Jul 272013
 

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Taking the Nikon 1 to Dream Land with a 25 1.4 C-Mount $29 lens!

The Nikon V1 is an interchangeable lens camera. We all know this fact, but what many do not know is that you can use many other lenses, old lenses, 3rd party lenses, and even Leica lenses on the V1 using certain adapters. IMO, it is a waste of money and glass to use expensive Leica lenses on the V1 or 1 system cameras due to the 2.7 crop that robs the beauty from the lens. For example,  a 35mm summicron would turn into a 90 and you would lose the magic of the lens which was designed for full frame. Many complain about the 1 system and the difficulties of achieving “Bokeh” or out of focus backgrounds (shallow depth of field) with the standard Nikon 1 lenses. There are two that will deliver this for you but one is expensive at $900 (the 32 1.2) and one is under $200 but will still lack a little in the Bokeh department unless you are shooting up close. That lens is the fantastic 18.5 1.8.

Still, those lenses may not deliver the blur that many “power bokeh junkies”  want. There is a reason many people pay $11k for a 50mm Noctilux and yes, 99% of all Noctilux users shoot that thing at f/0.95 as it was designed and optimized to do.  Luckily, there is a crazy way to get extreme Bokeh on the 1 system cameras with the use of a $29 lens that is sold on Amazon, by Amazon. It is in NO WAY anything like a Nocti, but hey, for $29 what do you expect?

UPDATE: Yesterday I posted the image below asking ALL of you to guess which camera and lens took the photo.

MANY of you said Leica M 240 and various lenses from vintage glass like the Summarit to the $11,000 Noctilux to the 50 1.5 Nokton. I mean, a ton of you said Leica M, which is a full frame camera! This tells me that many associate crazy massive Bokeh with Leica and/or full frame. Crazy what we will see when we do not know what took the image :)

Others said the Nikon V1 and 32 1.2, but even that lens would not render anywhere close to this way. What you see below if you look closely is crazy melted bokeh and soft corners. The Leica modern lenses would be crisp and sharp in the corners and the Nikon 32 1.2 would be as well. Some vintage glass renders in this way on the Leica M 240 and yes, the colors below do look comparable to the Leica M 240 but this came from the V1 and the $29 25 1.4 C-Mount lens with the $10 adapter :)

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Yep, the 25 1.4 C-Mount generic lens from Amazon sold by Rainbow Imaging. It is not a sharp lens, it is not made very well, it is tiny and yes, it is a C-mount lens that costs $29 and is a 25 1.4 lens that delivers softness, dreaminess and crazy Bokeh that some will find interesting and others will find not so interesting. To check out the lens at Amazon, click HERE. It comes with an adapter for Micro 4/3 so you will need the $10 Nikon 1 Adapter. So for $39 total you can add a 25 1.4 lens to your stable, though like I said, it is cheaply made, very soft and on the Nikon 1, can only be  used in full manual mode which means manual focus, manual aperture and manual shutter speed. It’s not a lens for those that want speed and convenience, it is for those who like to take an artsy shot every now and again.

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C-Mount lenses are made for TV cameras and are known to be TINY but FAST in aperture. In fact, you can buy new high quality C-Mount lenses at B&H Photo. They even sell a 25 0.95 but it goes for $1500. Using a C-Mount to Nikon 1 adapter that you can BUY HERE at Amazon for $10 you can mount a C-Mount lens to your Nikon 1 camera. Not all C-Mount lenses will work well but when looking you need to find one that is made for 16mm. This will then cover the Nikon 1 imaging sensor. Many Nikon 1 users are expirimenting with such lenses as are Micro 4/3 owners. These lenses work very well on these smaller sensor cameras. When I say “very well” I mean, they work..but the results will be crazy in many situations, and some will be beautiful. All depends on the eye of the beholder.

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So for those Nikon 1 shooters who do not want to spend $900 on the 32 1.2, which will give you sharpness, light gathering, 85mm equivalent and a fast aperture with plenty of Bokeh, for $40 you can have a tiny setup that will give you plenty of (crazy) bokeh BUT NOT SO MUCH Sharpness, not so good of build and a lens that will not focus to infinity :)  Still, when I saw this I had to try it so I could pass along the results here. For a $40 investment, the results are not bad at all! In fact, they do indeed look like some of the results I get from the full frame Leica M with really old 50mm glass.

