Good evening David,
I just received my Nikon Z6 (Iım among the first few who has received it
in Canada - the 1st of only 2 at the store where I bought it).
So far, I only mounted my Leica-R 90mm Summicron with the FTZ mount
adaptor. So I donıt know what it will be the same with my other 3 lenses.
Anyway, so far, it is much more than I ever expected to be.
- Without doing any programming on the Z6, the camera reads the metadata
on the Dandelion chip that I had programmed on my Df (see attached screen
shot of Capture NX-D - that picture si JPG at 16000 ISO!): focal length,
maximum aperture shows in the metadata!!!!!
- the focus confirmation dot (red/green) works beautifully making focus
fast, sharp and precise, especially at infinity which was a problem on my
Df (remember I emailed you about it back then - now I focus at far
distances and infinity the way I was on my Leicaflex SL-2!).
- focusing is also very fast to achieve, even in dark surroundings,
because of the EVF (no problem closing down to the smallest aperture since
the screen remains bright and focusing fast) - no need for that ring I
added to close open and close the iris and no matter how stopped down I am
focus confirmation works which wasnıt the case on my Df (max. F/5.6 and
f/8 in very clear conditions).
Of course, itıs not autofocus but frankly focusing feels like using a
Leica M: like a breeze...
- with IBIS in the camera body, I can now take pictures at much lower
It is totally amazing!
I still have more test to run, but as far as I can see so far, anyone who
owns Leica-R lenses and wants to use it at their best should put a Leitax
mount on them and buy a Z6.
I still have a lot of testing to do but if you would like to have a follow
up, let me know. If my other 3 Leica-R lenses with Dandelion chip works
the same way as my 90mm, that set-up of Leitax mounted Leica-R lenses with
Nikon Z6 will be just amazing.
By the way, I tried to set my Z6 in programming mode (manual mode,
sequence of 3 shots at 1 sec., 5 sec., 1 sec.) with my Leica-R 90mm on it,
but it would not set itself in that mode. Fortunately since itıs only
after I took some shots with the 90mm and then opened them in Capture Nx-D
where I discovered the programming done on the chip with my Df was working.
So for now:
- I donıt think one can program the Dandelion chip on a Z6 body (but not
- based on the sole use of my 90mm, if the Dandelion chip of a given lens
has been programmed on an other Nikon body, it will be compatible with a Z
body (no reason why it shouldnıt work on the Z7).
Good morning David,
I spent the evening testing my 4 R-lenses in artificial light and this
morning I shot a few fast shots outside.
1- if someone has equipped his R-lenses with a Dandelion chip and
programmed focal length and maximum aperture on a Nikon D-body, all
programming will work on a Z6 body (I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t
on a Z7 body). I would think that front and back focus adjustments will
transfer too but who needs them on a ML body since the focusing is done on
Note: I have issues with my 28 and 35 lenses losing sometime communication
with the body. It has to do with the alignment of the Dandelion chip on
those 2 lenses. No big thing. Unscrewing and screwing back solves the
issue. Over time I’ll learned the fine tuning of mounting them on. This
morning it didn’t happen... But just a heads up in case someone try
mounting an R-lens on the FTZ adaptor and the body doesn’t recognize the
lens. Could only be a bad alignment.
2- as far as focusing goes, it is extremely precise and amazingly fast on
a Z body compared to a D-body (I have used a D-3 (which electronic
rangefinder was so and so in this case) and then on a Df body which was
pretty good except at very close range and at long range nearing infinity
with many hit and miss.
3- with a Dandelion chip on an R-lens on a Z body, you get the Afs
rangefinder WORKING AT ALL aperture openings even f/22 (and not just until
f/5.6 or f/8 at best if the lighting condition are very contrasty and
good, then switching on Manual focusing and not seeing anything in the
view finder)!!!! Plus since it’s an EVF finder, you ALWAYS see
everything!!!! IT ALSO MEANS THAT TRIGGERING USING Afs WORKS AT ALL
OPENINGS!!!!! Therefore one does not have to switch to manual focusing to
trigger the shutter because he is under f/5.6 and the camera loses the
ability to confirm that focusing is good!!!!
4- Because the Z6 body has IBIS, I can shoot hand held at lower speeds
(before my security speed shutter was around 1/(2 x focal length)
depending on the lens. I could make good shost at lower speeds than that
by doing continuous multi-shots. I’ve used the Z6 body for only half a day
and I have already won 2 shutter speeds. Plus you get to be able to close
down the iris more because of of the extensive capability at high ISO.
