Since I finally jumped on the bandwagon and bought a Sony mirrorless camera (even after I said I wouldn’t), I have been looking at options to use my existing Nikon (and Sigma with Nikon mount) lenses with a Sony mirrorless camera.
There are three main options available with the price ranging from under $100 to nearly $500 depending on the Sony mirrorless camera and Nikon lens combination you are trying to use.
In this article I will look at three Nikon F to Sony E adapter options to use Nikon lenses (F and G type) with Sony mirrorless cameras (APS-C cropped sensor and full frame).
Before you decide which Nikon F to Sony E adapter you need (and you might decide you actually need more than one), you first have to be able to answer three questions.
- Are you using your camera for still photography, video or both?
- Is your Sony mirrorless a cropped sensor camera (APS-C: Sony a6000, a6300, a6500) or full frame (Sony a7, a7s, a7r, a7 II, a7s II, a7r II)?
- How important are wide angle lenses to your work (wider than 24mm).
Nikon F to Sony E – Option 1 – Low Cost
Your first option is to purchase a straight Nikon F to Sony E mount adapter.
If you use Nikon G series lenses (aperture is controlled electronically from the camera and there is no physical aperture ring on the lens itself) you will want to purchase an adapter that has an aperture ring (there are even lower cost models that do not have an aperture ring – but since it’s likely you will want to use at least one G type lens, it’s worth the small extra amount for aperture control on the adapter).
Two good options are:
Vello Nikon F Lens to Sony E-Mount Camera Adapter – $89 from B&H
I personally use the Vello adapter – it is very good quality and handles the job well.
However, there are a few factors to consider.
First, these are 100% manual adapters – no information is transmitted between the lens and the camera.
No exif lens data, no auto-focus, no in-camera aperture control, no lens vibration reduction (VR). The key provision there is manual focus only. If you’re only shooting video that’s not a big deal since you’re probably already used to manually focusing with Sony’s excellent focus peaking and focus zoom tools (these focusing tools are fully functional with these adapters). If you’re primarily shooting stills, this might be more of an issue for you.
Next, if you are using an APS-C cropped sensor Sony mirrorless camera (the a6000 line), these adapters will have a 1.5x crop factor. If you are using Nikon DX series lenses, they will look very similar to how they look on a Nikon APS-C camera. If you are using Nikon FX series lenses, they will be cropped (ie. 16mm = 24mm, 20mm = 28mm, 35mm = 50mm, 50mm = 75mm etc.).
If you like to shoot ultra-wide – 24mm or less, you cannot get wider than that with a full frame lens.
Unfortunately, Sony doesn’t have any APS-C ultra-wide prime lenses wider than the Sony E-Mount 16mm (24mm equivalent) f/2.8 ($248 from B&H / Amazon) – but you could get (another) Sony adapter ($158 from B&H / Amazon) to get down to a full frame equivalent of 18mm.
(If you want to use ulta-wide angle full frame glass with a Sony cropped sensor camera, you’ll want to keep reading.)
If you are using a Sony full frame mirrorless camera (the a7 line), these adapters will not add any crop factor – the image will look the same as on a Nikon full frame camera. Of course you will also have to use FX full frame Nikon lenses as DX cropped sensor lenses require a cropped sensor camera.
Lastly, although these adapters do have an aperture ring, and they are designed to work with G type Nikon lenses (electronic aperture control) they only work with lenses that have a manual aperture lever (see the photos below).
If your lens has fully electronic aperture (such as the Sigma 85mm f/1.4) you cannot control the aperture with one of these adapters.
Nikon F to Sony E – Option 2 – Expensive
If you want to primarily use Nikon FX full frame lenses with a Sony APS-C cropped sensor mirrorless camera, you may want to consider using an accelerator / speed booster adapter.
Two good options are:
Vello Nikon F Lens to Sony E-Mount Camera Accelerator Lens Adapter – $399 from B&H
These adapters are essentially the same as the first two adapters (100% manual with no information transmitted between the lens and camera), except they include an internal lens that converts the attached FX full frame Nikon lens to an APS-C cropped sensor format. The benefits are that the crop factor is eliminated, which is especially important for ulta-wide angle shooting (ie. 16mm is 16mm, 20mm is 20mm). An added benefit is that due to the re-focusing of a circle of light onto a smaller circle, these adapters add an extra stop of light (hence the accelerator / speed booster name).
I have used the Vello version of this adapter with a Sony a6300 and various Nikon and Sigma FX full frame Nikon mount lenses. It is excellent quality and very sharp – even wide open.
Again – if your lens must have a manual aperture lever (see photo above) if your lens has fully electronic aperture (such as the Sigma 85mm f/1.4) you cannot control the aperture with one of these adapters (although you can shoot wide open at f/1.4).
Nikon F to Sony E – Option 3 – Expensive
There is one mainstream option currently on the market (that I am aware of) for auto-focus and electronic control (exif lens data & aperture) for Nikon lenses on Sony cameras:
Vello Select Nikon F Lens to Sony E-Mount Camera Auto Lens Adapter (Version 4) – $399.00 from B&H
This is essentially the same adapter as the first option (1.5x crop factor for Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras, no crop for Sony full frame mirrorless cameras), except it is designed to transfer the electronic controls from the Sony camera to the Nikon lens.
The big advantage of this adapter is the ability to use auto-focus, including Sony’s awesome eye-auto focus.
However, lens compatibility for use with this adapter is very specific – here is the compatibility chart:
If you want to use this adapter for aperture control of the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 (Nikon mount), B&H reports that they have tested this combination and it works for aperture control most of the time, but focusing is slow.
(I want to thank B&H’s fantastic customer service department for helping with some of my questions about this adapter – they were very helpful).
I have not personally used this adapter, but reviews online are mixed. If you have tried it, please leave a comment below and let us know how it worked for you.
Conclusion and Recommendation
I originally purchased the Vello Nikon F Lens to Sony E-Mount Camera Accelerator Lens Adapter because I often shoot ultra-wide, and I like the idea of being able to use my FX full frame Nikon lenses with a Sony a6300 without having to worry about crop conversions.
However, after trying out this adapter, I decided that I just couldn’t justify the price just to get a little more angle of view. I also found that filming in slog2 on the Sony which requires a minimum ISO of 800 – that added stop of light sensitivity was actually a bad thing (you already have to add a significant amount of ND).
I use my Sony mirrorless primarily for video capture, so in the end I decided to stick with the full manual Nikon F to Sony E mount adapter.
However this is a compromise because I’m missing out on Sony’s eye-auto focus capabilities, and I cannot use my Sigma 85mm f/1.4.
If I had an unlimited budget I would love to cover all the bases by purchasing both the accelerator / speed booster adapter (Option 2) and auto-focus adapter (Option 3) – but I just cannot justify spending over $800 on lens adapters – by the time you’re at that point you might as well commit to purchasing a set of Sony lenses.
What Nikon to Sony Adapters Do You Use?
With the complex combinations of joining both full frame and cropped sensor cameras with full frame and cropped sensor lenses, there is no one-size fits all option for using Nikon lenses on Sony mirrorless cameras.
I chose to focus on Vello and Metabones adapters as two of the more mainstream options – but there are others available.
If you have had a good (or bad) experience using your Nikon glass on Sony mirrorless cameras, please leave a comment below and let us know!