How Good Are Adapted Lenses for Mirrorless Cameras in 2018?

Sony is growing by leaps and bounds, but one of the biggest advantages Canon and Nikon continue to hold is the deep investment a lot of their users have made in native lenses. This great video examines the current state of affairs for adapters and if they can work for you.

Coming to you from The Camera Store TV, this helpful video will show you just what you can expect from trying to use adapted lenses on mirrorless cameras in 2018. I'm personally shooting mostly with a Sony a7R III these days, and I've found that that in combination with a Metabones V adapter actually works better for my Canon 85mm f/1.2L II lens than a native body, as the adapter still works about as quickly as a Canon body, but there are no AFMA errors as one encounters with DSLR bodies (even after years of AFMA adjustments, this lens is still finicky for me). Combine that with Eye AF and my keeper rate went up substantially when I switched to a Sony body, so much so that I now trust the Sony enough to make it my main body for a lot of work. If you're curious about their system but married to a lot of Canon or Nikon glass, now is a good time to watch the video above. 

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16 Comments

Thanks for this post Alex! Just had a shoot this AM in the snow here around Montreal... My second body (a 6DI) was struggling so badly with the 85LII (I only shoot it with live mode). The 5DIV is fine with dual pixel but I am considering the A7III really badly... But I still have my doubts it'll be fast enough for walking down the isle or the dance at a wedding... What do you think? :)

I tried a7r III with different Nikon glass + Commlite and it mostly worked. However it is not the best (ok, not good at all) for various tracking modes (like EyeAF) as it is not fast enough to track anything.

Not sure how bad the situation is with Canon glass. Everyone says that 85/1.2 is better with Sony than Canon, but is it as good as native glass?

I can't imagine it's as good as native Sony glass... But if it's as fast as a 5DIV in live view that's good enough for me :D

Based on constant focus hunting, it seems like it uses only contrast detection. The best way is to try.

Tomash Masojc's picture

Oh, but for portraits when people are not moving a lot? You had last v6 firmware?

I was quite surprised to learn how actively (within those centimeters given you by DOF) people move just standing still for business portrait :)

Allen Morris's picture

I swear sometimes it's easier taking pictures of children compared to CEO's! At least you're prepared to run around with children.

Alex Cooke's picture

I can't comment on the native 85 performance vs the Canon, but to answer Gilbert de Leeuw's question, in fairness, you have to remember the Canon 85 is notoriously slow, so I'll put it this way: if you're satisfied with the 85 f/1.2's AF performance in live view on the 5D4, you'll probably be happy with it on the Sony with the Metabones.

Yesss such a slow lens :( lol I always end up shooting in live view as I miss focus too often otherwise. I am thinking of upgrading my backup body (a 6DI) for an A7III because the live view on that is a turd :) and well... The 6DII is a disappointment on so many levels so for the same price an A7III makes more sense. I am a little bit scare of editing Sony and Canon colours together though. Thanks for the feedback Alex

Nikon's AF system is notoriously difficult to reverse engineer, which is why you'll see more complaints for Sigma glass on Nikons than Canons (though my Sigmas work fine, I know that's not been the case for everyone).

From what I understand, that's also why you don't see as many AF adapters to bring Nikon glass to mirrorless, and why none of the bigger players make them. They just don't work as well as adapting Canon glass. That's why you can't, for example, get a Sigma MC-11 for Nikon glass.

Black Rock's picture

Gotta love the Canon F/1.2. I use MC-11 though.

Thanks Alex for this video, as a Canon user I have glass that I love but really wanted to look at the Sony bodies to replace my 5D II. This really helped me out looking at options.

Matt Whitby's picture

Thanks for this. With Canon dragging its heals over a full frame mirrorless camera with native EF mount I've been thinking of moving to Sony with an adapter for my many existing lenses.

michael chiaretta's picture

** METABONES PROBLEM IN GERMANY ** Hi there, just here to report a problem I currently have with the Metabones Adapter Mark V from Canon to Sony. It loses "hair", the inside black lining is very poorly made and it loses a LOT of small "hair" on the sensor. I bought already 3 copies (1 from Amazon, 2 from the local store) and they all have the same problem. (The Store started to report the problem too, btw)
The most annoying thing is the support from Metabones, which I contacted immediately: NULL. NADA. ZERO. NIENTE. So be CAREFUL! Check your adapters, you just need to bang it (no need to use force) on a surface and/or rub with your finger inside the adapter. You will see immediately if your copy is ok, or.. NOT...

Ouch, good to know!

Ted Chen's picture

I wish they had shot and included the images from the indoor test. Focusing may show the green box but final images can have the focusing slightly off, especially since Eye-AF was one of the tests. I have the 5D3 and A7RIII with MC-11 and Canon lenses. So far tracking (for sports shooting) isn't good enough with an adaptor.