5- Also, because of the Dandelion chip, you keep Matrix metering. What a
nice surprise. And one can use all MASP modes. I’ll probably now use
“only” the A mode on the Z6 since I can program the focusing ring on the
Nikon 24-70S lens to work as an aperture ring.
6- MOST OF ALL!!! I can only do JPGs for now because the DxO module to
read the Z6 raws isn’t available yet, but looking at the JPGs straight out
of the body, something I expected/hope to be because of the BSI CMOS
sensor, all my non apochromatic pre-aspherical R-lenses (
PC-Super-Angulon-R 28mm f/2.8, Summicron-R 35mm f/2.0 v1, Macro-Elmarit-R
60mm f/2.8 , Summicron-R 90mm f/2.0) have step up a couple of notches! All
the “qualities” of Leica lenses shines through. It’s like using new better
lenses. Of course the IBIS system is not strange to that but I can really
see the character of the lens so much better. Even fully open on the JPGs
it’s better (didn’t say perfect but better, much better and when I’ll
build profiles for each lens in DxO, I expect this to be even better based
on what I achieved with my Nikon Df).
7- "Collateral advantage”: not only is focusing amazingly fast and precise
(I’ll have to get use to trust the system because I am used to focus in
and out on the Df body to make sure I’m good, here it just instantaneously
falls in place!!!!!), but because it is so much precise, focusing with
wide angle lenses is a lot more accurate no matter at what range you’re
aiming, near or far!!! Just amazing (again I didn’t write it was perfect
but so damned good compared to before…).
8- It also means it brings my old R-lenses into a wider range of uses
because it is so much faster and precise. IT IS NOT AUTO-FOCUSING but
focusing will now be just something done instinctively trusting the
Focusing confirmation dot keeping all my attention on framing the picture
even in some action shots!
9- An other surprise but one I was expecting except not to that point:
the quality and character (colours, depth and bokeh) of the S-line lenses
is a lot closer to my R-lenses than are my other Nikon zoom lenses. I
bought the S 24-70 f/4 for now, and browsing through my pictures taken
with the Z 6, the difference isn’t as apparent than what it was before.
About keeping my old R-lenses: I love the character of them! And
surprisingly enough, so far, about the definition for my taste and need,
no issue here (on my 5K iMac screen - haven’t printed yet).
“MY” conclusion so far: the Z6 body was made for my old R-lenses!!!! If
one owns R-lenses and can afford switching/acquiring a Z6 body, he should
at all costs!!! And I would suspect that anyone having old non chipped
Nikkor lenses, as long as they can be mounted on the FTZ adaptor - caution
and no-go are given by Nikon for some lenses - I would think they would
get the same advantages as I get with my R-lenses: programming focal
length and maximum aperture in metadata, using Afs focusing (even metering
down under f/5.6) with confirmation dot as long as they program the chip
on a D-body… I don’t own any so I can’t test. But maybe a market for you.
If I found issues or other advantages later on, I’ll let you know. As for
myself, unfortunately, the new Nikon Z6 body didn’t meet all my
expectations: it met those in my wildest dreams I was secretly wishing for
knowing very well it could never be. A perfect match. Again as I wrote
yesterday, from my memories using shortly an analogue Leica-M 40 years
ago, using R-lense on a Z6 body feels a bit like a mix of usage of Leica-R
and Leica-M on some levels and not all of course.
P.s.: of course there are hits and misses. Nothing is ever perfect. Even
with IBIS one cannot not be careful aiming and I still have to test for
extensively metering and focusing at closed apertures because maybe one
has to be more careful - but it could only be getting use to the camera.
So far just a maybe feeling but one thing is for sure: it works maybe with
Just one more detail about R-lenses: the focusing ring has a very long
mechanical range making focusing with Fas mode on a Z body very precise
1- losing communication also happened a couple of times with my
Macro-Elmarit 60mm. Screwing out and back in solved the issue. Like I
said, could be an alignment problem.
2- about Afs focus confirmation working and camera triggering at all
aperture openings, it does but under certain bad and/or lower lighting
conditions, triggering won’t happen because one loses focus confirmation.
But I had triggering working until at least f/11 no matter the conditions.
