I Dare You!

by peter_budo

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Why Old Lenses? Unlike fancy new lenses, old lenses always have a certain charm, a story and a personality. They also keep your wallet a lot heavier! You can have a full range of very high quality glass for the same price as a single modern lens, so long as you're willing to give up the autofocus and a few other luxuries.

The Problem. I recently purchased a Canon 5D (original) and I have tried a 28mm PK mount lens on my 5D, but the bayonet style mount interferes with the shutter and I am pretty sure is causing a lot of damage and can't take photos. Without jamming any more bayonets into the mirror, I want to know if there are any older lenses that anyone has used that successfully worked on full frame Canon DSLRs with the larger mirrors.

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It's not the age of the camera causing the problem, it's the fact the 5D has a larger mirror which is hitting the back of your 28mm lens. –  Matt Grum Apr 23 '13 at 11:00
What's the question, exactly? Which lenses will work? –  mattdm Apr 23 '13 at 11:28
I'm asking for clarification because without more detail this seems like it's basically a duplicate of Do adapters exist for old lenses to Canon's DSLR mount? –  mattdm Apr 23 '13 at 14:27
I am specifically looking for lenses compatible with the larger mirror in full frame canons. –  Good Gravy Apr 23 '13 at 15:05
Do you think maybe you could find a title better than "a good retro lens"? There are so many lenses that fit that description made over the past 100 years that it's not something that can be answered directly (which is why you have three, short, vague answers instead). –  mattdm May 21 '13 at 20:33

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The great thing about the Canon EF mount is that the register, the distance from the sensor to the mount is relatively short meaning you can add an adaptor and still have the correct distance for the adapted mount.

So apart from Canon's own line of manual FD mount lenses you can adapt pretty much any SLR lens to the EF mount. Far too many to list here. There is an entire message board over at fredmiranda.com devoted to alternative (mostly retro manual) lenses for DSLRs, with plenty of suggestions and sample images, I'd start by reading the FAQ:


Here's a random selection of camera / lens combos with images for inspiration:


Olympus OM lenses are very popular and there's lots of them around:


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It depends what look you are after, and your price range, I recently bought an adapter to fit a 50mm Hasselblad Zeiss lens to my Nikon D800 (also available for a canon mount from ebay), and the results are simply stunning, I particularly like the 5-petal straigh-cut diaphragm, which gives an unusual bokeh.

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You can use the old pentax lenses, if you just remove the auto stop down lever. You can do it the easy way (mutilate it) or open the back and unscrew it for later reassembly.

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