Commlite CN-ENF-E1 review

Started Oct 2, 2017 | Discussions
jarek leo
jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Commlite CN-ENF-E1 review
3

I know this is Adapted Lens forum but I feel this review belongs here for all of us who dream of using Nikon lenses of various generations on Sony E cameras. The full review is available at my blog:

https://towarzystwonieustraszonychsoczewek.blogspot.com/2017/10/akcesorium-niedoskonae-adapter-commlite.html#more

It is in Polish but here is a summary in English:

Commlite CN-ENF-E1: an imperfect accessory

Most of the time the adapter fails to operate correctly with manual Ai and AiS lenses. Despite having the latest firmware installed, in case of AF lenses it repeatedly loses electric contact, crashes, and at times displays incorrect lens speed. As it has no AF motor, autofocus is not possible with “screwdriver” lenses. Even the range of uses recommended by the manufacturer is strictly limited to phase detect AF with the second generation of Sony FE full-frame cameras – the table lists just A7 II and A7R II – plus APS-C format a6300. On a positive note, VR works in compatible lenses, EXIF data is correctly embedded, and in the case of non-VR lenses the focal length is correctly fed to the shake reduction system on the sensor. When it does not crash, it renders usable AF with compatible lenses – the manufacturer’s tables are quoted here. Still, I would never take this combination on a professional assignment. The problem is that being so imperfect - and having no real competition - it is also indispensable for some uses. Generally I would say one must be out of mind to buy for close to 400 USD an accessory that hardly works as intended. I had some serious reasons to do so. First, it is the only route to enable aperture control on Sony A7R II with my two perspective correction lenses: PC-E Nikkor 24mm f/3.5D ED oraz PC-E Micro Nikkor 45mm f/2.8D ED. The same concerns excellent wide-angle Irix lenses. Second, without the adapter I would be unable to perform many of the planned comparative tests of optics from various systems on Sony A7R II. But to those users of Nikon system who have been contemplating transition to Sony FE bodies to make full use of AF Nikkor of all generations via Commlite CN-ENF-E1, I can only say: it’s a pipe dream. AF Nikkors had better stay on Nikons.

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armin304 Contributing Member • Posts: 570
Re: Commlite CN-ENF-E1 review

The adapter has still a lot of curious behaviour in regular use.

One is, that simply changing a lens isn't enough. To get the changed lens correctly recognized, you have to remove the adapter too from the camera and reattach it. Switching off the the camera has no effect, since obviously Sony doesn't cut the power to the lens when switching off. Even if the next lens has no CPU, the data of the lens before will remain in the adapter and will behave like one, which isn't really to expect.

Another quirk, obviously resulting from not interpreting the power off signal correctly, is the adapter draining the battery with the camera switched off. It got better with the latest firmwares for camera and adapter, but it's still there.

Power consumption with continuous AF may be a little on the high side, but since I don't own a native lens for my A7II, I have nothing to compare it to.

The adapter lacks an aperture simulator, it not even has the little switch you find at cameras like the D3xxx or D5xxx, that informs the camera, that the lens is set to it's smallest aperture and if not creates an error if you are not in M. Be carefull if you are using AF lenses with aperture ring or you may scratch your head, why the images are not like you want them.

That said, the adapter gives additional use to my A7II and depending on the lens, AF does not have to be slow. I like that someone made the effort at all and I bought it as soon as it was available. But I really don't know, what has ridden me, as I put together the kit for my actual holidays. It must have been some kind of masochism, as it contains the A7II, the Commlite adapter, the old Zenitar 2.8/16 fisheye, the big Sigma 1.8/20 (no HSM, no AF), the pre AI Nikkor K 2/28, the AF-S 1.8/50 and AF-S 4/70-200 VR. But the masochism ended with the Rubinar 10/1000 and I took instead my Nikon P900, so it's not that bad, if the Sony with adapter annoys me too much.

 armin304's gear list:armin304's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P900 Sony RX10 III Nikon D700 Samsung NX2000 Samsung NX30 +3 more
jarek leo
OP jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: Commlite CN-ENF-E1 review

The problem I encountered is that sometimes the camera display f/1.0 regardless of the lens used, Sometime incorrect lens speed is not transferred fron the one previously used. For example my AF-S Nikkot 20mm f/1.8G ED lens sometimes registers as an f/1.8 and sometimes as an f/1.7 lens.

