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Thread: SLR lenses for DSLR cameras

  1. #1

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    SLR lenses for DSLR cameras

    Is it possible to use earlyt lenses made for SLR cameras in DSLR cameras?. I have a range of Sigma lenses used in my Pentax SLR camera for film photography. Are there any adaptors/attachments that can be included between these early lenses and a canon 550D DSLR camera?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Black Pearl's Avatar
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    Re: SLR lenses for DSLR cameras

    Very quick search on eBay found this....

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/AF-Confirm-Pen...ht_1054wt_1141

    ....so yes you can.

    The image quality may be a bit hit and miss but give it a go - oh and post the results.

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    Re: SLR lenses for DSLR cameras

    Thanks Robin. Your info is useful. If I had a choice I would like to die in the mountains.

    Quote Originally Posted by black pearl View Post
    Very quick search on eBay found this....

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/AF-Confirm-Pen...ht_1054wt_1141

    ....so yes you can.

    The image quality may be a bit hit and miss but give it a go - oh and post the results.

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    Steaphany's Avatar
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    Re: SLR lenses for DSLR cameras

    Actually, the results can be quite surprising and usually on the good side. If your dSLR has a less than full frame imager, then fSLR camera lenses will provide some advantages, the greatest being the image circle. A lens designed for a full frame image format is designed to focus a quality image over the complete frame and a less than full frame imager will capture the image within the best performing area of the lens.

    The main area where a fSLR lens can fail is due to the the highly reflective nature of the imager's surface. Where as film has a surface that is diffuse, an imager can reflect light back to the rear lens elements which can then be reflected back to the imager if the anti reflective coating does not attenuate this light sufficiently.

    Also be careful to note if focusing of the lens causes any elements to be extended into the body of the camera where it could cause damage or limit focal range.

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    Re: SLR lenses for DSLR cameras

    The main problem using these lenses is that you will be only able to manually focus and your camera is not that great for manual focus. However, buy an inexpensive adapter and give it a go! You might be pleasantly surprised...

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    Re: SLR lenses for DSLR cameras

    Thank you Steaphany for all the information particularly about the precautionary measures to be observed. I will be buying an adopter and will post my experience when I have used it.
    Thank you
    tjjohn

    Quote Originally Posted by Steaphany View Post
    Actually, the results can be quite surprising and usually on the good side. If your dSLR has a less than full frame imager, then fSLR camera lenses will provide some advantages, the greatest being the image circle. A lens designed for a full frame image format is designed to focus a quality image over the complete frame and a less than full frame imager will capture the image within the best performing area of the lens.

    The main area where a fSLR lens can fail is due to the the highly reflective nature of the imager's surface. Where as film has a surface that is diffuse, an imager can reflect light back to the rear lens elements which can then be reflected back to the imager if the anti reflective coating does not attenuate this light sufficiently.

    Also be careful to note if focusing of the lens causes any elements to be extended into the body of the camera where it could cause damage or limit focal range.

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    Re: SLR lenses for DSLR cameras

    Thanks Richard. Yes I shall give it a go and check the results and post my findings.

    Thank you
    tjjohn

  8. #8
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    Re: SLR lenses for DSLR cameras

    Just because I'm a pedantic soul... The six mounts you can easily adapt to Canon EOS with adapter rings are:
    • Nikon F
    • Contax/Yashica
    • Leica-R
    • Olympus OM
    • Pentax K
    • M42

    Note the irony that Canon FD/FL is not on that list. Minolta MD/MC is also problematic*, unless you have machining and repair skillz and can replace a lens's mount with ease, or you don't mind using an adapter with glass in it that will act like a short teleconverter so you can maintain focus to infinity.

    The ability of the lens to focus to infinity on a camera body depends on it being held at a certain distance from the sensor/film. The distance of the lens mount to the film/sensor is different for different mount systems. So you can always just use a simple ring to adapt a lens when you're adapting from a thicker system to a thinner one.** But going the other way around is much tougher, because you can't just jam a lens farther into a camera body, and not using a tc between the lens and the camera has the same effect as using a small extension tube.

    With manual lenses, you obviously only have manual focus. But you also only have manual aperture control. All the weird upshots of using an MF lens involve the fact that there's no electrical communication between the lens and the camera body. You have to control the aperture via the lens's aperture ring. You'll be using stop-down metering as opposed to wide-open metering (i.e., the camera will meter accurately, but you have to actually stop the lens down and your viewfinder will get dimmer the smaller the aperture goes. Typically, you just focus and compose wide open, then stop down, adjust exposure settings, and take the shot.)

