August 29, 2013

Metabones Nikon F to Fuji X adapters – part I

The look, the feel, the features and the price

Click on any image to see a larger version


The above trio of Metabones lens adapters are the latest additions to my varied set of 9 ways for coupling a Nikon F-mount lens to a Fuji X-Pro1 and X-E1 camera. It started with the ‘regular’ F-to-X adapter (shown left) as I very much liked the idea of its compact tripod mount. Then, the remarkable Speed Booster (at right) was announced: it incorporates optical components reducing the focal length of the attached lens by 0.71x, and increasing its maximum aperture by one full stop. Obviously, I could not resist finding out for myself whether or not this optical marvel lives up to such bold claims. And finally, just two weeks ago, Metabones announced another purely mechanical G-to-X adapter (the middle one) equipped with the same aperture control ring as the Speed Booster, thus making it fit for use with lenses that have no aperture ring (like all AF-S and DX models).

About Metabones

Metabones is a supplier of high-quality camera adapters and related camera accessories, with a design team based in Japan and Hong Kong, and its own production line in China. All of its products are available directly from the company’s web store (operating out of Hong Kong as Global Boom International Limited), and through selected resellers internationally.

Metabones currently makes lens adapters for use with Fuji X, Sony NEX and various Micro Four Thirds (MFT) cameras, and to a lesser extent for Leica M and S systems. Supported lens mounts include Nikon F, Canon EF, Leica M and R, Alpa, Contarex, Contax G and Contax Yashica. Not all combinations of course all available (or even technically possible).

DISCLAIMER: I do not have any business or other relationship with Metabones. I have purchased each of my lens adapters for my own purposes as a ‘regular’ customer at full price.

Product distribution and pricing

In or around Belgium (where I live) the availability of distribution of Metabones products from retail channels is very rare to non-existent. A few AV/video specialists carry (or at least list) some models in Sony NEX or Micro Four Thirds (MFT) mounts only – which makes sense from a video perspective. No trace whatsoever of Fuji X-mount versions…

I therefore ordered my products on-line from the Metabones site, and had them shipped from Hong Kong by FedEx International Economy. Each time I have been very pleased with the quality of service and speed of delivery (5-8 working days). Obviously, you should expect the usual VAT, import duties and other ‘administrative fees’ added to your bill. I also threw a few follow-up questions by e-mail to Metabones’ after-sales support team, and received prompt answers (though not always the exact information I was looking for).

The Metabones adapters are more expensive than the comparable models from Kipon, but the full cost of the G-version is comparable to its less-featured Novoflex counterpart. The Speed Booster, of course, is quite expensive due to its comprehensive optics (and, no doubt, by its small-lot production setup and its unique position in the market).

These are the current list prices and my final costs:Metabones_pricing

Packaging and physical characteristics

Approximate dimensions and weight:Metabones_dimensions

Metabones clearly believes that more expensive products require bigger boxes. In the case of the Speed Booster, that results in a lot of foam rubber inside (the other two boxes have no padding). None of the products have user instructions or any other documentation included in the box.

The Speed Booster comes with a few accessories:

  • A plastic front (F-mount) and back (X-mount) cap, very useful to protect the optical elements that –especially at the back – come very close to the end of the bayonet;
  • A larger allen hex key to remove the tripod foot, and two small plastic caps to seal the resulting screw holes (we will come back to these later);
  • A smaller allen key fitting the screws on the front and back bayonet rings.

I am not aware of any (good) reason why a customer would want to remove the bayonet rings, and my inquiry at after-sales support did not provide an answer either (just a confirmation that this was the intention for supplying the smaller key).


As for front and read caps, an eBay reseller happily provided me for just a couple of euros with a dozen each of Nikon-style body caps and Fuji X rear lens caps, so all my adapters are now nicely protected against dust and other FOD when floating in my camera bag.

The Metabones lens adapters are beautifully executed. The aluminum barrel has a black satin surface finish with engraved white markings. Both camera-side and lens-side mounts are precision-machined brass with chromium plating. The front side mount features a leaf-spring structure to ensure proper alignment and tightening of the lens. The inside of the barrels got a rough matte-black treatment, to minimize internal reflections.

The adapters snap easily onto the camera, just like any other X-mount lens. There is no significant play here, just the familiar little wiggle that is equally there with native XF-lenses (and a bit more so on my X-E1 compared to my X-Pro1). At the lens side, all three of my copies initially felt rather (and almost too) tight; they loosened up after a little bit after usage, however without starting to feel less ‘solid’. The lens release lever is nicely done, and the unlocking mechanism works fine. In summary: I am very comfortable with the mechanical fit and operation of these adapters.


