Well There I Was and There It Was And...

on August 03, 2016

I was in Bic Camera in Tokyo, in Japan. In spring, in a quandary.

I had been sent there by Camera Electronic to represent us at a Panasonic Lumix G7 tour and I was sent off with strict instructions not to run naked through the streets and not to deal with any other manufacturer's camera equipment. I was able to comply with one of those strictures...

Bic are a cross between Camera Electronic, Hardly Normal, and the shearing pavilion at the Royal Show. They seem to sell everything and are quite happy for the bewildered tourist to wander wherever - as we do not know what we are doing, we can be ignored. The awkward part comes when we know what we are doing.

In my case I wanted an adapter. I had Nikon lenses and a Fujifilm X-E2 camera body and wanted to mount the former on the latter. Adapters are not news - we've had them since the 1960's and digital ones are commonly offered by a number of makers. Some are put out by the camera people themselves to try to grab business from other makers - Fujifilm makes Leica M-series adapters to fit on Fujifilm X series cameras - and some are made by independent factories to try to mate everything to everything else. Occasionally they succeed.

Well, in Bic Cameras I found a Chinese sales assistant who spoke Japanese and English and we brokered a deal for a Nikon to Fujifilm X adapter with an aperture control ring. It mounts either a G or an F lens and while the aperture stops are not conventional, you can do the deed very easily. Camera Electronic has these as well, and there is a vast variety of A-fits-on-B types. Some of them are such an arcane combination as to cause me to who would ever want one, but then one day someone comes in and wants one.

The business of adapting someone else's lens to a digital camera is foolish, but we all do it. We ignore the magnificent performance of the proprietary lenses for what we think will be the magic of the adapted one. Websites, rumours, and wishful thinking form a great part of this. We lose the automatic focusing that sold us the camera in the first place. We lose a great deal of the automatic exposure capability. We sometimes lose the image stabilisation. But we know secretly that we have discovered the optical Holy Grail...

In my case I wanted a way to use a macro lens of a focal length that will never be made by Fujifilm, for reasons that are all my own. The combo is slow and clumsy and unavoidable, and I am delighted that I had a chance to see Bic camera and get this adapter. I also saw the Rack Of Ghastly Camera Straps and restrained myself from buying the purple furry one. Even I did not think that the Japanese sales assistants could have clocked that one past the register without tears or laughter.