When is it a bad idea to use lens adapters?

Oct 22, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

When is it a bad idea to use lens adapters?

Oct 22, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Lens adapters sure are super-handy and they allow you to combine lenses with one mount to a camera with another. This sure has a lot of perks, but are there times when you shouldn’t adapt your lenses? In this video, Michael the Maven discusses this matter and helps you answer the question: when using lens adapters isn’t a good idea?

YouTube video

As I said, using adapters definitely has its advantages. It significantly lowers the cost of lenses if you switch systems, for example. If you go, say, from Canon to Sony, you can just buy an adapter and use all those Canon lenses on your new Sony camera body. But on the other hand, there are reasons when you should opt for a native lens and avoid adapting the existing ones.

When you’re dealing with fast-moving subjects, Michael notes that it’s better to use a native lens. The reason is that fast-moving subjects require quick and precise autofocus, and adapted lenses often don’t react fast enough in terms of focusing. However, there’s an exception to this. If you use the camera and the lens from the same company, but with different mounts, you should be all good. Michael gives an example of adapting a Canon EF lens to an M body, and an example that crossed my mind is adapting a Nikon F lens to a Nikon Z body.

It’s worth noting that every lens is different, and so is every adapter. But from Michael’s experience, there’s another case when you should opt for native lenses. If you’re using a wide-angle lens with an adapter, you may end up with more distortion and vignetting. It’s an easy fix for still images and requires a few clicks in Lightroom. But if you’re shooting video, it could take you a whole lot of work to fix this.

I found this video pretty useful, and it answered some of my questions in a clear and concise manner. I only adapt my vintage Helios lens to a Nikon body, but I use it only for portraits and close-ups, as I need to focus manually. How often do you use lens adapters? What are your experiences? And when did you find it to be a bad idea?

[Adapting Lenses: When it’s a bad idea via FStoppers]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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3 responses to “When is it a bad idea to use lens adapters?”

  1. Stephan Hughes Avatar
    Stephan Hughes

    lol autofocus. Also, it is not that hard to correct distortion from wide-angle lenses in video. super simple to do in Resolve

  2. Johnny Martyr Avatar
    Johnny Martyr

    My personal, biased opinion is that there are only two worthwhile lens adapters; Pentax M42 to K and Leica M39 to M. These are the only manufacturers I can think of who designed their mounts to be compatible. Everything else is really just a third party cash-grab in my eyes.

  3. Steven Piotrowski Avatar
    Steven Piotrowski

    I wonder is there any considerations toward inexpensive vs pricy when it comes to any adapter. I want to use Pentax K mount on my Nikon (F mount). I. am mostly a hobbyist, but still like to keep my quality up