Verdict: 5 stars ★★★★★
These adaptors are cheap, well made and work brilliantly, and they give your old analog lenses a new lease of life on your new camera gear. You do just need to be aware of some limitations and restrictions before you start.
Every camera maker uses their own bespoke lens mount, which means that you’re restricted to using expensive own-brand lenses or you have to shop around third-party makers to find lenses available in your particular lens mount.
So you can’t fit Nikon lenses on a Pentax, for example, or Canon lenses on a Nikon. It’s not just the physical bayonet mount that’s different, but the electronic and mechanical linkages that let the camera communicate with the lens body and vice versa.
To get round this you need two things: 1) a physical adaptor so that a lens with one mount will fit on a camera with another; 2) the willingness to accept the loss of autofocus, auto exposure and even the ability to control the aperture setting from the camera body.
So we were aware that there were a handful of adaptors out there for specific camera/lens combinations, but seeing the massed ranks of adaptors on the K&F Concepts stand at The Photography Show 2018 was a real eye-opener. It’s not just the permutations that are amazing, but the price too – £15 at the show, around $20-35 on the K&F Concepts website.
There are certain combinations that are never going to work. While you can find an adaptor to fit just about any DSLR lens (ancient or modern) on a mirrorless camera, it doesn’t work the other way round. The shorter flange-sensor distance on a mirrorless camera leaves space for an adaptor for DSLR lenses; the longer flange-sensor distance on a DSLR rules out mirrorless lenses. Interestingly, Nikon DSLRs have a slightly shorter flange distance than Canon, leaving just a couple of millimetres for a Canon lens adaptor (it doesn’t work the other way round).
Unbelievably, the K&F Concept website lists 208 different adaptors, so not surprisingly we’re not going to list them here. But we were so impressed we bought a Pentax K and M42 screw mount adaptor for our Sony A6000.
The M42 adaptor attached cleanly to our A6000 with no horrible grinding and no play in the mount when fitted. Our M42 lenses screwed in fine and focused precisely at infinity at their full focus travel – that’s always a worry when you’re using an adaptor that changes the lens flange-sensor distance. You have to use the lens aperture ring to control the aperture setting, which means stopped down viewing and metering – that can leave a DSLR viewfinder pretty dark, but it’s fine for the electronic viewing system of a mirrorless camera which adapts to the changing brightness.
The Pentax K mount worked just as well, and with this one there’s a sprung lever at the edge to release the lens. Again, our lenses focused perfectly at infinity and worked fine with the A6000 – again, it does mean using manual focus, manual exposure and stopped down viewing and metering.
These lens adaptors are really nicely made and do give your old analog lenses a new lease of life. Yes, you lose all your modern conveniences like autofocus and auto-exposure, and your lenses must have their own aperture rings, but that’s no great hardship for old-school photographers.
What a find, and what a bargain!