your film camera
lenses with a digital
We get questions, and sometimes the answer is "no"
Just got a call asking
for an adapter to put a Canon VL lens CL 8-120mm f1.4-2.1
15X zoom lens on his EOS Rebel camera. That lens was
designed for a video camera. It makes too small an image,
and sits too close to the film plane, to ever work on the
digital still cameras. So even a "great bargain" on eBay or
at a garage sale is no bargain if it won't work with your
Older camera lenses that won't work:
Canon FD and FL
lenses, made for the AE-1 and T-series manual focus SLR
cameras will NOT work on digital SLR cameras.
Minolta manual focus
lenses for the SRT, X-700 and similar models will NOT work
on digital SLR cameras.
Olympus OM series
lenses will not work on digital SLR cameras
Older camera lenses that work but not easily:
Nikon manual focus
lenses will work - with limited functions - on some Nikon
digital SLR cameras. Not on the Nikon D40, D3000, D3100,
Pentax thread mount
lenses (from the Spotmatic and even older cameras) can be
used, with an adapter, on Pentax digital SLRs but you must
program a custom function.
mount, manual focus lenses will fit on the Pentax digital
SLRs and work, but you must program a custom function.
Older film camera lenses that work pretty well with digital
cameras such as the Rebel, Rebel XT, XTi, 20D and 30D accept
and work with just about all Canon brand lenses made
for the EOS and Rebel film cameras.
autofocus lenses for the Maxxum and Dynax series camera work
on digital Minolta SLR cameras, Konica/Minolta digital SLRs,
and the Sony DSLR cameras. Other brand lenses such as Sigma
and QuantaRay brand lenses often donít work.
Nikon auto focus
lenses will work pretty well on most Nikon digital SLR
cameras. Not on the Nikon D40, D3000, D3100, D5200 etc., only certain series lenses
mount, automatic focus lenses will fit on the Pentax digital
SLRs and work.
Why you might not want to use film camera lenses with a
Digital cameras like the Canon Rebel,
Nikon D7000 or the Pentax *istDs have an image sensor that is
smaller than a 35mm negative area.
That means lenses provide more
magnification when used on a digital camera than when used
on a film camera. Itís like having a 1.5X teleconverter
built into the digital camera.
A 300mm telephoto, used on a digital
camera, has the same field of view as a 450mm telephoto used
on a film camera. Thatís pretty cool!
Unfortunately, your normal and
wide-angle lenses are also magnified. A 28mm lens gives the
same field of view as a 42mm lens on a film camera, so
youíll often find yourself backed up against the wall.
Thatís not so cool.
Thatís why our digital SLRs
usually come with
lenses such as the 18mm-55mm zoom. This gives about the same
field of view as a 28-85mm lens thatís so handy on a 35mm
Not every lens made for film cameras
will work on the digital model. In particular, Sigma and
QuantaRay brand lenses often donít work on the latest model.
You can usually rely upon lenses from the maker of the
Many lenses designed for digital
cameras canít be used on film cameras.
When used on a digital camera:
19mm has the same field of view as
27mm on a 35mm camera
28mm has the same field of view as
42mm on a 35mm camera
50mm has the same field of view as
75mm on a 35mm camera
90mm has the same field of view as
135mm on a 35mm camera
200mm has the same field of view as
300mm on a 35mm camera
400mm has the same field of view as
600mm on a 35mm camera