This blog is a user's perspective on the Micro Four Thirds camera system. Read more ...

Lens Buyer's Guide. Panasonic GH4 review.

My lens reviews: Olympus 9mm f/8 fisheye, Lumix G 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6, Leica 25mm f/1.4, Lumix X 12-35mm f/2.8, Lumix X 35-100mm f/2.8, Sigma 30mm f/2.8, Sigma 19mm f/2.8, Lumix X PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6, Lumix X PZ 45-175mm f/4-5.6, Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8, Panasonic Lumix G 100-300mm f/4-5.6, Panasonic Leica Lumix DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f/2.8 1:1 Macro, Panasonic Lumix G 45-200mm f/4-5.6, Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 pancake, Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 pancake, Panasonic Lumix G HD 14-140mm f/4-5.8, Panasonic Lumix G HD 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6, Panasonic Lumix G 8mm f/3.5 fisheye, Lumix G 7-14mm f/4, Samyang 7.5mm f/3.5 fisheye, Tokina 300mm f/6.3 mirror reflex tele, Lensbaby 5.8mm f/3.5 circular fisheye lens
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Saturday 27 February 2010

Nikon to m4/3 adapter

One of the benefits of the Micro Four Thirds format is the short register distance. Since virtually all other formats have a longer register distance, it is possible to make adapters for other lenses to be used on Micro Four Thirds.

Here is one of many adapters available:

It attaches to the camera just as a Micro Four Thirds lens. Here is a video showing how to attach the adapter to the Panasonic Lumix GH1.

It reads "NIK-M4/3", and can be used to mount Nikon F mount lenses to a Micro Four Thirds camera. These kind of adapters are simple, meaning that they only provide a means to mount the lens, and no control over the aperture or focus is possible from the camera. On the positive side, they are rather inexpensive, and can be purchased for around US$30-40.

When using a third party adapter like this, the camera has no electronic confirmation that a lens is actually connected. For the camera to still operate, you need to set the menu item "shoot without lens". This is found under the "Custom" menu, indicated by a "C" with a wrench icon. Here is the menu item from the GH2 camera:

In the picture below, the adapter is used to mount a Nikkor 200mm f/4 AIS tele lens to the Panasonic Lumix GH1. When using this legacy lens on a Four Thirds camera, the field of view becomes equivalent to a 400mm lens. With a long tele like this, using a tripod is a necessity. While you can choose fast shutter speeds and capture an image without blurring due to camera shake, framing the subject is very difficult when handholding this combination. Recording video without a tripod is virtually impossible with such a long lens.

This lens has an aperture ring. Since the camera cannot control the aperture, it needs to be set manually. The presence of an aperture ring makes this operation easier. Some more expensive adapters have a means for controlling the aperture also for lenses without the aperture ring, e.g., the Nikon G mount lenses.

Many newer lenses do not have aperture rings, and require an adapters with a lever to stop the lens down. This goes for both Nikon and Pentax lenses.

Focus confirmation

There is some talk on the internet about adapters that provide focus confirmation for legacy lenses. To my knowledge, such a thing is not possible with Micro Four Thirds cameras. The cameras cannot confirm the focus when using non-compatible lenses. In fact, with the current cameras, the only way for the camera to know that the image is in focus, is to use a Micro Four Thirds lens, or one of the CDAF compatible Four Thirds lenses.

To be able to confirm the focus, the camera must jog the focus back and forth to find the optimum contrast. This is not possible with manual focus lenses, of course, since the camera cannot control the focus at all. So focus confirm adapters for Micro Four Thirds simply make no sense at all.


A fun fact is that the adapter is larger than the Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens. (The lens to the right below.)

Example images

Here are two example pictures taken at f/4:

And an example video:

I have also looked into an adapter for Pentax K lenses.


  1. Is it hard to attach? Could you quickly change between Nikon F Mount adapters to Canon EOS Mount adapters?

    1. Um, yeah. It's pretty simple. Just take off the adapter (with the lens still attached to it) as you would take off any m43 lens. Then attach your Canon lens (which is attached to your EF to m43 converter) as you would attach any m43 lens. Simple

    2. Actually, I just found out that it isn't stuck. You just got to twist it the other way to open it.

  2. Attaching the adapter to the camera is as easy as attaching a lens to the camera. It works in exactly the same way, and the adapter uses the same mount as a lens has. No problem at all.

  3. Is it possible to mount an older extension ring (PK-3) on the adapter safely? I know it can't be used with newer Nikon bodies such as my D700. Thanks!

