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Can You Use Nikon Lenses on Canon DSLRs?
The answer is yes! You can use Nikon lenses on Canon DSLRs. All Nikon F mount lenses, and the mount G type lenses (without the aperture ring) will fit on Canon DSLRs.
All you need is a Nikon to Canon lens adapter. There are many options in the choice of an adapter and they range from $22-$360 (B&H Photo).
The cheaper adapters retail for around $22. These will work with older Nikkor lenses and even the newer G type lens.
Why Would You Want To?
Usually, when we hear of Nikon and Canon, they are bitter rivals. They don’t like to admit it, but they fight like the Red Sox and the Yankees.
So why would you want to use Nikon lenses on a Canon DSLR? Isn’t that like wearing a blue and white cap with a red and white jersey? No one has your back in this on-the-fence situation.
There are three main reasons why you would want to use Nikon lenses on a Canon body.
You might already own Nikon lenses, but want to make the switch to Canon DSLRs. This saves you money in purchasing new lenses. Or you own a Canon DSLR but like a specific Nikon lens, not available for Canon systems.
The last reason might be that you prefer Nikon lens quality but prefer to use Canon DSLR camera bodies. This could be down to the operating system, or that you prefer the settings or layout more.
Every camera has different mounts, making it virtually impossible to mount one manufacturer’s lens on a camera from a different manufacturer.
There are exceptions to every rule. Lenses made by third-party manufacturers are made for different mounts. Tamron, Sigma and Zeiss make lenses for Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc.
So, if you’re not using a third-party lens, the manufacturers need to match. Just be wary, as there are different types of mounts and lens systems within each manufacturer.
Disadvantages of Lens Adapters
You know it sounded too good to be true. There are, of course, drawbacks to using a Nikon to Canon lens adapter. These are a few things you need to consider.
Most importantly, there will be no usable Autofocus. The connections that make this possible do not work cross-platform. Imagine trying to play an X-Box game with a Playstation controller.
Next, you’ll find that the light metering modes will work, just not on point. Because of this, you could miss the correct exposure of any given scene, or not having the control over it at least.
If you are using a lens adapter for a specific lens, other features might not work. Telephoto lenses use Image Stabilization (Canon) or Vibration Reduction (Nikon), so using these lenses with an adapter means no stabilization.
On top of this, you’ll find no automatic aperture control. I hope you like shooting in manual mode, as this is basically what you are getting. Even the manual focus will be difficult in low light conditions.
TIP – open the aperture to focus, to then drop it back down to its desired size
Focusing is going to be difficult also. If you want a usable focus area, you’ll need an adapter with a chip. The same goes for needing EXIF information, except here, a programmable adapter will only allow you to keep metadata, such as ISO used.
Apart from these issues, you may want to purchase an adapter for each lens. This stops you having to change the adapter each time you want to change lenses. This becomes expensive.
Looking at these cons, mounting a Nikon lens to a Canon DSLR might not be a great idea for some of us. The number one drawback is that that the lenses are going to be fully manual.
If you can or prefer to shoot using manual focus and aperture control, then this system could work well for you. The same goes for the idea that you get to use that unique lens on your digital Canon camera.
Choosing an Adapter
A high-quality adapter is what you want, preferably metal. This makes it sturdy and won’t get damaged from constant use.
It needs to fit both the lens and the camera properly. The Nikon to Canon adapter needs to be reliable. Even better if the one you have can handle a blow or two.
Ultimately, an adapter that doesn’t fit properly means your lens is at a huge risk of falling. Cheap brands are likely to be made from low-quality materials and could damage your lens.
If you have a $2000 Nikon Lens, and an even more expensive Canon DSLR body, it would be a mistake to use a $20 adapter. It isn’t worth it in the long run
There are a few Nikon to Canon adapters available today. Novoflex offers a great adapter for Nikon lenses to be used with Canon DSLR bodies.
This adapter comes with or with integrated aperture control, yet it costs $60 more for the control. It won’t work for the G series Nikon lenses.
What About Canon Lenses on Nikon DSLRs?
There isn’t an article written looking at Canon lenses on Nikon camera bodies. Although they could be designed and produced, it is still theoretical.
The problem here is that Canon lenses don’t have infinity focus option on a Nikon DSLR.
This is because Nikon DSLRs have a longer distance between the lens mount and the focal plane. A Canon lens would act more like an extension tube than a lens.
The lens distance with Nikon DSLRs is 46.5 mm, whereas Canon’s is 44 mm. A 2.5 mm thick adapter can be used on a Canon DSLR. But you can’t make a -2.5 mm thick adapter for the Nikon.