The magnitude of advancements in modern technology and development has given the world a healthy competitive market that keeps upgrading time and again. The mirrorless camera is undoubtedly a product of modern technological advancement in the camera sector. But can you use a DSLR lens on a mirrorless camera?
Although it’s been a decade since this technology has been introduced in the market it keeps upgrading keeping pace with time. The Mirrorless camera can be considered as the counterpart of DSLR which provides better features like being lightweight, compact, and less noise to generate while shooting.
Most of them are also equipped with the Electronic viewfinder(EVF) to give you better viewing experience. However, there are pros and cons to every discovery.
Can you use a DSLR Lens on a Mirrorless Camera?
As a consumer, you might have already spent a fortune buying different lenses for a DSLR you own to acquire the best picture quality possible. To upgrade with time and technology you may now desire to make a switch towards a mirrorless camera that is in trend and is considered better than the DSLR in terms of handling and performance.
The question is can you use the DSLR lenses on the Mirrorless camera which you now intend to purchase, or should you consider these lenses as redundant on your new mirrorless camera?
You can relax and breathe with a ray of hope as the mirrorless cameras are designed to accept DSLR lenses with an adapter. So yes! You can use a DSLR lens on a mirrorless system.
How to use a DSLR lens on a Mirrorless camera?
The mirrorless camera body allows you to use the DSLR lenses however you cannot use them directly, you need to mount them on the camera with the use of an external adapter. An external adapter has to be purchased that will allow you to mount the DSLR lens on the Mirrorless system.
The adapter is essential to compensate for the flange distance or the distance from where the lens is placed and where the sensor is in the frame.
It is highly recommended that if you are planning to purchase a Mirrorless camera make sure you purchase from the same brand as your DSLR so that the adapter you acquire is compatible with both devices for better functionality and support.
For instance, if you own a Nikon DSLR it’s best to purchase a Mirrorless camera of a Nikon if you intend to use the lenses of the DSLR in sync with the adapter or else you might face certain technical mishaps/
One example is diameter: If the mount on the lens of the long-flange distance device is considerably greater in diameter than the mount on the short-flange distance camera, there might not be enough room in the adapter to fit the wide lens mount and yet be compact enough to mount to the camera.
Brands like Sony, Canon, and Nikon make adapters to easily mount their DSLR lenses on their mirrorless devices.
There are also third-party adapters that are compatible with the Mirrorless devices that you can use to mount your legacy lens. However, before purchasing the adapters make sure to check it’s compatibility as there are cases where the autofocus functionality is preserved.
Can I use Mirrorless lens on DSLR?
SLR lens may be compatible with a Mirrorless lens but a DSLR will not allow you to mount lenses of the Mirrorless and it won’t be functional.
Types of DSLR to mirrorless adapters
Camera brands who are switching from SLRs to Mirrorless systems are providing with adapters to make the transition of lens easy for their customers.
The Canon company provides adapters for both of its Mirrorless systems (the APS-C EOS M and full-frame EOS R) so it can be used with SLR lenses with full autofocus and aperture control. Third-party glass from brands like Sigma and Tamron are also compatible with these adapters.
The Nikon has its Z system, for both full-frame and APS-C camera models. Its FTZ adapter provides full support for aperture control and autofocus to most lenses that are compatible with its F-mount SLRs.
However, if the lens is very old the adapter may not support autofocus but instead would work smoothly with modern lenses.
Sony also has its adapters, the LA-EA4 with its autofocus system, and the LA-EA3, which integrates with the camera’s autofocus sensor. They are extremely useful for all those who own A-mount SLR lenses from Sony and Minolta.
Apart from the above brands, there are third-Party Lens adapters also available with integrated Autofocus support and some are also useful for fully manual lenses.
Sigma provides the MC-11 that is compatible with Sony and MC-21 which is compatible with L-mount models from Sigma, Leica, and Panasonic; hence the canon and sigma SLR lenses can be integrated with other systems. The Sigma also has its own lenses and cameras.
Metabones provides autofocus adapters for other systems, like the smart adapter and speed booster for Fujifilm X mount.
Metabones for Nikon G Lens to Fuji G-Mount (GFX) expander 1.26x
Metabones for Canon EF to EOS R (RF mount) Speed booster
Metabones Hasselblad V to Fuji G Mount (GFX) Speed Booster.
Fotodiox also produces a large series of adapters that are compatible with many brands giving you a perfect photographic experience.
The Fotodiox and the Sigma MC-11 Fusion adapter series are generally considered very good while using your camera in its basic AF-S mode, however, the performance may face certain disruption during the subject tracking and continuous autofocus.
Although if you plan to drop on the autofocus support the price of the lens may also drop easily and the basic options are also pretty good that completely serve the purpose of a photographer having a vintage lens with manual focus support with its own aperture control.
Contemplating the fact that a full-frame Mirrorless device may not directly support an SLR lens and require an external adapter may still, be a bit hard to digest for consumers.
Considering the above, even after you purchase the adapter and mount your current legacy lenses on the camera it may still lag full integration and miss out on essential features like autofocus and auto aperture and may not perform as per your expectation.
Furthermore, the transitions may not go in synchronization as it’s an external device that is being attached to a different device which makes it obvious to under-perform.
This can be considered as a drawback for certain photographers who capture fast-action sports and wildlife as the aperture has to be set on manual but on the other hand can be compatible to capture certain subjects that don’t rely on autofocus like landscapes, architecture. Even for videographers who usually change focus and apertures manually won’t really have a problem.
Another drawback to the external adapter is the cost factor. Where you have already spent a fortune over SLR lenses you may have to spend another as these adapters are expensive in the market.
If you are switching from a DSLR to a Mirrorless system and are concerned about performance and value for money it is highly recommended that you opt for Mirrorless lenses that are specifically designed for the Mirrorless cameras.
The Mirrorless cameras have their own wide variety of lenses from fast prime to wide-to-tele zoom which is extremely compatible with the camera from all aspects and features and provide you with the best photographic experience. It is better to invest in these lenses than an external adapter compromising on image quality and performance.