  4. The front side of the adapter behaves just like an ordinary Nikon F mount, so I think it should work well.

  5. Would be interesting to try this adapter with a Nikon nifty-50 as an alternate portrait lens. The crop factor would give it an equivalent focal length to the "standard" 100mm portrait lenses. The Nikon nifty-50 also has an aperture ring, so aperture and DOF can be controlled.

  6. If I used this adapter on a Panasonic GF2 and then wanted to attach a Dianna f lens which would require the nikon f to Dianna adapter on top of this adapter would that work?

    1. You could, but you'll lose some (if not all) the focusing power; since for the lenght of the second adapter, the objective won't be focusing on the detector

  7. where can i find such an adapter, thxs

  8. Just do a search on Ebay for the term "Nikon to m43 adapter"

  9. Hi, m43photo:

    I've been pondering over whether I should get a Nikkor 50mm, F1.4 or a Panasoic F1.7 pancake for indoor shots with my GH2.

    I know the AF function will no longer be available when using a legacy lens. On one hand, when taking pictures indoor, timing may not be as a pressing issue as in taking sports pictures. I probably can take my time fiddling around.

    On the other hand, I'm a relatively inexperienced photographer. The rather intimidating thought of giving up the built-in assistance from the camera hesitates me, even though I have a feeling that I'll master the techniques over time.

    From your broad experience of lenses, how do you feel about the above choice of Nikkor over Panasonic? Any input is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    Busy mom

  10. Hi, m43photo:

    One more question about the Nikkor 50mm lens f/1.4: I've seen f/1.4G and f/1.4D. What's the difference between them, except for the extra $100+ on the price tags? Thanks.

    Busy mom

    1. The Nikon D lenses have an aperture ring while the G lenses don't. For this purpose a D lens is what you need. Even better, a manual focus Nikkor AIS lens which is much better built.

      Unless you really need f/1.4, a 50mm f/1.8 may be better - and cheaper as well.

  11. When it comes to using legacy lenses on the GH2 camera, my honest opinion is that it is for people who have special interests in this area.

    If you get the adapter, which is rather cheap, you can easily attach a Nikkor lens. But to operate it is much more awkward than using a Micro Four Thirds lens. Not only because the Nikon lens would be manual focus only, but also because you must set the aperture manually on the lens.

    Assuming you have a Nikon lens with an aperture ring, here is what you would usually do when composing a photo:

    1. Change to the largest aperture by moving the lens aperture ring, to ease the manual focus.

    2. Operate the focus ring to find your desired focus. Click on the camera jog wheel to bring up the magnified view, if needed.

    3. After having focused, stop down the aperture to a smaller opening before taking the photo.

    4. If you need to refocus, go back to step 1.

    With a Micro Four Thirds lens, you just set the aperture you want with the camera jog wheel, and press the shutter to focus and take the photo. That's it.

    So I think most people would be much more happy with a Micro Four Thirds lens, as opposed to using a legacy lens on an adapter. Then again, some people prefer to operate the focus and aperture manually, and see this as an advantage.

    The G-version of the lens is a completely new design. It has a new optical design, and it (probably) has much better image quality.

    On the other hand, the older D-version is better suited for use on a Micro Four Thirds camera, since it has an aperture ring.

    So if you want to get this type of lens, getting an older one with the aperture ring is probably best.

    But for most users, I would recommend getting a Micro Four Thirds lens, as it is much easier and more fun to use. But here you will find that people have different opinions.

  12. Hi, m43photo:

    Thank you very much for your detailed reply. I'll try the easy route first. If I'm happy with the outcome, then there will be no need to make it hard for myself!

    Busy mom

  13. I have a Lumix DMC-G2K camera. I am having trouble finding professionals in my area (near DC) who are familiar with the 4/3 format and need some help: I'm using the camera for business videos and I'd like to use one of my Nikon lenses by finding the right adapter. I'm looking for a close-up image of one person. These are the lenses I own in order of my preference:

    #1. Micro Nikkor 55mm f/3.5
    #2. Nikkor 50mm f/1.4
    #3. Nikkor 50mm f/2

    I found this one online and wonder if it's appropriate:

    I'd appreciate any help about which adapter would work and where I can buy one. I'm assuming I'd have to use the manual mode but would like to know for sure that the other features would be disabled.

    Thanks for any help you can offer.

    1. And they dare to call themselves professional? let me sort them out!

  14. Hello, you can use any adapter that you find on Ebay by searching for "nikon micro four thirds adapter". They range in price from US$ 300 (Novoflex) down to around US$ 30 for basic no name adapters.

    All three lenses should be good for your intended purpose. It's easier to use a lens which has an aperture ring. I think all the three lenses you mention has the aperture rings.

