Using old manual focus lenses on EOS

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by allan_macdonald|2, Sep 18, 2009.

  1. I have been taking pictures for the last four years and have always been using some of the lenses we normally use today; EF, EF-S and Sigma. All of the lenses I have used have had autofocus and as I use the Manual mode on my EOS 40D and 350D most of the time, I have decided that I want to go as 'manual' as I possibly can. I prefer setting the camera settings manually, as I like to feel that I, not the camera, have taken the picture when I look at one of my photos.
    I would like to purchase one or two manual focus lenses that are compatible with my 40D and 350D but are still cheap. I have looked a lot on the internet to try to work out what lenses I should be looking at, but I just don't know where to start.
    I'm sure that there will be someone on this forum who could help me out and point me in the right direction as to what lenses I should consider investing in. I don't plan to spend a lot of money. It's really experimenting I want to do with them. I also realise that I will have to buy an adapter to go from the lens mount to EOS mount, so could anyone suggest any good manufacturers for lens mount converters?
    Allan, 16, Scotland.
  2. I have used some old Tamron Adaptall-2 lenses with Canon EOS. They work fine. The most annoying thing is the fact that the apertures are not automatic, so if you want to shoot at f/8 you set the lens at f/8 and the viewfinder gets very dark. You'll have to meter the scene with the lens stopped down. Which is why it's called "stop down metering". You can do it in full manual mode or aperture priority mode.
    If you can live with that, there are lots of lenses available at steep discounts. I don't know of any well-known manufacturer of mount converters, but "no brand" converters are available on eBay and sometimes in stores, and are usually not very expensive.
  3. I like the M42 screwmount Pentax/Takumars (that's the same brand), with any cheap M42 > EOS adapter from eBay. Some real bargains in those lenses, and there are enough Pentax forums and blogs to let you decide before you spend your money which old lenses are well regarded and which are turkeys.
    You might do some poking around in the "Alternative Gear and Lenses" forum at FM , which is peopled by many, many Canon users who like to use classic manual-focus lenses on their EOS bodies. The search function there might turn up things like best adapter, best old 50mm lens, etc.
  4. I do ALOT of manual focus lenses adapted to my Canon 10D and 20D bodies. You can adapt Nikon (both manual focus and auto focus lenses as long as it has the manual aperture), Pentax screw (also called M42), Pentax K, Olympus OM, Leica R (their SLR's), Hasselblad, Mamiya 645, Pentax 645, and Pentacon Six/6 (also Kiev 60 - same mount). You can get adapters with AF confirm chips on ebay (I use them). I have used a couple of ebay brands and they have been fine.
    I do find that I usually compensate exposure -1 with the adapters. I love using the old lenses.
    There is some great old glass out there and they can still be found for nice prices. Nikon, Pentax, Olympus Zuiko, Tamron (especially SP and older adaptall), Vivitar (look for serial numbers starting with 22 - Kiron, 28 - Komine, and 37 - Tokina), most German (some Meyer Optik are mediocre and some are very good), most Russian are quite good. There are also some very good lenses from Soligor (some are just OK). Also the medium format lenses are typically very good (Hasselblad, Mamiya 645, Pentax 645, Pentacon 60/Kiev 60).
    I like the look of using a nice fast lens to have that shallow depth of field and dreamy look - while I would love Canon's own - they are expensive that I cannot afford. I have the following fast lenses - all of which I paid less than $100 each for (most closer to $50 or less):
    Vivitar 28mm f2.0 by Kiron ($45), Nikkor-O 35mm f1.4 (yes - I got one for $45!), Olympus Zuiko 35mm f2.0 ($35), Pentax Super-Takumar 50mm f1.4 (I have a couple - both less than $30), Sears 55mm f1.4 (Tomioka made), 85mm f2.0 Jupiter-9 (Russian - $83), Vivitar 90mm f2.5 1:1 macro (Tokina AT-X lens - absolutely amazing mine is the 1:1 native not the 1:2 version that needs an adapter for 1:1 - $75), Nikkor-P 105mm f2.5 ($69), Vivitar 135mm f2.8 (Komine version - $15 - not especially fast, but very sharp even wide open), Vivitar 200mm f3.5, Tamron 200mm f3.5, and Pentax 300mm f4 ($89).
