Nikon Coolpix S10: 3rd-Party Lens Adapter
I’ve been enjoying my new S10; it’s a great “carry everywhere” camera. Even though it’s not supposed to be a prosumer-level camera with advanced features, I still wished there were a way to use filters and other converter lenses with it, to extend its functionality. Searching around on the Nikon Talk Forum on DPReview, I came across a post about how someone found a supposed lens adapter for the S10 on eBay. This seller has many auctions for similar adapters, so make sure to choose one that is for the S10 specifically. After studying the seller’s pictures of the adapter, I decided to take the plunge and order one.
In the meantime, another Nikon Talk Forum member posted about his negative experiences with the adapter, which made me worried that the adapter wouldn’t work at all for my S10. Luckily, the adapter I purchased works just fine for me. I admit it’s pretty kludgy, since it provides filter threads by connecting an articulating bracket to the tripod mount of the S10, but if you really want to use filters or converter lenses like a wide-angle converter, then this is the only way to go currently.
The adapter itself is made of a pretty sturdy pair of metal pieces that are adjustable to fit different cameras. The bottom screw that attaches to the tripod mount has threads on the outside so that you can still use the camera on a tripod with the filter adapter attached.
As you can see in the picture above, the lens adapter also comes with a carrying pouch, a 37mm-to-52mm step-up ring, and some instructions.
For the S10, the adapter should be assembled to look like this:
Before you attach the adapter to the S10, detach the S10’s lens cap by flipping the cap open, holding it by the hinge, and gently pull up while twisting the lens cap ring back and forth. This procedure for removing the lens cap is straight from the S10 manual. 🙂 If you carefully and slowly, but firmly pull up on the lens cap assembly by the hinge, it will come off with no damage to the assembly or the camera. It may feel like you’re going to break the assembly, but it’s pretty tough plastic. The lens cap must be removed before you attempt to connect the lens adapter. The adapter isn’t big enough to fit around the ring of the lens cap. The best way to securely attach the adapter to the S10 is to first fit the adapter ring around the S10 lens, leaving the black screw a little loose so that you can get the right angle. Then while holding the adapter ring level, secure the bottom part of the bracket to the tripod mount and screw it down tightly, taking care to make sure the adapter ring around the lens stays level. Then tighten the black screw at the hinge of the bracket after centering the ring around the S10 lens. Here are a few pics of the adapter connected to the S10 (without the 37mm-to-52mm step-up ring):
In the last picture you can see a small gap around the S10’s lens. However, I think that if you were to connect a 37mm filter or converter lens, its threads would end up sealing the gap and preventing light leakage. It’s most likely, however, that you would use filter and lens attachments that have a 52mm diameter and larger, so here’s what the adapter looks like with the step-up ring:
As you can see, the gap around the S10’s lens is completely covered by the step-up ring. Using filters and converter lenses 52mm in diameter or larger will ensure there’s no vignetting, even if the S10 is zoomed out at its widest angle. I happen to have some 58mm filters and converter lenses that I used with my Sony F717 (great camera!), so I attached the Raynox wide-angle converter I have to the adapter:
Attaching large converter lenses like this makes the S10 unwieldy, so I wouldn’t be using this combination that much, especially since I have other cameras that would handle wider angle shots easier. However, for those of you who have the S10 as your primary camera, this lens adapter is handy for extending the S10’s functionality. Or, if you mainly want to carry around the S10 somewhere and anticipate taking a few wide angle landscape shots or something, using this adapter is convenient. The S10 is only 35mm at its widest, so using a wide-angle converter can be pretty helpful in many situations. And since the S10 has 10x optical zoom, using a teleconverter is less necessary, unless you’re really birding and need the extra reach. Actually, there are probably smaller wide-angle converters available; I am just making do with the equipment I already have. 🙂 Attaching filters like polarizers or neutral density filters would be less taxing on the S10. I’m probably going to play around with attaching an infrared filter to see how well the S10 does with IR photography! Anyway, here’s a look at how the wide-angle converter can help:
without wide angle converter
with wide angle converter
A few other things to consider when using this lens adapter:
1. The bracket blocks the internal flash, so you’ll have to deal with available light, or use an external flash, which would be even more unwieldy. Personally I prefer to use available light, even indoors, so this isn’t a problem for me.
2. Once the adapter is in place, you lose the ability to swivel the S10’s body.
3. When using a lens converter like above, take care to really support the weight of that converter to ease the tension on the adapter bracket and prevent damage to the camera.
I really wish that this bracket was constructed so that the S10 could retain its swivel-ability, but universal lens adapters like this are usually constructed to screw into the camera’s tripod mount. Despite its “kludge factor”, I like having this lens adapter available for whenever I want to use filters with the S10. 🙂
For full-sized versions of the pictures above, check out the gallery here.