Best

Jarek

armin304 wrote:

The adapter has still a lot of curious behaviour in regular use.

One is, that simply changing a lens isn't enough. To get the changed lens correctly recognized, you have to remove the adapter too from the camera and reattach it. Switching off the the camera has no effect, since obviously Sony doesn't cut the power to the lens when switching off. Even if the next lens has no CPU, the data of the lens before will remain in the adapter and will behave like one, which isn't really to expect.

 jarek leo's gear list:jarek leo's gear list
Sony a6000 Sony a7R II Nikon D850
sportyaccordy Forum Pro • Posts: 15,857
Re: Commlite CN-ENF-E1 review

Gah, this sounds a lot like my old Techart EF adapter I had for my A7. It actually yielded fast and accurate AF with the right lenses, but it too regularly lost contact and the mode switch broke. Infuriating experience. Hopefully Metabones has something in the works but it's been 5 years already. A real shame as Nikon has some budget gems (all the 1.8 primes and all the "low end" FX zooms).

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Sometimes I take pictures with my gear- https://www.flickr.com/photos/41601371@N00/

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MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 39,144
Re: Commlite CN-ENF-E1 review

Jarek

Thanks for this helpful post and link.  All I can say is that many years ago when I came to the Nikon/Canon EF crossroads I took the Canon route and then persevered in the wilderness until I found other mirrorless bodies that could be used full-function with EF lenses.  As far as I am concerned both M4/3 and later Sony E/FE now can work well with Canon EF and a suitable adapter.

Maybe one day Nikon also?

-- hide signature --

Tom Caldwell

MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 39,144
Re: Commlite CN-ENF-E1 review

armin304 wrote:

The adapter has still a lot of curious behaviour in regular use.

One is, that simply changing a lens isn't enough. To get the changed lens correctly recognized, you have to remove the adapter too from the camera and reattach it. Switching off the the camera has no effect, since obviously Sony doesn't cut the power to the lens when switching off. Even if the next lens has no CPU, the data of the lens before will remain in the adapter and will behave like one, which isn't really to expect.

Another quirk, obviously resulting from not interpreting the power off signal correctly, is the adapter draining the battery with the camera switched off. It got better with the latest firmwares for camera and adapter, but it's still there.

Power consumption with continuous AF may be a little on the high side, but since I don't own a native lens for my A7II, I have nothing to compare it to.

The adapter lacks an aperture simulator, it not even has the little switch you find at cameras like the D3xxx or D5xxx, that informs the camera, that the lens is set to it's smallest aperture and if not creates an error if you are not in M. Be carefull if you are using AF lenses with aperture ring or you may scratch your head, why the images are not like you want them.

That said, the adapter gives additional use to my A7II and depending on the lens, AF does not have to be slow. I like that someone made the effort at all and I bought it as soon as it was available. But I really don't know, what has ridden me, as I put together the kit for my actual holidays. It must have been some kind of masochism, as it contains the A7II, the Commlite adapter, the old Zenitar 2.8/16 fisheye, the big Sigma 1.8/20 (no HSM, no AF), the pre AI Nikkor K 2/28, the AF-S 1.8/50 and AF-S 4/70-200 VR. But the masochism ended with the Rubinar 10/1000 and I took instead my Nikon P900, so it's not that bad, if the Sony with adapter annoys me too much.

Might have been simpler just to take a rubber hammer to tap your fingers with - physical pain might be simpler than the mental one ... only kidding - looks like an interesting collection of lenses.

-- hide signature --

Tom Caldwell

armin304 Contributing Member • Posts: 570
Re: Commlite CN-ENF-E1 review

jarek leo wrote:

The problem I encountered is that sometimes the camera display f/1.0 regardless of the lens used, Sometime incorrect lens speed is not transferred fron the one previously used. For example my AF-S Nikkot 20mm f/1.8G ED lens sometimes registers as an f/1.8 and sometimes as an f/1.7 lens.

Best

Jarek

armin304 wrote:

The adapter has still a lot of curious behaviour in regular use.