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Wrap up: The lens is available at Amazon HERE, and is prime eligible for $29 and it comes with a Micro 4/3 adapter so you can use it on your Micro 4/3 camera. Amazon prime members even get free 2 day ship! The Nikon 1 adapter needed for use on a Nikon 1 camera is also Prime eligible and is HERE. If anyone buys this set for use on the Nikon 1, you must put the camera into manual mode for it to work, otherwise you will get the warning message on the screen that a lens needs to be attached. So manual aperture, shutter speed and focus. Once you have your meter set, it is as easy as pie to use. I’ll add more images to the Nikon 1 gallery as I get them.

Have fun!

Steve

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  69 Responses to “Taking the Nikon 1 to Dream Land with a 25 1.4 C-Mount $29 lens!”

  1. Hilarious! Really does prove that obsession with gear is pointless and you “just” have to create great photos with anything. Bravo, Mr Huff!

  2. Well done, it’ s not the camera, it’ s the one behind it that sees and creates the picture. And in this case with a Nikon V1 and a TV lens. You make me think about my Leica obsession…….

  3. Haha, fun to see what that really was! I’m surprised!

  4. You know what Steve? I think your “web preparation” for the images you post is very nice, all the lenses you use always seem accettably sharp.. btw nice post! :)

  5. Creativity trumps technology! Thanks for trying something with no expectations of what the end result might be, and proving this point.

  6. That bokeh is nauseating, but that lens could be fun to play around with for that price!

    • All in the eye of the beholder. There are old Leica lenses that sell for $800-$2000 with Bokeh almost just like this, and people buy them and love them. This is a cheap little plastic thing and pretty soft wide open but for $29, its a fun lens to mess around with if you want a unique and crazy look.

  7. I did it! I guessed it right!!! :) Except I said it was shot with either OM-D or NEX.
    I LOVE this lens, I bought mine on Amazon and I actually shot with it today. Here is one example straight from my OM-D. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=581499195204011&set=pb.100000318086314.-2207520000.1374956779.&type=3&theater
    The only thing I am bummed about it is, well, actually not the lens but the OM-D not being able to go faster than 1/4000 sec. Love the lens though!!

  8. Haha, want to see the faces of the Noctilux voters…

  9. I had a V1 used all sorts of C mount ( for 16mm) glass on it but it had a strange UI so I sold it off.

    Know that a 25mm on a V1 equals about a 70mm.

    The lens’s made for 16mm will have that swirly bokeh which is enchanting at first but drives you nuts soon after .

    • Dont think anyone would use this as an everyday lens on a Nikon 1, its a special effect lens, used sparingly in the right circumstances it could be nice. Best lenses for this system are the 18.5, 32 and 6.7-13

      • Yeah I used a cooke 10mm 16mm and 25mm, even some old Kodak 16mm lenses, and most have the sweet spot but because of the 16mm build give you the swirlies. I liked the camera but as I mentioned it was difficult for me in Manual because it always seemed to default to various forms of auto, so much so that I sold it last week. The images and especially the color rendition was lovely.

        • When in manual the V1 is in all manual. You set your ISO, your Aperture and Shutter speed. The only way there would be problems is if you hgd Auto ISO on. Then there would be many issues :)

  10. Ey Steve,

    Your enthusiasm on the V1 made me sell my NEX-6 and Minolta lenses and buy one too. Funny to see how many people said the photo above was from an expensive Leica lens. The lens reminds me of the SLR Magic 35 1.7 for the NEX and m4/3 systems. Though it can give some creative shots I don’t like the crappy quality and feel of those lenses. But hey, 30 bucks… When the V1 with 10mm and 18.5mm arrives I will go out and shoot again. Lost that part with the NEX. I can’t wait! Thanks Steve!

  11. I was close :) it is not the 25mm switar…. but very close :)

  12. How can somebody say: it is a leica?. Leica has one of the best glasses if not THE best. You could see that the image was not that good. I knew it was one of the cheap lenses!

  13. Steven, while looking for this on eBay, I discovered an adapter Nikon 1 to M42, which will allow me to use my beloved (and inherited) Auto Chinon lenes with the V1. Can you tell us how manual focus works, with a lens like that? Is it just like when you select manual focus on the V1?

