Using old lenses on DSLR’s

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    • #49009


      I ama student filmmaker, and am considering purchasing one of the Canon DSLR’s (possibly the T2i). My TA recommended saving some bucks by purchasing old lenses and using them with an adaptor on my new camera. He purchased Pentex lenses fromGoodwill and said they work fine for video.

      Any thoughts?


    • #200860

      go with pentax, it is the only company that built thier d-slrs to be compatible with every lens they ever made.

      you won’t find any other brand that has that level of backward compatibility.

    • #200861

      “you won’t find any other brand that has that level of backward compatibility.”

      Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. Nikon cameras still are compatible with their lenses made far back as the 1950’s. The original Canon EOS lenses are still compatible and fully functional with their latest DSLR’s as well. For use with their older prime lenses, you’d need an adapter. Obviously you would not be able to access any AF or other automatic functions with the old Nikon or Canon jammies, but they would still be usable when fully manual.

      Here’s some breakdowns on the different brands and their lens compatibilities;

      canon-nikon-sony-pentax-samsung-or-four-thirds-the-different-systems-explained can-i-use-my-lens-from-my-old-camera-on-a-new-digital-slr?

      Lens Compatibility Chart

    • #200862

      Not to be diasgreeable composite 1, but I said “that level of backward compatibility”… is accurate, sure other brands have varying levels, including good levels, but none come even close to Pentax.

      Pentax will fit and use every lens they ever made, but compared to Nikon, factor this:

      if you need image stabilization, the Pentax will stabilize “Every Pentax ever made” Nikon, only the vr lenses have stabilization…

      Pentax has had a 1.7 af teleconverter that will autofocus with “every Pentax lens ever made” Nikon, no such animal to my knowledge..

      Pentax cameras can safely use every flash they ever made without frying the electronics from too high a sync voltage from the flash..

      That is to say the system has it’s limitations true, but if you are on a budget, it is worthy of consideration.

      Now about old lenses, here is one thing I can attest to..

      I have an old Pentax 50mm 1.4 M series lens, and a much newer 50mm 1.4 fa lens.

      optically identical, but one is an old manual focus, no electronics manual aperture lens the other an autofocus etc..

      On the newer lens matrix, center-weighted and spot metering and auto aperture set by the camera, or manually on the lens, are available but the older lens center weighted and spot are available and you set the aperture by ring on the lens body..not in camera..

      the af lens takes about one turn of the af ring to go from min focus to infinity, the manual lens takes 1 and a half turns to do the same.

      The manual lens is mush easier to control manual focus than the af version…

      the older lens is the one I find better for video, by a huge margin… the feel and control and size of the manual focus ring are just plain better.

      it is worth looking at/trying out, the old lenses if you’re shooting video.

    • #200863

      Thanks everyone….if I use an older lens on my new dslr, will the focal length remain the same as a new lens, or does it shift?

    • #200864

      think of it this way:

      a 50mm lens is a 50mm lens . period.

      now depending on what size your sensor is, your field of view might change…

      a 50mm lens on a 35mm full frame d-slr is considered a standard lens… equal in Field of view to what you’d see with your eyes….

      a 50mm lens on an aps-c sensor (like my Pentax) is still a 50mm lens, but with a 1.5 x factor give the field of view you’d expect from a 75mm lens on a 35mm full frame camera.

      so depending on your crop factor, 1.5 or 1.3 or 1.7 depending on the camera… your Field of view changes…

      does that help?

    • #200865


      Got it…..thanks!

    • #200866

      Now my obvious affection for my brand aside, I hope I managed to convey the message that the older manual focus lenses were DESIGNED to manually focus… and since as a videographer you will likely be focussing manually anyways, DEFINITELY try older lenses on your camera if you can….

      my old primes are seeing a whole new life as video lenses on my video d-slr! I am soooo glad I hung onto them!

    • #200867

      Absolutely, we have been taught in school that “auto” is a dirty word πŸ™‚

    • #200868

      “…that level of backward compatibility”… is accurate, sure other brands
      have varying levels, including good levels, but none come even close to

      When I said that statement wasn’t entirely accurate, I meant it. Pentax did not start making K-mount lenses until the early 1970’s. Before that Takumar Screwmount lenses came with Pentax cameras. The Nikon F-mount came out in 1959. F-mount lenses can be used with F-mount cameras to a high degree of functionality. Obviously, certain issues concerning image coverage in the modern digital sensors will be present and certain electronic functions will not be functional with or without modifications. But in manual mode they will function with both film and digital descendant Nikon cameras. So, lenses being compatible from 10+ years longer than Pentax makes your statement ‘not entirely accurate.’

    • #200869

      there a a lot of “NO”s on this comprehensive list of lens compatibility…. Very good range of compatibility, but not all inclusive.

      EVERY Pentax lens EVER made ((including screw mount and medium format) will fit and work (within the limits of the lens) with the appropriate Pentax kmount adaptor.) would include EVERY Pentax lens ever made. so yes some lenses like screw mounts and medium formats need a Pentax k adaptor…. but since Pentax (as opposed to say third party) made the adaptors one could argue about it I suppose… there are also adaptors to fit Leica and Pentax screw lens for canon and nikon. There simply is no “you can’t put this lens on this body” anywhere in the lineup, of course some compromises… but absolutely no “Won’t mounts” or “Breaks mirror”s, might be two or three weird combinations where various film bodies might not fire their shutter (mz series bodies that won’t fire thier shutters unless they get info from the lens, designed that way so the shutter won’t fire while lens is off the body..the work around for that issue was a piece of tape over the electrical contacts and it will fire.), but noting breaks… digital is all good to go..

      anyways, it is outside the op’s question which I think we agree, the answer is yes, old lenses can be used and in some instances, they are actually better than the newer lenses.

      I have a collection of lenses from the seventies to 2011, and a couple of duplicates, so I’m committed to the brand… but my experience is that the “M” lenses have the nicest feel and control and equal optics…. so shooting video is actually BETTER with my older lenses than their modern counterparts…. my 50 1.4 and 85 2.2 being the my favourites. Of the newer lenses, my 10-17 fisheye zoom is my favourite followed by my 100 2.8 macro.

    • #200870

      Hi.. I’m also using old lenses for my cam.. And as far as I experience, it was ok… Nothing to be worry of.. πŸ™‚

    • #200871

      Hello being a Canon dslr user (7D), I find that alot of the old nikon lenses work fine with my canon. I get a nice cinematic look with the old lenses. Depends on what your shooting.

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