One is, that simply changing a lens isn't enough. To get the changed lens correctly recognized, you have to remove the adapter too from the camera and reattach it. Switching off the the camera has no effect, since obviously Sony doesn't cut the power to the lens when switching off. Even if the next lens has no CPU, the data of the lens before will remain in the adapter and will behave like one, which isn't really to expect.

This is a problem I hadn't had yet.

 armin304's gear list:armin304's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P900 Sony RX10 III Nikon D700 Samsung NX2000 Samsung NX30 +3 more
jarek leo
OP jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: Commlite CN-ENF-E1 review
1

I was three times at the crossroads and finally took the Nikon way. In terms of native bodies presently Nikon beats Canon all the way. In terms of usability of lenses on Sony E bodies it is the other ways round.

Best

Jarek

Tom Caldwell wrote:

Jarek

Thanks for this helpful post and link. All I can say is that many years ago when I came to the Nikon/Canon EF crossroads I took the Canon route and then persevered in the wilderness until I found other mirrorless bodies that could be used full-function with EF lenses. As far as I am concerned both M4/3 and later Sony E/FE now can work well with Canon EF and a suitable adapter.

Maybe one day Nikon also?

 jarek leo's gear list:jarek leo's gear list
Sony a6000 Sony a7R II Nikon D850
armin304 Contributing Member • Posts: 570
Re: Commlite CN-ENF-E1 review

Wanted to use the 2/28 today. It's an AI converted pre AI Nikkor and works fine on all my Nikon bodies. I really don't know, if I ever tried it with the Commlite instead of an dumb adapter, but hearing the noise the aperture mechanism makes with this lens, I don't think so. The Commlite handles CPU less lenses like a Nikon body and keeps the aperture open until the shutter is activated, which I really like for focusing. But I don't like this noise with the 28. Maybe the pre AI aperture is a good deal stiffer, than with AI or AiS and this is the reason why the second release of the adapter got a beefed up aperture mechanic. For this holiday, it seems, I'm not using the 28 again.

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jarek leo
OP jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: Commlite CN-ENF-E1 review

My erratic experience with non-CPU lenses might follow from poor design of the aperture-closing mechanism in the Commlite adapter, which might be too weak do push the apertue lever on many Ai and AiS lenses.

Best

Jarek

armin304 wrote:

Wanted to use the 2/28 today. It's an AI converted pre AI Nikkor and works fine on all my Nikon bodies. I really don't know, if I ever tried it with the Commlite instead of an dumb adapter, but hearing the noise the aperture mechanism makes with this lens, I don't think so. The Commlite handles CPU less lenses like a Nikon body and keeps the aperture open until the shutter is activated, which I really like for focusing. But I don't like this noise with the 28. Maybe the pre AI aperture is a good deal stiffer, than with AI or AiS and this is the reason why the second release of the adapter got a beefed up aperture mechanic. For this holiday, it seems, I'm not using the 28 again.

 jarek leo's gear list:jarek leo's gear list
Sony a6000 Sony a7R II Nikon D850
MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 39,144
Re: Commlite CN-ENF-E1 review

jarek leo wrote:

I was three times at the crossroads and finally took the Nikon way. In terms of native bodies presently Nikon beats Canon all the way. In terms of usability of lenses on Sony E bodies it is the other ways round.

Pure luck on my part - I had swapped my Ricoh PK mount MF slr for a Canon EOS 620 slr some years pre-digital and it seemed a good idea to stick with the EF mount when I went digital.  Thought I might re-use my existing entry level EF lenses with digital but made the "mistake" of buying a top-range EF lens with my first dslr and was hooked.  Only recently have I tried and successfully used one of my EF lenses from slr days ...

But in the end things seem to go full circle.  Now I have bought several Sigma DC lenses in EF mount to solely use on M4/3 bodies.  Now I know that this is the wrong approach but I am just a little overome by how well these DC (aps-c) lenses work focal reduced on M4/3.

I can even use them on EF-M or Sony-E (aps-c) if push comes to shove (as they say).

Tom

Best

Jarek

Tom Caldwell wrote:

Jarek

Thanks for this helpful post and link. All I can say is that many years ago when I came to the Nikon/Canon EF crossroads I took the Canon route and then persevered in the wilderness until I found other mirrorless bodies that could be used full-function with EF lenses. As far as I am concerned both M4/3 and later Sony E/FE now can work well with Canon EF and a suitable adapter.