    Also, because the camera can't control the lens's aperture, you're limited to shooting in M or Av modes. And your EXIF is going to have holes where the lens information goes: focal length, max. aperture, aperture used, lens name, etc. And the autofocus confirmation dot will not light up.

    Unless you use a chipped adapter ring. Chipped adapter rings fake being a Canon lens chip. This will add focal length information to your EXIF and may add other features like the aperture used (or at least the max aperture), the ability to use autofocus microadjust on bodies that have this feature, and the AF confirmation dot lighting up when the camera's AF system thinks focus has been reached. The dangers of using one are typically if it's not precisely placed on the lens you can short contacts, and if it's not attached securely, it can fall off and into your camera body and cause some kind of damage that way. I've used chipped adapter rings for three or four years and never had an issue other than an occasional Err01 that was fixed by remounting the lens, but you pays your money on eBay and you takes your chances. The two dealers I've purchased from are big_is and happypagehk, they have good reputations on the Fred Miranda alt. gear forum. The Fotodiox rings also have a good reputation.

    Using an MF lens is really not a huge deal, unless you plan on shooting fast action photography. (I still curse the day I thought I'd test out my new old C/Y Zeiss Planar T* 100/2 at the zoo and that was the day the jaguar decided to go for a swim and she dove right on in and splashed about).

    If your eyesight is good, manual focusing shouldn't be too much of a problem, unless you get a really fast lens. With f/1.4 and f/1.2 lenses, you may run into an issue (if you shoot wide open a lot, and let's face it you tend to buy an f/1.2 lens to shoot at f/1.2) where the focus screen isn't rendering DoF accurately. If you have a 40D/50D/60D or 5D (weirdly, it's an omission on the 7D), you can swap the focus screen out for one that's "high precision" which is darker than the standard matte focus screen, and that will render the DoF accurately. I use one with my Olympus OM-mount 50mm f/1.2. Or you can use a third-party focus screen with manual focus aids like a split circle and prism collar. The only problem with these is that the prism collar blacks out when the max. aperture of the lens hits f/5.6.

    You can swap the focus screen in a dRebel, but it's a bit trickier and more accident prone that with the little hinged door built in to your camera. Research accordingly.

    * the one exception with Minolta MD/MC is the desirable Rokkor 58mm f/1.2. Leitax has created a mount replacement kit to adapt it to EOS, so you don't have to machine your own or DIY one out of an M42-to-EOS adapter ring.

    ** this is is also why you see so many bazillion adapters for micro four-thirds, Sony NEX, and Samsung NX. Not only are their native lens selections small, but their mount-flange-to-image-plane distances are so small they can adapt many more mounts. But because of the micro 4/3 2x crop factor, you'll find that fast and wide MF lenses go for much higher premiums today than the did three years ago. :/ In fact, the u4/3 and NEX cameras can adapt rangefinder glass like Leica M, M39 mounts, as well as the Olympus Pen half-frame lenses. Which is doubtless why Schneider-Kreuznach, Cosina Voigtlander, and Zeiss are joining the micro four-thirds group and why Sony is opening up the NEX mount for third parties.
    Last edited by inkista; 17th February 2011 at 05:37 PM.

  9. #9
    Mario Xavier's Avatar
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    Re: SLR lenses for DSLR cameras

    you just might get some amazing results. I know I have with my recent purchase of two Minolta lenses for my Sony DSLR. In my case no attachments were necessary since Sony kept the mount type the same.

  10. #10
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    Re: SLR lenses for DSLR cameras

    This thread is probably the place to ask about adapter rings for a adapter from a Pentax-K lens to a Nikon D-40. I don't want to buy it online (if I do it has to be Newegg), in the northern Wisconsin area. Would a camera shop be likely to have it in stock or order it?

    -Sonic

  11. #11
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    Re: SLR lenses for DSLR cameras

    Nikon and Pentax-K is going to be more problematic. Here are the mounts, with their flange-to-sensor/film distances (from a mflenses.com forum post):

    Leica R : 47mm
    Nikon F : 46.5mm
    Olympus OM: 46mm
    Pentax K : 45.5mm
    M42: 45.5mm
    Contax/Yashica : 45.5mm
    Minolta AF/Alpha : 44.5mm
    Canon EOS : 44mm
    Minolta MD/MC : 43.5mm
    Canon FD/FL : 42mm
    Four-Thirds : 38.67mm

    Adapting your mount for anything larger is easy (assuming you've got enough thickness to machine a ring with precision, say >= 1mm). For anything smaller, it's harder, because you have to shave off the back of the lens, sink the lens into the mount (typically not possible because of the mount opening diameter, but I think M42 can do this with Nikon, not sure), or use a glass element to act as a tc.

