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52mm to 55mm Step-Up Filter Ring Adapter on a Nikon 50mm 1.8 AF-D Lens

52mm to 55mm Step-Up Filter Ring Adapter on a Nikon 50mm 1.8 AF-D Lens

In order to use one size of filter on a lens with a different size filter thread, do you need a Step-Up adapter ring or a Step-Down filter adapter ring?

While this isn’t a new question, I’m writing this post because the question has been asked of me several times lately. Even some of my pro colleagues have to stop and, “uh, wait a minute, it’s, uh it goes to, I mean…I have to check”. So read on for the simple answer.

The basic thing to remember is that the rings are specified by ‘mm’ (millimeters) going in the direction from the front thread on the lens to the filter size. We are talking about the filter thread size, NOT the focal length of the lens (also measured in mm/millimeters).

‘UP’ means up to a larger filter; ‘Down’ means to a smaller filter.

All you need to remember is this:

From the Lens thread size Step ‘up’ or Step ‘down’ to the Filter thread size

Step Up + Step Down Filter Rings / Adapters

__________ Step-Up filter adapter rings __________

If you are going from a lens with a smaller filter thread to a filter that is larger, you need a Step-Up filter adapter ring. So, if your lens takes a 52mm filter size (common to many Nikon Nikkor lenses), and you have an existing filter with a thread size of 58mm, you need a 52 to 58 Step-Up Adapter Ring.

If you have a lens that takes 55mm thread size filters (common to many Canon lenses), and you want to put the same 58mm filter on it, you need a 55 to 58 Step-Up Adapter Ring.

52mm > 55mm Step-Up Filter Ring Adapter - detail

52mm > 55mm Step-Up Filter Ring Adapter - detail


________ Step-Down filter adapter rings _________

If you need to go from a larger lens thread to a smaller filter (only recommended for longer focal length lenses since you may find the smaller filter blocking the edges of your visual frame) then you need a Step-Down filter adapter ring. Example, if you have a 55mm filter thread lens and you want to use a 52mm filter, you need a 55 to 52 Stap-Down ring.

62mm to 52mm Step-Down Filter Ring Adapter on a Nikon 20mm 2.8 AF-D Lens Which Takes 62mm Filters

62mm to 52mm Step-Down Filter Ring Adapter and Nikon L1B 52mm Filter on a
Nikon Nikkor 20mm 2.8 AF-D Lens Which Takes 62mm Filters

62mm to 52mm Step-Down Filter Ring Adapter on the Lens Which Takes 62mm Filters

62mm to 52mm Step-Down Filter Ring Adapter on the Lens Which Takes 62mm Filters - detail


_______ Finding the Correct Thread Sizes________

So, how do you determine the thread size of your lens?

  • Check the inside of your lens cap (many show the thread size there)
  • Check the specifications for you lens
    • In your lens instructions
    • In an online search using the following keywords:
      • the Brand of lens (Canon, Nikon, Sigma, Tamron, etc.)
      • the type of lens written on the top of the lens barrel or on the front of the lens (where the filter would go)
      • the fStop range of the lens (written in the same places as the ‘type’ of lens as noted above)
      • and the words filter thread size

So, how do you determine the thread size of your filter?

  • The filter size will be written on the outside of the filter itself (usually) as seen on the filters pictured above
  • or, the thread size of the filter will be written inside the filter’s ring as viewed from the front (the female thread side) as shwon below

B+W 52mm 090 Deep Red Filter Showing the 52 Designating the Filter Thread Size

B+W 52mm 090 Deep Red Filter Showing the 52 Designating the Filter Thread Size

Another gender-driven way that this Step-Up or Step-Down dilemma is designated refers to the female/male thread metaphor. Female thread is what your camera lens has. Your filter has the Male thread to it’s rear, and on most filters (except for the ‘slim’ varieties) it will have a Female thread to accept other filters (and most lens caps). In short, the Male thread penetrates the Female thread; a shocking insight into the intimate lives of photographic filters and their lens lovers.

Again, All you need to remember is this:

From the Lens thread size Step ‘up’ or Step ‘down’ to the Filter thread size

Good shooting!

Step Up + Step Down Filter Rings / Adapters

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  2 Responses to “Do I Need a Step-Up Filter Adapter Ring or a Step-Down Adapter Ring to Fit My Lens”

  1. Is there any way to use a step-up or step-down adapter ring on the camera body to connect a lens of another size? One example I am exploring is a Canon Rebel 55mm camera to a an old & sweet 62mm Nikon lens.

    I’ve also heard of reversal lens mounts that can be camera-specific. Can you tell me a little bit about that. Could one of those mounts be used with my 55mm camera-to-62mm lens project to ensure no light sneaks through?

    So many dreams, so little budget…

    Thanks very much!
    Love the site!
    Crafty Girrl

    • Hi Girrl,
      There used to be adapters for Nikon lens onto Canon body. I haven’t seen them for a while, and you’d lose auto features. Might be better to get an old Nikon body if you love the lens so much.

      It is, after all, the lens which makes the image.

      On the reversing ring issue, that is for macro photography. A lens can be mounted onto the body in reverse, losing all auto functions, but some lenses can make great close-up lenses this way. The reverse ring must match the camera body, and the other end just screws into the filter ring of the lens, on it’s own, r with a step up or down to match filter size.

      I hope this helps!

      I like your line ‘So many dreams, so little budget…’
      I fabricate and mix/match stuff all the time.

      Cheers
      Ken

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