There Is No Free Lunch, Episode 763: Lens Adapters

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Lens adapters can be useful things sometimes, letting you mount one brand of lens on another brand of camera.

One thing that has always bothered me, though, is the idea of doubling the number of lens-mount interfaces. When you look at the thick metal pieces on the front of the camera and the back of the lens, and then consider that they have to be lined up exactly parallel to the image sensor, it's kind of amazing it works.

Although it doesn't always work. Lloyd Chambers first reported years ago that with high-quality, wide-angle lenses you could detect very small misalignments in the camera-lens mount. Misalignment of 10 microns from side-to-side was enough to cause blur on the sides of the image. Since then a lot of other people have confirmed the same thing.

So when I hear people cavalierly talking about putting an adapter on their camera I tend to cringe. When a single camera-lens interface has enough variability to sometimes be visible, adding another large piece of metal with another mount interface seems a recipe for problems.

Don't get me wrong. Generally, they're acceptable or people wouldn't use them. But I always am curious about what acceptable looks like in the lab.

Optical Bench Testing

We've been working a lot with our optical bench, testing large enough quantities of each lens to develop our acceptable ranges, since we plan to start adding this testing to the Imatest testing we currently use for quality assurance. An optical bench isn't necessarily better than image-based testing programs like Imatest, but it has some specific advantages.

One big difference is that an optical bench tests at infinity (on wide-angle lenses, Imatest or DxOAnalytics may be testing at 4-6 feet focusing distance). Another is it tests the lens directly; the variability of a camera body is eliminated from the loop. There are some things a bench doesn't do as well, too. For example you don't get a full picture of the entire lens in one run; you get a line of data from one side to the other. You have to rotate the lens in its mount and do several lines to get a complete picture of the entire lens surface.

Since the information from our optical bench is different from the Imatest graphs I usually use for illustrations, let me go over one quickly.


Wells Optical Bench printout of MTF by field of view and frequency.


The horizontal axis shows degrees off-center, with "0" the center of the lens. The vertical axis is the MTF reading ("1" being theoretical perfection and "0" being gray mush).

The charted colors show various frequencies. For this graph we chose to show the MTF at 10, 20, 50, and 80 line pairs per mm. Most manufacturers' MTF graphs limit themselves to 10 and 30 or 10, 20, and 40 as frequencies. We're including some higher frequencies just because we're still learning about using this tool to identify bad lenses.

There are two charted lines at each frequency, one representing tangential and the other sagittal lines. When the two lines of the same color are separated, there is some astigmatism. (You don't have to worry about the terms - just that if the two lines of the same color are widely separated, that's not good, close together is good.)

The graph above is of a good copy of a good lens, the Zeiss 35mm f/2.0. There are some slight differences away from center with one side having a bit more astigmatism and the other a bit lower MTF at higher frequencies, but this is really minor stuff that wouldn't show up in photograph.

To give you a bit more experience with this kind of graph, below are printouts from 4 other Zeiss 35mm f/2.0 lenses - all of which are optically excellent as determined by Imatest and careful pixel-peeping.



Again, let me emphasize that what you're seeing is normal (actually less than normal) copy-to-copy variation in good copies of the lens. Actual bench testing is almost like fingerprinting. No two copies are exactly the same. Notice the similarities. There is nearly no astigmatism right at the center and similar MTF values, particularly at the 10 and 20 /mm frequencies that are most critical.

To give you some idea of what a not-so-good lens looks like on the same set of parameters, here's one that's not so good.

Notice this one is still quite good in the center, but has some major problems developing on the right side. The settings on the optical bench we used for this series make it look much worse than it really is. While the graph makes it look like the MTF drops to zero, that's simply because the settings we're using report zero if focusing distance changes greatly or vignetting become severe.  That makes a nice warning signal for 'some human needs to come check this lens'.

