Sunday, 10 May 2015

FT-1 third party lens compatibility

The Nikon FT-1 adapter allows you to put F-mount lenses on Nikon 1 cameras. When it comes to using Nikon brand lenses on the adapter, there is an official list of compatibility from Nikon.

However, when it comes to using third party lenses, there is no official list or support from Nikon. To help you decide which lens to get for using with the Nikon FT-1, I have made a list of lenses from Sigma and Tamron, describing how they work on Nikon 1 cameras. This was tested using the Nikon FT-1 with firmware 1.2, and the Nikon 1 V3 with firmware 1.1. Future firmware versions may yield other results.


About the results: I first describe if the lens works on the FT-1. A "no" here means that you cannot use the lens at all on the adapter. The camera repeatedly shows a message saying "check the lens", and there is a clicking sound from the lens. You can not even use the lens for manual focus. You can, however, mount the lens using a dumb adapter without any electronic contacts at all.


Finally, I describe if autofocus works. "Yes" here means that you can use the centre AF spot only. This also goes for when using Nikon brand lenses on the adapter, the multi area modes do not work. You can, however, use AF-C mode. A "no" to AF means that you can use the lens on the adapter, but only in manual focus mode. You can still operate the aperture from the camera, and you can use the lens image stabilization.

Some of the lenses, e.g., the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG, may work with a firmware upgrade. This lens has to be sent to Sigma for a firmware upgrade.

Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

Works with FT-1: Yes. Autofocus: Yes.

Sigma launched this lens early in 2015, to compete with the pro fast wide angle lenses from Canon and Nikon. It covers the fullframe sensor, as you would expect.

Example image taken at f/1.4, 1/400s, ISO 400:



Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM Art

Works with FT-1: Yes. Autofocus: Yes.

Sigma's second version of their fast normal lens for APS-C (crop sensor) DSLR users. Compared with the original lens, this one has a redesigned optical formula, and a much better focus speed.

Example image taken at f/2.8, 1/400s, ISO 1600:



Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

Works with FT-1: Yes. Autofocus: Yes.

Expensive, but regarded as the reference lens for fast fullframe 35mm lenses these days. At least while we wait to get the Sony 35mm f/1.4 for the E-mount.

Example image taken at f/1.4, 1/800s, ISO 400:



Sigma 50mm DG HSM Art

Works with FT-1: Yes. Autofocus: Yes.

Sigma's attempt to make the ultimate fast normal lens for fullframe DSLR users. It was launched early in 2014.

Example image taken at f/1.4, 1/500s, ISO 1100:



Example image taken at f/1.4, 1/500s, ISO 720:



Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM (old version)

Works with FT-1: Yes. Autofocus: Yes (but rattles during focus).

I would say this is the first lens which showed Sigma's new confidence back in 2008: It is designed not to be a cheaper replacement for Nikon and Canon's similar lenses, but to be better and more expensive. It was later superseded by the even more expensive Art lens, see above.

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG

Works with FT-1: No. Autofocus: No.

This lens also illustrates the increased confidence of Sigma in 2010: Designed to take on similar high end lenses from Nikon and Canon. Unfortunately, it does not work with the FT-1 adapter on Nikon 1 cameras.

Sigma 4.5mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM Circular Fisheye

Works with FT-1: Yes (but the mount was a bit tight). Autofocus: Yes, but it rattles a bit.

This is a quite unique lens: A circular fisheye lens designed specifically for APS-C DSLRs. However, it was designed to work also on the Four Thirds format, meaning that the image circle is smaller than the height of the APS-C sensor size. The image circle diameter is 12.5mm. Using this lens on a 24MP camera like the Nikon D7200, you will get an effective 8MP image, the rest of the sensor falls outside of the image circle.

The lens gives quite good image quality.

Here is an example image from using the lens on a Nikon 1 V3 camera. Note that the top and bottom of the image circle is cropped by the smaller 1'' sensor size. The exposure parameters were: f/2.8, 1/250s, ISO 1100:


An alternative lens is the Lensbaby 5.8mm f/3.5 circular fisheye, which has a slightly larger image circle. However, that lens has a rather appalling image quality, see my review here.

Here is an example video:



As you see, the lens becomes almost a diagonal fisheye lens in video mode, with some dark corners. This combination can be useful for filming skateboard event, where fisheyes are often used to get close to the performer, while also including the surroundings.

Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM Diagonal Fullframe Fisheye

Works with FT-1: Yes. Autofocus: No.

This lens only makes sense to use on a fullframe camera. On an APS-C sensor camera, it just becomes a wide lens with a lot of barrel distortion. And used on Nikon 1, it behaves like a distorted normal lens.

Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM 1:1 macro

Works with FT-1: Yes. Autofocus: No.

This is a quite old macro lens.

Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM 1:1 macro

Works with FT-1: No. Autofocus: No.

Appears to be discontinued.

Sigma 105mm EX DG HSM 1:1 macro

Works with FT-1: Yes/No. Autofocus: Yes/No. (Firmware dependent)

This lens could double as a portrait lens on a fullframe camera.

Newer lenses come with a firmware that supports use on the Nikon FT-1. If you have an older lens, you can have it upgraded, and it will most likely work fine with the Nikon 1 system.

Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM 1:1 macro

Works with FT-1: Yes/No. Autofocus: Yes/No. (Firmware dependent)

Newer lenses come with a firmware that supports use on the Nikon FT-1. If you have an older lens, you can have it upgraded, and it will most likely work fine with the Nikon 1 system.

Sigma 180mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM 1:1 macro

Works with FT-1: Yes. Autofocus: Yes.

This lens gives a 1:1 reproduction at a distance of about 0.5m. 

Sigma 300mm f/2.8 APO EX DG HSM

Works with FT-1: Yes. Autofocus: No.

This lens can be used on Nikon 1, but I wouldn't recommend it. Rather, I would source the newer Nikon 300mm f/4 PF. It has one stop slower aperture, but it works well on Nikon 1.

Sigma 24mm f/1.8 EX DG

Works with FT-1: Yes. Autofocus: No.

An older wide angle lens for fullframe cameras, it is pretty much obsolete now.

Sigma 24-105mm f/4 EX DG OS HSM

Works with FT-1: Yes. Autofocus: Yes.

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM

Works with FT-1: Yes. Autofocus: Yes.

This is a unique lens: Designed to be a DoF equivalent to the standard f/2.8 normal zoom. On Nikon 1, it corresponds to 50-95mm, i.e., a typical portrait zoom.

Example image, taken at 19mm f/2.8, 1/250s, ISO 800:



Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art

Works with FT-1: Yes. Autofocus: Yes.

Launched in 2015, this is a very unusual lens, a full format fast wide angle zoom lens.

Example image, taken at 25mm f/2, 1/250s, ISO 450:





Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM

Works with FT-1: Yes. Autofocus: Yes.

Designed as a cheaper alternative to the "pro" f/2.8 normal zooms for crop DX DSLR cameras.

I found that this lens did not work with the Nikon 1 V3 firmware version 1.0, but it does work with the 1.1 firmware.

Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8 DC OS HSM Contemporary

Works with FT-1: Yes. Autofocus: Yes.

This is the recent "Contemporary" version.

Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8 DC OS HSM

Works with FT-1: Yes. Autofocus: No.

Please note that this refers to the first version of the lens, not the more recent "Contemporary" version.

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM

Works with FT-1: Yes. Autofocus: Yes, but the focus rattles a bit.

A standard pro zoom for fullframe cameras.

Example image taken at f/2.8, 1/250s, ISO 500:



Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM

Works with FT-1: No. Autofocus: No.

Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM

Works with FT-1: Yes/No. Autofocus: Yes/No. Firmware dependent!

This is currently the widest affordable APS-C DSLR wide angle lens.

The first version of the lens, with the matte crinkle finish (nail file like surface), comes with a firmware which does not work well with Nikon 1.

But the more recent version of the lens, with a smooth lens barrel, does work fine.

If you have the old lens, you can probably have the firmware upgraded, and it will work just fine with Nikon 1.

Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM

Works with FT-1: Yes. Autofocus: Yes.

Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM

Works with FT-1: Yes. Autofocus: Yes.

Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 II DC OS HSM

Works with FT-1: No. Autofocus: No.

This lens is discontinued, and not really recommended.

Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM SLD

Works with FT-1: No. Autofocus: No.

Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM

Works with FT-1: No. Autofocus: No.

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Sports

Works with FT-1: Yes. Autofocus: Yes.

This lens does work on Nikon 1 cameras, my experience is that the autofocus can be variable when using it on the Nikon 1 V3 camera. Read more about it here. In good light, and with the newer V3 firmware, though, I have had very good results, even at full 600mm extension!

The camera has a massive metal chassis, including a metal hood. This has been proudly demonstrated with the polished model given to a retailer. The photo market is quite conservative, and a metal construction always helps sell lenses.

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Contemporary

Works with FT-1: Yes. Autofocus: Yes.

I have not tried this lens myself, but I have read that it is compatible with Nikon 1 cameras.

Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USM

Works with FT-1: No. Autofocus: No.

Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 VC PZD

Works with FT-1: Yes. Autofocus: Yes.

Conclusion


Using the Nikon FT-1 adapter, you can use an immense number of Nikon F lenses. However, most of the time, it is better to get the native Nikon 1 lenses, as they are more compact and better suited.

