How to Use Vintage Lenses with Mirrorless Cameras?

With the rise of mirrorless cameras, the classic lens for any DSLR user has become even more important than ever. While smaller, cheaper, and easier-to-use mirrorless cameras have made it so you can now have a fully-featured DSLR with a smaller, lighter, and more-affordable price tag, lenses remain the one stop shop that gives your camera the best of both worlds. Fujifilm’s new lineup of digital cameras, mirrorless system, and lenses is a perfect example of this. The Fuji X-E2 and X-E3 mirrorless cameras have interchangeable lenses, so you can easily switch out that out-of-date lens for a newer, improved model. However, those lenses won’t be as up-to-date as traditional lenses. The lenses on these cameras were made using Fuji’s own X-Processor Pro technology, which is more than 20 years old. With that in mind, here are a few tips on how to use vintage lenses with a mirrorless camera.

Get to Know the Difference Between Fixed and Variable Lenses

One of the biggest advantages that mirrorless cameras have over their DSLR predecessors is the flexibility they offer when it comes to lenses. You can use them with a wide range of focal lengths, from telephoto zoom to wide-angle, and a full spectrum of lens types: fixed, wide-angle, telephoto, and so on. To change out that out-of-date lens for a newer, improved model, look for a mirrorless camera that has an interchangeable lens system. You’ll find this on models with names like the Fujifilm X-E2 and X-E3, as well as the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II and III, and the Pentax K-3 II.

Use a Tilt-Shift Lens

One of the most useful features of a tilt-shift lens is that you can use it to change the field of view, or the length of the shot, from wide to telephoto, or vice versa. This is especially useful when shooting architecture or construction, as you can use the long view to take in the whole building from one shot, or you can use the telephoto to reduce subject movement as you shoot closer inspection shots.

First-Party Lens Adapters

When it comes to mirrorless camera lens adapters, your options are wide and choices. There are many different types of camera lenses, and not all of them will fit onto a full-blown camera body. It’s often best to use an adapter with similar construction to the one you have in order to avoid

Third-Party Lens Adapters

Finally, there’s the option of buying a lens that is designed to be used with specific mirrorless cameras. This is usually an adapter that you slip onto an existing lens, so it has no affect on the camera itself. There are many adapters available that are designed to work with a variety of cameras, including the Sony E-Mount Lens Adapter, the Samsung NX1-F/R Lens Adapters, and the Micro Four-Thirds lenses. There are many more lens adapters out there, so do your research and pick the right one for the job.

Use a neutral density (ND) Filter

A neutral density filter is used to “darken” or “lighten” a shot, depending on the amount of light hitting the camera’s sensor. With the shutter speed set at 1/8 or 1/60 of a second, or at the lowest possible setting of No, you won’t get a grainy image. However, you will get a more-or-less-shutter speed image, meaning that there will be a small amount of camera movement caused by the shutter speed itself. This can be useful for shots of people at parties and other social gatherings, where you want to avoid having everyone look like they are moving.

Go with Hugshot or Repro Lenses

Hugshot and repro lenses are mirrorless camera lenses that have a built-in handheld cine-style lighting unit. Many of these cameras also come with an integrated light-source controller, which allows you to adjust the intensity and color of the light coming from the camera’s lens.

These types of light-sensing camera accessories are especially useful for creating light painting effects and creating more artistic photos, as well as for creating low light photography.

Try Bokeh and Shutter Speed

For many photographers, the most-discussed lens quality issues they have with single-lens cameras are the f/stops and the amount of light they produce. While you can’t change the amount of light coming into a lens with a single-lens camera, you can with a tilt-shift lens. A tilt-shift lens has an extra lens element that allows you to change the field of view, or the length of the shot, and produce a more-or-less-shutter-speed image. So, how do you use a tilt-shift lens with a mirrorless camera? Let’s start with the basics.

Get the Most out of your Mirrorless Camera

One of the best things about mirrorless cameras is that they are so compact that you can fit them in your pocket! This means that you rarely have to worry about carrying a camera with you when you’re on the move, which is great if you are trying to shoot some shots of your kids during their play. However, this also means that your camera is going to be even less useful if you don’t take care of it. By following these tips, you can maximize the life of your classic lenses.

Regularly clean your lens elements. Make sure the lens is fully retracted before cleaning.

Use a suitable lens-cleaning solution (alcohol, lens-washer, and lens-sanitizer) to clean your lens elements.

Keep your lens cap on when cleaning your lens.

Use a protective cover over your lens when cleaning.

Use a lens-care product (fluid, lens, or shine) to keep your lens from getting scratched or wet.


Digital cameras have come a long way over the years, and mirrorless models have been great to take photos with. However, there are a few things that you should know about before you start shooting with one of these cameras. First, you should get to know the difference between fixed and variable lenses, as well as find a lens that works best for your camera. Next, you should use a tilt-shift lens to get different angles and a neutral density filter to darken the image. Finally, you should get the most out of your mirrorless camera by regularly cleaning your lens and using proper light-sensing camera accessories.