Mirrorless cameras are not the future, they are the present. If you are switching from an older DSLR, it goes without saying that you can only buy one adapter so that you can continue to use your old equipment.
The benefits of a lens adapter
The main advantage of lens adapters is quite clear: they allow you to use your existing lens collection on your new camera. With many mirrorless cameras starting at over $ 1,000, everything that compensates for replacement is appreciated. After all, mirrorless lenses cost as much as the new camera body.
For most photographers, you change systems at the same time and Replacing all of their DSLR lenses with their mirrorless counterparts would cost more than they can justify spending.
So since the top of the lens adapter is quite clear, are there any drawbacks?
Why lens adapters are necessary
Mirrorless cameras are not just DSLRs but mirrors – they are a completely refurbished platform. Both Canon and Nikon took the opportunity to radically reshape their decades-old lens mounts, and with good reason. Canon debuted the EF mount in 1987, while Nikon’s F mount has been around since 1959.
The most noticeable change is that the lens mounts are now larger and the rear lens elements are closer to the image sensor. Of course, the actual mounting connection has also changed.
This means that lens adapters are necessary because the lens mounts on mirrorless cameras are completely different from the DSLR mounts they succeed. Canon’s RF mount is not just an updated EF – it’s new.
Lens adapters add size, weight and hassle
Lens adapters add the physical size and weight of your lenses. It’s not that much, but if you’re buying a mirrorless camera because you want a smaller, lighter installation, this is something to keep in mind. For example, Canon’s most basic EF-EOS R adapter adds an extra inch and four ounces to any lens you use. Nikon’s FTZ adapter gives a little more weight and volume due to the tripod mount.
In addition to the size and weight penalty, a lens adapter is simply one more thing that you must remember to take with you on a photo shoot. If you forget it, you will not be able to take any pictures.
If you switch from a Canon DSLR to a Canon mirrorless camera and also use a Canon lens adapter, things are pretty sweet. You should be able to use all your lenses with pleasure. If not, things get a little more complicated.
Even if you switch from a Nikon DSLR to a Nikon mirrorless camera and use a Nikon lens adapter, there are some compatibility issues. Most newer lenses should be good, as they have built-in autofocus motors. Since the adapter does not have one, Nikon’s AF and AF-D lenses are only manual focus.
With some older lenses, there is also no automatic aperture control, which means no electronic measurement, automatic exposure modes or EXIF data.
And that is even if you live with the same brand. If you want to mount a Nikon DSLR lens on a Canon mirrorless camera, you need an expensive adapter to get even a completely manual experience.
With Canon, however, there are adapters from EF-to-other brands available for almost all platforms. Photographer Ken Rockwell even claimed that he had gotten better results with Canon’s DSLR lenses instead of Nikon’s on Nikon’s mirrorless.
Simply put, just because there is an adapter does not mean you have an easy (or pleasant) time to change – especially if you mix brands. In general, cheaper adapters only give you manual control. They can also prevent functions such as image stabilization from working.
Make sure you examine the specific trade-offs you need to accept before committing to a new system.
Autofocus may be slower
DSLR and mirrorless cameras autofocus a little differently. DSLRs have dedicated focus sensors, while mirrorless cameras generally rely on sensors built into the image sensor. Of course, mirrorless lenses are designed to work with a focus on mirrorless cameras, while DSLR lenses are designed to work with DSLRs.
This means that if you use a lens with an adapter, you may notice that it autofocuses more slowly than on your DSLR or with a corresponding mirrorless lens. This is especially noticeable when trying to focus on fast-moving subjects or action shots.
Of course, it is always perfect if you can replace your DSLR lenses with the corresponding mirrorless lenses for your new mirrorless camera. If you do not have a lot of money to burn, a lens adapter can definitely be a valuable trade-off.
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