Using Adapter Mounts With Vintage Lenses

Originally Published January 14th, 2019

Adapter mounts allow you to pair incompatable lenses & camera bodies. For example, in my case I have a few vintage Canon FD film lenses that I would like to use on my Fujifilm X-E2 digital camera. I found a “FD-FX” lens adapter on amazon for $16. These days, you can find practically any combination of “x camera” to “x lens” combo on amazon or eBay. Here’s a list of why I love using adapter mounts for vintage lenses.

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FD-FX Lens Adapter
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Canon FD 28mm + Fujifilm X-E2

1. There are Hundreds of Possibilities

There are so many neat and unique vintage lenses on the market. Each lens is going to add something new to your kit, whether it be a new focal length, exotic bokeh, rich colors etc. No matter what type of digital camera you may be using—there’s likely an adapter mount out there that will allow you to pair a cool old lens with your camera. So if you find a sweet Nikon, Canon, Olympus, or Leica lens, chances are hi you can use it with your current camera.

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2. Vintage Lenses are “Cheaper”

I bought my Fujifilm X-E2 without a lens. My plan was to save money by using my Canon FD kit. Typically, vintage lenses are cheaper than buying a brand new lens (especially if you already own some). If you can find one at a garage sale or flea market that’s your best bet, otherwise check eBay.

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3. Vintage Lenses are “All Manual”

If you use an adapter mount on a newer lens, you’ll have to shoot wide open. In most cases, there’s no way of changing the aperture on the lens. With old lenses you can change the aperture & focus manually.

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4. Vintage Lenses are “An Added Challenge”

Using a vintage lens on your digital camera means you must master the art of manual focus. It’s not easy, especially if you’re shooting on the move. But one cool feature of the Fujifilm X-E2 is the ability to zoom with your viewfinder and check to see if your focus is sharp.

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5. Vintage Lenses Allow you to Pre-focus

If you’re shooting street photography, you can “pre-focus” your lens—meaning you set the focus distance and then try to place your subject in that range. Say you’re focus is set to 1 foot, therefore, try to frame your subjects at roughly 1 foot from you when you’re walking around on the streets. It’s a good skill to have as a street/candid shooter.

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6. Vintage Lenses are “Dreamy”

In my opinion, vintage lenses give the images a different look, feel, or mood. Adding vintage lenses to your digital camera can give your photos a unique “film” vibe.

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Canon FD 50mm 1.8 + Fujifilm X-E2
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Canon FD 50mm 1.8 + Fujifilm X-E2

7. Give the Old Gear a New Life

I think the idea of combining classic lenses with modern equipment is just neat. There’s something about the tactile nature of vintage gear that makes the experience more enjoyable. I’ve had so much fun shooting with this new setup and I highly recommend trying it out!

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Here’s a video I shot to show how the adapter works:

Thanks for reading!

-Tim

 

 

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