Maybe one day Nikon also?

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Tom Caldwell

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Tom Caldwell

jarek leo
OP jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: Commlite CN-ENF-E1 review

Tom, I have to admit I needed to check the idiom you used - "if push comes to shove" . Your posts enrich my English. Thanks!

I am just finishing a test I have been doing for the past two weeks and will publish it on Monday - to discipline myself I publish posts every Monday afternoon. Until then I will not reveal the exact content of the test, but here is a small teaser: the camera is Sony A7R II, there is a native Canon EF  lens, a third-party lens in Nikon F mount, and a third-party lens in Leica M mount, all maketed within the last 2.5 years.

Best

Jarek.

Tom Caldwell wrote:

jarek leo wrote:

I was three times at the crossroads and finally took the Nikon way. In terms of native bodies presently Nikon beats Canon all the way. In terms of usability of lenses on Sony E bodies it is the other ways round.

Pure luck on my part - I had swapped my Ricoh PK mount MF slr for a Canon EOS 620 slr some years pre-digital and it seemed a good idea to stick with the EF mount when I went digital. Thought I might re-use my existing entry level EF lenses with digital but made the "mistake" of buying a top-range EF lens with my first dslr and was hooked. Only recently have I tried and successfully used one of my EF lenses from slr days ...

But in the end things seem to go full circle. Now I have bought several Sigma DC lenses in EF mount to solely use on M4/3 bodies. Now I know that this is the wrong approach but I am just a little overome by how well these DC (aps-c) lenses work focal reduced on M4/3.

I can even use them on EF-M or Sony-E (aps-c) if push comes to shove (as they say).

Tom

Best

Jarek

Tom Caldwell wrote:

Jarek

Thanks for this helpful post and link. All I can say is that many years ago when I came to the Nikon/Canon EF crossroads I took the Canon route and then persevered in the wilderness until I found other mirrorless bodies that could be used full-function with EF lenses. As far as I am concerned both M4/3 and later Sony E/FE now can work well with Canon EF and a suitable adapter.

Maybe one day Nikon also?

 jarek leo's gear list:jarek leo's gear list
Sony a6000 Sony a7R II Nikon D850
jarek leo
OP jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: Commlite CN-ENF-E1 review

Tom, as I will be busy on Monday and the review is ready, this time I decided to publish my new test today , on Friday. You will find it as a new thread in this forum - "Voigtländer Heliar-Hyper Wide 10mm f/5.6 Aspherical versus Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM versus IRIX 11mm f/4 on Sony A7R II". I hope you will find it useful, or at least not utterly boring.

Best

Jarek

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Entropy512 Senior Member • Posts: 4,774
Re: Commlite CN-ENF-E1 review

armin304 wrote:

The adapter has still a lot of curious behaviour in regular use.

One is, that simply changing a lens isn't enough. To get the changed lens correctly recognized, you have to remove the adapter too from the camera and reattach it. Switching off the the camera has no effect, since obviously Sony doesn't cut the power to the lens when switching off. Even if the next lens has no CPU, the data of the lens before will remain in the adapter and will behave like one, which isn't really to expect.

Bad adapter design - most EF adapters I've tried (along with Sony's LA-EA3) are designed properly so that LENS_XDETECT contact on the Sony side gets broken when the lens is removed from the adapter - causing the adapter to be depowered.

The intention here on Sony's part is to reduce initialization and startup time if the lens is not detached.

Another quirk, obviously resulting from not interpreting the power off signal correctly, is the adapter draining the battery with the camera switched off. It got better with the latest firmwares for camera and adapter, but it's still there.

Yup.  Nearly all third-party adapters on the market fail here.  Metabones and Sigma are some of the only ones to get Sony's lens power management right.  A side effect of Sony's initialization/startup time optimization mentioned above.

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MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 39,144
Re: Commlite CN-ENF-E1 review

jarek leo wrote:

Tom, I have to admit I needed to check the idiom you used - "if push comes to shove" . Your posts enrich my English. Thanks!

Jarek, thanks in being so accepting of my idomatic posts  I suppose we can only learn by using .....