Our parameters are pretty tight: the awful looking graph above actually is a lens that looks a little softer on the right side, but certainly not horrible. An online sized jpg would look perfectly fine, at 50% pixel-peeping or in a large print you'd notice it. I'll go into more detail about what we can do with the optical bench in some later posts; I just wanted to give you a quick overview for now.

Using Adapters on the Optical Bench

One thing you probably haven't thought about is that lenses have to be mounted on the bench in order to do these tests. That requires a separate, fairly expensive mount for each brand of lens. Obviously we had to pony up to get mounts for Canon, Nikon, NEX, and Micro 4/3 lenses. But, since I was already pretty unpopular in the accounting department, I hoped to avoid spending a few thousand more dollars to buy Leica, PL, and other mounts for lenses that we have a lower number of copies of.

I knew adapters might cause a problem, but thought, since we carry so many copies of various high-quality adapters, I could certainly find a few that were accurate enough to use. Once again, Roger's assumptions were way off base. I won't bore you with dozens and dozens of test results. But I'll show you a good example. In this case, we took the lens in the upper right of the 4 examples at the top of the page and tested it on a number of Nikon to NEX adapters. Here are 6 examples.

I won't bore you with another 20 graphs that look pretty much like these. We tried Leica to NEX and Leica to Micro 4/3 adapters, Canon to NEX, etc. We tried different lenses on one adapter. It didn't really matter. None of them would be acceptable for testing. Not one.

I'll point out that we carry only name-brand, fairly expensive adapters, not eBay $29 adapters. All of them are tested frequently and used frequently and none of the ones I tested today had any problems. Still, not one of them would be acceptable for testing, so I guess I'm going to have to order those expensive lens mounts after all.

What Does It Mean in the Real World?

Like a lot of laboratory testing, probably not a lot. Adapters couldn't all stink or people wouldn't use them. Like a lot of tests, you can detect a very real difference in the lab that doesn't make much difference at all in the real world.

Videographers are the primary users of adapters, and probably won't notice the problems at all. Video and cinema cameras shoot at lower resolution (even 4K video) than photography and tend to concentrate on center-frame so they're unlikely to see a problem.

Even photographers who use adapters are often adapting a larger format lens to a smaller format camera (Leica full-frame lens to Micro 4/3 or APS-C camera, for example). Assuming the lens is higher quality than a native lens they would otherwise be shooting, they might be perfectly happy. Still, I should point out that I  only tested these 35mm lenses out to +/- 12 degrees (their field of view is actually +/- 30 degrees). Even on a Micro 4/3 camera, the lens would have a field of view of +/- 15 degrees what we see here at 12 degrees should be noticeable.

In the examples above, though, center resolution is pretty much unchanged, it's only when you get away from center that you start to see issues. So someone shooting portraits and centered subjects is unlikely to notice an issue. A landscape photographer, though, would likely see some problems along the edges of the image.

Putting a great lens on your camera via an adapter might still be better than an average native-mount lens. On the other hand, that great lens certainly wouldn't be as good as it would be on its native-mount camera.


Roger Cicala


September, 2013

100 Responses to “There Is No Free Lunch, Episode 763: Lens Adapters”

Stephen said:

OK, I see. Not infinity. There's still something suspicious (in terms of it might be external light) about the shape of those curves. It might help to see the shape of the curves when calculated less finely and see if they are more rounded or have more relationship between tangential and sagittal.

Carson Harding said:

I was surprised when the issue I encountered with Leica to MFT adapters was with planarity, but with simple flange distance. Infinity was off in 3 out of 4 adapter brands I tried. And not pixel-peeping off, but visible-on-the-EP1-LCD-screen off. The first I tried was so far off zone focusing was impossible. The most expensive one was good enough. Putting them on the desk and looking at them edge on, the differences in thicknesses were visible.

Anthony Burokas said:

Are these optical correction adapters, or just physical attachment adapters?
i.e. optics or air inside the adapter itself?

I ask because there's a lot of adapting C-mount, B4 mount, and a lot of other lenses to Micro 4/3 and the vast majority of adapters are physical only. It's unclear whether you're testing physical adapting errors, or optical errors.