  14. You fooled me Steve. I thought is was the Voigtlander 1.5 for sure.
    Actually the images did not look like V1 shots at all because they were so smooth and grain free and had such a deep color signature.
    Even though the bokeh was crazy it looked like a higher end lens or even an older Leica.
    Your right, many very expensive lenses produce a look similar to this lens.
    Actually if you had done this secret test with only the pic of your girlfriend above then I think there might have been way more Leica guesses!
    I may just pick this up for my V1.

    Thanks again Steve.

    • Some people assumes, just because there were fooled, that everybody would do the same error. It is WRONG. There were some factual elements to guess that it is a awful lens. Not a Leica, not a Voigtlander. certainly not a Noctilux 1.0, which may not be sharp and shows heavy vignetting, but has more pleasing bokeh and not this crazy level of aberration.

  15. I know the answer is the new camera NSA & PRISM by Obama 1.2 . That camera wil see every detail . :)

  16. the shots with the tree foliage make my stomach physically churn (it’s in the stomach of the beholder), but I do like the other examples were the swirl is not pronounced.

  17. Jesus Christ, I knew the bokeh was somewhat extreme… but never expected this extreme lens!

  18. Nicely done, Steve. LOL! Btw, the images look plenty sharp to me. The things you focused on look sharp anyway. With this lens, the sharpness of the rest of the shot doesn’t matter.

  19. LOL, so where are all the M240 and Noctilux voters. I guess it is the same crowd who swears that Leicas produce a unique 3D rendering.

  20. Ah Steve, the “positive” brigade was eager to please, as ever, with its references to Leicas. All that was missing were many references to it as a fantastic and terrific shot :-) .

    Anyway, it’s a fun thing to do; I know evaluation of small file images by monitor screens is not all that reliable, and Leica lenses are hard to beat, but two lens quizzes (names supplied but not labels) at the end of each week could be quite a feature..

  21. The last shot of the dog is awesome.

  22. Got the camera. Not the lens. There are a lot of 0.95 film style lenses around though — like the SLR magic and some of the Voightlanders.

    It was NOT a Lux. I clearly did not go downmarket far enough. :-(

  23. You can buy this here http://goo.gl/86JIi7 for 22$ including adapter.

    I’m using Ninkon 1 V1 with M42 adapter. You can find many interesting lenses for this mount.
    Takumar 1.4/50 – http://goo.gl/bPxLB
    Helios 44m-7 2/50 – http://goo.gl/slhlY
    Helios 85-2 1,5/135 – http://goo.gl/qxzhL9

    I’ve made m42 lenses list – http://goo.gl/lBI3Ps it is not complete, but it has a lot of lenses that are interesting.

  24. People got to be kidding here. The fact many people said it’s a Leica with a Noctilux or whatever just show most of non-Leica users cannot really tell the real quality of this equipment. It doesn’t mean Leica equipment doesn’t have any real quality to it.
    What this lens does for being so bright and cheap is amazing but One just need to check ultra low corner sharpness, very low center sharpness, and the very ugly bokeh to know that this is not One can wait from a Leica lens. Even my 1960 Elmar F2.8 is and outstanding performer worlds ahead from this.

  25. Hi Steve!
    Thanks a lot for this post!
    I am a Nikon V1 shooter and just love it!
    I tried to order the lens via your amazon link, but unfortunately this item is not shipping to Germany.
    Kinda weird in the year 2013…
    Other c-mount offers here in Germany I found are far more expensive. Too bad!

    Anyway thanks for this valuable post!

    Cheers
    Sascha

  26. Well done on a very disruptive and challenging post Steve. Nice way to shake things up.

    Got my V1 after reading about it on this site.

  27. Genius, Steve, pure evil genius!!
    This is your best post ever. This little twisted treat you played on us has rendered the whole “3D-pop-style-creamy-bokeh” Leicaholic crowd into sheer rubbish.
    Thanks a very big lot!

  28. I was convinced that it was that new nineteenth centurary pretzel lens that Lomo have just kick started…

  29. I’m completely bowled over by my v1. Reminds me of the thrill I got first taking photographs. Just ordered one of these lenses…love the look and feel. If you had posted these beautiful images and said they were from an m with vintage Leica glass, people would be falling over themselves. A cheap lens on a small sensor (now cheap) camera and some gear snobs seem to think they don’t count. Shame. Shoot a v1 and fall in love with photography again.

