Lens Adapter

Back to Art School: You Should Be Lens Adapting

August 17, 2023
Back to Art School: You Should Be Lens Adapting


Whatever this semester brings you one things for sure, it’s another round of classes and creating work. You probably own a digital camera of some sort. Possibly mirrorless with how times have changed. You probably also have a film camera.

Did you know you can adapt those lenses onto your digital camera? Well, you can if the film camera you own has in interchangeable lens mount.

If you know what mount your film camera has, you can use this tool to find the lens adapter you need. If you don’t own a film camera and haven’t joined the film photography bullet train, that’s alright. You should still consider lens adapting.


Vintage lenses offer unique characteristics not available with modern lenses. Whereas modern glass offers clinical and consistent results, vintage glass does not. The results will vary, some lenses will give you swirly bokeh; others will give your photo a 3D look.

Lens adapting also builds your lens kit and is very budget-friendly if you aren’t doing anything crazy like sports or action photography.

A couple things to note before you lens adapt. First things first, there is no auto focus or any electronic control of any kind. You will have to use manual exposure mode or aperture priority mode on your camera. And lastly, you will have to manually focus and make sure “shoot without lens” is enabled on your camera. We have an extensive knowledge base on how to do this by the way.

Unique Characteristics

Some unique characteristics you can get from vintage lenses are:

  • Unique bokeh Swirly / “Creamy”
  • High microcontrast rendering (not sharp per say but good at making colors pop)
  • Vignetting
  • Apodizing elements (softening lens element for portraits)
  • Haze/flare effects due to coatings
  • Medium format lenses’ “3D look”

Here are some lenses we recommend:

Unique Bokeh

  • Helios 44-2 58mm F2 (M42 mount)
  • Oreston 50mm F1.8 (M42 mount)
  • Consinon 50mm F1.8 (M42 mount)
  • C-mount projector lenses
  • Konica AR 50mm F1.4 (Konica AR mount)
  • Olympus OM 55mm F1.2 (Olympus OM mount)

High Micro Contrast

  • Contax 45mm F2
  • Takumar 50mm F1.4 (M42 mount)
  • All Pentax Takumar prime (Various mounts)
  • All Olympus OM primes (Olympus OM mount)
  • Miranda 50mm F1.9 (Miranda MIR mount)
  • Minolta MD 40mm F2 (Minolta MD mount)


  • Jupiter 3 50mm F1.5
  • Industar 50mm F3.5

Soft Focus

  • Tamron SP 70-150mm F2.8 Soft Focus (Adaptall 2 mount)
  • Potragon 100mm F4 (T mount)
  • Pentax 85mm F2.2 Soft Focus (Pentax KAF mount)
  • Mamiya RB67 150mm F4 Soft Focus (Mamiya RB67 mount)


  • Minolta MD 50mm F1.4 (Minolta MD mount)
  • Any lens made in the USSR
  • Any lens you find with mold or fungus growing in the glass

Medium format lenses’ “3D look”

Any of them. Medium format is known for creating images that pop due to how sharp these lenses are. They have to be due to them being designed for 120 film that is twice the size of 35mm film.

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