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I'm interested to know if there are any limitations when shooting with a manual aperture lens in aperture priority mode, compared to shooting with a fully automatic lens.

In case this isn't clear, the lens has a ring that sets the aperture. There is no wiring to communicate aperture information to the camera, so the camera does not know what the aperture is.

Questions I have when using aperture priority mode:

  • Is the camera able to calculate the exposure with this lens?
  • Does TTL flash metering work?
  • Can I bracket the exposure?

Edit: while I'm interested in general about how cameras support this configuration, I need to have this information for Canon DSLRs, specifically the 60D.

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    The specifics of this answer depend on the camera brand and model. – mattdm Feb 20 '12 at 3:23
  • @mattdm: no problem, I have added information about my camera. But I wouldn't mind details about other brands and/or models as well. – Miguel Feb 20 '12 at 3:38
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    I won't put this in an answer as I can't say with certainty what the case is with the 60D, but most cameras will refuse to fire a manual lens in any other mode than Manual. As for your questions, without a CPU connection you will lose metering for both the camera and the flash. You will still be able to bracket as that is function of the camera rather than the lens. – ElendilTheTall Feb 20 '12 at 8:18
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Aperture priority mode works just fine with a manual lens (or no lens at all) on my Canon 550D so I assume it will work on a 60D

What happens is that the camera display shows an aperture of "F00" and the camera will set the shutter speed based on the amount of light it can see (making the result picture exactly the same as if you set the aperture in the camera).

Note that the viewfinder will be darker than with an electronic lens because it will also use the aperture you set (normally the viewfinder always uses the max aperture and the camera only stops down when you press the shutter or the DOF preview button)

My experience with this is in shooting macro pictures with an hand held reversed lens (from the point of view of the camera no lens at all) and the metering works just as well as it does with a lens attached.

So:

  • Can the camera calculate exposure - absolutely yes.

  • Does TTL flash metering work - yes, with the same rules as Av mode with a lens (shutter speed will be the same as with no flash, flash used for fill).

  • Can I bracket exposure - Yes (just tested it now, never tried to use bracketing with no lens before).

  • Thanks for your answer. And thanks for making me realize I can test this myself, just by reversing one of my EOS lenses! – Miguel Feb 21 '12 at 4:57

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