How to Put an Old Manual Camera Lens on a Digital Camera

Old cameras have always been able to match bodies with lenses from different manufacturers. So, how do you put an old manual camera lens on a digital camera? Is it possible to put them on high-quality digital cameras?

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Lens adapters allow the camera user to use vintage lenses from film cameras on modern digital cameras.
  • Camera lens adapters are pretty simple to use since they have machined aperture rings that fit perfectly between the camera and lens.
  • When it comes to using an old or vintage lens on a modern digital camera, there are two things that users need to consider: the lens mount compatibility and the flange focal distance.

How to Mount Old Lenses on a Digital Camera

When it comes to using a manual focus lens on a modern digital camera for digital photos, there are two things that users need to consider:

  • The lens mount compatibility
  • Flange focal distance

Just like learning how to put a digital slave flash on a camera, fitting an old lens on a modern camera is pretty simple. All you need to do is the following:

STEP 1 FIND THE APPROPRIATE ADAPTER

Get an adapter to use your old lenses on your modern digital camera. The adapter will solve the conversion of the lens mount to the digital camera mount.

It’s essential to note that you’ll need more than an adapter to get your old lens to work on a digital camera. In addition, camera owners with modern digital cameras will need to consider the focal distance and depth of field.

STEP 2 CHECK ADAPTER FOR PRECISE FLANGE FOCAL DISTANCE

Please note that your adapted lens will not have accurate focus without the precise flange focal distance. Worst case scenario, it will not focus at all. The flange-focal is the distance in millimeters from the lens’s rear mount to the camera’s focal plane. The focal plane symbol on the camera is a “0” with a line strikethrough.

STEP 3 SET THE ADAPTER TO SPECIFIED FOCAL DISTANCE

To get quality shots, the user needs to factor in the different flange focal distances to determine if the adapted lens will obtain the correct focus. As a result, the lens adapter must be accurately correct in manual control for the specified focal distance to shoot quality images.

If you are looking for improved optical image quality, you could also learn how to put on a strap on a digital camera.

Insider Tip

It’s essential to note that you’ll need more than an adapter to get your old lens to work on a digital camera.

Why Mount an Old Camera Lens on a Digital Camera?

Old camera lenses have a different glass and aperture blade compared to modern alternatives. Consequently, they convey rare bokeh and micro-contrast properties. When mated to a modern digital camera, users experience how much magic is in the lens without using any presets.

Lens adapters made it possible to use old vintage lenses on modern cameras like mirrorless cameras. It is essential to note that each lens is designed to fit on a specific body. For example, a Canon EOS mount camera will work with a Canon EOS mount.

What are Lens Adapters?

Lens adapters allow the camera user to use vintage lenses from film cameras on modern cameras. As a result, if an owner has a mirrorless camera body, they can experiment with various manual focus lenses.

How Camera Lens Adapters Work

Camera lens adapters are pretty simple to use since they have machined aperture rings that fit perfectly between the camera and lens. One end of the adapter is designed to work on a specific model or type of lens, while the other attaches to the camera’s mounting plate.

Some of the most straightforward camera lens adapters don’t have electronic contrast; therefore, aperture control and autofocus features will not work. In addition, there is no communication link across the adapter, and the camera user will need to calibrate the aperture before taking a picture manually.

While many adapters are simple and are only helpful for fully manual lenses, others go a step further and have autofocus support. Depending on the make and model, these camera lens adapters have optical stabilization, autofocus, and maximum aperture settings intact and operational. Ideally, a camera owner can control the lens with the camera just like they would be using a lens designed for the camera.

Warning

Please note that your adapted lens will not have accurate focus without the precise flange focal distance. Worst case scenario, it will not focus at all.

F.A.Q.S

Will old SLR lenses work on a new digital SLR?

Yes. However, it depends on the manufacturer. Today, many camera companies are changing the way their cameras and lenses fit.


What is the best digital camera for my old lenses?

There are several digital cameras that can match old lenses. All you need is a lens adapter. However, the best in the market is the Sony a7 MKII.


How to find the right lens adapter?

Modern lenses are much easier to find, for old lenses you need to first determine the kind of lenses you are trying to use on an adapter. Identify the lens brand, then look for a suitable adapter.


Can I use lenses for 35mm on digital?

Yes, however, there are a few exceptions. The DSLR camera brand and the SLR lens need to match. You won’t be able to frame images on the DSLR like it would on an old manual camera.


STAT: According to studies, the revenue in the digital camera segment in the U.S amounts to $1,251 million. The market is projected to grow annually by 4.63% between 2021 and 2025 (source)

Ryan Mcbride

Ryan McBride is a writer based in Los Angeles. He has contributed work to magazines and sites including Gayot, Spy, Paper, Ladygunn, 3AM and the Crab Creek Review. He writes consumer reviews, essays, science and tech journalism as well as literary and art criticism.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *