I've got a Canon 500D and a number of lenses. I was thinking of picking up a cheap Film EOS camera from E-bay to mess around with. I just wanted to double check that my current lenses would work on an EOS film camera.

I don't see any reason they wouldn't as it's the same lens mounting system. Some of my lenses are EF and some are EF-S will only some of them work?


2 Answers 2


All your EF lenses will work. EF-S lenses however will not as they protrude into the body of the camera a little more. They are designed for the smaller sensors (and therefore smaller mirrors) of APS-C digital SLR's, where the smaller mirror flipping up still clears the flange of the lens. A 35mm film SLR (or indeed full frame digital) has a larger mirror which will hit the rear of the lens as it actuates, and will most likely break/damage the camera.


Regular EF lenses are fine ;-)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. It looks like all but 2 of my lenses will work on a film camera. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 19, 2012 at 10:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Same goes for 3rd party lenses too. If you have any Sigma/Tamron/Tokina/etc etc lenses, make sure they are not for crop/DX bodies only! They must be designed for full frame cameras too - only then can you use them. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mike
    Jul 19, 2012 at 10:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is a crop lens and works perfectly fine on full-frame 5D. \$\endgroup\$
    – che
    Jul 19, 2012 at 11:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting...I guess there are exceptions to that then. Basically you'd want to check the rear of the lens for any protrusion out past the mount that might interfere with the mirror. Thanks @che - so what happens to the image, as a crop lens will have a smaller image circle, I'm guessing you get a massive vignetting of the image? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mike
    Jul 19, 2012 at 12:18
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Mike: Yep, there's a massive vignette... vvv.mokrakocicka.cz/gang/0520_634074.jpg I think that the protruding rear elements are mostly confined to Canon EF-S lenses, third-party lenses don't always have that. But it's alway better to check. The good thing about EF-S lenses in this matter is that there is rubber protection at their back, so your full frame body won't be hurt too much if you tried them anyway. \$\endgroup\$
    – che
    Jul 19, 2012 at 15:17

I don't recommend the use of EF-s lenses on EOS film cameras, that said they can be used, with certain caveats...

N.B. most of this is based on the Canon EF-s 10-22, other lens details may vary

  • EF-s lenses are designed to protrude further into the camera body, however on certain lenses the protrusion is relative to zoom length. Thus you can get away with certain (longer) focal lengths. You can take off the rear cap and watch how the lens moves to give you an idea of this.

  • EF-s lenses have a plastic rear baffle that physically prevents their mounting on 35mm bodies, however this can (in the case of the 10-22) be removed and replaced.

  • Vignetting will likely occur. Again this is focal length dependant, longer is usually better. Some lenses such as the 17-55 f/2.8 are known to vignette badly at all focal lengths.

Finally it is commonly stated that using an EF-s lens on a 35mm body will break the lens and camera. This vastly overestimates the amount of force used to move the mirror! I know from experience that the mirror can hit the back of the lens and damage neither.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting... I was always told that the mirror assembly was delicate and liable to break if it hit an obstacle on the way up... \$\endgroup\$
    – Mike
    Jul 20, 2012 at 8:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ I use older manual focus lenses and adapted lenses on my EOS DSLRs. I have hit the mirror hundreds of times on a 7D, 5D2, and 5d3 and it does not damage at all. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 15, 2020 at 12:14

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