Tag Archives: stils

PMW-F3 and Stills Glass, some observations.

I have been using my F3 with a range of stills lenses via the MTF F3 to Nikon adapter. Overall everything works very well and I am pleased with the quality of the images I have been getting. However the use of stills glass is not as easy as using dedicated PL lenses. The main issue for me is iris control. With a PL mount lens you have a nice big iris ring so you know exactly where your exposure is. With some of my stills lenses I do have a traditional iris ring and with these lenses all is good. But as so many DSLR’s these days have electronic iris control many of the lenses I have don’t have an iris control ring. Mike Tapa’s adapter can control the iris of a Nikon DSLR lens by moving the blade that controls the shutter on the rear of the lens, but there are no markings or any way way of knowing what the iris is set to. This makes judging when to use more ND or where you are regarding DoF impossible to judge other than via a monitor. You can’t tell whether you are operating the lens at it’s optimum settings. In addition many of the Nikon DX lenses don’t have calibrated focus scales, so again it all comes down to guess work and the monitor.

With well designed stills glass things work well. My older Tokina 28-70 AT-X pro works very well with an accurate focus scale and proper iris control. My Nikon 50mm f1.8 manual lens and Tokina 28mm f2.8 lens also work nicely, but the Nikon DX lenses I have are far from ideal. I’m considering getting a set of Zeiss ZF.2 stills lenses as these appear to be very good lenses. I really need a prime in the 85mm range for interviews and portrait type shots.

The focal lengths I use the most are: 28mm, 50mm and  70mm. I would use a bit longer if I had the right lens. I don’t use the 18mm very often except for panoramas and landscapes.

So…. PL would be nice, but at the moment my budget won’t stretch to that. The Sony kit lenses are certainly great value for the money, but really 35mm isn’t wide enough so I would have to add a wider lens anyway. Stills glass can produce great results, but is not quite so user friendly.