    I will say I have been seeing the prices for like lenses going up as more people are doing this, I got in to it sooner and built my collection.
    Other lenses I use - I have a couple of the Soligor 350mm f5.6 lenses (t-mount - there are a few versions some that focus fairly close and others not close at all). I love this for my telephoto work - it is very light (less than a pound), and is very good wide open, exceptional at f8 and f11 (pixel peep 8 megapixel at 100% - seriously sharp). I liked it so much, I found another for $25 and bought it as a backup. There is one of the close focus ones on ebay #230376132644 now for $41.85 shipped buy-it-now. A great lens for less than $42 shipped!
  5. I have some old Minolta MD and MC lenses that I've been using on my 450D and an EOS 3000 body. I have an e-bay adaptor and it does the job. Using either aperture priority or manual mode and 'sunny-16' both work well. I leave the aperture wide open for focusing then stop it down just before taking the picture.
  6. Allan, just to add to what the others have said, I have found older Zeiss M42 lenses to work very well on EOS bodies. The newer Zeiss C/Y mount lenses also work well, but you have to be more careful with them, since some of them have trouble clearing the mirror box of full frame bodies such as the 5D and 5D II.
    A great irony is that many MF Nikon users have come over to Canon because they can use their lenses on EOS bodies; and it's doubly ironic that Canon FD users cannot do the same. Sadly, apart from macro use, FD lenses are incompatible with EOS bodies.
  7. I use an Olympus 55mm 1.2 on my 30d, and adore the results. It used to just be for weekend fun, but it has quickly become a standard lens at weddings, especially at indoor receptions. I would second the motion too and say spend a little more and get the adaptor with the focusing chip in it, it's good peace of mind in lower light that you've nailed the focus.
  8. In addition to those already mentioned there are the M42 lenses from Zeiss Jena in East Germany. Still pretty cheap, but going up.The earlier ones were "pre-set" lenses anyhow so they are as easy to use on a Canon as they were on the original Contax S and all. Later M42 lenses often have a M="manual" and A="auto" (diaphragm of course NOT focus) switch. Later, fully automatic M42 lenses of any make will have a pin that needs to be pushed in to stop down the lens for shooting. Please do not mutilate these old timers by gluing down the pin-it may not work anyhow and it will ruin the lens. Instead, there are special M42>EOS adapters for just a few bucks more that have an additional flange on the adapter to depress the pin.
    Some of the best lenses ever for a nice Canon camera are the Nikon manual lenses. The more recent versions in AI and AI-s usually are snapped up by Nikonites, but the older non-AI or pre-AI are a little more difficult to adapt to modern Nikon digital cameras and even the later film cameras, so are sometimes considerable bargains. For example, I got a Reflex-Nikkor 500mm f/8 mirror lens for under US$200 and a Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 for about a $100. The latter one is widely thought to be one of the best Nikkors ever made.
    Of course, you will need to focus with the lens wide open for critical sharpness, and then stop down the lens manually to the shooting aperture. Before automatic lenses (aperture) were invented, that's what everyone had to do all the time anyhow. If this sounds like a pain, you've just discovered that you don't really want to shoot with old manual lenses anyhow.
  9. "A great irony is that many MF Nikon users have come over to Canon because they can use their lenses on EOS bodies; and it's doubly ironic that Canon FD users cannot do the same. Sadly, apart from macro use, FD lenses are incompatible with EOS bodies"
    I agree - it is funny because ALL of the Canon EOS bodies work better with the Nikon manual lenses than most Nikon bodies (only D200 or greater will meter them stopped down). You can even get focus confirmation with adapters. Even the Nikon autofocus lenses work as long as they have the aperture ring.
