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Customer Discussions > Digital SLR forum

Do Canon 35mm SLR lens work on a Canon DSLR

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Showing 1-25 of 25 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 15, 2007, 12:08:56 PM PST
ejb says:
I have a Canon 35 mm SLR Rebel that i bought in the early 90's. I have a lot of lenses that i bought for that camera (75-700 mm, 30 - 70 mm etc.). I am thinking about buying a Canon DSLR Rebel XTi, my question: Will the lenses from my 35mm camera work with the DSLR?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2007, 6:39:41 PM PST
Any of your Canon EF lenses will work just fine with the digital Rebel XTi. But you have to know that its equivalent focus length is 1.6x longer That is, a 50mm lens now works like a 80mm when you mount it on the Rebel Xti. So you probably still need to buy another wide-angle lens.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2007, 8:21:07 AM PST
ejb says:
Thanks for the reply NtE. Thats great to hear. I'm actually a little surprised since merchants generally take advantage of technology changes and force us consumers to purchase new equipment and make previous models obsolete. Kudos to Canon for bucking the trend.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 18, 2007, 1:13:48 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 18, 2007, 12:51:15 PM PST
TraVinh says:
When you're planning to use old film lenses on the new DSLR body, you have to do some research about lens mount first, to make sure your film lenses will fit onto the new camera body. Next thing you need to know about the "Focal Length Multiplier" when using 35mm film lens on DSLR camera body, you will lose on the wide-angle end and gain on the telephoto end.
Hope this help.
(Edited with correct info from NLee)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 18, 2007, 9:57:36 AM PST
You got the whole conversion factor the other way around! When you mount an EF-lens onto the Rebel XTi, you gain on the TELEPHOTO end (300mm is equivalent to 480mm now), but you lose on the wide-angle end (28mm is equivalent to 45mm now).

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 18, 2007, 12:42:23 PM PST
TraVinh says:
Oh !!! My bad lol.! Thanks NLee for correcting me. I should edit my earlier post to avoid creating confusions.
Again, thanks NLee.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 18, 2007, 1:00:30 PM PST
ejb says:
Its all good. my main concern was if the lenes would fit the mount and if the EF would still work. Since that is the case, I bought the Canon XTi and am looking forward to getting back into photography without having to start completely over with new equipment.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 18, 2007, 2:11:31 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 18, 2007, 2:28:28 PM PST
Mr. B says:
I too have EF lenses from my Rebel 35 mm days. I have a teleconverter as well as a 400 mm lense. I remember the AF will not lock when I had this combination. I had to manually focus the camera. Will this combination work on the Rebel XT. What would be the focal length? I believe my teleconverter is a 1.6.
How is the 18-55mm lense that comes with the Rebel xt?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2007, 2:44:43 PM PST
Mr. B, your teleconverter is probably 1.4X (most common).

I believe that Canon's consumer cameras (35mm Rebel, XT, XTi, etc) are only rated to auto-focus with lenses of f5.6 or greater aperture. Your teleconverter adds one f-stop so your 400mm lens would need to be f4 or faster for auto-focus to work properly. You probably won't see much difference in terms of auto-focus with the XT.

Focal length would be 400mm X 1.4 or 560mm. Due to the crop factor, the lens/teleconverter combination will seem like a 900mm lens on a 35mm camera. You will need to use a tripod, remote shutter release or timer and MIRROR LOCK for blur free shots.

The 18-55mm XT kit lens is... adequate. Not too bad for a kit lens but not great compared to any of the constant aperture f2.8 normal zooms. It is a cheap way to get a wide angle lens for digital though. The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS SLR Lens is supposed to be much better and also provides optical stabilization. I really love the Sigma 17-70mm "macro". Either of these would make good replacements for the kit lens if you don't want to spend over $350.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2007, 3:22:39 PM PST
P.N. says:
I have several lenses half of which I bought for my Cannon EO-1. When I bought my Cannon EOS Rebel G all I needed was a t-ring to get my lenses to work with the new EOS camera. I also bought more lenses that are Sigma brand that don't require the ring. I'm not sure what is ment by EF-S lenses because I can't find that on any of my lenses...Will the lenses I have work on a Cannon XTi 10.1 DSLR camera? That is the camera I have my eye on and would like to get but not if I have to buy all new lenses.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2007, 1:56:58 AM PST

The EOS-1 and Rebel G used Canon EF lenses which should all be compatible with the XTi. The older Sigma EF lenses, however, are often incompatible due to a change in the electrical signal specs for digital Canon SLRs. Often older Sigma EF lenses cause an error if you try to use anything but the wide-open aperture setting. If you have any FD lenses, these won't work without an adapter which includes a correction lenses necessary for infinity focus. FD lenses aren't often worth the bother. Your T-mount lenses should work OK, I think, in aperture or manual mode. To sum up, your Canon brand EF lenses should be fine.

