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Old Mar 19, 2010, 8:31 AM   #1
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Default Will old film SLR lenses work on a new DSLR?

In the mid to late 80s I shot with a Canon film SLR and have a Canon 28mm, a Canon 50mm, and a Sigma 70-210 lens that I used. I took sports and other photos for my high school yearbook. Would these lenses work on a new Canon XSi or T1i or on any other brand of DSLR? I was thinking that this might allow me to buy a new DSLR with just the basic kit lens and then use these lenses for zoom and portrait type shots.

Thanks!
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Old Mar 19, 2010, 8:34 AM   #2
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Andrea - if they are EF mount lenses then they will still work. If they are the older FD mount then no, they will not work.
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Old Mar 19, 2010, 8:46 AM   #3
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In 1987, Canon introduced the autofocus EF bayonet lens mount that it still uses today. If the lenses you have use the EF Mount instead of the previous manual focus FD breech-lock lens mount, then they will work on Canon's current dSLRs. If the lenses you have use the older FD mount, you can still use them with an adapter, but they won't autofocus and the camera can't control the lens' diaphram.

Something else you should be aware of is that most of Canon's dSLRs have image sensors that are smaller than 35mm film, so they have a narrower angle of view with the same lenses than you are accustomed to.
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Old Mar 19, 2010, 9:05 AM   #4
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I had the Canon 28, 50 and 135 lens on the FD mount that went with my AE-1 and T70 bodies. While I delayed going digital for a while, and like today, Canon no longer owned the digital "pro-sumer" market like they did in the early days, the lens issue in 95% the reason I went Nikon. Canon orphaned me while Nikon did not do that to their customers and I had to buy new lenses which opened up the entire market. If Canon had clearly superior, I would have stayed with them, but a tie or better by a competitor, and I was not going to reward Canon with my future business.

Later, I learned about the adapters mentioned above. The same company that makes then also makes them in a Nikon mount. Technically, I could use the Canon FD lens on my Nikon (with the same limitations noted earlier). I've found other things to fork money over on though, so it is not high on my wish list. I may though, as that 50 would make a nice portriat lens as the FOV conversion would make it a 75.

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Old Mar 19, 2010, 9:41 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tizeye View Post
...Canon orphaned me while Nikon did not do that to their customers and I had to buy new lenses which opened up the entire market..
Well.... Even though the current Nikon mount is still the F mount, it gets a bit complicated using manual focus lenses, depending on the lenses and body you have.

For example, in the current Nikon lineup, bodies below the D300/D300s will not meter with non CPU lenses on them, so you'd need to estimate your exposure or use a separate light meter. IOW, you would not have metering with bodies like the D3000, D5000, or D90. The same thing applies to a number of other Nikon digital bodies like the D40, D40x, D50, D60, D70, and D80. You wouldn't have metering with non-CPU lenses with them. IOW, you need to move up to a D300 or higher end body for metering with them. With non-AI Nikkor lenses, it may not be safe to even attempt to mount them on some bodies. See this page for more info:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/compatibility-lens.htm

In contrast, all Canon EOS digital bodies will still meter with non CPU lenses. So, if you want metering, it can actually be easier to use older Nikkor manual focus lenses on a Canon body via an Adapter if you can't afford to move up to a more expensive Nikon body, especially since F mount to EOS body adapters do not require any optics which could degrade image quality.

Getting back to the OP's concern.... you can find adapters that let you use Canon FD mount lenses on a Canon EOS body. But, these adapters require optics to allow focus to infinity with FD mount lenses, which can degrade optical quality. Basically, they act as a Teleconverter (usually 1.2x to 1.3x magnification), with close to 1 stop of light loss if you want focus to infinity. As already mentioned, you'll have a narrower angle of view, even without the optics added by an adapter. So, unless you really like those lenses, it's probably not worth the effort to try and use them on a Canon EOS digital camera.

Here's a page discussing the use of other lens types on Canon EOS bodies.

http://www.bobatkins.com/photography...focus_EOS.html
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Old Mar 19, 2010, 10:03 PM   #6
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Thanks for the quick reply. It looks like they were bought around 1984 so I believe they are the FD type. I'm sure they are not worth trying to use. That's what I needed to know. Thanks!
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Old Mar 20, 2010, 2:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tizeye View Post
Canon orphaned me while Nikon did not do that to their customers and I had to buy new lenses which opened up the entire market.
The FD mount adapters were widely and cheaply available from Canon when they switched to the EF mount.

But there were of course a few people who seemed to take the whole business rather personally. ^^

It made Canon cameras cheaper because they didn't have to put the focus motor in the body like Nikon did.

Some might say that Nikon are abandoning their customers now with the D3000 and D5000 which can't use a large number of the older AF lenses.
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Old Mar 20, 2010, 7:53 AM   #8
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Some might say that Nikon are abandoning their customers now with the D3000 and D5000 which can't use a large number of the older AF lenses.
Yes. Some might.
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Old Mar 20, 2010, 9:08 AM   #9
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Some might say that nikon do not offer an entry level prime line up for the entry level market also
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Old Mar 20, 2010, 9:17 AM   #10
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In retrospect, perhaps "abandoning their customers" is not a fair description.

I think it's more accurate to say that Nikon is enticing new customers and then immediately tying one hand behind their backs.
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