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assorted old lensesOld lenses and kit on a new camera

Using old kit on your DSLR

Keith's had a clear out and found quite a few old bits of camera equipment in various drawers and cupboards.

So, what's worth using and what's not?

Using old stuff

Over time, I'll put up some short articles about using old kit on our Canon 1Ds Mk3 (and 100D)

I'm not looking for the 'perfect lens', it's mostly 'for the fun of it' and partly to remind me that although I'm a professional photographer, it's still fun :-)

Many lenses are very easy to use with appropriate adapters, I've already got adapters for M42 screw fit and Olympus OM fit.

Both came at quite reasonable cost from eBay. A quick search for 'EF adapter' will find several.

You may hear people on the forums say that cheap adapters are to be avoided.

However I'm of the opinion that this frequently comes from those of the 'sharpness trumps all else' school of photography.

I know some people collect vast piles of old kit and use it just for the sake of it, well that's a fine hooby, but from my own POV, it ain't why I enjoy photography.

Many of our newer UK used photographic items come from MPB - check out their stock.

tamron 35-70 f/3.5 on a Canon 1ds Mk3If you are looking for an adapter for a £2500 digital medium format lens, then it's probably worth spending a bit more on an adapter than for a lens that would have difficulty raising £5 at a photographic bring and buy sale.

Right, an OM2 mount Tamron 35-70 CF Macro on a 1Ds3 - Why??

I'm just doing this for an experiment - If I want real sharpness and image quality, I already have lenses costing an awful lot of money, but who knows what I might find?

Other DSLRs also take adapters, however some need an adapter with a lens in it to allow for infinity focusing (i.e. the lens will only focus short of infinity - not a problem for macro use).

I suspect that much of the stuff tested here may well find itself on eBay some time, since being a professional commercial photographer, I've got a fair collection of Canon 'L' series lenses, which are not only very good quality, but have working autofocus, something you won't get with old lenses.

  • Am I going to use this stuff 'for real' - I suspect not - if I wanted to make things purposely difficult and tedious, I might take a tripod with me everywhere and go back to film, say large format :-) Some types of photography just don't suit my temperament... YMMV! ;-)

M42 to EF lens mount adapterThat said, some of these lenses may well produce quite acceptable results and be of genuine use to someone wanting to experiment (particularly on a tight budget)

The Canon EF mount is a very flexible design - you can see how much bigger it is than the M42 screw mount to the right.

Note that there is no mechanical activation of the aperture stop-down for the lens.

You will have to manually adjust the aperture ring of the lens (and you will forget sometimes).

Update 2014

I now also have an EOS100D 18MP APS-C DSLR

I'll be testing this camera too with some of the lenses, such as this test of the Photosniper

zenith photosniper and EOS100D

The lenses

I'll add items to the list as I find them.

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These are not detailed lens tests, more aimed at giving a feeling for what the lens is like. I'll try and include a few comparative images.

The lenses sitting around... (link goes to article)

Mamiya Sekor C 35mm and 55mm lenses

If you've found this page looking for info on a particular lens, and I haven't tried it out yet, drop me an email and I'll push it up the list :-)

Other assorted items

...and any more 'junk' I find in all the various boxes and cupboards here at Northlight.

Here's a few of those lenses...

assorted old lenses

More Info

Canon view camera adapterPicture shows a 1Ds attached to a view camera

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