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style="margin-bottom: 0">Nikkor PL For S16

Published : 16th January 2004


I've seen several discussions on CML about using 35mm still lenses on S16 cameras, but I'm still somewhat unclear about some of the specifics. My scenario would be Nikkor 28mm f3.5, 55mm f3.5, 105mm f2.5, and 35-135mm f3.5-f4.5 mounted on Aaton LTR S16.

Would these combinations be feasible and produce good results? What issues should be considered? Where does one find a Nikkor/PL adapter?

Charlie Clemmons
Wiltonwood Productions
Wilton, CT



Charlie Clemmons writes :

>Where does one find a Nikkor/PL adapter?

The Nikon lenses will certainly fit on an Aaton LTR camera and cover Super-16 no problem, but not with a PL mount. Nikon mount has a shorter flange depth than PL, so you cannot focus properly with an adapter between them. You can use an Aaton mount camera with a Nikon to Aaton mount adapter. I have one in my kit and use telephoto Nikons with some regularity.

Mitch Gross
NYC DP



Charles M. Clemmons wrote:

>My scenario would be Nikkor 28mm f3.5, 55mm f3.5, 105mm f2.5, and >35-135mm f3.5-f4.5 mounted on Aaton LTR S16.

The question is why? They're slow for the focal lengths (as they need to cover a 35mm still frame, which you don't need to do for S16) and there are probably better film lenses out there (say, a set of older SuperSpeeds).

I can see if you have these lenses and love them that you might want to try them, but nearly any cine zoom would probably outdo that 35-135. Maybe even a 12-120...

Jeff Kreines



Thanks. Where can I get the Nikon/Aaton adapter? From Nikon? From Aaton? From third party?

Charlie Clemmons
Wiltonwood Productions



Thanks.

Where can I get the Nikon/Aaton adapter? From Nikon? From Aaton? From third party?

They come up on eBay from time to time. Abel Cine Tech in the US probably has them for around $400, and I believe they were originally first produced by Optex. Perhaps a used equipment dealer such as Visual Products would also carry it. Be sure to get one with a small rear iris and matte black interior finish to avoid spill and reflections from the unused part of the lens projection.

Mitch Gross
NYC DP



Strictly economics. We do mostly non-commercial stuff and operate on a limited budget. If we upgrade from standard 16 to Aaton S16, we could avoid some costs in the short run by using Nikkors we already have on the shelf.

Charlie Clemmons
Wiltonwood Productions



Jeff Kreines wrote :

>I can see if you have these lenses (NIKON) and love them that you >might want to try them, but nearly any cine zoom would probably outdo >that 35-135. Maybe even a 12-120...

I think the deal with Nikons - if you've got them and they work well, they are very cost effective. I used a Nikon 50-300 on my Aaton XTR.

Only problem is the mechanics are not motion friendly.

Richard Stringer
Toronto



Jeff Kreines writes:

>I can see if you have these lenses... and love them that you might want >to try them, but nearly any cine zoom would probably outdo that 35->135. Maybe even a 12-120...

I second that.

Most still lenses are not designed for film work and don't translate well to film use for a couple of reasons aside from optics. They are generally not as well constructed mechanically as film lenses which means a lot of slop in the focus ring making pulling focus very difficult.

Likewise the accuracy of the iris ring. Nowadays still lenses are designed for auto iris so the marking don't have to be precise. Also, very few still zooms track with any accuracy. Also fitting any kind of standard film accessories is a real challenge.


Brian Heller
IA 600 DP



Richard Stringer wrote :

>I used a Nikon 50-300 on my Aaton XTR. Only problem is the >mechanics are not motion friendly.

And that makes sense, as the focal lengths aren't easily available in a common cine zoom...

Jeff Kreines



One of the problems with using Nikkor lenses on an Aaton (or any other film camera) is the difficulty of focus; anything shorter than a 135 is difficult due to the close spacing of the footage (i.e., a slight move of the focus ring makes for a BIG shift in focus); I use the longer lenses (180/2.8, 200/2, etc) without any problems- and find that by adding a focus gear it's a lot easier.

I have a very sharp 28mm f1.4 Nikkor (latest generation), but it is extremely difficult to focus, so I gave up on it.

Al Satterwhite
DP/LA