The Nikon Zf has given new life to a favorite lens I bought 30 years ago

Nikon Zf
The Nikon Zf has allowed me to start using a Sigma 14mm lens I originally bought for the Nikon F4 in the 1990s (Image credit: Nikon)

I have a deep love of lenses and all the physics, chemistry and mechanical engineering that goes into their designs. It really came about as a spin-off from my camera collecting – specifially 35mm SLRs – because often a body would come with an interesting lens. Many were, of course, classic primes from the camera maker, but there have also been plenty of third-party curiosities from brands now long gone. 

In the past, these were mostly destined to sit on the shelf as very few of them warranted a roll of film even just for fun. Mirrorless has changed all that because the configuration – with its shorter flange back distance – means that mount adapters really come into their  own and you can pretty well fit anything you want to any mirrorless mount with levels of functionality varying from nothing to the works, including corrections for fitting 35mm format lenses to cropped sensor bodies. Or you can go the other way and fit full frame DSLR lenses to your Fujifilm GFX medium format mirrorless body. These adapters with conversion optics are pretty expensive, but if you want to revive a beloved ‘legacy’ lens, it could well be worth the investment. I have a brilliant Zeiss Distagon T* 15mm f/3.5 rectilinear ultra-wide in the Contax/Yashica mount and I use it on my Fujifilm X-Pro3 via a C/Y-to-X adapter with full exposure control functionality maintained (it’s equivalent to a 22mm on ‘APS-C’).

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Paul Burrows

Paul has been writing about cameras, photography and photographers for 40 years. He joined Australian Camera as an editorial assistant in 1982, subsequently becoming the magazine’s technical editor, and has been editor since 1998. He is also the editor of sister publication ProPhoto, a position he has held since 1989. In 2011, Paul was made an Honorary Fellow of the Institute Of Australian Photography (AIPP) in recognition of his long-term contribution to the Australian photo industry. Outside of his magazine work, he is the editor of the Contemporary Photographers: Australia series of monographs which document the lives of Australia’s most important photographers.