    Nikon is one of the most problematic mounts to adapt for, because only Leica R is larger, and only by .5mm. This is why Leitax sprang up with lens mount replacement kits. It's not as easy as using a simple ring, but they are reversible.

  12. #12
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: SLR lenses for DSLR cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by snapdown View Post
    you just might get some amazing results. ....
    QFT. I love my MF lenses.

    SLR lenses for DSLR cameras
    Canon 50D. adapted Olympus OM Zuiko MC Auto-S 50mm f/1.2
    iso 100, f/1.2, 1/1250s.

    SLR lenses for DSLR cameras
    Canon 5D Mark II. adapted C/Y Zeiss Planar T* 100mm f/2.
    iso 800, f/2, 1/160s. Handheld, available light.

  13. #13
    Steaphany's Avatar
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    Re: SLR lenses for DSLR cameras

    Wikipedia has a nice page on lens mount specifications:

    Lens Mount from Wikipedia

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    Re: SLR lenses for DSLR cameras

    Kathy

    Sure pedantic but very informative. I have my own machine shop and the information you have written will be very useful when I get down to doing the job.

    Thank you

    tjjohn

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    Re: SLR lenses for DSLR cameras

    Steaphany,

    Thanks for the link. This site is great

    tjjohn

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    Steaphany's Avatar
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    Re: SLR lenses for DSLR cameras

    And, for those who do not have their very own photographic machine shop, check out:

    S. K. Grimes Inc., The Photographer's Machinist

  17. #17
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: SLR lenses for DSLR cameras

    The only problem with SK Grimes are their prices.

    Quote Originally Posted by tjjohn View Post
    Sure pedantic but very informative. I have my own machine shop and the information you have written will be very useful when I get down to doing the job.
    Ah. Then you need to know about the fredmiranda.com alt. gear forum, as well as the fora on mflenses.com and manualfocus.org. The fredmiranda board is where I've picked up the majority of my knowledge on MF lenses, and there are quite a few mad modders with machine shops who mess about with lens mounts like nobody's business.

    I'm too chicken to try it. I won't even shave the mirror on my 5Dii.
    Last edited by inkista; 18th February 2011 at 10:23 PM.

  18. #18
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    Re: SLR lenses for DSLR cameras

    I turn back to what Stephany said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Steaphany View Post
    The main area where a fSLR lens can fail is due to the the highly reflective nature of the imager's surface. Where as film has a surface that is diffuse, an imager can reflect light back to the rear lens elements which can then be reflected back to the imager if the anti reflective coating does not attenuate this light sufficiently.
    that matches with Sigma web site about DG&DC lenses:

    "The DG designation applied to most newer Sigma lenses indicates that the lens is especially suited for use with digital SLR cameras. The DG lenses feature improved (more even) light distribution from image center to edge, and incorporate the latest multi-layer lens coatings to avoid reflections of the sensors of digital cameras. This is important in digital photography, but is also useful in 35mm photography, especially when slide film is used. "

    I think this problem of reflection is present in all 'film SLR born' lenses, isn't it?
    therefore, looking at the large diffusion of lenses adapted on digital cameras, I can suppose that is not an issue. am I right?
    I've found on used market a Sigma AF 28-70 f/2.8 for canon EF, so I can use it on my 50D without adapting ring and without loosing autofocus, in order to improve my canon 28-90 4-5.6, but if this reflection between sensor and inner lens make doesn't compromize so much the picture.
    what's your opinion??
    many thanks
    have a nice day
    Nicola
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 23rd February 2011 at 10:29 PM.

  19. #19

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    Re: SLR lenses for DSLR cameras

    I've not noticed any ill effects from back reflection. Some of the Mamiya lenses I use on my Nikon DSLR are noticeably better than my standard DSLR lenses in terms of tonality and colour. Admittedly my standard lenses aren't the most expensive available but still of decent quality I believe. So for me, I have to assume that this effect is barely noticeable if at all. I'll file this one under unimportant side effects along with small aperture diffraction which had me paranoid for a while until I tested it and found the effect only barely noticeable at high magnification.

  20. #20

    Re: SLR lenses for DSLR cameras

    I have a 50 mm 1.8 Zuiko prime and a Tokina 35mm -70 mm zoom. There used for when you have time to manually focus. the 50mm acts like an 80mm. The zoom works a little better because its a 3.5 - 4.5 its slower , like the kit lens. Manual focus first then , set apeature , and shoot away . Remember you are in manual no auto focus., also the primes let in more light so stop it down.

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