I have a Canon EOS 550D and would like to use old, cheap but good lenses on it. I don't care about autofocus for this and am aware that there will be a cropping effect (therefore mainly looking for 24-35mm fixed lenses).

Initially I would have liked to buy an AR-EF adapter to use Konica Hexanon Lenses but the adapter doesn't allow for infinity focus. I also read that Canon FD lenses don't work very well for the same reasons.

What are some nice lens systems for which an adapter exists to my EF-S mount and give me the whole focusing range?

Thanks for any advice!

  • I have had success with pentax k and m42, the later is used by many sovjet lenses. Nikkon should work as well from what I have understod. – lijat May 3 '20 at 15:49
  • Thank you, that's good to know. Do you use those "very thin" adapters or an other kind? Did they include a chip and did the "Focus-Beep" work with it? Was your camera a full frame or a crop sensor? How bad was the crop for you, with these lenses? – Tototulbi May 3 '20 at 17:45
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  • @Tototulbi I used an adapter of that thickness but entirely in shiny metal (steel?) and without chip, I am using a full fram sensor and have to modify the pentax lenses (removing parts that would hit the mirror) but an APS-C camera should have a small enough mirror to get clear – lijat May 4 '20 at 11:23

Major mounts that can be adapted to EF include: OM, PK, NF/AI, C/Y, M42, Adaptall2. Infinity focus should be retained without corrective optics. There are a few others that might work with caveats. Check how far back the rear element moves before using lenses to avoid damaging the mirror of your camera.

Some lenses you can consider adapting:

  • Takumar/Pentax SMC lenses (M42, PK) give the most consistent high-quality results, of vintage lenses that will work with your camera.
  • Some people prefer Olympus (OM) and Yashica (C/Y) lenses.
  • Tamron SP Adaptall2 lenses seem pretty good.
  • Some other third party lenses (Vivitar, Sigma, Tokina, etc) may be worth trying. Vivitar Series-1 is well regarded. I've found some old Sigma lenses to be quite good. They come with different mounts, so you'll need to check you habe one that will work with your camera.

  • Nikkor (NF) lenses span many decades of technologies with varying image quality. Nikkor lenses with G and E designation do not have aperture rings and cannot be used with Canon DSLRs.

Aperture and focus would have to be controlled manually. Exposure metering may be off, possibly requiring manual ISO and shutter speed. For best results, use Live View, but be aware, the preview may not reflect the captured image. (On a 100D I recently used, Live View shows a blown-out, over-exposed image, but the captured image is fine.)

See also:


Olympus, Nikon and Pentax lenses are easily adaptable to the EF mount with simple adapters that do not require optical correction to maintain infinity focus. See the complete list below....

Bob Atkins: Using Manual Focus Lenses on Canon EOS bodies

Canon EOS Lens Adapters

Flange to Focal Plane Distance

“The focus of a lens is determined by the distance from the lens to the sensor. A mechanical adapter which allows a lens to be mounted on an EOS body and focused to infinity is only possible if the lens is designed to focus an image at a distance greater than that between a standard EF series lens and the sensor in the EOS body. This is because you need some space for the mechanical adapter between the EOS body and the lens. If the lens is designed to focus an image at a shorter distance then an EOS EF lens, then the manual focus lens would have to be put inside the EOS body! The distance from the mounting flange on the back of the lens to the film (or digital sensor) is known as the "Flange Back", or the "Flange to Focal Plane" distance, or sometimes as the "Flange to Film" distance.

”Here's a list of flange-to-focal-plane distances. For all Canon EOS cameras it is 44.0mm, which is shorter than most other major cameras. This enables (in theory) lens adapters to be constructed for the lenses shown in green below. Lenses shown in red (which includes all Canon FD and earlier lenses) cannot be mounted on an EOS body and still reach infinity focus without some intermediate optics.”

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  • Wow, this is a great resource! Thank you very much, Mike. – Tototulbi May 3 '20 at 17:26
  • Which one of the compatible ones would you say offer the best, cheap, lens system? I guess with the Nikon F, almost all Nikon lenses ever produced should be compatible ( which would be quite a range)? – Tototulbi May 3 '20 at 17:47
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    Newer Nikon G and E lenses would not work well. Older Nikon lenses with aperture ring would work fine. – xiota May 3 '20 at 17:54

The six 35mm SLR mounts you can easily adapt to Canon EOS with simple ring adapters (no optical elements) that are readily available are:

  • Leica R
  • Contax/Yashica
  • Nikon F
  • Pentax K
  • Olympus OM
  • M42

The all have mounts deeper than Canon EF. (See also: Can I use lens brand X on interchangeable lens camera brand Y?). All film-era medium format lenses are probably also adaptable, but some mounts are easier to find adapters for than others.

As you've noted, there are a number of shallower mounts that can be adapted to Canon EF, but would require an optical element in the adapter to act as a teleconverter, to achieve focus to infinity, and like any tc, it will reduce the maximum aperture and add to the focal length of the lens; and cheap ones will probably compromise image quality to some degree. The only exception to this (without modifying the lens mount) I can think of is the Minolta Rokkor 58/1.2, for which you can purchase a Leitax lens mount replacement kit.

Keep in mind it's not just autofocus you lose, but also aperture control from the camera body and lens EXIF information (i.e., any electronic communication with the lens). You can only shoot in M and Av modes, and you'll be using stop-down metering, not wide-open metering. Also, if you get a really fast lens (f/1.4 or wider), DoF rendering on the focus screen may not be accurate unless you have one of Canon's high-precision matte focusing screens or a split-circle focus screen installed, and most Canon bodies don't allow for swapping focus screens.


You should start from here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flange_focal_distance

The flange focal distance is 44mm for EF-S mount. If the adapter itself takes 1 cm, you could only use lenses with flange focal distance greater than 54mm1. There are not that many of these.

May I suggest you to look at some mirrorless cameras instead? With their small flange focal distance, nearly every DSLR lens works with nearly any mirrorless system, albeit possibly with no autofocus and aperture may need to be controlled manually. Some old EF-M camera could perhaps be obtained for not much more than the cost of an adapter.

Related: Can I use lens brand X on interchangeable lens camera brand Y?

1: some mounts may have adapters that are only few millimeters long. This may be possible in the case that the adapted lens has a smaller diameter mount than the EF-S camera. The rule is: if the flange focal distance of the adapted lens is greater than the EF/EF-S mount, and if such adapters are found in the marketplace, most likely the adapter works.

  • Thank you! Would this EF-OM adapter be ok? If OM has a distance of 46mm, and the adapter only added 2mm (which is hard to judge from the product page). Or for Nikon-F: Being 46.5mm, the adapter need only be smaller than 2.5mm? – Tototulbi May 3 '20 at 17:39
  • Well, I suspect for mounts smaller in diameter than EF mount, an adapter could be built that is only few millimeters long. If you can find Olympus / Nikon adapters, most likely they will work. – juhist May 4 '20 at 11:38

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