Having said that, you should be aware that the XTi uses a smaller sensor than a 35mm film frame. The smaller sensor means that the XTi will crop the image making your old lenses act like they have focal lengths 1.6 times larger. In other words, a 50mm lens on the XTi would give you the same viewing angle as an 80mm on a 35mm camera. This is called a "crop factor". The XTi has a 1.6X crop factor which means that you'll be needing a new lens if you want to do any wide-angle shots. In order to get the same viewing angle as a 28mm lens on your film camera, for example, you would need a 17 or 18mm focal length. Consider the kit lens or lens with a similar focal length range for your normal zoom.

Canon EF-S are new lenses made specially for the smaller sensors of Canon's digital SLR lines. These lenses are designed to only physically fit Canon's smaller sensor DSLR cameras like the XT, XTi, 400D, 30D, etc.

The XTi is a very nice camera. I have one myself. I'm sure you'll really enjoy it but it will take some adjustments upgrading from film (I upgraded from a Rebel Ti). Most of your old photo skills will still be a big help, though, so don't worry about that. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2007, 4:06:33 AM PST
Jojo99 says:
This is interesting info for me as I also have a few old EF lens from my EOS Elan film camera. It sounds like I could buy just the a Canon digital body and use my old lenses. Do I lose anything by not having the new lenses?

Some questions:
1. Would my 70-210 F3.5-4.5 EF zoom lens work with full zoom capability?

2. My 50mm EF lens is F1.8. Does the F1.8 aperture cause any problems (or help any) seeing as the standard lens only goes to F3.5?

3. Would my 420EZ flash work correctly?

4. Why don't DSLR's have lower F-Stop numbers?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2007, 3:39:07 PM PST
P.N. says:
Thank you, this helps alot. I used to have a wide angle lense that I loved but for some reason stoped working it would "double" expose my pictures. I think along with the camera body I will get the wide angle lens that is made for the DSLR, which should give me everything I want. Since I mostly take photos of my kids playing sports it will be ideal to see the shots and not have to wait until I get the film in and processed not to mention the expense. I've heard this camera takes nice "action" shots. Thanks again!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2007, 5:15:56 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 29, 2007, 5:57:14 PM PST

As I mentioned, you'll lose some of your wide-angle capability due to the 1.6X crop factor. Also, the newer lenses have better coatings which can help avoid internal reflections/flare (the sensor is actually more reflective than film).

1. If the 70-210 F3.5-4.5 EF zoom lens is made by Canon it should work fine though it will act more like a 112-336mm lens would on a 35mm camera.

2. The Canon 50mm f1.8 works fine on the XT, XTi, 30D, etc. The 50mm f1.8 is still being sold today. The larger aperture of the 50mm is very good for creating a nice soft blurry background for portraits and such and can help in settings which have dimmer lighting.

3. Canon EZ flashes are not compatible with Canon DSLRs. You'll need a flash that supports E-TTL such as the Canon EX flashes, Sigma 500 Super, etc.

4. F-stop numbers are determined entirely by the lens contruction and the aperture setting. DSLRs are specifically engineered to use standardized ISO settings to make exposures consistant across cameras. It would be very confusing if an aperture of f2.8 at 1/100 sec ISO400, for example, meant something different with digital compared to film cameras.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2007, 12:19:46 AM PST
Jojo99 says:
Thanks Tguy.

My question about apertures is that I rarely see anything less than 2.8-3.5 F-Stops. A lower numerically F-Stop number represents a bigger lens opening in film, thereby letting more light (good in low light situations).

So why don't we see F_Stops like 2.0, 1.8, 1.4 and 1.2 on lens digital cameras at the low end of the numbers? Are you saying that F2.8-3.5 is equivalent? Or good enough due to use of a CCD? Or is the CCD the limiting factor?

Similarly, digital lens don't seem to go past F8.

My guess on all this was that digital is still not equivalent to film and won't be for some time. Am I wrong?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2007, 2:00:02 AM PST

I'm not sure I understand your question. The f-stop numbers mean the exact same thing on a film SLR as a digital SLR and depend entirely on the lens, not the camera. Your old Canon 50mm f1.8 lens needs the same amount of light for a good exposure on a film camera as a digital SLR given the same ISO, shutter speed and aperture settings. The Sunny 16 rule works just the same on both cameras.

