Adapters for Manual Lenses on the Sony a7 series: The Guide

There are many good reasons to adapt manual lenses to the Sony A7 series cameras. To do so you need an adapter and this article will help you to choose the right one.

We are three guys from Germany who have adapted manual lenses for many years now. By using several dozen adapters over the years we have learned the hard way, that not all adapters are created equal. We hope that the money we spent on bad adapters will help you to avoid annoying miss-buys we experienced.

In the following two parts we tell you why you need an adapter in the first place, and which issues can arise with adapters. If all you need is the right adapter for your lens you can simply jump to Adapter Manufacturers].

All links marked with a * are affiliate links. If you use them we will get a few percents commission on your purchase without any added cost to you. If you want to support our manufacturer independent work please consider using them.

Why you need an adapter

This image was taken with the awesome Minolta MD 2.5/100 using a Novoflex adapter

The first reason is that every camera manufacturer uses a different mount and with a few exceptions these are not compatible. Let’s assume you want to use an old Minolta MC 55mm 1:1.7 on your Sony A7II. The Minolta physically doesn’t fit your Sony. Here the adapter comes into play: on the side facing the camera it has the Sony E-mount and on the side facing the lens the Minolta SR-mount, so with the adapter your old manual focus lens now fits your new A7 series camera.

There is a second issue which needs to be overcome and that is the flange focal distance. This is the distance between the mounting flange of the lens and the sensor. If the flange focal distance between the lens you want to adapt and the camera isn’t maintained you will either lose infinity focus or won’t be able to focus on anything at all. Your camera needs to have a shorter flange focal distance than your lens or it is impossible to make an adapter. That is one reason why you can adapt almost any lens to the Sony E-mount cameras with their very short flange focal distance of just 18 mm.

Let’s have a look at the Minolta SR 1.7/55 again. It has an SR-mount so its flange focal distance is 43.5 mm. Your Sony Alpha 7 has an E-mount with a flange focal distance of 18 mm. Therefore the adapter needs to be 43.5 mm – 18 mm = 25.5 mm thick.

Adapter Problems

Adapters can cause several issues which we want to discuss briefly to give you a better basis for an educated buying decision.

Mechanical fit

Optimally a lens would fit your camera so well that there is zero play and camera and lens feel like one unit. In practice even native E-mount lenses don’t fit perfectly and you can notice a tiny bit of radial play. The reason for that is that it is more expensive to machine mechanical parts very exact with tight tolerances and therefore a small amount of play is often allowed to keep costs down. With adapters we have seen very different amounts of play.

  • Our Novoflex and Rayqual adapters fit very well and we notice zero play with them.
  • Our experience with cheaper no-name adapters is all over the place. We have owned adapters which fit almost as good as a Novoflex and we have had adapters from the same source which where unusable because of their very bad fit.
  • Our cheaper adapter brand of choice is K&F, their adapters usually show a tiny bit of play. It is so minimal though, you only notice it when you look for it.

Adapter thickness

We gave a brief explanation of how an adapter needs to span the difference between the flange focal distance of lens and camera in the previous paragraph. In theory any adapter, mount and lens would have exactly the same flange focal distance as specified. In reality there is variance in each component:

  • Lenses might be miscalibrated so that they reach infinity before the infinity hard stop or can’t be focused at all on a well calibrated camera.
  • Sony’s E-mount cameras – especially the ones from the first generation – show a significant amount of variance regarding their mount parameters.
  • Adapters are subject to variation as well. The amount depends on the manufacturer’s quality control and production process.

So this is a big game of tolerance. If you manufacture your adapter exactly it will work well on most lens/camera combinations, but some people won’t be able to reach infinity with their lens. So most adapter manufacturers make their adapters a bit shorter. This guarantees that the adapted lenses reach infinity but it also has several unwanted consequences:

  • The focus scale of the lens becomes inaccurate. The shorter your focal length, the more it will be off.
  • The hard infinity stop of your manual lens no longer works, as lenses will focus past infinity.
  • You will see a negative effect on performance with lenses which use floating elements (most modern wideangle lenses including zoom lenses do).

So how much of an issue is it if an adapter is too short? It is a big issue if you use a fast wide-angle lens with floating elements. Phillip once tried to use the legendary Zeiss Milvus 2.8/21 with a cheap Nikon F to Sony adapter on his A7 and it had very weak corners while the Milvus 1.4/50 showed very good performance with the same adapter. Bastian also had issues with a cheaper adapter and the Laowa 2.8/12 and even with more expensive (but still too short) adapters and the Nikon 1.8/20. Phillip once tried the Canon EF 4/16-35 with a cheap electronic adapter and this combo had serious field curvature issues.

On the other hand I (Phillip) have used legacy lenses with too short adapters for years and saw no reason to fix these adapters. But that’s just me, and I don’t use the focusing scale nor the infinity stop. Now that I own several legacy wide-angle lenses with floating elements, I am more cautious and have tuned my adapters for correct infinity but I haven’t run a direct comparison between a too short adapter and a calibrated one to see how significant the effect is on legacy wide angles.

In theory adapters could also have uneven thickness which would lead to a tilted image plane and therefore degrade the image quality. Personally we have never run into such issues though, even with otherwise badly made adapters.

Adapter length is also an issue you can fix yourself.