I didn’t test stopping down till f/11 and lower in really dim light
So about my latest discovery:
- yes, one loses communication at times between the Dandelion chip and the
body. It seems to happen when the EVF screen has to refresh while aiming
successively between 2 different with very large variation in lighting:
from full sun to deep shadow. At least something along that line. When so
you hear the whole body in kind of a reset mode to adjust the EVF. That’s
when communication is lost. But no need to unscrew the mount and screw it
back in: a simple shutting down Off/On of the button with the switch puts
back on line the Dandelion chip. So just a move with the index holding the
- Afs focusing works even when the aperture is stopped down. Except it is
“less precise” meaning since the depth of field is larger, the focusing
zone is larger. So, though as far as I tested, focusing is good, it depth
of field region might not be the one you wish for. I know because when I
took notice, I tried focusing closed down and then open wild open and at
times I would lose the focusing confirmation and had to adjust it.
- Afs focusing works pretty good even in dark settings (at night). More
attention has to be given but that has to do with the sensitivity limits
of the camera body. So this is amazing with manual lenses with stopped
down aperture. I was even able to focus stopped down at f/8 at one point…
- with the Dandelion chip and the Z6 combo with an R-lens (and I don’t see
why it wouldn’t work with any 3rd party lenses with your Leitax mount and
Dandelion chip programmed on a D-body - but I can’t be sure of that… you
need to test), I took around 50 pictures trusting blindly (and with no
particular attention) the Afs confirmation green dot with my Summicron_R
90mm aperture fully open at f/2 and did the same with my Summicron-R 35mm
at f/2 also, daylight outside (sun and extreme shadow with low contrast)
and inside daylight coming in through a window meaning very contrasty
conditions, well guess what? Only only 3 pictures out of focus and 1 not
exactly on the dot. And that at minimum range of both lenses and long
range. I’m discovering back shadow depth of fiels photography!!!!
Plus, I would think that anyone having manual focus old Nikkor lenses
(f/1.4 to f/2 lenses), should glue a Dandelion chip on them, program them
on a D-body and they should precise focusing wide open like they never
had! Yeah for ML and focusing on the sensor (one precaution though: I
haven’t tried any telephoto lenses longer than 90mm but it should be
efficient - now, I may start looking for an Apo-Telyt R-280 f/4…)
- about wide-angle lenses: yes, using a Nikon Z body with Afs is a lot
more precise (not absolute but really efficient) when one is focusing.
- because an EVF viewfinder shows the actual depth of field of the stopped
down lens in a bright way, the viewfinder adjusting, framing at very wide
opening has become fun like hell.
- I can confirm that using my pre-aspherical non Apo R-lenses (40 years
old) on a Z body
- about IBIS: it’s not because one is stabilized using non-stabilized
lenses that he shouldn’t be careful!!! It is extremely efficient with a
minimum of care… (yep, I tested it).
In other words, nothing is perfect but, to my surprise, visualizing the
JPG files (no RAW for now) on the screen show vignetting and even
chromatic corrections. Not sure how but maybe that by programming the
focal length on the Dandelion makes the system believe its an old Nikon
lens. But it does with t he other lenses as well (28 PC, 60 Macro and
90mm) and Nikon doesn’t have a 90mm. Vignetting is programmed at Normal on
the body. The only thing that really matters is that my old lenses work
better even on JPG files.
There you go! I think you may have a winning situation here! Grab it.
Don’t forget my testing is limited. On the other hand, it wasn’t done in a
“lab wise” fashion but everything hand held in normal field condition.
People over the net are looking for a solution to focus efficiently with
non autofocus lenses on an ML body: I believe you have a very good one…
Thanks a lot for your exhaustive research and the very good photo.
Now I will have to compose my post with all the information.
One question, does the Nikon camera have magnification in the
viewfinder? this is how I precisely focus the Leica lenses on my Sony
Best regards, David
Yes it does. I read you can program a touch to press (in front of the body
I think) to activate the magnifier to focus and then press it again to
deactivate it. From what I read, it works well.
But when I received the Z6, my intent was to work this way because from
what I had read, that was the best way to do it for a lens that has no
But before trying it out, I tried the R-lenses of the Z6 to program the
chip… and the whole story I told you to find out that there is no need for
it if your R-lens has a programmed Dandelion chip on it. So, at this
point, I still have to read the manual to see how I can activate the
magnifier!!! No need whatsoever for me except for special situations. So I
will look it up soon...