You don't typically see SLR ZOOM lenses - for digital or film - with apertures bigger than f2.8 due to various issues involved in designing such a lens with a reasonable size, weight and cost. Faster prime (single focal-length non-zoom) lenses are available as these are much easier to design. This has nothing to do with digital vs. film.

We have been discussing the Canon XTi digital SLR which uses a smaller APS-C sized senor. The smaller sensor only affects the angle of view in comparison to 35mm film, not the f-stop. It is the same as if you mounted a smaller piece of film in your 35mm camera -- the exact same exposure would be required except only a smaller portion of the scene captured by your lens is actually recorded.

Now full-frame digital SLRs have been available for a while such as the Canon 5D with sensors the exact same size as 35mm film. These SLRs have no crop factor and your lenses will show the same viewing angle.

As for digital is still not being equivalent to film, I'd say that there's currently nothing you can do with film that you can't also do with digital (though sometimes the techniques required are very different). I still shoot film sometimes but you can't beat the convenience of seeing your shots immediately, being able to check them for proper exposure on the spot and being able to take some 1000 shots without having to carry and change change 30 rolls of film. Head down to the camera store sometime and give one of the new digital SLRs a good workout. I think you'll be surprised. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2007, 4:06:56 AM PST
Jojo99 says:
Let me try to rephrase my question.

With film cameras, F1.8 lenses are common. F1.4 and F1.2 are available. The lower the F-Stop number, the more light the lens lets in. This better allows for taking shots w/o flash.

On digital cameras I don't think I have ever seen one with a lens that has a numerical F-Stop less than F2.8. Why not?

I was over at Best Buy this evening messing around with the cameras. I was amazed how heavy the DSLR's were with their lens. The Canons' and Nikon's all seemed to be very lens heavy, which I found uncomfortable. Is this because they have put more technology into the lens (such as image stabilization)? Why do that in the lens?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2007, 11:25:13 AM PST
sdamazon890 says:
Supposedly Lens Stabilization is better than built in one. It can be custom made for each lens. Lens stabilization stabilizes the viewfinder. Built in Stabilization doesn't. There are Op/Tech neck straps with weight reduction tech that can help ease the weight off your neck :).

Actually there are P&S cameras with better than 2.8 apeture. Some of the Canon G series, and Olympus C-5050z. They are old technology though.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2007, 3:11:14 PM PST

I'm assuming we're still talking about SLR cameras and not point-and-shoots. As I mentioned, there are various good reasons you won't often see a ZOOM lens faster than f2.8. There are still plenty of prime lenses (non-zoom/single focal length), however, that are faster than f2.8. Since digital SLRs have become wildly popular in the past few years, there are a lot of brand new fledgling photographers out there. The simple fact is that many beginners don't immediately see much value in an expensive non-zoom lens hence digital SLRs aren't marketed with fast primes but with slower inexpensive zooms. Or with optically stabilized lenses. In fact, one of the most popular "upgrade" lenses over the past few years has been the 18-200mm "hyper-zoom" (one manufacturer has recently fitted theirs with optical stabilization).

The Canon and Nikon entry-level dSLRs can indeed seem overly "lens heavy" due to their diminutive size. I would guess that the small size of these cameras is actually more of a marketing decision meant to attract point-and-shoot camera owners. Though a smaller dSLR can actually be advantageous for some shooters, particularly while traveling. Personally, I really like the smaller profile cameras but will often install a battery grip when I'm using larger, heavier lenses. Its pretty much a matter of personal taste, though, and there are always larger models available if you prefer a larger sized camera.

Canon's optical image stabilization doesn't actually make lenses very much larger or heavier. For example, their 70-200mm f4L weighs about two more ounces with image stabilization than the version without it.

Posted on Aug 5, 2010, 1:05:58 PM PDT
LFRuiz says:
I own a 35mm Canon Rebel Ti, but I'm considering upgrading to a digital SLR. I'm considering buying a Canon Rebel XT body and from what I've heard and read, I know the lens (which is in good condition) will fit the XT mount, but would like to know if I will also have the 1.6x issue mentioned above. Have anyone made this upgrade before? Thanks for the advice!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2010, 1:47:09 PM PDT
Hi, Luis. I've owned a film Rebel Ti and the XT dSLR as well as other cameras. A couple of points about the upgrade:

- the XT is obsolete and no longer being produced so online prices for new ones are absurd due to this. Unless you're getting a used XT for a very reasonable price, you'll want to instead consider the newer Rebel: the XS, XSi (discontinued but may be available refurbished for a reasonable price) or the T1i. The XS is the newer version of the XT and is very reasonably priced, The Xsi adds features helpful to a somewhat more advanced photograher such as a better focusing system. And the T1i adds HD video and better low light performance.