Adapter Reflections

a reflective adapter on the left vs a well designed Novoflex on the right

Another issue is light reflected by the adapter to the sensor. Adapter reflections do not happen often. I (Phillip) used adapted lenses with cheap adapters for years before I ever noticed them. They seem to happen only with some lenses and in specific scenarios but then they often destroy an image. Here is an example for that:


Before: noname adapter | after: modified noname adapter (crop to 1/4 image size)

You can fix adapter reflections with some material and a little tinkering.

The Velours I use for tuning my adapters absorbs light much better than the adapter’s paint.

Light Leaks

notice the gap above the right screw on this cheap adapter

Not every adapter is absolutely light tight. This becomes an issue when you do long exposures, especially with a strong ND-filter.

Sony A7rII | Nikon Series E 50mm 1.8 | NiSi ND1000 Filter | Before: Pixco adapter with light leak | After: K&F adapter

Durability

Not all adapters are made to last. So far I (Phillip) have had to throw four cheap no-name adapters away because they no longer held the lens safely. In one case I had to spend over an hour to get it off my lens.

Adapter Issues – Conclusion

By reading about these issues one might get the impression that adapters are a huge headache and one would be much better served by staying away from them and choosing native lenses straight away. But if you look at Sony’s native lenses regarding tolerances this is a very serious issue with native Sony lenses as well. Internet forums are full of reports of people who had to go through many copies to get a well centered one and we have had to return a significant proportion of the Sony lenses we have bought for oursevles as well.

Our list of issues is so detailed because, as reviewers, we think it is our job to take a really critical look and identify any potential issues. In practice many people buy a random $20 adapter and never notice any of these issue. But if you run into an issue our article should help you to understand and fix it or to avoid it right away by choosing the right adapter.

Adapter manufacturers

There is a large number of adapter manufacturers and on top of that adapters from the same manufacturer might show some variation as well. We would have to test several hundred adapters to get reliable information on their average thickness and variation. We can’t do that. But we use certain brands a lot so we have a large enough sample size to give you more detailed information on them. We have also summarized other people’s (that we trust) reports on brands we have less experience with.

K&F 

At around $20 they are very affordable but we have experienced much less issues with them than with other cheap adapters in the same price bracket. They usually fit well with only a small mount of play and their locking mechanism seems to be durable enough. Reflections can be an issue though, because the inside is rather reflective, but as said you won’t run into them often. The fact that they are usually rather short weighs heavier and will affect image quality with some lenses. Still they are our budget manufacturer of choice and each of us owns several of their adapters.

Recently K&F has released a second generation of adapters. The new adapters are much better at controlling reflections and the camera facing mount is now chromed. We still have only a small sample size but it seems that they only go a little beyond infinity, less so than the earlier version. The adapters are also noticeably heavier than earlier versions.

Novoflex

At $140-250 they are among the most expensive adapters but they are made in Germany with very tight tolerances and very good build quality. All the Novoflex adapters we have used so far showed zero play and the adapters suppress any flare issues effectively. They also have very solid springs to maintain pressure on the lens. The only smaller issue we have found is that they usually don’t quite reach infinity. One Minolta SR shows 3m on the focus scale of a Minolta MD 2.8/24 focused at infinity and another one 5m on a Canon FD 2.8/20. Unfortunately the anodization on Novoflex products isn’t all too durable and after some usage you will see signs of wear on the adapters.

One advantage of the Novoflex over the Rayqual is the ASTAT-NEX (Affiliate link) tripod collar. It is bloody expensive but also rock solid and especially handy for mounting heavier lenses without a dedicated tripod collar.

Our recommendation if you want an adapter you don’t need to worry about.

Rayqual

Rayqual Nikon-G to Sony-E Adapter

We have only tested a Nikon-G adapter from Rayqual so far but it might in fact be the best Nikon-G adapter as it even offers click stops (the Metabones doesn’t).
Furthermore two loyal readers of this blog, Tim and David, have recommended them in the past and we trust their judgement. They play in the same league as the Novoflex adapters with zero play but they use light baffles which will suppress any flare even better (not that I ever noticed any issues with a Novoflex). Unlike the Novoflex adapters the Rayqual adapters have no margin to allow for miss-calibrated lenses or camera mounts, as the infinity hard stop will be dead on with most lenses. Therefore it can happen that you won’t reach infinity with them.
Furthermore some readers told us when using extension tubes you might run into vignetting issues quite easily.

Our other recommendation if you want an adapter you don’t need to worry about.

Metabones

Metabones Nikon-G to Sony-E Adapter

Metabones is best known for their Canon EF AF adapter (they were the first in the game) which is now available in its fifth generation. Their precision is above that of the cheapest manufacturers but according to lensrentals.com they have a high failure rate (they should know because no one has similar sample sizes). The failures will be caused by the electronics most often but none the less they don’t seem to play in the same league as Novoflex or Rayqual. Metabones offers adapters for many mounts, which are also often a bit short (similar to Novoflex).
What I (Bastian) really like about the Metabones adapter is the built in yet detachable Arca-Swiss compatible tripod mount, although you might run into difficulties when using very big clamps or an L-bracket mounted to your camera.

Fotodiox Pro

Fotodiox offers adapters at different price points, the higher quality ones feature the “Pro” tag in their name. I (Bastian) have already tested 3 different of their Leica-M adapters: the normal one is a little too short but otherwise there is nothing wrong with it. The pro had very nice, solid build quality and acutally a very nice design. The Pro DLX stretch (a helicoid adapter) was unfortunately a little too much on the wobbly side (may introduce decentering to your lenses), I can’t recommend it.
Nevertheless, I still have and use two of their cheaper adapters and see them as an alternative to the K&F adapters.

