Having just acquired an old 'blad + lens (Zeiss Distagon 4/50 T*), I noticed that there are a number of adaptors available to fit the lens onto Nikon DSLRs.

Has anyone any experience doing this? Is it worth bothering? What field of view can I expect? compared to, say a Nikon 50mm 1.4f? I would assume its completely manual in every way?

I would be fitting it to a D800, so its a full frame sensor.


50mm is still 50mm, you can expect exactly the same AoV, with a significantly smaller aperture. Both focusing and controlling the aperture would be manual, but metering might not be, I believe Nikon cameras will allow Av and metered M modes even with unchipped lenses. As for the optical quality, I've heard nothing but good things (though I've never tried one myself, YMMV.)

Also, without a chipped adapter, no EXIF information from the lens. This might not matter much to you, but can make photo management a complete pain.

That said: Since the Hasselblad lens throws a larger image-circle, and has a significantly larger flange-distance (74.9mm to Nikons 46.5), you could use it as a tilt-shift lens with an appropriate adapter (or freelensing.)


I use Zeiss lenses (actually contax not blad) on different DSLR. These lense are still good and compatible with full frame. You will have to manually focus (but on Canon you can have focus confirmation if your adapter has a chips), you will have to practice the stop down methode (ie set the aperture on the aperture ring of the lense). On Canon mettering is good whide open but I have encountered some mettering issue when closing the lenses (but never test the D800) however it may be a very good option if you have time to focus (and maybe correct the mettering) as in landscape or studio photography. Shooting kids playing whith this kind of lense requiere a little more training but it's feasible.

  • Thanks for that - so the general (limited) consensus is that i should be good to go :-) should be interesting comparing the results to the Nikon 50mm... I don't shoot kids while they are playing, its a bit cruel... ;-) – Digital Lightcraft Aug 16 '12 at 7:21
  • I expect that you will mainly found color difference, T* coating has his own color.... – floqui Aug 16 '12 at 7:49

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