Using film lenses on digital cameras

Using film lenses on digital cameras

Is it possible? Of course it is, using film lenses on digital cameras is great way to utitlise otherwise potentially redundant kit. China is already fully on board with the idea and knocking out adapters for pretty much any combination. I discovered this a good few years ago as I’ve always had Olympus OM bits and pieces lying around due to owning the trusty OM10. In the collection is a good selection of lenses including a 50mm f/1.8 which was always my favourite.

Using film lenses on digital cameras
Leopallooza 2013 – Canon 20D (festival camera) + 50mm f/1.4

 

The limit of my experience to date is the Olympus OM to Canon EOS adapter – but it gets used… ALOT. I’ve since “invested” in an OM 50mm f/1.4 – it’s a manual lens – manual aperture, manual focus. The lens was purchased to be used wide open… f/1.4 so the manual aperture isn’t much of an issue and manual focus is pretty easy even with the shallow depth of field. There are adapters available with Autofocus confirm so the camera will still let you know when your subject is in focus.

But why not buy a Canon 50mm f/1.4? – They are available, they have autofocus and an aperture you can set on camera. They are also priced at around £250 (last time I checked) I managed to get the Olympus alternative for £60. The adapter was about £10. The AF confirm model I wasn’t aware of at the time but they appear to be only a couple of pounds more.

Using film lenses on digital cameras
Georgie at Buckham Fair – Canon 5D + Olympus OM 50mm f/1.4

The photos the lens and camera combos produce are great, ideal for portraits due to the DOF, and also occasions when you need a fast lens such as a live music event seen above. The glass might not be up to the standards of a current canon alternative but it may just surprise you.