Now, there are times when it may make perfect sense to use a Nikon F lens on a Nikon 1 camera. For example, if you are using a Nikon DX DSLR as well, you could get the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 for use on both cameras. It will put you back less than the native Nikon 1 32mm f/1.2 would, which can only be used on Nikon 1 anyway.

The downside is that going this route has some risk. It could be that a future firmware update makes the lens useless on the Nikon FT-1. Apparently, that has happened with the Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 SP Di VC USD XLD. After the FT-1 v1.2 firmware update, it would no longer focus on Nikon 1 cameras.

21 comments:

  1. I have had no problems with my Tamron 70-300 VC, and I have the latest firmware in both my FT1s!

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  2. actually the Sigma 24-105 works fine, AF and all.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment. Like I said, different firmware versions (on the camera, lens, and adapter), can yield different results. The Sigma 24-105mm did not work when I tried it on the Nikon 1 V3 (FW 1.0), FT-1 (FW 1.2), and unknown firmware on the lens. The lens probably needs to go to a repair centre for firmware update, if one exists.

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  3. I have a Sigma 8-16mm which functions with no problems on my V2 with FW 1.20 FT 1.2 and lens 1.00 firmware
    Everything works as expected.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I have tested more lenses, and it seems that the first version of the lens (with the matte, crinkle finish) does not work, while the newer lens with the smooth lens barrel does work.

      Even the older lens can probably be upgraded to a more recent firmware to also work on Nikon 1.

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  4. I have used a Sigma 120-300 f2.8Sport with and without a 1.4x convertor. Works well on my V1

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    Replies
    1. Good to hear! I wasn't able to test that lens.

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  5. Hi, that's a great resource. Has anyone checked the sigma 150-600 contemporary on a V1+FT-1?

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    Replies
    1. I haven't tried this combination myself, but I have read other people's reports that the Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary does work with the FT-1 adapter.

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    2. It works ok on my nikon 1 v3 and ft1

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    3. will this depend on the Nikon 1 (and FT1) firmware?

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  6. Nikon V1 works with my Sigma 500mm f4.5 ... AF works as well.
    http://sigma500mmf45.blogspot.my/2014/05/rufous-collared-kingfisher.html

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    1. And I also used few other lens with the Nikon V1 + FT1 adapter. I am keeping a blog on my collection of photos with Nikon V1 at http://nikon1birding.blogspot.com

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    2. I have the same lens with my V3. Your photos are amazing. How can you shoot like this at shutter 1/2 sec? YOur effect zoom focal length is over 1500mm though.

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  7. I have actually tried a rental Sigma 150-500 OS and the lens worked well with my V1 and FT-1. That is including AF.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, that is good to know. The rental lens probably had a more recent firmware than the lens I tried. With these older Sigma lenses, this tends to be a firmware issue: If you can get a newer firmware, then it is more likely to work with the FT-1 adapter.

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  8. I have the older version 1.1 FT-1,works with my Sigma 500mm f4.5 and Tamron 150-600mm zoom.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InQB86dx5ek

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  9. Nikon 1 v3 + last firmware ft1, all ok with sigma 150-600 cobtemporary and sigma service is able to adapt new sigma 105 f2.8 macro to ft1 allowing af . The same updare cannot be dobe for old sigma 180mm hsm macro whose af works but findibg no focus...

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  10. I was forbidding...sigma 150-600 ok with 1,4x and ok with 2x but focus on 2x works if you bring the focus near the right choice..othervise it does not target a focus.

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  11. All my third part lenses on my Nikon1 J5 (1.01) + FT1 (1.20) :

    - Tamron 18-270/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD - B008
    & Tamron 16-300/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro - B016
    Works with FT-1: Yes
    Autofocus: Yes (difficulties to focus after 150-200mm and beyond)

    - Tamron 17-50/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF] - A16
    & Tamron 28-75/2.8 XR Di Macro - A09N II
    & Tamron 70-200/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro - A001N II
    Works with FT-1: Yes
    Autofocus: No

    - Tokina 11-16/2.8 AT-X PRO SD (IF) DX II
    & Sigma 18-35/1.8 DC HSM Art - 013
    Works with FT-1: Yes
    Autofocus: Yes

    - Samyang 14/2.8 ED AS IF UMC
    & Samyang 85/1.4 AE AS IF UMC
    Works with FT-1: Yes
    Autofocus: No, of course, manual focus lenses

    - Sigma 300/4 D
    Works with FT-1: Yes
    Autofocus: No, of course, screw auto-focus motor needed (AF-D).

    (just for fun)
    - Nikkor AF 80-400/4.5-5.6 D ED VR + Bower MC 2X N/AFd tele-converter
    Works with FT-1: Yes, great to shoot the moon.
    Autofocus: No, of course, screw auto-focus motor needed (AF-D).

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