Lobalobo said:

Interesting report, but ... Shooting landscapes with the sort of camera that most attracts adapters, such as m4/3 is an inherently imprecise practice, particularly if hand held. Doubt the lens adapter is going to make much difference. Shooting landscapes with a large format (or medium format digital) camera on a tripod, then yes, I can see caring about every ounce of sharpness (to mix metaphors), but does anyone use adapters for this?

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Anthony, these are physical mount adapters only, no optics.

Brad Calkins said:

This is interesting, especially all the comments on how this doesn't really track with real world results. Long before mirrorless people have been adapting lenses. It seems to me that mirrorless cameras improve upon this by allowing live preview at the aperture to be used, with magnified focus on the sensor.

I wonder if one could see the softness of an adapter with focus peaking turned on, or if this is subtle enough to not even see it then?

Michael Rose said:

Perhaps this is too simplistic–
1) Is it possible to learn what the correct Height (/Thickness) of a given adapter should be?

2) If it's too thin, then send it back and get another one...

It would be possible to create 'shim' of the proper thickness, but I'm not sure where you could fasten it to the adapter?
You would probably have to put it under the lens-side (F-bayonet)flange or glue it on top of the camera-side (M-bayonet) flange

3) If it's too thick, then shouldn't it be possible to carefully 'machine' it to 'evenly' reduce the thickness, thereby correcting it?


PS Machining could be simple as a piece of 800 grit (or finer) sandpaper or crocus-cloth taped to a piece of plate glass, then oscillate and turn the adapter a 'few' times, and measure– repeat as necessary!

C Fynn said:

This has implications for those who plan to use lenses with an adapter on the rumoured full-frame mirrorless cameras.

Tony Wong said:

Very interesting initial findings. I'm hoping you can do a quick test/article on the strength of the mount and amount of deflection it can handle when a heavy lens is mounted on the camera.

For example, would there be any visible image issues or deflection damage that could be caused by allowing a heavy lens (like a 400mm prime) be lifted by the camera body (lets say a 1D series) instead of the lens foot?

David Ruether said:

Responding to what Morry Korman said:
"I wonder how the old Tamron adaptall lens mounts fared..."

This reminded me that in my comments above, I forgot to add that my 28-135mm f4-4.5 Tamron SP Adaptall II was also surprisingly good on MFT throughout its zoom range (although OOF areas in photos were often somewhat "strange" in appearance). I also forgot to say that infinity-focus with both adapters I use let the adapted lenses focus beyond infinity (but I consider this a minor problem since I focus adapted lenses using the available high-magnification manual-focus mode available on the camera body).

Dave said:

It'd be nice if you could have some data that compares native mounted lenses with adapter-mounted lenses -- and stop with the treating it as zero stuff (what's the point of that?). Also, are you actually testing every degree FOV or every 4 degrees? Why not test every integer? Anyway, this data is not really useable at the moment. If you could show us which brands were most accurate and precise over several instances of each brand (5 of each, say), that would be something we could use. Because I don't think people are going to stop using adapters..

Andrew Z said:

This seems much worse than expected. Surely all the adapter can do is tilt the lens off axis in which case if you rotate the lens enough you should still be able to get a good reading for one line (ie it will show improvement as you approach the line). Did that happen? If not there is another factor at play.

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Andrew, we could change things by rotating - moving the tilt around. But we'd need to do cuts every 30 degrees for 180 degrees to find an on-axis point and we weren't spending that much time. Our protocol at this point is to test at zero and 90 degrees - remember our original point wasn't to make a study of adapters, but simply to find an adapter accurate enough to avoid buying more $1,000 lens mount discs.

