Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

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I've been reading up on Minolta Rokkor 58mm f/1.2 to Canon mount conversions. Sadly, I shoot Nikon (entrenched too deep in their gear to switch now), and there is practically no documentation on the Internet about Nikon mods. All I've found are two really old forum threads containing claims that it's been done.

I'm aware that the process is theoretically the same for Nikon and Canon, but flange length for Nikon is 46.5mm, substantially more than 43.5mm for Minolta. Does this mean it's impossible to achieve infinity focus even on a cropped sensor Nikon?

Has anyone done this mod? What was your focusing range and how thin did you have to make your spacer? If it's not too difficult to make it to 25-30 feet instead of infinity, it sounds worth it considering the nature of this particular lens. Probably won't be running around shooting landscapes with it.

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Unless you can shave quite a bit off the rear of that lens, I'd guess you won't be able to focus more than a foot away. The Canon FD mount is 42mm, so the FD-EOS difference is less than the Minolta-Nikon difference, and, well:… . FWIW I got an old u4/3 body so I could use my Konica and Minolta lenses. It's not as good as my DSLR, but it sure beats film. – drewbenn May 23 '12 at 7:31
Thanks for the link, drewbenn. Would you recommend any particular bodies? – rfgon May 24 '12 at 1:48
Cheap is nice: I got (through Amazon)'s white-box E-PL1 for $150. It has a couple stops of in-body image stabilization and a dedicated button (though it's not easy to press with my thumb, and has to be pressed twice, and you have to hit another button to get out of the mode) for zooming so you can focus. Cons: there are no dials (but who cares if you're shooting in Av and are setting aperture on the lens) and the high-ISO performance isn't anything amazing (it's comparable to my Canon 30D). Also no viewfinder, so tracking moving subjects at arms' length is pretty difficult. – drewbenn May 24 '12 at 1:54
Well, I gave up and got a used Sony NEX-3. Not excited about the lack of viewfinder and buttons, but I can't wait to put my neglected vintage glass in action! – rfgon May 30 '12 at 1:35

Okay, after some digging, I found a Flickr discussion that partially answers my question:

Someone claims that a ~50mm M42 wearing a thin glassless Nikon adapter can have a max focusing distance of 2.5m.

The question of what can be achieved via more invasive modification, such as replacing the M42 mount entirely or machining/sanding down bits of the lens, and how far you can go without impairing lens functionality or letting the mirror hit the rear element, is still unanswered.

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