I saw on your site that you sell Nikon mounts for Olympus OM lenses. I
would bet that if you can mount a Dandelion chip on it (programming it on
a D-body), it should work the same as for my R-lenses. As for other
brands, one can use the magnifier.
If you need anything else, let me know. It might take me a few days to
answer back during the week because of work…
Good evening David,
I have just checked in the manuel about the magnifier.
By pressing the + and - magnifier button at the back of the camera body,
you can zoom in and zoom out in the viewfinder. No apparent pixelization
on the EVF and I’m surprised about the quality of the magnified image.
Focusing is easy. Except, because of the zooming in and even with IBIS,
the image shakes in the viewfinder because one moves. But efficient one
I read that one can program one of the Fn1 or Fn2 buttons in front to make
it easier to activate and deactivate - zoom 2x. (but I haven’t tried it…)
I also read that using the magnifier on the Z6 was a better experience
than on a Sony camera user. But this could only be his feeling.
For sure, from focusing with Afs on my Z6 then checking if it could make
it more precise manually with the magnifier -being in a very low light
situation- not it’s not. In low light, a green light in front flashes on
the object making it precise for the camera to focus.
I was skeptical about the quality of the pictures using my 40 years old
R-lenses on the Z6 body. How good they look. Like using new lenses!
Since I hadn’t tried any of my Nikon zooms yet, I thought I would. I just
tested my AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm/3.5-5.6 G ED VR. The balance with the Z6 is
to my liking and feel the handling to be better than on my Df.
Then, I took a few pictures at 90mm (92 to be exact) with my zoom (halogen
indirect lighting). Of
course at maximum aperture which is f/5.3 for the zoom. Then I took the
pictures with my R-90mm focusing at f/5.3 (and not wide open at
Guess what? (Though not an exhaustive test), all my pictures with the
R-Summicron 90mm (non aspherical and non apo) are superior at F/5.3 than
Except in very low contrast dim light where focusing is not as precise at
times (in all other
cases manually focusing with Afs with my R-90mm is as or more precise). I
have to learn how to get it right in those cases but (without having
tried just now but having done so earlier) focusing wide open at F/2 would
have done the job.
For now, I can’t say all my fixed R-lenses beat my 2 zooms (28-300mm and
16-35mm) at their
equivalent focal lengths but I wouldn’t be surprised… The Z6 IBIS system
seems to do a better job with my R-lenses (with no inner lens
stabilization) than with my zoom which has. Maybe just my habit being more
careful using my R-lenses...
Though not perfect because nothing ever is, coming from a D-3 and Df, the
combo Z6/R-lenses (again pre-aspherical and non apo) is the best I ever
had. More testing along the way could change my overall evaluation but
that’s what it is for now.
For reference, I have had: AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm/2.8 G ED, AF-S NIKKOR
70-200mm/2.8 G ED VRII, AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm/4.5,5.6 IF-ED VR and
AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm/4.5,5.6 G ED VR.
I have recently sold all my bigger zooms and was soon to buy the
200-500mm but then Nikon announced the Z series plus the new Nikon AF-S
NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR which is "feather light” and priced just not
too expensive… The 500mm is next unless I find a good deal on the
Apo-Telyt 280mm f/4 that I always dream of having for its image quality
(but heavy and more expensive!)…
The results with R-lenses, IBIS and very precise and fast Afs focusing on
the Z6 are a real game changer...
Good afternoon David,
I have received the Apo-extender. I had previously programmed the
Dandelion chip of an old Leitax mount to 400mm and f/5.6. After mounting
it on the Apo-extender (by the way, the baffle came out with the Leica
mount - no 3 screws to unscrew!), I put it on the Z6 to check if the
programming was recognized (without the lens). It did! 400mm f/5.6…
I think I have tackled the issue of losing communication between
the Dandelion and the camera. The “reset phenomenon" happens with my
S-24/70 too. It is a reset happening once in a while (it has to do with
the available light and exposition…). With the S24-70, communication
resets itself. But not necessarily with a manual lens with a
Leitax/Dandelion mount. But one can prevent it if when it starts doing
so (you hear it), he lets go of the shutter for the time it’s happening.
