Using old lens on new DSLR camera's?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by jmbill, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. jmbill macrumors member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Hi guy's, I need some advice on purchasing my next camera. :)

    Traditionally I've always used digital compact cameras (the typical point and shoot sort) but I'm looking to get myself a DSLR because my photography is getting a bit more serious and I want to learn something new. The choice of camera's available is quite bewildering so I want to make sure I'm spending good money on good kit, so to speak.

    I've got one preference - I've recently acquired quite a large collection of Canon-branded lens including wide angle, macro and telescopic lenses. They were all used on a SLR Canon camera and they use the 'bayonet' type of fitting.

    Question 1: Can these lenses be fitted to the body of a new digital SLR camera?

    Question 2: Can anyone recommend a good decent camera for sale in the UK. In terms of budget, I'd happily spend £400 and I'd consider spending more if required.

    Thanks! ;)
  2. Phrasikleia macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2008
    Over there------->
    Are these FD or EF lenses? If they are the latter, then you're in luck. The EF lenses will work on DSLRs.
  3. Samarium macrumors 6502a


    Jan 6, 2008
    @ home.
    If you didn't had a narrow choice of cameras I would recommend the D40. I'll buy mine in about a week. The reviews I've read are really good, indeed you can read one of the most complete one here.
  4. SuperCompu2 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2006
    I use both EF and FD lenses with my DSLR. I bought a mount adapter for the older lenses when I upgraded to digital so I could still use my old lenses.

    Recently I've had errors come from my older EF lenses though. Damn Sigma.
  5. jmbill thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Thanks for the relies and links so far! Very useful.

    OK, a bit more information about the lenses. The two I've got to hand at the moment are following:

    CANON LENS FD 135MM 1:3.5 S.C.

    CANON LENS FD 300MM 1:5.6

    I think we can probably assume the other lenses will be FD's too. If I'm correct, 'modern' camera's use the EF fitting so I would need a FD to EF camera mount adapter?
  6. west.acre macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2008
    I have a good set of 30 year old olympus lenses, would these fit the new olympus SLRs?
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    No. These are mechanical, manual focus lenses. Canon made a lot of Canon user's upset when they changed mounts an obsoleted all their old lenses. Nikon was able to make the jump to auto focus while keeping the mount the same. But the old Canon lenses will work best on a Canon SLR of the same ventage.

    The good news is that thoes two llenses you listed are not realy exppensive or great. Usable yes but they are not $1,000 lenses.

    Yes there is a rather rare adaptor that lets you use the old FD mont lenses but given it cost and limitations it is not worth using. Nothing will turn these into new auto focus lenses.

    What I'd do is buy an older Canon film camera to go with the FD lenses. You can get a good one for $80. Then lern to shoot black and white film If you goal is to learn then an $80 film camera and $100 worth of film will teach you a lot more then a DSLR. and for far less money.
  8. jacobsen1 macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2009
    Mt View, RI
    FD lenses won't work on a EF mount camera. Yes, there are adapters, but they are all terrible and you lose the ability to focus to infinity.

    not sure on using them on an olympus, but the good news about canon's EF mount is it leaves more on the lens and less on the body, so adapters work with almost every other brand's old MF lenses. My olympus 50mm is my sharpest lens on my canon DSLRs... :eek:

  9. jmbill thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 17, 2008
    To be honest, if the lenses don't work properly then I'm not really bothered and would consider going straight for a entry-level DSLR. I got all of these lenses past to me from a member of family who was about to throw them out! So I'm not going to loose anything if I don't use them. I was just enquiring to see if these would fit modern digital SLR camera's, but I'm guessing the technology has moved on considerably and we can't all dwell on the past!

    A camera I've seen good reviews on is the Canon EOS 450D. It's marked as an entry level camera and there are some good deals at the moment. Do you think this would be a good model to go for or is there something slightly newer available?

    Too be honest, I really don't understand the naming conventions camera manufacturers use!
  10. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    Not that this will help you, but you have a much, much easier time with Nikons: the mechanical bajonett hasn't changed since the original Nikon F, so you can use almost all lenses on the better Nikons. (Obviously, you lose features, the older the lenses are.)

    Canon has changed bajonett when it introduce AF lenses, so you need an adapter. I'm not a Canon expert, but AFAIK not all lenses work with that adapter and the adapter has its own limitations. It might be easier to get an older, film-based Canon instead (like the T90 which is really the prototype of modern camera body design).

    I reckon that this is only worth it if you have `special' or `very nice' lenses.
  11. numbersyx macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2006
    Whilst it would be great if you could use those lenses I wouldn't buy a new DSLR just based on that critierion. Take a look at all brands and what you actually like as a camera (feel and features). You may well be persuaded that you can forgo the other lenses for the new camera...
  12. west.acre macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2008
    Many thanks for this. My dad has many old Olympus lenses, and if they could fit a modern DSLR I'd be over the moon. Would the lenses still be good? I'm glad to hear the 50mm is your best lens, we have that very lens.
  13. jacobsen1 macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2009
    Mt View, RI
    yes, they'll fit for sure on any canon DSLR. Just remember on any cropped body, the FL will be cropped...

    As for naming, I can help you with canons:
    Single digit body numbers is their higher end stuff. The 1 series is the pro line, the 5 is their prosumer line. The x0D line is next, then the x00D, then the x000D.

    Here they all are though (prices go from high first to low last):
    • 1Ds series (Full Frame, pro bodies)
      • 1Ds (11mp, 4fps)
      • 1Ds mark II (16mp, 4.5fps)
      • 1Ds mark III (21mp, 5fps)
    • 1D series (1.3 crop pro bodies)
      • 1D (4mp, 8fps)
      • 1D mark II & 1D mark II 'N' (8.5fps, 8.2mp)
      • 1D mark III (10fps, 10mp)
    • 5D series (prosumer FF bodies)
      • 5D (12mp, 3fps)
      • 5D mark II (21mp, 3.9fps)
    • x0D series (con/prosumer 1.6 cropped bodies)
      • D30
      • D60
      • 10D
      • 20D
      • 30D
      • 40D (10mp, 6.5fps)
      • 50D (15mp, 6.5fps)
    • x00D series (consumer DSLRs, cropped bodies, similar to x0D series with less features in a smaller size)
      • 300D/Digital rebel
      • 350D/Digital Rebel XT
      • 400D/Digital Rebel XTi (10mp)
      • 450D/Digital Rebel XSi (12mp)
    • x000D series (budget version of the x00D line above)
      • 1000D/ Digital Rebel XS
      • some would argue the old XT was also in this line as they continued making it long after the XTi had been released and kept it at a similar price point to the current XS
    hope that helps.
  14. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2008
    You can also use Leitz lenses on Canon EOS cameras. In fact, I have seen some at B&H.
  15. west.acre macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2008
    I am thinking that this setup, with the 5D is the way to go. I'll get a 1 year old model from eBay or something. Any other decent places to get second hand cameras?

    What is the Mark II? Is there a difference?
  16. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000


    Nov 16, 2006
    New York City
    The 5D is a great camera. Ebay and your local craigslist will have lots, as well as photography sites like

    The 5D Mark II is a totally different beast. 22mp, HD movie mode, bigger screen, unbelievable high ISO performance... but its $2600.
  17. luminosity macrumors 65816


    Jan 10, 2006
    If you don't know the difference between the two, it might be too soon for you to get one.

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