10 minutes trying to get a KIPON Leica-M-NikonZ lens adapter off my Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon. The last time something like this happened, I had to saw-off the adapter, but that one (Nikon F to Canon EF) was only 2mm thick. The KIPON adapter is far beefier and destructive removal would be hazardous to the lens. I am loathe to use it for that reason.

Ultimately I got the KIPON lens adapter detached, but I am very unhappy about the experience: the adapter cost me $80 or so, but the KIPON lens adapter is now worthless as I cannot assume that the adapter can be used without getting stuck onto the lens. Throw in temperature variations, and it's a hopeless situation. Moreover, its tight fit has already degraded the fine brass ring on the ZM 35/1.4, which can be seen as brass residue on the adapter. And the lens release button clearly has a shitty cheap tiny spring in it—maybe that was/is the issue.

I also ordered a GABALE LeicaM-NikonZ lens adapter, and it mounts/unmounts without issue, so far. Still makes me nervous as hell as I don’t feel like “losing” a mult-thousand dollar lens to a crappy lens adapter.

I might defer my testing until I can get the Novoflex LeicaM-NikonZ lens adapter (still not listed at B&H Photo for some reason). Novoflex lens adapters are not cheap but have always worked without trouble for me.

While I saw an announcement for the Novoflex lens adapter for Leica M/Zeiss ZM to Nikon Z, Novoflex USA is still not showing it on their web site either in product listing or in “News”, nor is novoflex.de. So maybe it is delayed.

Novoflex NIKZ/LEM
Leica M / Zeiss ZM to Nikon Z lens adapter

Update: talk about hiding your light under a bushel: Novoflex does a darn good job of hiding the adapter from news and product listings, but the Novoflex NIKZ/LEM is there to be found via product search:

Novoflex NIKZ/LEM

Expected to be available from November 2018 on!

Adapter Leica M-lenses to Nikon Z-Mount -Precision made lens adapter

- exact compensation of the flange focal length difference of the two mounts
- connected lenses can be manually focused up to infinity
- no information transmission between the lens and the camera
- Exposure metering in aperture priority mode or manually.

NOTE: Due to the construction of the Leica M bayonet, uncorrectable imaging errors may appear during longer exposure times. This is not a reason for complaint.

Terence M writes:

This is a good article on lens adapters: https://phillipreeve.net/blog/adapters-manual-lenses-sony-a7-series-guide/

DIGLLOYD: see also my various articles on lens adapters including All about lens adapters for Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc (witten around 2010).

Roy P writes:

I only had a quick glance of your article, so I don’t know if you already covered this. Metabones is especially notorious for this (Canon, Leica R and Nikon lenses to Sony E mount). What happens is, when you turn the adapter to remove it from the body, the darned thing turns just a tad past where it is supposed to stop, so some part of the mounting threads now end up blocking the removal of the adapter. The solution is, after you turn the adapter “normally”, until it stops turning, turn it back in the other direction by a millimeter or so, and that should get you to the perfect alignment that shoddy manufacturing missed.

The other problem which is hidden, is a poorly designed mount can scrape against the mount on the body of the camera to provide a snug fit. That is not good. The other extreme is a loose fit that is loose enough that the lens can rattle when mounted. That’s not good, but at least, not destructive.

That’s why it’s worth spending the big bucks on a Novoflex, which is machined with the same quality as a Cambo or RRS, and works flawlessly. Voigtlander is also very good, if they make one for the camera / lens combo you’re looking for. After that, it’s a nosedive in quality.

DIGLLOYD: Novoflex is what I wanted in the first place, but it was and is not yet available in the states as far as I can find—B&H Photo does not list the Leica M to Nikon Z lens adapter—I’ve inquired.

Skip K writes:

I had a tough time with the Kipon Nikon F tilt shift to Sony E adapter, but on the lens side (may be too tight a fit). The Chinese will run their machines until something breaks. They can always screw up German engineering. I use Hawks Factory Leica/Sony E adapter with helicoid and Zeiss 35/1.4 ZM. Works like a charm.

DIGLLOYD: I’m not a big fan of Chinese-sourced gear—the Chinese have stolen trillions in US I.P. and continue to do so.


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