Can You Use A DSLR Lens On A Mirrorless Camera?

In Camera by Kantai KotikotLeave a Comment

Recently, I was planning to buy a mirrorless camera and I wondered if I could use my DSLR lens on that. I have put thousands of dollars into building up my lens collection and wanted to bring them to use when I get a mirrorless camera. So, I did some research to find out more about it and decided if my lens would be of use to me once I get a mirrorless camera.

So, you may also be pondering “Can you use a DSLR lens on a mirrorless camera?” Yes, you may use a DSLR lens on a mirrorless camera. However, most of the times, you may need an adapter to mount the DSLR lens on a mirrorless camera. If it is a manual DSLR lens, any inexpensive mechanical adapter would be appropriate. But if it is a lens that has electronic focus, aperture, and image stabilization features, an adapter that can do the required signal conversions between the lens and the camera would be needed.

Many photographers would want to know whether there would be any differences in image quality and performance when we use a DSLR lens on a mirrorless camera or not. There are a few things that you need to understand before you can use a DSLR lens on a mirrorless camera.

Using a DSLR Lens on a Mirrorless Camera

DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have an essential thing in common that distinguishes them from other cameras, which is that you can change their lens. So, if you need to capture more in an image, you would need a wide-angle lens. If you want a closer image of any object, you can use a telephoto lens. DSLR has been there for years, but mirrorless cameras are an innovation, gradually taking over the market. They are becoming more and more popular. Hence, photographers who are delving into this new technology look for utilization of their older lenses.

When you buy a mirrorless camera and plan to use your DSLR lenses on it, an adapter is one of the essential things for this purpose. This is mainly for the distance where the lens mounts and where the sensor sits in a mirrorless camera, i.e. the flange distance. Most of the mirrorless cameras have about 20mm of the flange distance, and you need an adapter so that your lens can focus on the mirrorless camera’s film plane.

Which Adapter Should You Go For When You Plan to Use a DSLR Lens on a Mirrorless Camera?

The type of adapter depends on the lenses you want to use. Most of the major manufacturers of the 70s and 80s had their bayonet. For each of these, you would require an adapter. For example, if you have a Minolta MC 1.2/58mm and any Canon lens from their FD series, you would need two different adapters: a Minolta SR to E-mount adapter and a Canon FD to E-mount adapter respectively.

There are several adapters in a variety of prices. For simple manual lenses, cheaper adapters work perfectly fine. But if you are planning to use more expensive lenses, a more valuable adapter would be needed.

Buy a Cheap Adapter for Old Manual Focus Lenses

The older manual focus lenses with manual aperture controls are the most comfortable lenses to start using with your mirrorless camera. The adapters in their case are just plastic or metal that used for adjusting the flange distance so that the lens can focus on the plane of the mirrorless camera. There won’t be any electronic aperture control or autofocus, but apart from that, they would work correctly.

This implies that lenses made before 1985 work with a cheap and straightforward adapter that can adjust the flange distance. For example, Pentax and Nikon autofocus lenses that have aperture rings were some of those lenses from that time. Since there are a plethora of adapters and lenses, it is difficult to make a recommendation regarding the adapter. However, any inexpensive metal adapter that is compatible with the camera mount and the lens mount would work for those autofocus lenses before the 1980s.

After the mid-1980s, things started getting more electronic and modern lenses were manufactured.

Get A Smart Adapter for Modern Autofocus Lenses With Electronic Controls

If you are looking to use a modern autofocus lens with electronic controls on your mirrorless camera, then a simple adapter would not be useful. Instead, you would require an adapter that can also connect the electronics in the lens and body of the camera.

Generally, the most common combination of camera-lens used is Canon’s EF mount lenses to Sony’s mirrorless cameras. There are a variety of smart adapters available in the market that can serve the purpose of connecting the DSLR lens with a mirrorless camera.

However, one of the cheapest smart adapters having good reviews is Fotodix Pro Fusion Adapter for $52.03, while one of the most expensive is Canon EF Lens to Sony E Mount T Smart Adapter by Metabones for $375. The Metabones adapter has several additional features that can provide more control over how the lens and camera work, but both the adapters work for the same purpose.

About the Author

Kantai Kotikot

A photography enthusiast, a videography connoisseur. Kantai loves the lenses, but he adores words. When he is not out learning how to shoot kick-ass photos and videos, he is creating content to guide you through your photography, and filming escapades.

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