through the F-Mount -  photography by Jürgen Becker
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Nikon ES-2 Film Digitizing Adapter review

May 13, 2018

The Nikon ES-2 was announced along with the D850 in summer 2017. Nine months later, the ES-2 became available in Germany. If you have a look on Nikon's websites, you get the impression the ES-2 is only usable in conjunction with the D850. Well, the D850 has got a special mode for photographing negatives and converting the images to positives. Nevertheless, the ES-2 is usable with every DSLR. Software that reverses the colours is not an invention of Nikon - I use vuescan for it, see my article How to digitise your slides and negatives. But it would be a good idea for Nikon to include such a software into the ES-2 package or to offer software updates for their current DSLRs!

What's in the box:

The slide mount issue

A Kodachrome slide from the 60s and a Y2K slide in plastic mount from the Fujichrome lab. The FH-5 works fine with these slide mounts.

The FH-5 works fine with thin slide mounts. But with thicker mounts (more than 2mm) the ES-2 setup is simply not usable. You have to dismount your slides, which is not a good idea!

For example: I used Gepe glassless mounts with metal masks - 3mm thick - for many years. Many serious photographers use(d) these mounts. They don't fit into the FH-5!

Moreover, Nikon does not even bother to publish this restriction!

My 3mm Gepe glassless mounts with metal mask don't fit into the FH-5!

The good news

For photographing film stripes (or slides in thin mounts) the ES-2 is the best setup Nikon has ever produced. While the ES-1 needs re-aligning after each swapping of the source image, it is not necessary with the ES-2 thanks to it's locking screw. Every former setup (ES-1 or a bellow setup) requires a positioning of the piece of film. Due to the click-in-place functionality of the FHs that is not necessary with the ES-2.

Well-working setup: Nikon Df plus AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 plus "62mm adapter A" plus ES-2 plus FH-4.


According to the user's manual, the ES-2 set is targeted at the AF-S Micro-Nikkor 40mm /f2.8 DX on a DX camera (no adapter needed) and at the 60mm Micro-Nikkors on an FX body (with adapters as mentiond above).

Furthermore, the manual says, the combination of an FX-format Micro-Nikkor lens and a DX camera would crop out the edges of the film. That is not true for the AF-S 60mm f/2.8, if you use adapter B. I tried this combination on my Nikon D5100 successfully. For the older 60mm f/2.8 you will need an additional screw-mount tube (well, Nikon could have put another plastic-tube into the set...).

Although AF lenses are very comfortable for digitising, you can also use manual focus lenses:

Nikon Df plus Nikon PK-12 tube plus Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/3.5 plus Nikon K5 (52mm screw-mount tube) plus ES-2 plus FH-5.

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