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Dave, I wouldn't want or expect people to stop using adapters any more than they should stop teleconverters or extension tubes. But lens reviewers and testers shouldn't be testing lenses mounted to adapters and considering the results valid for what the lens would do in native mount.

zosX said:

To the person that asked about adaptalls. I have used two adaptall lenses quite a bit with my Pentax cameras in the past. They were just as sharp as normal lenses with regular K-mount. The 28mm had some CA and coma towards the edge of the frame, but I'm pretty sure that was a fault of the lens and not the adaptall adapter. The adapter I have is well built. If you ask me, with the sony NEX there is something else going on IMO with the edges. Using lenses that are designed for similar flange distances to what you are adapting too shouldn't cause any real problems with a good adapter IMO.

Tesselator said:

My free lunch tastes great! But it's actually not free. My adapters cost between $12 and $25 (USD). And unless you camera is a SOLID titanium body (which none are) it warps and twists with the weather and lens weight more than what this article discusses. He said it best himself when he said: there's no real-world meaning to these tests. ;)

Kind of an amusing read though.

Pellicle said:

I'd like to know a bit more detail on this testing. Something seems to be odd here. For instance on the diglloyd blog (you cited) he seems to find its less of an issue with lenses longer than 50mm and on sensors smaller than full frame. This (what he says) makes more sence as with a shorter focal length lens a smaller movement (extension) is needed to make a larger difference in focus distances. So if using a 24mm lens on an adapted mount one would expect tolerance differences more significant than with a 50mm or even a 300mm. Quoting from diglloyd:
"Why short focal lengths? Because the percentage error for any fixed alignment error is much larger. My experience has been that 50mm on up is the safe zone, with 35mm on down becoming more and more sensitive to alignment errors (that's on full-frame DSLRs)."

"And the evidence in reviewing the Olympus E-P1 and Panasonic G-1 suggests to me that the four-thirds and micro-4/3 format is much less prone to misalignment."

which seems to be different to your findings.

someone said:

Regarding the link to opticampus.com about sagittal lines, I believe the drawings are incorrect; specifically, they're swapped (?). From all I've read sagittal lines run from the center of the lens outwards (like spokes on a wheel). The image you referenced mentions the sagittal "plane," rather than a sagittal line; so I don't know if that's the difference there (?). Example: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/lens-quality-mtf-resolution.htm

PenGun said:

Well I just bought a Metabones Leica M to Fuji X adapter for my Elmar 135 I have in the mail. I might have bought a cheap one but this article convinced me a high grade item would be a good idea.

Samuel H said:

For those saying smaller sensors will show less issues: no, they won't, if you keep field of view and depth of field constant.
You have to compare FF 50mm f/2.8 ISO 200 with m43 25mm f/1.4 ISO 800, as those are the options that will give you equivalent field of view, depth of field, and exposure.
If you're comparing 50mm f/2.8 on FF and on m43, of course the m43 has an advantage. But when you switch to a wider lens (25mm) and thinner DoF (f/1.4), problems will be more pronounced, this will compensate for the smaller corner-to-corner distance in the sensor, and you'll be back at square one.

Spanky said:

"Putting a great lens on your camera via an adapter might still be better than an average native-mount lens. On the other hand, that great lens certainly wouldn’t be as good as it would be on its native-mount camera."

A perfect summary.

John H. said:

I actually don't think I've ever seen the term "cavalierly" before this post.

Tord S Eriksson said:


I use a few F Mount lenses on my Nikon V1, using the FT1 adapter, and there are much fewer problems when using long lenses than wide ones, like the 70-300 VR acts like it is native to the V1, while 35/1.8G DX didn't work quite as well.

When it comes to the NEX range, the native lenses are more, or less, useless (there are a few exceptions, of course, like the Sony-made Zeiss 1.8/24), so any adapter combined with Full Format tele lenses work surprisingly well. I've tried both Nikon and Pentax, no major issues!

wuxiekeji said:

All of my lenses are adapted alt lenses. I use Leitax adapters which are basically permanent mount conversions. They are rock-solid and machining quality is top-notch. Never had a problem.

Tim K said:

I am curious if you tried adapters and lenses manufactured by the original company, ie sony adaptor for A mount to E mount. Does the original manufacturer suffer the same IQ impact as an after market company or is there specific system or manufacturing related knowledge that can advantage these devices?