    With the lenses you mention, you need to keep a distance just above 1 meter to get a headshot of one person. You need a larger distance if you intend to take a head and shoulders photo.

  15. Hello, m43photo:

    I’ve started experimenting with the Nikkor 50mm lens on my GH2 (and G3, the new camera I bought).

    It has produced some interesting pictures and I’d say it’s been fun so far. However, I’ve not been able to change WB and ISO in the middle of shooting as the WB and ISO buttons won’t work. Do you have any idea how to change these settings in the 'shoot w/o lens' mode? Many thanks.

    Busy Mom

  16. Hi, m43photo:

    I think I figured it out. Now with all the buttons working as they should, using this lens manually seems even more fun! Another good thing about it is that all the filters I previously bought for my LX5 are compatible with it!

    BTW, I enjoyed your video clips of New York. They bring back a lot of memories. You must be using the f/1.7 pancake when shooting at night as the long lenses are almost useless under low light conditions.

    You previously commented that the Leica 25mm is not interesting (of course, you've owned most of the primes for m43s). What do you look for when you buy a prime lens?

    Busy Mom

  17. You're right that many of the night shots from New York are done using the Lumix 20mm lens. A disadvantage with this lens is the slow autofocus. You'll note that in some of the video clips, the camera jogs the focus back and forth to verify the focus during video. This causes the image to go out of focus for 1-2 seconds, and is a bit annoying. What I should have done, is to frefocus (using AF), and then turn to MF before starting the video recording. That would almost always have given a better result.

    I also use the zoom lenses for video in some of the night clips. The camera pushes the ISO higher, but it still works well.

    The Lumix/Leica 25mm f/1.4 is not so interesting from my perspective, since I already have the Lumix 20mm f/1.7. And there is little to gain from upgrading. One advantage with the 25mm lens is the quicker autofocus, though, which makes it better for video.

  18. (sigh...) The 25mm is still not available for sale from the vendor I prefer. In the meantime I can use the Nikkor lens to practise MF. To be honest with you, I feel that the 100mm equivalent focal length works perfectly for me, which makes me wonder if the angle of view of the Leica 25mm is as desirable, but, with it I will have AF on my cameras.... Anyhow, I'll try it for sure when I can get my hands on it to compare.

  19. Another alternative is of course the new Olympus 45mm f/1.8, which also has fast AF, and a field of view more similar to 100mm equiv.

  20. Thanks! I'll look into it.

  21. Wow, this is exciting!! You've pointed me to a new direction which I've overlooked. Could you please tell me how Olympus lenses work on Panny bodies? Are they fully compatible without compromising important features?

    I'm interested in the 45mm f/1.8 as well as the 12mm f/2.0. Has the spec of the 50mm been released yet? I'd like to see that before I make another purchase for new lenses. Well, the 45mm f/1.8 is not available in my area right now anyway. I guess I have to keep on waiting.....

  22. Yes, you can use all Micro Four Thirds lenses on all Micro Four Thirds cameras.

    So you can safely use the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 on the Panasonic GH2. No problems at all. The lens does not have built in image stabilization, hence, there will be no image stabilization when you use the lens on the GH2. But this is just the same as with the Panasonic 25mm f/1.4.

  23. Hello, m43photo:

    I did some research online and it looks like Oly has postponed the release of the 50mm to the end of this year. When its specs become available, I'm going to compare them with the 45mm and make a decision then.

    In the meantime, I can't stop thinking about the 12mm lens. Having it on my cameras is like having another LX5 with a superior sensor. I'd love to have that! For that reason, I also did a little research on the 12mm+Panisonic G series combination and I found the following on dpreview:

    Has anyone any thoughts on whether the new Olympus 12mm f2 lens will work ok on G series, particularly GF1? Both Autofocus and Manual?
    I understand that it has been designed to match the improved/faster focusing system of the E-P3.
    All m4/3 lenses are compatible with all m4/3 bodies (although the Lumix 3D lens might be an exception to the rule in terms of the 3D files). AF will work fine, but maybe a little bit slower than on the E-P3. MF in the 'normal' mode with focus-by-wire is the standard for m4/3, so that will work. It will even trigger the magnified view like Lumix lenses do too.
    MF in the new mode should also work, but that's a new function so I'm not sure (it's not really a mechanical focus).
    Geometric distortions will also be corrected, accorded to the specifications of the lens. The G-camera will not correct for CA like it does for Lumix lenses. That function is not part of the lens mount system, only in the Lumix system.
    Which is really annoying. CA is by far the easiest optical flaw to correct for non-destructively, and it is also one of the most visually obvious.
    Panasonic lenses include data on CA and transmit this to the body (along with the other info.). The problem is that the Olympus bodies never record this data to the RAW file, so not only do the camera JPEGs not benefit, RAW files using things like ACR miss out too.