If not, there is no more delay having to shut off and then back on while
In manual, I have programmed this new Peaking Highlight manual focusing
mode. So, when I miss letting go of my finger on the shutter, the camera
simply turns into manual focusing into that mode. And you keep shooting (but
one loses focal length and max aperture in the Exifs)! Once you’re done,
you can do that switching Off and On of the camera and get the AF-S
focusing back on with Exifs.
This Peaking Highlight focusing mode works
really well. With limits as any other mode. To use the american football
defence concept, I would say that AF-S Single-point Af is a man-to-man
coverage and Peaking Highlight mode is a zone coverage. So I will be using
Peaking Highlight is, I feel, more universal. Single-point Af being more
pinpointed. Wide range vs narrow range focusing.
Second, as far as optical quality is concerned, though the S24-70 is
tremendous, I took some pictures with it and my “old” Summicron-R 90mm
both at f/4. I would put prints taken with both side by side (of the same
scene but different coverage of course) any time! In my test, I also took
pictures at f/2 to compare. The same goes! If one goes looking in details and
zooming at 100%, he will find differences in favour of the S24-70 but
looking at the pictures on the whole, the old Summicron-R 90mm holds the
pace. This Z6 with back-lighted sensor really is a fountain of youth!!!
One major difference is in the rendering. Like I wrote before, based on
the Z6 jpgs, the S-zoom with the Leica-R are a very good match (bokeh,
colours…). Rendering wise as far as contrast go, the Leica-R is more
natural. The Nikon-S 24-70 (I don’t know about the other S-lenses) is
more vivid/aggressive. So under a cloudy day with low contrast lighting,
the Leica-R renders the mood better. But in some cases if one would need
extra spunk, the S-24/70 will come through better. In those cases though with a
Leica-R lens, one can add micro contrast in post treatment. So I really
feel that my S-24/70 is complementary to my 4 Leica-R lenses. Plus giving
me a 24mm focal which I don’t have.
The Apo-Telyt 280/4 now. 400/5.6 should I say with the 1.4x extender.
WoW WOW Wow WOW! Ouf! Truly amazing! I have seen
pictures taken with it on the net but never up close and personal. I
didn’t know a lens (and in this case with extender) could be that good. So precise, micro-contrast to the
roof but all in subtlety, amazing bokeh! And with the Z6, it makes a very
efficient combo. More than I ever expected!
So far, I have found the Z6 IBIS system to be more efficient with my
S-24/70 than with my Leica-R. No surprise really. But still really happy
with the latter. So I was expecting “limited” results because of this.
And frankly, since it’s so good with the 400/5.6, I’m under the impression
that the Z6 IBIS gets even more efficient with the telephoto lenses than with my
28 to 90mm lenses. Maybe just an impression…
Focusing with the 400/5.6, both with the AF-S Single point Af and the
Peaking Highlight focusing mode, is really amazing. So precise especially
with the smooth long path focusing ring of the lens. I believe I’ll find
it more versatile than I expected it to be. AF-S Single point Af being
more precise and Peaking Highlight mode being very efficient.
Pictures taken at full aperture f/5.6 with the 1.4x extender (at ISO 1600)
As for the IBIS stabilization performance, my safe speed shutter is
1/focal, so 1/400! Taking 3-4 picture short bursts, no problem really
getting a sharp picture at 1/100th second! Both at short (minimum focusing
distance) and middle range distances. I haven’t had the chance to try at long
Overall, the body with the FTZ ring/Apo-extender/lens back to back feels
solid and I find the combo really stable handheld even if the weight is
very much in front. Sitting on a table resting on the lens tripod mount,
it’s very close to a neutral balance. Good for use on a tripod.
This Z6/IBIS-Leitax/Dandelion operates way above anything I ever expected!
With the 2.0 firmware, the Z6 has become even more efficient. With the Dandelion chip, in AF-S mode with Auto-area AF with eye-detection on, one does not even have to watch where he is doing focus. The system catch on the eye and all one has to do is to turn the focusing knob until he ears the bip while he keeps all his concentration on the framing and subject.
Also, with the Dandelion chip in manual focusing, the red/green square in the finder is now available making it even easier to use focus peaking because one can chose where and on what he wants focus to be done. Also, in that mode, focusing is continuous. Meaning if you go too far and come back, the focusing mode is still working. As opposed to AF-S where once the bip has been heard, one must let go of the shutter to re-initialize the focusing.
Last and interesting, the manual mode with the red/green square is completely silent. So if one needs a silent mode, it is the way to go.