All three adapters come with a tripod mount for use with Arca-Swiss compatible quick release clamps, and also offer the classic ¼ inch thread. The Arca plate matches perfectly with the ball head on my light but sturdy Benro carbon travel tripod. The foot extends some 9mm below the base of an attached X-Pro1 or X-E1. That is not very much, and I guess there might be a risk for obstruction if a tripod head has a larger top plate. With the original Fuji hand grip mounted on either camera model, the bottoms of the grip and of the adapter foot end up about flush.

The mounting foot is absolutely great when working with longer and heavier lenses, like an AF-D 180mm f/2.8 or an AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8: it takes away the stress from the camera mount and results in a better balance on the head. When the lens has its own tripod attachment, of course it is best to use that one.


The mount does not rotate for shooting in vertical orientation, something that is possible (but not always practical) with the optional and expensive tripod mount for the Novoflex adapter.

Metabones states that the tripod foot is detachable. Well, it is in the sense that it just takes a (2.5mm) allen key or wrench to remove the two holding screws and release the mounting piece.

With the F-to-X and G-to-X adapter however, that leaves you with two gaping holes that will let light into the system (unless gaffer tape comes to the rescue once again).


The Speed Booster is the exception: it ships not only with the required allen key but also with two small plastic plugs to cover the screw holes (as mentioned above). It seems to be a small effort for Metabones to fix this inconvenience and add at least the two caps to each package, but I expect that most people – including myself – will simply leave the tripod foot in place.

Features and operation

The Metabones F-to-X adapter accepts virtually any lens with a Nikon F-mount, including pre-AI, AI, AI-S, AF and AF-D lenses. G-type lenses do not have an aperture ring on the lens and can be mounted but will remain set to their smallest aperture setting (highest f-stop number) making them virtually useless. The G-lens group includes all AF-S and all DX lenses. I have not yet found any non-G lens that did not work on this adapter; the oldest one I tried is a pre-1970 Nikkor H 50mm f/2.0.

The Metabones G-to-X adapter and the Nikon-to-Fuji Speed Booster are equipped with an aperture control ring on the adapter, which makes them compatible with G-type lenses as well. We will discuss the operation of this control ring later in great detail.

_DXE6349wNone of these adapters provide any form of mechanical or electrical communication between lens and camera. This implies that:

  • Focus is always fully manual;
  • Exposure modes are limited to A (aperture priority) and M (manual);
  • Viewing and metering will be at the effective aperture set either on the lens or via the adapter’s ring;
  • VR is not available;
  • No lens data will be passed on to the camera, so the EXIF data in the recorded image will at best be incomplete.

Make sure that SHOOTING MENU > SHOOT WITHOUT LENS is set to ON, otherwise no pictures can be taken. To pass on the focal length of the mounted lens to the EXIF data, select one of the six settings in SHOOTING MENU > MOUNT ADAPTER SETTINGS (remember that you can modify the last two settings at will).

OVF framing is possible on the X-Pro1 with lenses from 18mm to 60mm (provided that the focal length information is entered correctly). Focusing will usually rely on using either the EVF or back LCD in combination with the 3x/10x magnification and/or focus peaking capabilities. Older lenses usually have a smooth manual focus ring with a generous control range; many also have a depth-of-field scale making focus presetting or zone focusing feasible.

Viewing and focusing at the effective shooting aperture has the advantage to give a realistic depth-of-field preview, but requires boosting the EVF/LCD gain for an enhanced image, thereby increasing viewfinder lag. Opening the lens aperture to its maximum for composing and focusing clearly increases the viewing comfort and focusing precision, but don’t forget to return to the working aperture afterwards!

Finally, remember that the information from the live histogram is not reliable in M mode, and also not with a dark subject image (or a lens manually set to a narrow aperture).

NEXT: the wonders of the Speed Booster optics

Click on any image to see a larger version


George Young said...

I had to return the Nikon F to Fuji X adapter that I ordered because of one reason. I found that the adapter was about 0.5 mm too shallow. The difference between Nikon and Fuji flange to focal plane distances should be 45.5-17.7 = 28.8 mm. Instead, this adapter measured 28.3 mm. This led to focus distance differences towards the infinity focus end of the lens to be too far off to be acceptable.

George Young said...

Sorry. I meant to say the difference in flange to focal plane distances between Nikon and Fuji should be 46.5-17.7 = 28.8 mm

Anonymous said...