I am just finishing a test I have been doing for the past two weeks and will publish it on Monday - to discipline myself I publish posts every Monday afternoon. Until then I will not reveal the exact content of the test, but here is a small teaser: the camera is Sony A7R II, there is a native Canon EF lens, a third-party lens in Nikon F mount, and a third-party lens in Leica M mount, all maketed within the last 2.5 years.

I think I and others are very pleased to get thorough researched information.

Best

Jarek.

Tom Caldwell wrote:

jarek leo wrote:

I was three times at the crossroads and finally took the Nikon way. In terms of native bodies presently Nikon beats Canon all the way. In terms of usability of lenses on Sony E bodies it is the other ways round.

Pure luck on my part - I had swapped my Ricoh PK mount MF slr for a Canon EOS 620 slr some years pre-digital and it seemed a good idea to stick with the EF mount when I went digital. Thought I might re-use my existing entry level EF lenses with digital but made the "mistake" of buying a top-range EF lens with my first dslr and was hooked. Only recently have I tried and successfully used one of my EF lenses from slr days ...

But in the end things seem to go full circle. Now I have bought several Sigma DC lenses in EF mount to solely use on M4/3 bodies. Now I know that this is the wrong approach but I am just a little overome by how well these DC (aps-c) lenses work focal reduced on M4/3.

I can even use them on EF-M or Sony-E (aps-c) if push comes to shove (as they say).

Tom

Best

Jarek

Tom Caldwell wrote:

Jarek

Thanks for this helpful post and link. All I can say is that many years ago when I came to the Nikon/Canon EF crossroads I took the Canon route and then persevered in the wilderness until I found other mirrorless bodies that could be used full-function with EF lenses. As far as I am concerned both M4/3 and later Sony E/FE now can work well with Canon EF and a suitable adapter.

Maybe one day Nikon also?

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Tom Caldwell

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Tom Caldwell

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Tom Caldwell

armin304 Contributing Member • Posts: 570
Re: Commlite CN-ENF-E1 review

For what it's worth, I found in my inbox today, that FW 6 is now available for download:

http://www.commlite.com/en/down.php

The update of my adapter will have to wait until I'm back from my holidays.

 armin304's gear list:armin304's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P900 Sony RX10 III Nikon D700 Samsung NX2000 Samsung NX30 +3 more
jarek leo
OP jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: Commlite CN-ENF-E1 review

Thanks. It is for some new Nikon and Sigma lenses and unless you have one of those attached to the adapter, the camera refuses to upgrade the firmware.

Best

Jarek

armin304 wrote:

For what it's worth, I found in my inbox today, that FW 6 is now available for download:

http://www.commlite.com/en/down.php

The update of my adapter will have to wait until I'm back from my holidays.

 jarek leo's gear list:jarek leo's gear list
Sony a6000 Sony a7R II Nikon D850
armin304 Contributing Member • Posts: 570
Re: Commlite CN-ENF-E1 review

jarek leo wrote:

Thanks. It is for some new Nikon and Sigma lenses and unless you have one of those attached to the adapter, the camera refuses to upgrade the firmware.

Best

Jarek

armin304 wrote:

For what it's worth, I found in my inbox today, that FW 6 is now available for download:

http://www.commlite.com/en/down.php

The update of my adapter will have to wait until I'm back from my holidays.

I have done the update to 6 yesterday and found, that my old Sigma EX 24-70 f/2.8 DG HSM (not in the compatibility list) now works with the A7II, but the Nikon AF-S 70-200 f/2.8 VR I doesn't work anymore, which is no loss, since it was dead slow before. Other Sigma lenses, that now at least work partially and don't get the camera to crash like before are the EX 17-35 f/2.8-4 HSM (sometimes even with AF) and my first generation 50-500 (only MF).

With the old firmware 4, I was impressed, that I had no hick up of camera or adapter for the last 2 weeks during my holidays with the A7II, the AF-S 50mm f/1.8, the AF-S 70-200 f/4 VR and the old Sigma EX 20mm f/1.8. How FW 6 will do, I'll see in the next weeks.

 armin304's gear list:armin304's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P900 Sony RX10 III Nikon D700 Samsung NX2000 Samsung NX30 +3 more
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