So, how much should I spend on an adapter?

So, how much should you spend on an adapter and which brand should you buy? We can only recommend you to stay away from $10 no-name adapters, the saved money isn’t worth the potential issues. But if you spend $20 on a K&F or Fotodiox adapter you have a good chance of never running into any issues. And if you spend $15 on materials and tinker with them for an hour you will most likely be able to fix any potential issues as well. So we would recommend to buy one of these if you are getting started with manual lenses or just use a few affordable lenses from one manufacturer.

If you never want to worry about your adapter and use some more expensive lenses on a regular basis we would recommend you to spend $150 on a Novoflex or Rayqual adapter.

Adapter Recommendations by lens mount

Minolta SR mount

Minolta lenses with the SR mount are easily identified by the MC or MD engraved into the front. For a full list of all the models visit this page. Identifying third party lenses with SR mount is bit more difficult but many have something like MD engraved near the mount and the image of the mount above can help.

Our budget recommendation is the K&F II adapter: ebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*
Our peace of mind recommendation are Novoflex and Rayqual adapters. Their prices differ a lot between the markets and we would recommend the cheaper one.
Novoflexebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*
Rayqualebay.com* | amazon.com*

Canon FD

Canon FD lenses are very affordable and Canon made a few outstanding (at least in their time) lenses like the 1.2/85. They can be identified by the engraved FD and use a rather complicated and unusual mounting mechanism which makes it a bit more complicated to mount them.

Our budget recommendation is the K&F II adapter: ebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*
Our peace of mind recommendation are Novoflex and Rayqual adapters. Their prices differ a lot between the markets and we would recommend the cheaper one.
Novoflexebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*
Rayqualebay.com* | amazon.com*

Canon EF/EF-S

The EF mount is the successor to the FD mount and is purely electonical, so Canon EF(-S) lenses, even most of the manual focus ones, need an adapter with electronics in order to being able to change the aperture. Most of these adapters also offer AF and support the lenses’ IS (if available).
They range from ~70$ (Commlite, Viltrox, Fotodiox) to ~400$ (Metabones T Smart) with the Sigma MC-11 in between for ~250$. I (Bastian) have tested Commlite, Viltrox and Sigma MC-11. When it comes to controlling the aperture they all worked quite well, but when it comes to AF I can only recommend the Sigma MC-11 of these three, the other two were quite unreliable, especially above 150mm. Furthermore the two cheaper adapters showed way more radial play than I can tolerate. When it comes to the flange distance the MC-11 was also the best match.
The latest Metabones adapter is said to be at least on par with the Sigma MC-11, but it is also significantly more expensive and the guys over at lensrentals had not so good experiences with their reliabilty.

A few more things to consider:

  • the Metabones adapter supports EF-S lenses, the Sigma MC-11 only EF lenses
  • the older Metabones (and many of the cheaper adapters) don’t feature flocking on the inside and may encounter significant problems with reflections, especially when using wide angle lenses
  • some adapters may introduce severe vignetting when using the TS-E 17mm 4.0 L (this might also be true for other special lenses)
  • with many cheaper adapters the APS-C mode is activated by default, you have to change that in the camera menu
  • you can only get (more or less) decently fast phase detection AF with the A7II, A7rII, A6300 and A6500
  • the Sigma Art, Contemporary and Sport lenses in combination with the Sigma MC-11 behave almost like native FE lenses and even offer Eye-AF

Our budget recommendation is the Commlite (don’t expect great AF performance) adapter: ebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*
Our peace of mind recommendation are the Sigma MC-11 and Metabones T-smart adapters:
Sigmaebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*
Metabones: ebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*

Contax C/Y

Zeiss C/Y lenses feature unusually good coatings for their age as well as great build quality and good sharpness. They are quite expensive compared to other legacy lenses though. After discontinuing the line Zeiss introduced the ZF/ZE line of lenses with Nikon F/Canon EF mount.

Our budget recommendation is the K&F II adapter: ebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*
Our peace of mind recommendation are Novoflex and Rayqual adapters. Their prices differ a lot between the markets and we would recommend the cheaper one.
Novoflexebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*
Rayqualebay.com* | amazon.com*

Olympus OM

Olympus OM was known for creating the smallest SLR lenses on the market with solid performance and in the 80s Olympus even created some of the finest manual lenses ever built among them the OM 2/100. These lenses are easily identified by the OM in the name but don’t confuse them with the newer “Zuiko Digital” lenses.

Our budget recommendation is the K&F II adapter: ebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*

Our peace of mind recommendation are Novoflex and Rayqual adapters. Their prices differ a lot between the markets and we would recommend the cheaper one.
Novoflex: ebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*
Rayqual: ebay.com* | amazon.com*

M39 / Leica Thread-Mount (LTM)

This is the predecessor of the M-mount. It is also known as the Leica Thread Mount (LTM) which is nothing but a standard M39 thread. In Russia it is also known as “Zorki”. Many older Leica, Zeiss, Voigtlander and also Jupiter lenses come with M39 mount.
There are very slim adapters from M39 to Leica-M available and I would recommend getting them and use a Leica-M -> Sony-E adapter as the bajonet mount is much more enjoyable than the M39 screw mount. These slim adapters feature engravings for Leica cameras, you don’t need to worry about these, just get the cheapest.

Adapters from M39 -> Leica-M: ebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*

See also “Leica M-mount”

M42

The M42 lens mount was used by a wide range of manufacturer often from east Germany but  also by Pentax until they introduced the K-mount in 1975. It differs from all the other mounts in the senses that it is not a bajonet-mount but a screw-mount.

