The good thing about this product is that Nikon does not include any cheap glass in the adapter. ES-1 has no optical elements at all! Thus the quality of your reproduction depends on the quality of your macro lens, and of the camera. So why does an empty tube cost $49 and not $10 as it should? I know, I know, the “N” is $10, the ‘i’ is $10 and the “kon” is also $10. And we still do have issues with this device:
1) Despite its high price, the product has a significant deficiency forcing you to do even more shopping: If used with a customary 50/60mm macro lens, it projects the 35mm slide on a full frame 35mm area. However, the majority of DSLR’s support support the smaller sensor size, often called APS or DX. In order to use this adapter with a ‘DX size’ DSLR, such as Nikon D300, D80, Canon 40D or a Pentax K20, you will have to use an additional 20mm/30mm long 52mm diameter extension ring. This might be the old K5 ring by Nikon. I use the K4 and K5 ring in tandem. Difficult to find, a hassle and more cost to say the least. Nikon should have included such rings in the first place.
But wait, there is more!
2) You might also need a step-down ring, because most lenses will have a filter diameter larger than 52mm used by ES-1. I need for example a 62-52mm step-down ring, do not confuse it with the much more common step-up rings 52mm-62mm!!
3) Another pain with the ES-1 are the two harsh metal springs depressing the slide to the device, what prevents its use with uncut film, and may even damage your slide. This is really a big, major, crying out loud issue with this device: How in heaven shall we copy uncut film? The solution would be so easy, if these springs would be made of a soft teflon, and placed horizontally rather than vertically. But Nikon is (in)famous for being both “the only game in town,” and delivering things not well thought through. The uncut film ordeal with the SA30 roll film adapter in their LS4000 and LS5000 scanners comes to mind.
4) Another great deficit of this device is lack of any position fixing mechanism. The front element of ES-1 shifts for “zoom” and rotates freely. And this causes that after each change of a slide its position will slightly change. The result are crooked photographs. To prevent this to happen I use… a painters blue tape(!!) holding the front ring, once adjusted into position. How embarrassing! This reminds me of the (in)famous “credit card and a paper clip fix” in the $400 SF200 Nikon slide adapter needed to prevent jams! Nikon team “designs” again.
I think that this is a long and impressive list of negatives for such a seemingly simple gadget.
To summarize a generic opinion: Do not use any adapter with build in lens elements, take rather the Nikon ES-1 despite its shortcomings. Cheap no-name glass will likely spoil the resolution of your pricey macro lens. Nikon ES-1 is the right way of doing it, however in a lousy execution. Thank you Nikon for ES-1, shame on you Nikon, you blew it again.
Nikon is a precision optical company with worldwide manufacturing, research and marketing capabilities. The Nikon name is equated with extraordinary photographic performance, innovation, precision and optical quality.