Review: Novoflex MFT/NIK Adapter

I ordered a Novoflex adapter to use Nikon lenses on my Micro Four Thirds camera. Here is my experience with this adapter.


Novoflex is a big name in Photography for many, many decades now. They are known for high quality products. and therefore when I decided I need an adapter to use Nikon lenses on my Micro Four Thirds camera, I eventually decided to skip the generic brands and to go for this one.

Novoflex001Novoflex002

It arrived in a neat plastic box, with a small booklet containing instructions for use, and a cap for the micro four thirds side, but no cap was provided on the Nikon side.

Novoflex003

The adapter itself is made of some metal, the aperture ring is coloured in the Novoflex blue colour, and it appears to be a solid, well-made piece of equipment. The adapter fitted with a smooth action on a Panasonic GF1 camera, but I found the Nikon side of the mount rather tight.

Novoflex004   Novoflex005

The lever to release the Nikon lens is much, much smaller than the lever on a Nikon camera body. It looks like a small pin, rather than a lever. To release the Nikon lens, you have to hook this pin with a finger nail, and pull it backwards to the camera to unlock the lens.. A larger lever would have made this adapter much more comfortable to use.

Novoflex006AIS       Novoflex006D

The blue ring on the adapter is used to control the lens aperture. For AIS-type and D-type lenses, you turn the blue ring to the right where the smaller circle is. This pushes the lens lever to close the aperture, and then you can set the aperture on the lens itself. The aperture is controlled in stop-down mode, of course, as the MFT cameras cannot push down the Nikon lever to close the aperture before exposure. Remember on the D-type lenses to unhook the switch that locks the aperture ring (top right in attached D-lens photo).

Novoflex006G The claim to fame of this adapter is that it can be used with G-type lenses as well. However, I am not so sure Novoflex succeeded in living up to the expectations, as I’ll explain below.

The aperture on G-type lenses is controlled by turning the blue ring so the vertical line on the ring fits somewhere between the big left circle (largest aperture) and the small circle on the right (small aperture). The ring has no click-stops for apertures, and no marks of any stops, so you set the aperture on a G type lens by estimating where the vertical line on the blue ring should more or less be. In practice, you can easily set three basic apertures, the lens max, middle and smallest aperture, but any thing else becomes a guessing game. The travel between the minimum and maximum values is only about one centimeter, so it becomes quite hard to figure out where to place the vertical line for a given aperture. The movement for a single f-stop is so slight that it’s easily overdone and you skip a stop or two – especially when hand-holding the camera while turning the ring. With the camera mounted oNovoflex007n a tripod and by carefully turning the ring while wathcing the effect on the camera’s exposure meter, I could make finer adjustments to about half a stop, but that required such concentration that I lost track of the picture I was trying to make.

[Edit: Nov 2016:  Note that the adapter has no electronic contacts, so it does not support EXIF information, autofocus, image stabilising or the electronic aperture of E-type Nikon lenses; so in practice this adapter is not useful for E-type lenses at all. ]
Conclusion.
The mechanics are smooth and the adapter is built solidly. It will most probably last several decades. It works great with AIS and D type lenses, but considering it’s a Novoflex, and considering the associated price, the stupid tiny little lens release lever is my main gripe, and reason to not recommend this adapter. Also, I’m not yet sure if it was worth the extra expense buying this adapter over other makes just for the kind of aperture control it provides for G-type lenses. I guess if you have G lenses you’ll just be too happy to have at least some degree of support. Maybe it matters not that much if you consider it sufficient to set the blue ring just generally for a largish, middle or smallish aperture. However the G type lens experience is not by far as good as one can have with the older AIS or D type lenses. [Added Nov 2016: Nikon is now releasing more and more E-type lenses, with which this adapter is not compatible at all. Until a full electronic adapter is released, E-type lenses can not be adapted yet.]

[ Article originally posted in 2012. Reworked to add extra adapters, and in Nov 2013 ported here from old website. ]

[Edit 2014: I noticed an adapter is sold by Cameraquest see here that looks from the photo like it has marked stops for G lenses, and a larger release button than the Novoflex adapter. It may be worth investigating.
An adapter that came on the market after I purchased the Novoflex, is the Metabones adapter. Another nice adapter from them is their Speed booster version. Both these Metabones adapters have markings for f-stops that may perhaps be more user-friendly to G type lenses; and it seems from their images they have a nice big release lever. Both these adapters have an Arca-swiss type tripod mount built-in. If I were in the need for an adapter again, these features will convince me to lean towards the Metabones; [Added 2016:] although I would also like to see an electronic adapter to support G and E-type lenses. ]

Posted in Nikon hacks