Nikon FT-1 Review Lens Adapter
Crop Factor 2.7 - Yeah!
The FT1 allows the use of almost all Nikon mount lens on a Nikon 1 series cameras. With all Nikon 1 cameras being a CX sensor size, approx. 13 x 8.8mm, you obtain a 2.7 crop factor when using FX lens with the 1 series cameras.
Let’s demystify crop factors first; NO! this is not some magic way to turn a 300mm into an optical 600mm lens, The FT1 contains no optical glass inside, it is strictly a mechanical/electrical adapter to allow the coupling of the lens to the body- that's it. There is no way to increase the focal length of any lens unless you incorporate an optical teleconverter in the mix such as a 1.4X or 2.0X TC. Crop sensors don’t magically make lenses optically longer by any factor, but don't be disappointed - it does offer interesting benefits.
A lens is manufactured to best suit a sensor size and is why manufacturers offer a lens for 4:3, CX, DX sensors matched to a specific sensor size. When an image is projected onto the sensor, it will most often fill edge to edge with a little overlap, this is considered a 1:1 match and yes you can use FX with DX lens and vice versa on most cameras of the same manufacturer. When using DX lens on an FX you guessed it, the image does not cover the FX sensor so, the camera reads the lens type and automatically adjust the sensor to accommodate for a DX size image.
When a lens projects an image much larger than the sensor you have a crop factor because in essence you are discarding a portion of the image and using only the center portion to cover the smaller sensor. DX lenses produce a 1.5 crop on DX sensors, meaning the image projection is about 1.5 times larger than the sensor size. With FX lenses on FX sensor camera, the projection is about 1:1 and they offer no crop. This may be one reason FX lens are more expensive – larger glass elements to accommodate FX sensor sizes.
Now take a lens designed to be used on an FX Camera. That lens must project an image size to completely cover the larger FX sensor it was designed to operate with, at near a 1:1 ratio. Move that FX lens to a CX equipped sensor camera and you now have an image projection of 2.7 times larger than the sensor, aka 2.7 "crop sensor".
This is why most bird photographers who shoot with FX sensor cameras will almost always do moderate cropping in post-processing of the final photo to produce a larger frame filling image – after all, who wants to see a tiny little bird sitting in a tree. We post crop the image to produce a more appealing image.
Many birds and wildlife photographers enjoy using DX sensor cameras, it gives them a 1.5 crop factor at the sensor when using FX lens while retaining all the pixels of the DX sensor. This means in post-processing they are not throwing 60% of the FX pixels away in order to fill the frame provided natively by a DX sensor and a fx lens combo. Everyone knows, the less you crop in
post-processing the better the image quality is especially if you’re running at higher ISO. There are both benefits and drawbacks, and the results are not always cut and dry better – it depends on a number of factors, thus knowing the limits of sensors and cameras will help determine when to leverage using a crop sensor camera vice full frame.
The FT1 is an important purchase consideration if you already own FX lens because it offers 2.7 crop factor when using the FX lens with the 1 series camera body... If you own long or macro DSLR lens, and you like to experience the effects of what the larger crop factor offers, the FT1 could be a great addition to your camera accessories bag, consider it an option for CX format experimentation.
Because the sensor on a Nikon 1 is CX sized and you use an FX macro lens, you will be very pleased to know that when using it with an FT1 you now have a super close focusing macro solution for a Nikon 1 camera. – you see where I am going with this. The images below were with my 300mm sigma, sorry, I will post some macros as soon as I get an opportunity.
FT1 using a long lens fills the frame with your subject.
Things to consider:
Focus: When using a 1 series camera with you FX/ DX glass, you are limited by the capabilities of the Nikon 1 camera body. My AW1 camera is a live view only (No optical viewfinder), The live view has a slight lag between the actual image and updating to the LCD screen is not exactly real-time, this causes me to anticipate shots at times, and placing the focal point on exactly what I want to be with perfect sharpness was more complicated as many times the subject moved before I could frame properly, as I was always chasing the image.
Another thing with my AW1 camera body and not related to the FT1 is while I can use my thumb to move the focus recital on my DSLR camera to where I need it, on my 1 series camera I don’t have that option, so it creates a small issue when I want an off-center shot, as I have to move the camera and then recompose and shoot, wildlife don’t like waiting around. Good News is, my camera can shoot around 60fps, so getting correct sharpens or a great shot may only be a matter of holding down the shutter button in good sunlight.
speaking of F/Stops, when using the FT1 and your Nikon FX lens you will not lose any f stops. Your f/stop will be unchanged when using the adapter.
Usability: This is certainly a fun useable combination which offers some amazing capabilities with DSLR lenses, I think you should consider an FT1 as an accessory especially if you own FX or DX lenses, it opens up more photography options and n most cases it extends your photography fun for your creative work.
Cons: Price, This is a well-built unit, very solid, but for $200.00 bucks it just seems like - WTF. We are not talking about optical glass here just connectors to transfer data between camera and lens. Seems overly priced to me.
TrueToad Recommendation: Yes!