Our budget recommendation is the K&F II adapter: ebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*

Our peace of mind recommendation are Novoflex and Rayqual adapters. Their prices differ a lot between the markets and we would recommend the cheaper one.
Novoflex: ebay.com* | amazon.de*
Rayqual: ebay.com* | amazon.com*

Pentax K

The Pentax K-mount was introduced in 1975 and Pentax gained a reputation for their very effective SMC-coating often seen as comparable to Zeiss’ T*-coating. You can find a very good database of user-reviews at pentaxforums.com.

Our budget recommendation is the K&F II adapter: ebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*

Our peace of mind recommendation are Novoflex and Rayqual adapters. Their prices differ a lot between the markets and we would recommend the cheaper one.
Novoflex: ebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*
Rayqual: ebay.com* | amazon.com*

Leica R-mount

Leica’s range of SLR-lenses was known for great build quality, high prices and – at least in some cases – excellent image quality. Leica abandoned the mount in 2009. For a list of all R-mount lenses check out apotelyt.com.

Leica R-mount lenses are easily identified by the “-R” in their name. For example the Leica Summicron-R 50 mm f/2 is an R-mount lens, while the Leica Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 is an M-mount lens and needs a different adapter.

Our peace of mind recommendation are Novoflex and Rayqual adapters. Their prices differ a lot between the markets and we would recommend the cheaper one.
Novoflex: ebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*
Rayqual: ebay.com* | amazon.com*

Nikon F-Mount

Nikon AI-s 180mm 2.8 ED (with aperture ring, “Ai-s”) alongside Nikon AF-S 85mm 1.4G (without aperture ring, “G-type”)

When it comes to Nikon F-Mount lenses the important question is whether you want to adapt older manual lenses, G-type lenses without an aperture ring, or E-type lenses with purely electronically controlled aperture.
For older manual focus lenses with a dedicated aperture ring even a cheap ~20$ adapter will suffice most of the time.
For G-type lenses you need an adapter which allows to control the aperture, as for example the Metabones Nikon-G to Sony-E adapter for ~150$.
For E-type lenses as of today there is only one Commlite AF adapter which allows to change the aperture for ~450$ but the AF performs very badly with some lenses. It might actually not even work with some lenses at all. As this may prove to be quite difficult to understand I prepared the following table for you:
which adapters are needed for what nikon lens

You can read more about adapting Nikon lenses in this article.

The Metabones Nikon-G to Sony-E adapter was the first adapter to feature a decent, reliable and reproducable mechanism to control the aperture of G-type lenses but it has now been copied by many other manufacturers.
Unfortunately from my own experience I know the Metabones adapter is a little short and not the optimal solution for wide angle lenses with floating elements (which many modern lenses feature). I even asked a Zeiss Rep what adapters they recommend for their Otus lenses and they usually go with Novoflex, as these are more close to the original flange distance than the Metabones adapters, resulting in better image quality.
Nowadyas I am using a Rayqual adapter, but these are hard to get in Europe.

Our budget recommendation for older Ai-s lenses is this K&F adapter: ebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*
Our budget recommendation for more modern G-type lenses is this K&F adapter: ebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*
Our peace of mind recommendations are the Rayqual and Novoflex adapters (they work with Ai-s and G-type lenses):
Rayqualebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*
Novoflexebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*

To control the aperture on E-type lenses you need the Commlite AF adapter: ebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*

Leica M-mount

Leica M-mount lenses are easily identified by the “M” in their name. For example, the Leica Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 is an M-mount lens. Zeiss also makes M-mount lenses which carry a ZM in their name, e.g. Zeiss Planar T* 2/50 ZM. There are a few other manufacturers like Voigtlander, Konica and Minolta who have made M-mount lenses.

Many rangefinder lenses have a rather long minimum focus distance of about 0.7 m to even more than a meter because of the rangefinder coupling. This is a clear disadvantage over comparable (D)SLR lenses, but luckily one can get different helicoid adapters nowadays. These helicoid adapters feature a focusing helicoid, in parking position they work just like a normal adapter and allow for infinity focus, but when extended you can get much closer, especially with wider lenses. If you are curious you can have a look at this article, which covers the Voigtlander VM-E close focus adapter, the only helicoid adapter I (Bastian) can recommend so far.

There are also other helicoid adapters which are said to offer high quality, especially the Hawk’s Factory V5, which offers infinity adjustment as well as an infinity lock and effective light baffles.
Shoten and Yeenon might be worth a look at as well.
The problem with these: they are hard to get in Europe which is the reason we don’t have first hands experience with them.

The Techart LM-EA7 turns manual lenses into AF lenses

The Techart LM-EA7 is a special kind of helicoid adapter because it turns all your M-mount (and adapted to M-mount) lenses into AF lenses. AF with this adapter is not without limitations but it usually works well enough, better than I (Phillip) would have expected. It can also work as a 4.5mm extension tube. Downsides are a rather steep price tag, somewhat questionable longevity and larger size and weight compared to a normal adapter.

Our budget recommendation is the Fotodiox adapter: ebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*
Our peace of mind recommendation are the Voigtlander VM-E close focus and Novoflex adapters:
Voigtlanderebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*
Novoflexebay.com* | amazon.com* | amazon.de*

Special Adapters

Helicoid Adapters

Helicoid adapters feature a focusing helicoid, in parking position they work just like a normal adapter and allow for infinity focus, but when extended you can get much closer, especially with wider lenses. These are most common for adapting rangefinder lenses with long minimum focus distance, but now one manufacturer offers an EF -> E-mount helicoid adapter.