    Most of the lower end Nikon bodies won't even autofocus with the older Nikon AF lenses because they don't have the focus motors in the lenses. Oh, yeah - Nikon advertises their lenses ("Nikkor lens makes it a Nikon), but don't buy a D40, D60, D40x, D3000 or D5000 because most of the previous lenses won't autofocus. Granted those lenses won't autofocus on the Canon EOS either, but I find this a poor decision on Nikon's part.
  10. I bought an Olympus OM-2n with 3 Zuiko lenses (28/2.8 50/1.4 and 135/3.5). I actually use these lenses most often on the OM-2n body with B/W film, but with a cheap adapter these lenses give great results on my EOS 20D as well.
    But for shooting all manual, I like my OM-2n more than my 20D: the body and lenses are designed for manual operation, making it easier (especially focussing is much easier, but also the automatic aperture operation - I still find stop-down light measurement on the 20D somewhat awkward)
  11. I only have one EF lens for my 5DmkII (EF 200/2.8), all my other lenses are MF lenses. I use M42 lenses (Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 2.8/20 and CZJ Sonnar 3.5/135) and Contax lenses (Carl Zeiss Distagon 2.8/35, CZ Planar 1.7/50, CZ Planar 1.4/85 and CZ Sonnar 2.8/135). They all perform very well and cost fraction of what EF lenses of similar performance would cost.
  12. You should check this FM post from late last year. It contains a lot of links to good resources on using manual lenses with EOS bodies
  13. Hi Stephanie: Very informatory thread for Manual lens users. Which Model and made of adapter you are using for MD/MC Minolta lenses? Is it with correction lens or otherwise and infinity focus is secured? I have few Minolta glass like 58/1.4, 50/1.2 is in the pipeline. Damaged 28-85 zoom during mount conversion now lying with technician. Thanks in advance.
  14. Hello Myra - it was one of these: from "".
    It has the correction lens and does not have any electronics in it. It works great, I can focus to infinity without trouble - essentially everything the MD lenses do on my X370 they can do on the EOS cameras.
  15. "A great irony is that many MF Nikon users have come over to Canon because they can use their lenses on EOS bodies; and it's doubly ironic that Canon FD users cannot do the same. Sadly, apart from macro use, FD lenses are incompatible with EOS bodies"
    that's funny. it's the reason that i went with nikon. my d700 meters without having to stop down on just about every nikkor lens that i'd want to own. and the focusing is great. also, the viewfinder of the d700 is far, far superior to any DX or aps-c finder i've used, making it hard to manually focus on something smaller. i shoot film for a class and digital for personal, and i don't have any overlap in lenses: all of my nikkor lenses work on both my Nikon FE and my d700.
    i'm not sure if the older lenses will have the autofocus confirmation or not, but they certainly can be metered externally, so they still retain some use on the lesser nikon digital bodies. but what i like about the nikon system is that i do not have to have two separate systems, film and digital. thus only my camera body itself must be changed.
    granted this comes at the cost of a $2500 digital body, but that's the price of FX (full frame) these days, excluding the new alpha850 from sony i suppose. but when i read that the OP wanted manual focus on his digital, i immediately thought of suggesting a light meter and a d40 for about $300 used off of fleabay and not the other way around.
  16. Hi Stephanie: i have read in different threads of forum like MF lens, FM etc. the correction lens degrade the performance of lens and results achieved are not up to the required standard. Is it correct or not? In a FM forum thread poster mentioned "if u have rollei to eos adapter u can clamp it on the minolta mount and test it until 3-4 meters without any building". ( Alternate lenses thread-5 Rokkor 45mm f 2 by rsrsrs. i do not have this adapter and membership of fm otherwise i must have contacted the poster. Any experience of my colleagues on this forum will be greatly appreciated.
  17. Hi all:
    FM forum thread . If it is correct will help lot of friends or the poster rsrsrs is wrong. Thanks

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