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Can old "bayonet mount" lenses be used on new Digital SLRs?

Hans J Gugger , Nov 25, 2007; 12:06 a.m.

I have a fairly large supply of older, high quality lenses (from 400mm to wide- angle, as well as a number of different zoom lenses, doublers, etc) from my two Pentax 35mm camera bodies. My question is simply this: is there an easy way to attach these bayonet mount lenses to a new Digital SLR, such as the Canon EOS Digital SLR, the Nikon D40, or even the Pentax K10D? If there is an easy way, what are the drawbacks of doing this? I am not too concerned if I loose some features and functionality, as long as I can still use the lenses (as I have them).

Responses

Ronald Moravec , Nov 25, 2007; 12:15 a.m.

They go on Pentax digital slrs and probably Canon cameras. I am fairly certain Nikon bodies are to thick (optical register-distance from lens flange to image plane).

Personally I would just get the current lenses that will have full functionality.

Tommy Lee , Nov 25, 2007; 12:21 a.m.

Yes, Pentax lens work best on K10D. You can get Anti-shake (aka: Image stablization) feature and auto diapham as well. If they are non-A lens, you do need to stop down meter like an old sportmatic.

Bueh B. , Nov 25, 2007; 06:12 p.m.

Canon EOS camera can meter and therefore use old manual focus lenses. Many mounts can be used with inexpensive adapters, including Nikon-F, Olympus-OM, Leica-R, Pentax-K (crop-factor bodies only) and M42. Focusing and aperture stop down is manual, and sometimes you need to dial in a little exposure compensation when using chipless lenses. I use many manual focus lenses on my 20D and while focusing is not really easy, I can manage for special applications. A full-frame body like the 5D with its large and bright viewfinder would be perfect for this (but due to the protruding aperture pin PK gear does cannot be used on this camera without modification).

Pentax dSLRs can mount their native Pentax-K gear, and use other mounts with adapters, at least M42 and Nikon-F. While the cameras themselves might not be on par with Canon's latest offerings, their low price and built-in image stabilization makes them pretty interesting if you want to shoot digitally on the cheap with vintage lenses.

The small Olympus Evolt dSLRs can also mount virtually all kind of older lenses, but how widespread the adapters are and what drawbacks there are I don't know.

Except for the higher-end bodies like the D200 Nikon has crippled their cameras so that they won't meter with non-electronic lenses, which makes even the use of manual focus Nikkor lenses pretty pointless on cosumer/prosumer dSLRs.

Eric Palmer , Jan 03, 2008; 05:57 a.m.

With Pentex F10D really needs A setting on lens. You can use other lens but not easy if old automatic type. Manual lens I found OK except for slide copier as the x1.5 35mm to digital means I can't copy full slide. But the auto closing down of the lens as mirror opens does not seem to work on my old lens that I had for my Ricoh (Pentax K lens) since the 18 - 55mm zoom covers these lens I am not worried not tried bellows or reversing rings yet but can't seem to find right setting for Aperture priority so speed set by camera sure its there but not found it.

Eric Palmer , Jan 03, 2008; 04:31 p.m.

I have found the pre-view button when on manual does allow one to use use built in meter to set the exposure level of lens without the A setting. It also closes down the aperture in the same way as the old 35mm SLR camera. The new lens do in fact have a draw back when doing special functions like using extension bellows and reversing rings in that there is no way to manually set the aperture. So with the new Pentax F10D I could still remove the lens and tape on a loo role center and slide it up and down a light microscope to get a full frame picture of a single grain of sunflower pollen in same way as I did all those years ago with me 35mm Ricoh SLR.

Eric Mark Palmer , Jun 14, 2010; 07:26 a.m.

I am sure now all sorted but since my last post I have bought more old lenses and used them on the K10D but not straight forward. I set the camera to over expose by two stops then close lens by two stops and it works. But the big problem is the range finder fitted to old cameras has gone and the setting of the viewfinder to match one's eye is now very important when not using an auto focus lens.
Using very old pre-stop down lenses with no camera connection is easier than those with the auto stop down and it is temping to always use lens wide open.
One advantage is old lenses work far better with reversing rings than the new ones, and zoom lenses work very well with reversing rings as the zoom control becomes focus.

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