There are now also helicoid adapters available for OM, M42 and C/Y mount made by Pixco, Yeenon and Kipon.

Adapters with filter slot

A few manufacturers are now offering adapters with a filter slot. They make it easier to use ultra wide angle lenses that don’t have a normal filter thread with ND oder polarizing filters.
We have no first hand experience with these adapters yet.

AF-Adapters

The guys from metabones were the first to get an adapter to market, that allowed autofocus on EF lenses when adapted to E-mount cameras. This was and still is pretty groundbreaking.
There are also AF adapters for Contax-G, Leica-M (see Leica-M section above), Nikon-F (see section above) and even the rather rare Sigma-mount lenses.
Unfortunately the AF with adapted lenses rarely works as well as on native lenses: most of the time it is significantly slower and may not work at all with certain lenses.

Speedbooster

See Q&A “What is a Speed Booster?”

Q&A

How will exposure modes work with adapted lenses?

  • A-mode: You set the aperture on the lens and the camera will choose the correct shutter speed for your selected ISO-value.
  • M-Mode: You set the aperture on the lens and the shutter speed on the camera. You can either set ISO manually as well or use auto-ISO which will set ISO in accordance so that you get a correct exposure.
  • S-mode: Since the camera can’t control the aperture it works just like M-mode.
  • P-mode: It works just like A-mode.

Does the crop factor change if I use an adapter?
If your adapter does not contain any lenses it does not affect the crop factor. On an a7 series camera you get the same field of view as on a film camera and on a a6x00 the crop factor will be 1.5.

Will the adapter transmit any EXIF-Data?
No, it won’t. If you want EXIFs for your old manual lenses you need to add them manually with a tool like LensTagger or use the lens compensation app.

Do adapters swallow light?
The kind of adapters discussed in this article do not swallow any light.

I have an APS-C E-mount camera like the Sony a6000. Can I use these Adapters?
Yes.

How do I control the aperture?
You have to control the the aperture with the aperture ring of the lens since camera and lens do no communicate.

What is a Speed Booster Adapter?
A short explanation would be: a Speed Booster is a reversed teleconverter. So instead of increasing your lenses focal length and maximum aperture it decreases them. This only works, if the lenses’ image circle is bigger than the camera’s image circle.
So a Speed Booster works with fullframe lenses and APS-C cameras or with medium format lenses and fullframe cameras.
It won’t work with fullframe lenses and a fullframe camera.
Let us take a look at the Canon EF Lens to Sony E Mount T Speed Booster ULTRA 0.71x manufactured by metabones as an example:
We have a Sony A6000 (APS-C), a Canon EF 50mm 1.4 USM (fullframe), a normal (not Speed Booster) Canon-EF -> E-Mount and the aforementioned 0.71x Speed Booster Canon-EF -> E-Mount adapter on our table.
If we use the 50mm f/1.4 lens with the normal (not Speed Booster) adapter what we see on our A6000 would be the same as a (fictional) 75mm f/2.1 lens would look like on a full frame camera:
50mm * 1.5 (crop factor) = 75mm
f/1.4 * 1.5 (crop factor) = f/2.1
If we now use the 50mm f/1.4 lens with the 0.71x Speed booster adapter things look very different, as the speed booster pretty much negates the crop factor:
50mm * 1.5 (crop factor) * 0.71 (Speed Booster) = 53mm
f/1.4 * 1.5 (crop factor) * 0.71 (Speed Booster) = f/1.5
So with the Speed Booster we are getting almost the same picture in terms of field of view and background blur on an APS-C camera as we would on a full frame camera.
There is one caveat though: the decent Speed Boosters are very expensive and it is now often the better solution to buy an A7 series full frame camera in the first place.

 

If we have left any question unanswered please leave a comment and we will do our best to answer it. If you have general questions about manual lenses please check out our beginner’s guide to manual lenses on the Sony a7 series.

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The Team

The team, that are three gearheads Bastian, Jannik and Phillip from Germany who all like to use manual lenses.

35 thoughts on “Adapters for Manual Lenses on the Sony a7 series: The Guide”

  1. My K&F Nikon-G adapter broke in the middle when I had a small bicycle accident (The camera was inside a camera bag, btw.). I could not find any screws at the point where it broke – apparently, it was glued: http://www.chr-breitkopf.de/tmp/ND7_2744.jpg
    One could argue that it’s a feature – if either the camera mount or the lens mount had been damaged, it would have been much more expensive 😉

    Using Novoflex now. And sometimes the CommLite Nikon AF adapter, but only to get EXIF data.

    1. Is the Commlite AF adapter functioning stable?
      I thought about trying a 300mm 4.0 PF with it, but all the AF videos didn’t look good as soon as the focus point left the center of the frame…

      1. I don’t have that many AF lenses. So far I’ve only used it with the AF-S 24-85 VR, and a few MF lenses (Zeiss ZF.2 and Sigma) to get EXIF data. No problems, except for:

        – The adapter is too long and lenses don’t reach infinity
        – Can’t focus at working aperture – it always keeps the aperture wide open

  2. Any feedback with using the Sigma MC-11 with either the Sigma 100-400mm or Sigma 150-600mm? How does AF performance on the long end?

    Heard conflicting feedback on that front so want to understand what the real situation is.