- Yes, the digital Rebels have smaller sensors than 35mm film which crops the image projected from the lens giving you a narrower field of view so it will seem as if they're giving you a 1.6X longer focal length. There's no way around that except to spend a LOT on a full frame digital SLR. This is actually very good for your telephoto lenses but bad for your wide angle lenses. Because of this, I would highly recommend getting the kit lens with the camera so you can cover the wide angle range on the new camera. (BUT, if you do actually get the XT, the kit lens it came with was extremely mediocre so you might want to consider other lens options in that case.)

- There are some considerations about lenses.
(1) The apparent 1.6X focal length change applies to ALL lenses whether designed for film or digital SLRs.
(2) All your old Canon brand lenses will work with a digital Rebel.
(3) Old third-party film era lenses may or may not function properly due to a change in the electronic aperture controls made when Canon went digital. For example, old Sigma lenses may give you an error when you try to stop them down.
(4) Older lenses may also be somewhat more susceptible to internal reflection problems or ghosting because a digital sensor is more reflective than film and old anti-reflective coating designs don't take this into account.
(5) A digital SLR will make it veryt clear just how sharp or not your old lenses really were. For example, the Ti's kit lens will seem extremely soft on a dSLR -- another very good reason to get a new kit lens.

- Don't forget you'll need plenty of digital storage for your photos and backup. You'll want a way of backing images up so you'll still have them if your harddrive should happen to fail (and they ALL fail eventually).

Hope that helps!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2010, 1:47:41 PM PDT
Given the same focal length, the field of view factor is solely determined by the size of the recording medium.

35mm film frame is ~1x1.5 inches (24x36mm). Canon APS-C sensors are ~.625x.938 inches. Or, roughly speaking, they've cropped .1825" off the top and bottom of a 35mm negative, and .2825" off the sides. So... you see a smaller field of the subject when at the same distance. In the case of Canon, for the 35mm film (or full frame) to see the same field of the subject at the same distance requires a lens 1.6x as long.

However, the depth of field is based upon aperture and focal length, not field of view... So while you will have a reduced field of view, you will still have the wider depth of field of a shorter lens (whereas perspective is based upon distance to subject).

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2010, 4:33:58 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 5, 2010, 4:35:30 PM PDT
EdM says:
Jojo99 - "On digital cameras I don't think I have ever seen one with a lens that has a numerical F-Stop less than F2.8. Why not?"

You didn't look at the right places for lenses such as these:
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras
Canon EF 50mm f1.4 USM Standard & Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Pro Digital Lens Hood (Flower Design) (52mm) + Nwv Direct Microfiber Cleaning Cloth.
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
Canon EF 85mm f1.2L II USM Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras
Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

and others. Many people prefer to use zoom lenses these days, so if out shooting, many people will not be using fast prime lenses, but zoom lenses instead.

As to the weight of modern DSLRs, they typically have the following, which old style SLRs perhaps did not:
1) batteries which are usually more heavy than the little button batteries of older SLR bodies, at least the ones without film winders,
2) more precise lenses, with more elements for greater acuity, possibly a longer zoom range, assemblies for in-lens focusing, for in-lens image stabilization, and correspondingly more weight. Also, for Canon, the lens mount size grew, which means that each lens element in a lens is larger and thus heavier, and accordingly, the bodies may also be a bit more hefty to support the increased load occasioned by the larger mount and greater lens weight.
3) the digital sensor and the electronics that go with it
4) and probably some other things.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2010, 5:01:30 PM PDT
EdM says:
Jojo99 - "On digital cameras I don't think I have ever seen one with a lens that has a numerical F-Stop less than F2.8. Why not?"

Pardon, but I think you went a bit far backwards -- that poster was December 2007 -- 2.5 years ago <G>

{And I think that poster wasn't just SLR world -- the corollary comment about digitals not going past f8 implies P&S cameras, in which the short lenses means f8 is already deep into the realms of diffraction effects softening images}

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2010, 5:00:07 AM PDT
EdM says:
Good point. I had not thought that anyone would [or could] revive a discussion with that big a time gap. Something else to bear in mind ...
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Discussion in:  Digital SLR forum
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Initial post:  Dec 15, 2007
Latest post:  Aug 6, 2010

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