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Tim, we haven't yet. I'll try to get around to that in the next few weeks.

someone said:

Hey Roger,

I haven't heard back from you regarding the proper definition of sagittal lines as I posted on October 1, 2013 at 4:10 PM.

Thanks for your attention! :)

Kerry said:

I know that tilt-shift lenses work great, for example the Canon 17mm. Most large format cameras provide multiple movements, and these cameras produce superb images.

I also know that it is very difficult and expansive to make a lens adapter that is precise enough to maintain image quality.

How can both of these seemingly contradictory conclusions both be true? How can a multiple degree lens tilt work just fine while just a few microns of asymmetry be such a problem?

AJ said:

Roger, surely you jest?
People would do this?
(Wears look of horror ...)

Roger Cicala said:

Dave, I wouldn’t want or expect people to stop using adapters any more than they should stop teleconverters or extension tubes. But lens reviewers and testers shouldn’t be testing lenses mounted to adapters and considering the results valid for what the lens would do in native mount.

AJ said:


Sagittal lines are basically radial (I wonder why they couldn't have been described as such?) 2 dimensional lines as visualized from the front of the lens.
Tangential lines are tangents to a circle who's epicenter is the center of the lens (now that one makes sense!).
However a lens is 3 dimensional so if one were to view a lens from the side then the correct visualization would be a plane through the lens (or elements as they would appear in a multi-element camera lens). So Sagittal (and tangential) plane makes a lot of sense.
That's my explanation and I'm sticking to it until something better comes along :-) (said that to my wife whilst we were walking down the aisle. She didn't seem to be impressed. Bouquets can be put in all sorts of unusual places. The organic parts are fine. It's the pins and wire they use to keep them arranged that's problematic).

Daniel said:

LensRentals has identified a value to lens buyers and renters: testing their lenses before sending them to clients. This really means that manufacturers release lenses that have lower quality than a careful photographer is willing to accept. But I don't access to an optical bench. Wish there was a dealer who tested lenses before sale. That adapters add problems to lens quality is worth knowing as well. Good job Roger and LR crew!

Andrew Cameron said:

Many people use 4/3rds lenses via the MMF-3 with OM-D E-M5 or E-M1 camera bodies.
I have 7-14mm, 14-35mm, 35-100mm and 90-250mm lenses and have found no problems at all... do you consider the MMF-3 adapter would be "acceptable for testing........."?
If you did such a test, I'm sure owners of the lenses similar to mine, who now use them via a MMF-3 on E-M5 or E-M1 bodies, would find such a test interesting.
However, I'm fairly confident that Olympus, knowing how many top grade lenses would be used via the MMF-3, would be very careful with their manufacture and quality control.
A test, as I said, would make interesting reading.

Timur Born said:

Roger, did you only test cross-platform adapters or did you happen to test original manufacturer adapters, too? I mean something like Sony E to A mount or Olympus FT to MFT. Is there reason to believe (hope) that these original manufacturer adapters are made to tighter specifications (no or less shimming needed)?

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:


I didn't test original equipment adapters. But since we already know that camera to lens mount is a source of variation for every manufacturer, I'd be surprised if they can make an adapter without it. Better than third party? Perhaps somewhat.

Remember, though, the point of this article is mostly for people doing tests/reviews on adapters. The numbers, if they run numbers, will probably be affected. Will it actually affect pictures? Probably not, especially if you're not shooting at f/1.4 like these tests were done at.


Timur Born said:

Thanks Roger. I am asking because of a recent Sony A7 related article on Ming Thein's site that mentions: "Don’t think you can get away with adaptors: the planarity of such adaptors is going to be absolutely critical, especially with such short flange distances and resolution numbers. You’ll actually be able to see the effects of a cheap, out-of-plane adaptor – it looks a little like a tilt. (I know this because I tried Hasselblad lenses on my D800E; none of the three adaptors I obtained had sufficiently tight tolerances to avoid this problem.)"