    Thanks,
    Tony

  3. Some additions to your useful article. First I would like to add Leitax, who have started to make direct E-mount adaptors for several mounts. Apart from reduced tolerances (at least that’s my experience with several XX->EF mount adaptors) a rock-solid stability, they offer a kind of spacer ring, which in combination with a cheap Canon (copy) tripod ring allows to put a tripod ring on the adaptor similar to the ASTAT-NEX from Novoflex. While the ASTAT-NEX can be used on any XX->E-mount adaptor from Novoflex the Leitax seems to be different for every mount type, which is much less flexible when you use lenses with different mounts.

    For people who like to have EXIF data with their adapted manual lenses there is the possibility to use an adaptor with programmable chip for the respective mount to Canon EF and then use a second adaptor from EF to E-mount. Of course your issues with tolerances become even worse when using two adaptors, which is why I recommend to use it with Leitax mount conversions only. It’s not cheap though, when you convert many lenses…

    1. I once leitaxed my Minolta MC 1.2/58 to EF mount, I was very happy with the quality.

      So do you use lenses leitaxed to EF-Mount with a chip and an electronic adapter to E-mount? If so which adapter do you use and what EXIF data does it transfer?

      1. Due to cost, I have limited the lenses with Leitax mount to my C/Y Zeiss 35m f1.4 and 85mm f1.4 lenses. Those two are a good complement to my Canon glass. The EXIF should say 35mm f1.4 or 85mm f1.4, but I haven’t glued and programmed them yet. The reason is that I still don’t have a working EOS camera at hand, which is required to program the chips…

  4. Thanks for the large Information on adaptors for the Sony E-Mount cameras. I am using for my C/Y Zeiss and other lenses various adaptors with an fair success. I personally, can recommend the K&F adaptor. The NOVOFLEX seems to me overpriced, and there is an connect with the Chinese KIPON company! LEITAX has an good reputation! The cheap HONGKONG adaptors are often not CNC machined, and therefore fit not very precisely.

      1. Die Firma Shanghai Transvision Photographic Equipment (KIPON) ist nicht nur für seine zahlreichen Adapter, sondern auch als Objektivhersteller bekannt!

      2. Novoflex sells some adaptors made by Kipon (still labeled Kipon). I don’t believe there is any deeper connection than that.

  5. Very nice article! Ever since I found your blog, I was unsure if the cheaper Adapters would degrade image quality (in earlier articles you often recommended novoflex adapters). But novoflex was out of my price range. The K&F Koncept adapters work for me, although I can focus past infinity with most lenses.

    I would like to add that there is a cheaper speed booster alternative to the metabones adapters: Zhongyi II Speed Booster. I own one (EF-Nex) and it works quite well. Zhongyi Adapters don’t have electrical contacts, so no aperture control or AF through the camera, but with manual lenses you don’t need it anyway. One should look out to buy the second version of their adapters, the first version had issues with flaring.
    The Zhongyi speed boosters are also quite close to the image quality of the Metabones speed boosters according to Matthias Proske, a camera and lens tester from germany (Test of several Speed Boosters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrqNHBHFxf0): Central sharpnes seems to be very similar. Edge sharpness is a bit better, although the crop factor of the Zhongyi is only x0,72 and not x0,71 as the Metabones (though it is said they would be almost the same sharpness if the Metabones Image would be cropped in post production to match the x0,72 crop factor of the Zhongyi).

    A comparison of a speed boosted wide angle lens an a crop camera and the same wide angle lens on a fullframe camera would be very interesting! I guess the would be a difference in image quality, but I’m not sure how much the speed booster would affect the IQ.

  6. Dear friends,

    thanks again for this excellent overview.
    As I am also a lens junkie (to some extent), AND also a photographer with old eyes and some modern lenses, I can add some experiences with AF adaptors, all valid for A7RII and A6500. I won’t comment manual focus lenses and adaptors, Phillip and Bastian have said enough.

    1. Metabones model IV and Sigma MC-11 AF adaptors for Canon EF:

    As a lazy guy I don’t like to change adaptors and lenses constantly, so I own several (4, to be exact) of the Metabones (some internally flocked, some not) and 2 of the Sigma MC-11 for Canon EF mount, each of them is attached to one single lens – so it is much faster in the field to change lenses regardless of brand, this helps to shorten the time of “open Sony cameras” and minimizes dust collection inside.
    All Metabones have been purchased in used condition via ebay, so no “positive” selection. I use these adaptors not only with Canon, but also with Sigma EF mount lenses, especially the Macros. I have very rarely any issues with them, I remember one case when I had to update FW of a Metabones to overcome some sort of not working AF. As I update FW anyway as soon as Metabones announces new ones, no problem. I have also owned for some time the Sigma Sports 150-600 in EF mount, which worked MUCH better with Metabones compared to the Sigma MC-11 (the Sigma adaptors have been purchased new on Amazon, with the 150-600 in mind…). The Arca base of the Metabones is a nice feature, but as my Sony’s are equipped with Arca type L-plates, space gets quite limited in case you have a big clamp. What I have to confess: due to the floating elements problem I do not use wideangles with these adaptors anyway, so flange distance is no issue for me. My main use are longer lenses and macros. I have exchanged the Sigma 150-600 and replaced it with the latest Canon 100-400, which is MUCH better optically and works fine with the adaptors. With these Metabones and Sigma Macros 150 and 180 and the mentioned Canon 100-400 I have survived 4 macro workshops in the field in 2 years and did not miss one shot due to adaptor related problems. I also still own one Metabones EF-M4/3 AF adaptor, which works equally well with Olympus OM-D E-M1 (now in possession of my brother). So we can exchange lenses, a fine option, especially as M4/3 had the same missing long lens problem for a long time!
    To say it clearly: I cannot confirm the Metabones comments of lensrentals. Maybe the lensrentals clients had no time to learn what the adaptors can do and what not (especially the confusing “green” and “advanced” modes…).