    I don't really understand the 'CA' part. Is this something detrimental? I'm planning to explore the RAW file option in my cameras in the near future. Would this 'CA' problem inhibit such usage? Please advise. Thank you very much.

  24. hi m43photo:

    i am planning to switch to the m43 system (coming from Nikon system). can i use this nik m43 adapter for my AF-S lenses (ie, AF-S 35mm F1.8G DX)?

    how about AF-D lenses (ie, AF-D 85mm F1.8 FX)? thanks.

  25. Any Nikon F mount lenses can be mounted to this adapter. They all share the same lens mount since the 1950's. However, you can not control the aperture through the camera, so it can be easier to use a lens that has a mechanical aperture ring.

    Both Nikon AF-S and AF-D lenses have the Nikon F mount, and can be mounted to this adapter.

  26. Hi there,

    although it is slightly off topic, do you know if with the 4/3 -> m4/3 adaptor, the auto-focus will work?

    For example, if you would use the Olympus Zuiko 9-18mm f/4-5.6 (NO micro) on a m4/3 camera.


    1. Yes, this is possible. In fact, I have tested this lens on the GH1 and GH2 here..

      Other 4/3 lenses can also be used on M4/3 cameras, but some older lenses only focus very, very slowly.

  27. As a note to anyone exploring different lens adapters for micro 4/3 applications. Although their low prices are tempting, some of the ebay mounts like Fotodiox seem to have quality control issues. In some cases the mounts work fine, in others the release button on the adapter to release the lens gets stuck or breaks easily, this causing the mount to be precariously stuck to the lens until you find some way to get it off. YMMV.

    If possible, i'd suggest trying in person before buying. Also, if there is a Panasonic alternative (IE: Leica M mount), I'd suggest getting that as you know the tolerances and build quality are good. When it comes to the cost of your lenses, it's better to be safe than sorry IMO.

    1. Agreed. My Fotodiox from old nikon to m43 mount is stuck on my nikkor lens, which is bad since I have two nikkor lenses and this one aint the good one! Don't buy that crap unless you only need one.

      On the side note, I shined light using small LED flashlight into the camera from the side where the bottom of the Fotodiox is. Thus, once more, it's a crap adaptor

  28. Hi,
    Just got Arsat-H 20/2.8 lens with Nikon mount from my friend. Is it possible to remove Nikon mount and by some adapter for M43 to use on my Panasonic GH2? Or I need adapter from Nikon mount to M43? If it possible to remove Nikon mount - which adapter I need to use this lens with GH2? Thank you in advance.

    1. If the lens already has a Nikon mount, then by far the easiest solution is to get a Nikon to M4/3 adapter. They cost around $20-30 on Ebay.

      To exchange the mount might be possible, but it will be very expensive. Probably more expensive than to just buy the Sigma 19mm f/2.8 EX DN, which is quite good, by the way.

    2. Thank you. Found Nikon F mount to M4/3 adapter on Ordered. They send me wrong one Nikon L/M to M4/3 adapter. Shipping it back.

  29. Do you know are there any adapters for Olympus 4/3 lens to a Nikon 1 camera? I would like to use the Nikon 1 camera with my microscope which has a 4/3 mount.

    1. I haven't heard about this. It could happen, since the Nikon 1 has a register distance which is 17mm, significantly shorter than 4/3 at 38.67mm. Hence, an adapter for putting 4/3 lenses on a Nikon 1 camera could be possible. But I have never seen such a thing.

  30. I have found that if I also set the ISO manually while I have Auto ISO selected on my D700, it sets the minimum ISO level. This is pretty neat since it means I can override the min shutter speed setting at will. I use the ISO setting button on the LH control group on the top of the camera.
    auto kamera

  31. I love you so much!!!

    I just bought a 4/3 camera and I was totally lost; I'm new in the vast interchangeable objective world (Ironically, I know how cameras work due to my work). Usually webpages aren't specific about micro 4/3, they even mention important stuff like:
    "One of the benefits of the Micro Four Thirds format is the short register distance. Since virtually all other formats have a longer register distance, it is possible to make adapters for other lenses to be used on Micro Four Thirds."

    You earned my love with that paragraph :)

  32. BusyMom in the threat above said WB and ISO didn't work. Why would that be and how did she get it to work?

  33. I am not that familiar with this mirrorless camera. But what I know is that manual mode in camera means you can control all the settings include WB and ISO.
    So BusyMom must found out that, I suppose.