And I also know at least one DPR user who regularly shims his native MFT primes on MFT bodies. ;)

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

I saw Ming's article and I agree with him. I've already heard dozens of people who can't wait to adapt their Leica glass to A7Rs. Will it be better than Sony's first lenses? Almost certainly. Will they be as good as they are on a native mount Leica camera? Almost certainly not.

I'm glad I agree with Ming (because I wouldn't dare argue with him) - adapters are useful tools, but there's a bit of trade off.

Sem Svizec said:

Did you doublecheck with introducing controlled short amounts of positive/negative extension, and what focus adjustment can do about this? I mean, if the inf setting is not accurate (known to happen also with come lenses straight out of the factory), in practice one would usually adjusts focus.
And how about a reality check with a tilt adapter, or a TS lens?

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Sem, the test we run goes through the full focus possibilities of the lens automatically. Focus is not an issue.
Focus adjustment has to do with autofocus - and these are lenses tested on a bench. No camera involved at all.

Dan said:

What is your opinion of using an Olympus 100mm f2.8 OM lens and 28mm f3.5 OM lens via adapter on a Canon 6D? The focussing method would be using Canon's manual focus Eg-S screen. Is there a quality adapter for this example? Many thanks.

Timur Born said:

I am mostly just curious anyway, as I don't own any glass that would go on any adapter. Albeit it's still interesting to know how much of an option the "native" adapters are for those interested in the E-M1 and A7(r). My E-M5 has to go due to limitations with AF-C (kids) and ergonomics (controls and size). So apart from pondering if a 6D/D600 might be the better choice the E-M1 is a strong contender. And since the adapter comes free it opens the possibilities of making up for the smaller sensor with something like a 12-35/f2.0 FT lens.

Albeit the A7(r) doesn't seem too interesting from an ergonomic point of view I like the combination of FF sensor + fully embraced mirrorless concepts (EVF + screen + on sensor AF + live preview) over traditional mirror concepts. But with a truly lacking lens line-up you are kind of forced to use an adapter to even begin using it.

Sem Svizec said:

> Sem, the test we run goes through the full focus possibilities of the lens automatically. Focus is not an issue.
I'm not perfectly clear on how optical bench works, but you write it tests at inf. I mean, if the adapter is slightly too long, no focus adjustment can make the infinity sharp, although closer objects can.
And regarding TS lenses, I guess micron-grade central positioning would be difficult to ensure repeatably too?

e17paul said:

"What is your opinion of using an Olympus 100mm f2.8 OM lens and 28mm f3.5 OM lens via adapter on a Canon 6D? The focussing method would be using Canon’s manual focus Eg-S screen. Is there a quality adapter for this example? Many thanks."
I am using my OM lenses (24/2.8, 50/1.4, 135/2.8) on my 6D. The colours always seem more punchy than my Canon lenses, but I have yet to own an L. I'm sure the tolerance issues here will apply, but not to the degree that I have noticed them. I'm using a Fotodiox Pro, but don't know if cheaper adapters would do just as well.

Tim Parkin said:

I think what people are missing out on here is that the depth of field where this maximum sharpness exists is absolutely tiny. However the lens isn't now soft all of a sudden, it's just that the plane of focus isn't parallel to the sensor.

In actual fact you might find that the plane of focus is only a cm away at the edge than at the centre and so for all uses apart from art reproduction (and possibly front on architecture shots etc) the 'margin for error' in terms of the plane of focus is within bounds of the subject matter most people shoot.

The biggest danger is at infinity focus but being as most infinity including shots are taken with a smaller aperture perhaps the situation isn't as bad as we might fear.

It would be good to know what 'tilt' the lens mount has so we can quanitfy these things.

Would it be possible to measure just how far the focal plane is misplaced at the edge of the frame? If we have that and the distance to the test chart we can work out the tilt of the lens mount and hence what effect this would have on various scenarios (including infinity focus). I'd happily do the math to work this out..


LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Tim, the problem is it's different for every copy of every adapter we've tested. Not to mention a given adapter acts differently with different cameras and different lenses. So we'd have to test the camera-adapter-lens setup together. Change one and we change the total.

tjshot said:

I second Tim's point.
Furthermore we should consider that, for commercially available top quality adapters, the misalignment induced by adapter is within the same order of magnitude of tipical flange to sensor position error.
In other words, once the top-performing sample from the ones bench-measured above is mounted on a camera, an error is introduced which is generally bigger than the one induced by the eventual top-quality adapter.
Bench testing lenses takes camera-side errors out of the equation, thus is useful to assess bad samples.
But real word use implies coping with camera flange-sensor errors, and adapters are probably a marginal factor in the convolved; sometimes they are also effective in mitigating small flange misalignment.

Mike Sandman said:

Before reading this, I was puzzled by the poor edge results I got shooting landscapes with a Techart Canon EF-to-Sony E adapter on one lens (EF 17-40mm f/4.0), vs good results with an EF 70-200mm f/4.0 IS shooting close to the 200mm end. After reading the article I did some re-shooting with the 17-40 and got slightly better results by focusing more carefully. (The Techart adapter provides for autofocus, but it hunts and is imprecise.) Conclusion from a limited sample: you're certainly right that the problem exists (no surprise), and that it will be more visible to landscape photographers.

Tord S Eriksson said:

According to Steve Huff he gets better results using his Leica lenses on the A7r, than on his M 240, which is real praise for the adaptor indeed! From his pupblished pictures one tend to agree!

Douglas Anthony Cooper said:

This article is well-meaning, but it's in fact doing a lot of damage. You have to read deep down into the comments before you realize that your results have pretty much no bearing on real-world photography: it's about lens testing. I've seen all sorts of comments linking back to this page, as "proof" that adapted lenses are a bad idea on Micro Four Thirds.

My real world results? The Nikon 50mm 1.8G and 28mm/2.8 AIS are as sharp on my E-M1 as the Olympus 45/1.8 and 25/1.8, and in fact sharper unless I focus the native lenses manually. This is using a Metabones dumb adapter (as opposed to their Speedbooster). I've had equally good results -- astonishing, in fact -- with longer focal lengths: the Nikon 105/2.5 AIS, the 85mm/1.8G, and the Tamron 90mm Macro (non-VC). Admittedly, these are all legendary lenses, but that's the point: they retain this standard of image quality if you use the best adapter.

These lenses are giving me better results than I achieved with the same glass on a Nikon D700 and D7100 -- even in the center, so it's not simply because of the reduced image circle.

You might want to do another test, comparing actual photos. The only test of that sort that I've seen is Ming Thein's test of various macros, in which he admits to using a cheap adapter.

Why does this matter? Because the MFT standard is a real breakthrough, and people won't realize that if they believe that discerning photographers are restricted to native lenses. One of the major reasons that it's such an important format is this: it brings all sorts of legacy glass back to life.

Thomas said:

You do realize that your reviews are some of the best on the internet? Seriously, this stuff needs it's own dedicated website. You could create a cult following with this stuff. maybe even a little $$$.

With that out of the way, I like adapters. For hobbiest type work I say who cares? I mean, grab a few Minolta MD lenses, a cheap 20 buck adapter and go to town with an A7. I'll take the downsides over buying those overpriced Zeiss lenses anyday. For paid work, you still get what you paid for. Stick to native mount and get the best glass you can afford.

John Hansen said:

I know this is a rather old topic and my question is a bit off the mark, but has anyone done testing of the adapters which have glass in them. I see many comments that a given adapter intended to adapt the Canon FD lenses to the Canon EOS (EF) mount degrade the image, but I am looking for a way to quantify it on even one example adapter from any manufacturer. Any one out there with a test bench willing to do a review of adapters with glass to show how badly they degrade an image? Has it been done and my google search has simply failed to serve up the proper URL?

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