    As for the Sigma MC-11: in the beginning there has been much hype around these, which in all honesty I couldn’t understand. My examples had several issues, would focus much slower than Metabones and had big problems in not so bright situations. After two or three FW updates, I think they are better now and work comparable to Metabones. Not better. Mechanical fit is nice, though. I also own one Sigma MC-11 for Sigma SA mount, which I use with a Sigma C 17-70 as a “holiday combo” on A6500 – no complaints, works fine, optically a good solution for a general purpose zoom. In the beginning however, with first FW version of the MC-11, AF would hunt, miss, fail and make noise as soon as light is not super bright. Now, after FW updates, its just fine.

    2. Commlite AF for Nikon:

    Basically, this adaptor works, again my experience valid only with longer lenses. Main issue is that you need fast lenses. Performance on Nikkor AF-S 1,4/85 was fine, on slower zoom lenses I cannot recommend this adaptor. Meanwhile I don’t need it anymore, as I have done the step to sell the Nikkor and to acquire a Batis 85.

    3. Sony LA-EA3

    Works just fine with the Sony ZA 2,8/24-70 and a Sigma 150 Macro HSM OS. Again, all comments only valid for use with the PD-AF-capable Sony e-mount types like A7RII and A6500.

    4. General AF issues with Sony E mount.

    On Sonyalpharumors, a couple of days ago some photog colleague mentioned the “oszillating AF problem” (but nobody helped him): starting with F/8 and then downwards with slower apertures, native Sony E-mount lenses would hunt for AF and fall into some “pulsing” or “oszillating” behaviour, and stay there trapped. No AF possible. This may happen in less than optimal contrast scenes (but still far away from dusk or dawn!). I would tend to describe it as some strange kind of interference between AF-point pattern on the sensor and structure of the targeted area. Open up to at least F/5.6 and the AF will work. In my case, this happens with the A7RII and the G-Master 24-70, before also with the Vario-Tessar 24-70. NO problem at all with the LA-EA3/ZA Vario-Sonnar 24-70 combination, where the aperture is fully opened and will be closed only after pressing shutter release. Now while all this may be excusable, as SLR’s also don’t AF with F < 8, one would expect that the all-so-clever Sony engineers would tackle that and implement simple algorithms to open the aperture for AF, in case such an oszillation occors. Nope.
    For me, this is part of the inconsistencies of Sony's E Mount AF strategy. Main problem is, besides sacrificing the focussing advantage of shallow dof: you do not really and always know what the camera actually does: open the aperture for AF or not? If yes, to which extent? In which situation? More with one lens, less with the other? Adapted SLR lenses, as inferior their AF possibilities may be, do not show this incalculable behaviour but rather focus wide open. (If there wouldn't be the focus shift sometimes…). These things are still my main concern with AF of Sony's E-Mount cameras.

    All the best,
    Uwe

    1. Hi Uwe, any news on the oszillating issue? I experienced the same behaviour with my 24-70 GM on an A7RII. Could you please share the link to the post on Sonyalpharumors? Can’t find anything there.

  7. For a budget EF(-S) > E adapter, I would recommend Viltrox II instead of Commlite. Internet forums suggest the Commlite can damage the electronic contacts on lenses, and the Viltrox II (but not Viltrox III) seems to work with more lenses, although it’s reportedly getting harder to find. For example, I like the Viltrox II with EF-S 10–18, which is a popular budget alternative to the Sony ultrawide but allegedly doesn’t work well with Commlite.

    Overall, great overview, as usual!

  8. Thanks guys for another extremely useful review. I use Novoflex and K&F adapters for various makes of SLR lenses. One of the advantages of the K&F adapters is that they take the Novoflex ASTAT-NEX tripod adapter – so great for longer/heavier lenses.

  9. I like also Kipon. They are more or less three times more expensive than K&F Concepts, but still affordable, are typically as good or better on every parameters, and weight one third less.
    Very interesting if you like to take multiple legacy lenses with an adapter on each.
    More anecdotic: the Vello for Canon FD is wonderful. Cheap, light, excellent at reducing reflections, and infinity is exact.

  10. Great review, thanks.

    One thought: if you find a good adapter, stick with it!
    I’ve tried dozens, the worst being a $140 Contax G adapter.

    I now use just one ($6 Fotga) with the fantastic and underrated Olympus 24-48mm zoom which beats the pants off Sony, 100mm 2.8 and 135mm 2.8.

    Result: an ultralight, ultracompact combo., leaving the adapter permanently on the camera and just changing lenses.
    All the best,

    Robin

  11. And what about the Techart AF which makes manual lenses autofocus? Did you come across? Any good? Impact of having 2adaptors if you want toadapt with non Leica M lens?

  12. Philip,
    Thanks a lot! Saves me a big costly mistake. I just hope they will fix the problem as it is an interesting proposal. Will be patient.

  13. When it comes to dumb adapters, I wonder why you always recommend (peace of mind recommendation) the expensive adapters from Novoflex, Rayqual, Metabones and Fotodiox as they still have strong downsides. You can’t focus to infinity with Rayqual. That’s a huge downside, IMO. Novoflex, Metabones and Fotodiox are too short, wobble, have too much play … You can get the same or less for much less with K&F. They’re not peace of mind, IMO. You still need to test them, may return them or live with the shortcomings. And that for a very high price.