  30. Haha – nicely done! :) Yes, I think we often focus too much on sensor size and aperture when we think about creating bokeh, and forget the other factors including the very important effect of (equiv.) focal length.

    In cases of extreme bokeh it can be hard to tell which combo created it when you don’t know any of the the variables (sensor size, focal length, aperture). If we had known the sensor size I think we’d stand a better chance of guessing the lens for example. But that’s not what this test was about. So nice work!

    I should have guessed it, as I have the same or similar combo (pic here with the V1 and cheap 25mm 1.4 which I used for ‘proof of concept’ in consideration of getting perhaps some better 16mm glass such as Kert Switar)

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mars_observer/6998914698/

    “I wanted to take a new Caturday shot last week, but I had a really bad cold that just completely wiped me out for the past few days. This is a shot taken about a month ago using the Nikon V1. The Nikon1 is a great mirror-less camera, but many people were disappointed with Nikon’s decision to go with a relatively small sensor. At 1″ the sensor is smaller than the Micro 4/3 sensors, and stands in-between that of a compact camera and Micro 4/3 camera.

    Question: can such a small 1″ sensor produce a sufficient, shallow DoF and nice bokeh at non-macro and non-tele distances (ie. ‘normal’ or ‘portrait’ FoV ranges)?

    Test: Nikon V1 with adapted CCTV 25mm f1.4 (a slightly long eqiv, but still not a bad FoV)

    Result: I think the DoF and Bokeh are quite nice. And this is a *very* cheap lens. Will be good when Nikon finally comes out with some f1.4 glass of their own.”

  31. Got me too! hehe

    Steve, I mean this with all due respect – Will you and other bloggers please stop posting about the V1 we all laughed at when released as I too am in danger of going out and buying one and I can’t really afford to.

    • Lol, well only one more review for Nikon 1 in the works, and that is for the new 6.7-13 Ultra Wide lens. :) After that, prob nothing new until the V3.

      • I’m seriously thinking of ditching my wonderful new Ricoh GR and buying a V1, sure the GR is a fantastic little pocket camera and I love it but the V1 is hardly much larger – 1/2 the price and so many possibilities with the option of interchangeable lenses.

        Resist, resist, resist! :-)

  32. I have a question and this comes out of naivete. Couldn’t you get a very similar bokeh effect in post using Photoshop?

    I’m just starting to get into photography again. I use to enjoy it very much growing up when I had a film camera. You had to be much more deliberate back then – ISO was set a the time of purchase of the film and couldn’t be adjusted for shot by shot. If you wanted B&W, you bought a roll of it.

    The digital age of photography never really intrigued me as it seemed to be much more about being a graphic artist than a photographer. It seems like just about everything can be adjusted for in post, even composition. Steve’s workflow example of the old shoe warehouse – don’t want the houses on the left, put a wall in front of them. He even changed the angle of the shot to compensate for the barrel distortion of the lens.

    What I’m wondering is where does the line between photographer and graphic artist begin or end? I see many wonderful photos on line but every time I wonder how much of that photo was photographer and how much of it was graphic artist?

    - Roger

    • I always say that yes, many things can be achieved with postprocessing progs, but the more time you spend in front of your computer, the less you spend going outside shooting… :)

    • Photoshop and post processing have come a long way in recent years, but there are still some things that can’t be done, or done as well, in post.

      Many people would agree that lens bokeh is one of those things.

  33. I am relatively new to photography and don’t know much, especially not as as many others on here do (and especially when it comes to older gear), but I can say that I am not surprised that this picture was taken with a cheap lens (or maybe an old leica, because I have little knowledge about them, but I know they had ‘interesting’ swirly bokeh). I think it was very obvious but the messy bokeh and the swirl toward the edges of the image. It has taught me to take reviews and comments I read about cameras and lenses with a grain of salt because obviously some people are just blind, regardless of experience or how much they spend on gear.

  34. The most fun comment is the one stating that the people fooled believing that the shots were made with Leicas are clearly “non-Leica users”… like Ashwin Rao, I suppose… ;)
    Another blow to “perceived greatness”. That is, in fact, PERCEIVED.

