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Using a Manual Lens on a DSLR

JLTJLT Senior MemberPosts: 484 Senior Member
I looked on line and it appears that it’s possible to use a manual focus lens on a DSLR camera. I’ve got a Canon Mount Sigma 80-200 lens. Do any of you camera buffs use old manual lens on your DSLRs? The camera I'll thinking about getting is one of the Canon Rebel Series.

Replies

  • Scott ButnerScott Butner Senior Member Posts: 3,918 Senior Member
    I've got an old 500mm f/8 Nikkor that I use on rare occasion, which is both manual focus and manual exposure (since it is fixed aperature). Don't know how it is in the Canon, but on the Nikon it's a bit of a pain in the **** to use but I trade that inconvenience for the fact that it's longer than anything I can afford to use which retains auto features. The DSLR's typically do not have focus screens that are very helpful in determining when something is in focus (compared to the old split image centers, fresnels, etc which manual focus cameras had). So expect focusing to be a slower, more deliberate process than it was in the old days.

    of course, that is also a result of my eyes not being that good anymore. I doubt I'd be doing much photography at all if autofocus weren't around, since my eyes simply aren't up to the task, other than perhaps when i work from a tripod.
  • pdawgpdawg Senior Member Posts: 195 Senior Member
    If Canon is like Nikon, you will only be able to shoot in manual mode with no metering. When you decide on which model camera you are getting, google "Lens compatibility" for that model, there will probably be a chart showing which lenses you can use and what functions are available for that model camera with that particular lens.
  • JLTJLT Senior Member Posts: 484 Senior Member
    Thanks for the feed back...
  • FishTXFishTX Super Moderator Posts: 8,714 Senior Member
    I use a few lenses on a dSLR. I've got an adapter to use Olympus OM mount lenses on an Olympus dSLR. I've got a T2 to EOS adapter for my Canon 10D dSLR.

    I've also got a newer adapter to use Olympus OM lenses on the Canon 10D and it has a chip that allows for focus confirmation (the chosen focus point lights up and/or I get a the audible signal). The focus confirmation adapter cost me $14 including overseas shipping and once the micro adjustment for fine tuning focus is done, the focusing is fairly accurate at large apertures.

    You won't need an adapter if your Sigma lens is for an older EOS film cameras (EF lenses). The lens mount is the same. Just make sure that lenses that the Rebel takes are EF lenses or EF/EF-S lenses. If it takes a EF-S lens only, then the mirror on the camera might it the back of the lens.

    You can even put in a split image focus screen, like manual focus film cameras use, to aid focusing old lenses on a dSLR.

    Here is a an image from a cheap third party lens (in Olympus OM mount) taken on the Canon 10D using the focus confirmation adapter.

    6926048728_09f147b4ab_z.jpg
    "We have to find someone who can not only fly this plane, but who didn't have fish for dinner."

    Crooow:This music would work better with women in bikinis shaking all over the place. I guess that's true of any music really.
  • FishTXFishTX Super Moderator Posts: 8,714 Senior Member
    P.S. Old lenses can be cheap if you are willing to look up good ones and search for deals. The lens used in the rose photo is a DeJur 135mm f2.8. I looked upped examples of photos taken with this lens before buying one. It was $50 including shipping. If I spent a little more, I could have had the equivalent in a Zuiko that would be much sharper with better lens coating.
    "We have to find someone who can not only fly this plane, but who didn't have fish for dinner."

    Crooow:This music would work better with women in bikinis shaking all over the place. I guess that's true of any music really.
  • Scott ButnerScott Butner Senior Member Posts: 3,918 Senior Member
    never mind. FishTx just answered my question.
  • FishTXFishTX Super Moderator Posts: 8,714 Senior Member
    But to modify your camera to allow it to focus better with older manual lenses, can't be cheap.
    The best aftermarket screens are the Katzeyes. They are about $105 (about $160 if the manufacturer install it, but that is a simple process), You can add about $20 for the OptiBrite coating that makes the image in the viewfinder much brighter.

    Not cheap, but if you plan to shoot old lenses often and you already own many, or willing to hunt for deals, then the cost to improve the focusing experience may be worth it. Besides the nearest equivalent in a modern lens to the one used in my example costs about $800-$900. I can live with $50 and the results for the old lens until I have more disposable income, or I have a legitimate reason to buy a more expensive lens.
    "We have to find someone who can not only fly this plane, but who didn't have fish for dinner."

    Crooow:This music would work better with women in bikinis shaking all over the place. I guess that's true of any music really.
  • JLTJLT Senior Member Posts: 484 Senior Member
    Nice photo. My Sigma is a 1980's vintage, that I hate to see sitting in it's case doing nothing. When I did use it on my AE-1 I really liked to play around with it's macro reproduction setting. Again thanks for the information.
  • FishTXFishTX Super Moderator Posts: 8,714 Senior Member
    The AE-1 used FD lenses, so you are going to need an FD to EOS (or EF lens) adapter. They could run $25 to $50 dollars on fleabay. I think the FD adapter requires a glass element. Most adapters don't have glass. So, I'd look at the $40 dollar adapter at fotodiox http://www.fotodiox.com/index.php?cPath=21_29_31 They are a good company, so you spend a little more, but know what you are getting.
    "We have to find someone who can not only fly this plane, but who didn't have fish for dinner."

    Crooow:This music would work better with women in bikinis shaking all over the place. I guess that's true of any music really.
  • FishTXFishTX Super Moderator Posts: 8,714 Senior Member
    One other thing. Sometimes using an old lens is a little hit or miss with old manual focus lenses. I don't get it. I use modern lenses on my Canon and older auto focus Canon lenses with no problem. With a manual lens the meter gets confused on my Canon and Olympus. Shoot in manual exposure mode or aperture priority and set the aperture setting to whatever you manually set the lens to and your exposures should be darn close.
    "We have to find someone who can not only fly this plane, but who didn't have fish for dinner."

    Crooow:This music would work better with women in bikinis shaking all over the place. I guess that's true of any music really.

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