    I have a couple of K&F adapters and they work great. Twice I needed to re-buy them because they were too short but that was no issue. I just returned them within 14-30 days. You just have to test them asap – but also Novoflex, Metabones & co.

    In my opinion, if there is no general production problem with this adapter, you can just go with the cheapest, buy a couple of them, test them all, choose one and send back the other ones. K&F is a good start to avoid general production issues.

    Somewhere you mentioned that you had had problems with your Minolta SLR adapter, it too short. I wonder if there’s a general problem with Minolta mounts/lenses/adapters because my Minolta adapter also was the only one which was waaaay too off. Maybe the lenses have too much variations because the cameras had too much variations too? And now the adapters need to compensate for that? I don’t own many Minolta lenses to see if there’re any lenses which need so much play.

    For example I have a M42 adapter which has infinity in focus with the lenses I had where the infinity symbol starts, not at the hard stop. I looked for better adapters and was about to fix it myself. But now I have a M42 lens that has infinity focus at the hard stop. So the adapter is absolutely right and I need this kind of play because the lenses have so much variations. Maybe the same is true for the Minolta lenses but even more exaggerated. My cheap C/Y adapter has no play with my Contax/Zeiss lenses. Maybe they’re build to higher standards and therefore the adapter needs no play.

    1. We also recommend the K&F adapters because they usually get the job done but there are certain benefits to the Novoflex/Rayqual adapters which are worth the money in some cases.

      Of course you can focus a Rayqual adapter to infinity. As we elaborated in the article there will be cases where you can’t but that’s because your lens and/or camera is out of spec, it is not the adapter’s fault.

      And the reason that we recommend Novoflex/Rayqual as a peace of mind solution is that they are very well made and have zero play. I own three Novoflex adapters and they have zero play on my a7ii. My half a dozen or so K&F adapters have very little play but they do not fit as well as the Novoflex adapters.

      I own K&F adapters for Nikon, Canon FD, Minolta SR, Leica M and M42. They are all quite a bit too short. My noname C/Y adapter has quite a bit of play. I have no reason to assume, that this is a brand specific issue.

  14. Hi,
    It happens that I’m using FOTGA adapter for my Minolta lenses and I hate it as it has a little play at the mount of the camera and a smaller one in the lens mount. I have one Minolta Rokkor PF 50 1.7 a little wobbly somewhere around the aperture ring, but in conjunction with the adapter feels like a ballerina on my camera mount.
    I’ve decided to buy the Novoflex adapter for SR mount, but stumbled on Ulata adapters on ebay. They look well built and also have matte black interior. Has anyone tried these adapters? A couple of forums on the web say that it’s a good adapter but would love to hear one objective opinion about them before my purchase.
    I’ve also tried Selens for FD and they’re pretty well built and also have that play that you should really look for it to say that it is there. The paint on the exterior looks somehow very expensive, profi-like, but the interior for some reason is a little shinier on the grooves than the exterior, but still better than K&F first generation ones.
    Also I have one no-name M42 adapter that is a perfect fit. Too bad the Russian lenses weren’t made to fit their read-out always vertical. If my Helios lenses fit perfectly with it, my Jupiter 37A is somehow to the side and my Tair 300mm has also a little offset. By the time I figured out what that little hex key is provided for, I’ve lost it. Even so I wouldn’t screw and unscrew those little screws for every lens.
    All these adapters reach infinity before the mark by a tiny bit, but that isn’t a problem for me, …yet :))
    Over all I’m staying away from Fotga as the tolerances are way bigger than what I can accept and I’m also open to other cheaper but well built alternatives to Novoflex, Rayqual or Fotodiox since all I’m buying is a metal spacer without glass.

  15. Good stuff, PR.

    FYI: a Speedbooster is referred to as a ‘focal reducer’ in some circles. The f-stop increase is often less than a full stop but anything is better in that regard.

    Like all non-native, add-on gear, results can vary wildly depending on the lens being ‘reduced’ to its native optical focal length. But when you find a working combination it doubles the value of each lens!

    I’m using Zghongi’s Turbo model and it does well on some, not so much on others. A real crap shoot…

  16. I have had problems with the Metabones tube adapter for Minolta SR (MC/MD) mount. I got metal flakes ripped of after some on and off mountings of the Minolta lenses.

    Has anyone else experienced this?

    See my post here for images, scroll down to the adapter part after all the nature images here:
    https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/59823581

    Best regards from Sweden!
    /Anders

  17. My question has to do with adapting the Minolta Maxxum 70-210mm f3.5-4.5 and the Minolta Maxxum AF Zoom 70-210 1:4 (32) 55mm (beercan) to the Sony A7. Since there is no aperture ring control on these lenses is there an inexpensive adapter available that can control the aperture setting on these lenses? I’m told the Fotodiox Lens Mount Adapter – Sony Alpha A-Mount (and Minolta AF) DSLR Lens to Sony Alpha E-Mount Mirrorless Camera Body adapter has an aperture ring on it although I have not seen or used this adapter before.

    1. The LA-3 is too expensive for you? It is certainly the most comfortable option and it is a solid adapter.

      I only briefly used an adapter with mechanical aperture control and I couldn’t select exact aperture values which bothered me. Plus if you have a second generation a7 it is really annoying to readjust focal lenght with a zoom for the stabilizer.

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