  35. The art of photography!!!

    Steve, this is the best answer for those who continued to fire as if ONLY their (Leica) gear is the best.

  36. Hi Steve,

    I’m not trying to post negative comments for the fun of it, but I’m a little surprised that you like that grip for the V1, or for that matter ANY grip. I would have thought you didn’t like grips and preferred a more rangefinder style when it comes to handling? I really like the look of the V1 but that grip just makes it look like a frankenstein camera.

    I personally like a bit of a grip, and the Richard Franiec grip for the V1 is so much better in my opinion for keeping the camera looking sexy and serving the function of better grip. It very closely matches the finish of the body and has nice contours. It actually looks like it’s part of the camera onces fitted which is more than can be said about the grip shown above.

    Have a look here for a good photo angle:

    http://www.popphoto.com/gear/2012/03/new-gear-custom-grip-nikon-v1

    Anyway, I’m loving my V1 which is hard for me to say sometimes because I have been shooting with Canon digitals for 10 years now. There seems to be a rivalry between these two companies but I stay away from brand snobbery and just enjoy a good camera when it’s a good camera.

    • The grip, IMO, is almost a MUST own for the V1. I shot the V1 for almost 2 years without it. With it, it feels MUCH nicer and I like the way it looks. Having the battery and memory card accessible is what makes it for me. Without that I would not use it. Ive seen and tried Franiec grips and for some cameras they work well (Sony RX100) and others not as well. But he makes great stuff and it comes down to personal preference. I love this grip, so much so that I bought two and then another for my son. Perfect accessory for the V1. Adds a little height, adds a grip and is metal and solid. Makes the camera feel really good without adding a ton of bulk. But some would prefer the clean lines of the Franiec. Id shoot it without a grip if it was as long as an M, but its nowhere near it so it feels better with something to wrap your fingers around a little. Thanks.

      • I agree, I really think the V1 needs a bit of a grip (Nikon listened and put it into the V2). How does the feel of the V1 with grip compare to the V2? If they were both selling for $300 which would you prefer? (The reason I ask is that I’m sure it will drop to $300 with the V3 around the corner)

        I think in the image above (all black) it doesn’t look too bad, but you have another image floating around with a white body, silver lens, and black grip. Yikes! My Frankenstien comment was more towards seeing that photo.

        I recommend revisiting the Richard Franiec grip for the V1 if you get a chance. Like I said, it doesn’t look like anything has been added to the camera, it just looks like it’s a part of it. It has a more significant bulge compared to the ones he makes for smaller point and shoots. Did I mention how amazing it looks on the camera?

  37. Heii, is that an standart hotshoe on the V1?

    I want that 25mm lens look :D is there anything like that for such a price for Canon?

  38. Amazon.com says:
    “We’re sorry. This item can’t be shipped to your selected destination. You may either change the shipping address or delete the item from your order.”
    That’s a bummer, got really excited about this one..!

  39. Just got the lens and adapter today. I’m not getting as shallow of DOF as your samples. Scratching my head. Closest focus distance seems to be 7-8 feet.

    • Well you should be able to. Did you set the aperture to 1.4? Same exact lens? If so then there is something not being done right as it was easy to get shallow DOF with this combo for me. I am away from home right now and did not bring the lens with me but did not have issues at all.

  40. The problem is that the Nikon 1 cameras don’t provide any focusing aid (such as display magnification) for non-electronically coupled, adapted lenses – which includes c-mount lenses. What is the trick to focus with such lenses without having to do guesswork?

  41. What’s the filter size for this lens?

  42. Can anyone help me? I am looking for someway to attach a ring flash to the Nikon 1 system. Has anyone seen any 3rd party hot shoe adaptors?

  43. Gave it a try and after all was in M the video really looks great. Picture exposure though is entirely guesswork, as there is no exposure indication at all. How are you doing that?

  44. Have Nikon 1V1 the same infinity focus problem with old lenses as DSLR?

  45. There is a nice article about this lens with the V1 with photo samples here: Review: 25mm f/1.4 C-Mount lens – http://bigstreetguns.com/2014/06/review-25mm-f1-4-c-mount-lens/

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