Adapter Tubes and Step Rings

Adapter Tubes and Step Rings

This page is about adapters and step rings that may be used for mounting converter lenses on the Canon A95. My main interest is the use of Nikon converter lenses. The converter lenses made by Nikon for the Coolpix series cameras are perhaps the most complete of all consumer digicams. This set includes fisheye FC-E8 and FC-E9, wide angle WC-E24, WC-E63 and WC-E68, and telephoto TC-E2, TC-E3ED and TC-E15ED. The TC-E2 and TC-E3ED are perhaps the finest 2X and 3X converters, respectively, on the market. Unfortunately, Nikon did not use popular thread sizes. For example, the converters for the 950/990/995/4500/5000 use 28mm, the WC-E68 and FC-E9 use 46mm, the TC-E15ED uses 50mm and the big, heavy TC-E17ED uses 60mm. This makes the use of these converters on a non-Nikon camera (e.g., Canon A95) more difficult than other brand converters.

To mount these high quality lenses, I chose to use and evaluate two commonly mentioned adapters: the Canon LA-DC52D and the LensMate 37mm available here. The Canon version is plastic while the LensMate version is aluminum. In my opinion, the Canon version is not as good as the LensMate version because it does not fit the camera bayonet mount tightly, and, as a result, we may push the converter and the adapter easily, slightly shifting the line of view of the lens. The following image shows the Canon (black) and LensMate (silver) adapter tubes. The small ring to the right of the LensMate adapter is a spacer used to extend the length of the adapter tube. I found it is useful when using with the CrystalVue 8X monoscope, and, none of the Nikon wide angle lenses requires this spacer.

Canon LA-DC52D, LensMate 37mm Adapter and LensMate 37mm Spacer

The image below shows the configuration when the spacer is mounted on the LensMate 37mm adapter.

The next three images show a Canon adapter, a LensMate 37mm, and a LensMate 37mm plus a spacer. The A95 was powered on with its lens fully extended. It is clear that the spacer adds some extra space between the mounted converter and the A95 lens.

Canon LA-DC52D LensMate 37mm Adapter LensMate 37mm Spacer

Since most Nikon converter lenses are of the 28mm size, a 37-28mm step-down ring or a thread converter is needed. Fortunately, Photosolve has such a thread converter available. See here. The images below show the 37-28mm thread converter and the LensMate adapter, and the configuration of both on a A95.

LensMate and 28mm Thread Converter LensMate with 28mm Thread Converter

The 37-28mm thread converter is a very thin ring going from 37mm (outside) to 28mm (inside). Unfortunately, this ring does have a frustrating problem. It does not have a flange, and, consequently, as a lens is being screwed on to the adapter tube, it might go too deep, hitting the lens and causing lens error. Moreover, it does not fit with the LensMate 37mm adapter well and the lens mounted with this ring does not sit tight on the adapter tube. This will have a significant impact if the converter is heavy.

Fortunately, after some search I found a better thread converter here. This ring is made by a Taiwan firm, DigiLens, and the 37-28mm thread converter costs $200NT (about $7.00USD). As shown in the left image below, the DigiLens 37-38mm thread converter has a flange and is slightly thicker than the Photosolve version. The flange does help stop the mounted lens from hitting the A95 lens. The right image below shows the DigiLens 37-28mm thread converter on a LensMate adapter tube, which, in turn, is mounted on a Canon A95. Note that Kalt also released a thick 37-28mm step-down ring. See here for an example. Since it is very thick compared with the Photosolve and DigiLens versions, we will not use it for our work.

Photosolve and DigiLens 37-28mm Thread Converter DigiLens 37-28mm on a A95

Other than the problem mentioned earlier, both thread converters serve the same purpose very well. Therefore, on the next few pages we will not indicate which thread converter being used.