So if one gets this nikon f to fuji xf metabones adapter and the thickness of the flange front to flange back is not 28.8mm then you just send back the adapter and get another one?
Lets say its 28.9mm or 28.7mm, of by 1/10 of a milllimeter, should you send back this metabones adapter also?

Rene Delbar said...

It is not always easy (with simple tools) to verify this distance 'at home'. Most important is to verify that you are capable of focusing your lens at infinity (not judging by its distance scale, but using the EVF or LCD), and whether this focus is equal around the edges of the frame.

SuperXE1 said...

Rene, Ok so I received the Metabones f to xf adapter.
With my Sterrit dial indicator, the flange to flange thickness of the adapter is 28.45mm, or 1.116 decimal eq. and not the 28.8mm which is 1.1339 decimal eq. theoetical exact flange thickness it snould be .

So the adapter is .45mm or.017 decimal eq. or about 1/3rd milliimeter
thinner than it should be.

Therefore the adapter will allow infinity focus, but it also allows focus to go past infinity, because it is too thin.

Is this acceptable spec. or should I send the adapter and try another to see if It will be closer to 28.8mm"s?
Thanks Dennis

Rene Delbar said...


I am not a specialist in mechanical precision engineering, but I guess your Metabones adapter is just fine.

In real life, some minimal space may have to be taken into account wherever mounts are joined (and there's two in this setup). Also, Metabones may take a little reserve to make sure that infinity focus is possible, without meaningfully affecting close focusing.

In the end all that counts is that the total accumulated flange focal distance is "working" with the camera/lens setup.

I would not worry about your 0.35mm "gap" unless you cannot get good picture quality.

So far I have not found any reports on any blog or at any other source for Metabones products to be "off-spec". I find their mechanical execution to be first class.

SuperXE1 said...

Thanks Rene, well I tried the adapter with a 105 2.5 ais nikkor, and it seems to work great.
Yes the metabones are finely machined and fit snug and not too loose or tight.

About the best quality for the price, not as well made as the nova flex, but also only 1/2 the price as the Nova.
Sharpness and evenness of test shots were great in each corner, so looks like I will keep the MB adapter.

And the flange thickness was coplanar as tested in 4 spots around the perimeter.

So yes I highly recommend this adapter as long as it is at least
this thickness 1.117 or closer to the exact 1.133./28.8mm thickness.

Thanks Dennis.

The Chan Family said...

Would this Metabones Nikon G to Fuji X adapter work with Sigma 4.5mm F2.8 Nikon mount circular fisheye lens and still gives a 180 degree view?


Rene Delbar said...

The Sigma 4.5mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM is a lens designed for use on APS-C crop cameras, not for full-frame bodies. It's imaging circle is too small to fill a full-frame sensor or to be useful with a focal reducer such as the Speed Booster.

At best, you can expect a smaller circular image with a lot of black around it, not very practical...

In addition, being a fisheye lens, it remains unclear how such a special design would interact with the SB's optical system (in technical terms: size and location of the exit pupil).

The Movie Log said...

I just recently purchased the F to X adapter to be used with my old Nikkor lenses and a Fuji XT-1. when I put it on my new Fuji it snapped on to the camera mount side with no problem but when I went to attach my Zeiss ZF 50mm f1.4 it felt almost like I was trying to put the wrong lens mount on. It was REALLY tight. I eventually snapped it in but almost immeaditely after I took it off. Attaching some expensive glass to this thing is quite worrisome. I saw you mention you had a similar problem. I have already sent the one I have back and am hoping to get another in return that will work better. This was shocking to me because I have used many metabones including their F to E mount adapter on an A7S and it worked perfectly. I noticed you said it got better but did it ever get to a point where it felt like you were putting the lens on an F mount camera? Can I damage my lens mount if there is too much resistance? I really don't feel like spending the 200 some odd American to buy the novo and I love the tripod mount especially because my 300mm f4.5 IF ED does not have a tripod collar.

Rene Delbar said...

The issue in my case went quickly away after a few mounts/unmounts. Perhaps it was just a small protrusion left behind from the surface finishing process?

I have no experience with a Zeiss ZF lens, so i cannot be sure that there would be no other mechanical interference between its mount and the adapter. Did you have the same problem with any other F-mount lens?

It is always a good thing to be careful with delicate and expensive equipment, but sometimes we all tend to be overly concerned as well.

I hope you have better luck with your second copy!

Tai said...

Can I use some picture on your blog post? I will put a link on my blog post referring to your post. Thanks


Rene Delbar said...

You'rer welcome, tai, a link to my blog post (series) will be appreciated!