Vello Lens-Mount Adapters Make the Connection
If you’ve held on to all the lenses you’ve acquired over the years, this is the article for you. Maybe your T-mount lens is collecting dust in the attic or your Leica R series lens is rolled up in the sock drawer. If this is the case, break them out! It is a new day, as the advent of mirrorless camera systems has made these lenses relevant again and the availability of numerous Vello lens adapters is the key to getting them used. Lens-mount adapters simply allow lenses from one camera system to be attached to the camera body of another system. But in that simplicity rests a wealth of creative possibility and financial good sense.
Presently, B&H offers 21 models of Vello lens-mount adapters and not all are for the odd or semi-obsolete lens. There are adapters that fit Nikon F mount lenses to Canon EOS bodies for example, but the most popular current use for lens-mount adapters is to attach quality glass of various mounts to mirrorless camera bodies like Sony NEX, Fujifilm X, and Micro Four Thirds cameras. Of course, lens adapters are also popular with those shooting HD video who want to bring a certain look to their films and, really, anyone who recognizes the creative and financial advantage of using lenses from outside their present camera system.
For this hands-on review of Vello lens adapters, I utilized a Leica M Lens to Micro Four Thirds adapter and a Nikon F mount lens to a Micro Four Thirds adapter. This enabled me to use the high-performance and compact Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera with the fast and sharp Leica 35mm f/2.5 Summarit-M lens and then switch to the telephoto-zoom potential of a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8.
Installing these all-metal adapters is quite simple; align the red dots on the adapter and lens and rotate the adapter until it locks in place on the lens, then align the dots on the adapter and camera and rotate into place. Be careful not to overtighten or force elements together; Vello adapters attach smoothly. To remove an adapter, press and hold the release button as you twist the adapter off.
The first thing to know when using these lens mount adapters is that they are strictly mechanical. They do not offer any electronic communication between the lens and camera and you will, therefore, have to utilize manual exposure controls (or aperture priority) and manual focusing. In the case of the Leica lens I was using, this was not a hindrance, as the lens is manual anyway. However, on sophisticated cameras such as the E-M5, it is advisable to enable the “Shoot without Lens” function, which will disable any camera functions tied strictly to operating with dedicated auto lenses.
It may not always be possible, depending on your equipment and shooting needs, but I prefer to just keep the adapter on the lens full time and even store it that way. It eliminates a step when preparing to shoot. Most lens adapters are affordable enough to buy in multiples and keep permanently on your lenses, if that serves your shooting needs.
When putting a lens designed for full-frame cameras on a Micro Four Thirds camera, it is important to remember that you have to calculate the crop factor. In this case, my 35mm Leica lens had the 35mm equivalent focal length of a 70mm lens, so I shot standard-length portraits and reacquainted myself with the slower pleasures of manual exposure and focus. Using the long NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8 lens on the compact E-M5 was a bit unwieldy but the adapter that allowed them to work together provided a solid connection and, shooting on a tripod, I had no problem handling the extended focal length offered by the Micro Four Thirds format camera. In the case of the NIKKOR lens, I removed the adapter after each shooting session and it came off smoothly and reattached snugly without having to muscle it into place.
With all the adapters that Vello offers, it is important to carefully read the instruction manual to be sure you understand the specifics for each one. In general, they are quite straightforward: attach adapter to lens, then lens with adapter to camera and shoot. However, some of the adapters have specific features or considerations to understand before shooting with them. For example, the Vello Nikon G Lens to Sony NEX Camera Adapter provides an aperture ring in order to manually set aperture with the Nikon G lens, which has no manual aperture control. This adapter, as well as the Vello Canon EF/EF-S Lens to Sony NEX Camera Adapter, features a built-in tripod collar with a ¼”-20 socket in order to properly balance the setup when using the adapter with heavier lenses.
Also, adapters for T-mount lenses and C-mount cameras such as the Vello T Mount Lens to Sony Alpha Camera Adapter have an inside secondary ring with three small screws, which enable the lens to be positioned completely straight. The Vello Nikon F Lens to Canon EOS Camera Adapter has its release button on the inside and the Vello Canon FD Lens to Canon EOS Camera Adapter utilizes an integrated optical element with 1.25x magnification.
Vello is constantly developing new adapters and adding them to their lineup, so keep your eyes open for an adapter that will work with your camera-and-lens combinations. The right adapter will open up a world of creative possibility.
To learn more about these lens-mount adapters, stop by the B&H SuperStore in New York, speak with a sales professional on the telephone at 1-800-606-6969 or contact us online via Live Chat.