Understanding the Basics of Adapted Lenses for Mirrorless Cameras

On this video photographer Mark Ryan Sallee (from Michromatic) takes a look at a topic which many users of mirrorless cameras might find interesting – how to adapt non native lenses to their cameras.

This video discuss the basics. Starting from the reasons why you might want to do this – which includes using lenses that you might already have or buying less expensive older glass which might still be very good to use on your camera. Another point is that some users would like the control and handling that some of the old quality glass can give (something that almost all modern lenses do not have these days).

There are a few things that you should be aware of – you will need adapters – most of them are just “dumb” adapters – basically pieces of metal that physically allows a connection of a specific lens mount (say Nikon F mount) to the mirrorless camera that you are using (you can find adapters from almost any existing camera type to many of the popular mirrorless cameras. Another thing worth noting is that the other way doesn’t work – as the flange distance of mirrorless cameras is large in mirrorless cameras so you can use an adapter that will extend the distance between the sensor and the back of the lens (but there is no way to shorten this distance (so a 35mm lens on a mirrorless cameras will work with the right adapter but the other way around won’t).

These adapters usually don’t have AF or any sort of data transfer to the lens (including aperture control – for most older lenses this isn’t a problem – most of them don’t have AF but some newer ones do and for the most part adapters will not allow you to use the AF (there are smart adapters but they usually cost significantly more). There are much more to learn on this topic but these are the basics that should help you start.

More guides and comparisons of photographic gear can be found on our photography gear guides – here on LensVid.