Using analog full-frame lenses on modern digital cameras

What do you do if you’ve just inherited a big pile of manual analog lenses from an elderly relative, but they don’t fit the modern camera you own?

Or maybe you are tired of the camera always setting everything up for you, but you fancy being David Hemmings in Blow-up for the day.

Despair not, it’s possible to buy an adapter, such as:

They are available for every conceivable combination of lens and camera, just do a search on Amazon.

But if you wish to push the boundaries of what’s possible, you should also consider investing in a focal reducer, also known as a speed booster.

It works on the principle of condensing the light down to the smaller crop-frame sensors, which creates an  extra stop of available aperture, so an f/2.8 suddenly becomes an f/2.0, thus becoming “faster”.

Youtube explaination 1

Youtube explaination 2

Unfortunately these can be very expensive:

Luckily though there are some cheap Chinese versions also available, the optics aren’t quite as good, there is a slight increase in chromatic aberration, but nothing to worry about considering the price:

Which means that for under €100 it’s possible to buy one of these and a decent 28mm f/2.8 full frame lens on eBay to put on a digital camera for some good old-fashioned manual fun.

The maths:

Full frame lens: 28mm, f/2.8

Micro 4/3 crop factor = 2

Focal reducer = 0.7

Lens x crop factor x focal reducer = 28 x 2 x 0.7 = 39.2mm, f/2.

Not bad, the perfect lens for street photography !

© Andrew James Kirkwood – 2016

Leave a Reply