If you’ve been in the market for a new camera and have found yourself stuck between Sony and Canon, you may be wondering if Canon lenses will work together with Sony's camera line-up.
It’s an important question to ask before making any purchases because it could save you from purchasing equipment that won’t fit your needs or budget especially if you already have a bunch of Canon EF lenses (maybe a good macro lens for Canon) lying around from an old DSLR camera.
I ran into this exact dilemma several years ago, when I switched from my Canon 5D Mark III to a Sony A7RII without having the need or desire to convert my existing kit of Canon glass over to Sony E-Mount as that's a huge hassle and can get expensive. While I tested some great native Sony lenses like the Zeiss Batis 25mm, I ultimately kept my Canon EF glass and modified it to work on my Sony body.
In this blog post, we will explore what brands of Canon EF lenses are compatible with Sony cameras and how to find out which ones might work best for your photography needs.
- What Brands of Lenses Are Compatible With Sony Cameras?
- How Can I Identify The Sony Camera System I Have?
- How Do I Tell Which Canon Lenses Work With Sony Cameras?
- How To Adapt My Canon EF Lenses To My Sony Mirrorless Camera?
- Our Adapter Recommendations For Using Canon Glass on Sony Bodies
What Brands of Lenses Are Compatible With Sony Cameras?
Some brands of lenses are only compatible with certain types of camera systems so it is important to research compatibility before purchasing anything. There are some companies that offer lenses that can be used across different brands and systems such as Sigma, Tamron, or Tokina which are popular third-party options.
If you don't want to deal with mix and matching lenses of different brands, there are other companies that develop lenses for one type of camera system only such as Canon, Nikon, or Sony. Depending on the mount type, some DSLR lenses from Nikon and Canon will work on Sony's line of mirrorless cameras via a compatible lens adapter.
How Can I Identify The Sony Camera System I Have?
Many Sony digital cameras use a type of lens mount system called an E-mount. There are other types including A-mount and FZ mounts, but the most common for Sony's line of DSLR to mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras is E-mount.
You can find out the type of mount your Sony camera has by looking under the lens mount on the left side of your body. If you see any letters there, it should start with “E” to signify that you have an E-mount camera.
How Do I Tell Which Canon Lenses Work With Sony Cameras?
If you want to use Canon lenses on your Sony camera, the best place to start is by looking at what mount type is compatible with what you have. Once you've identified the lens mount of your camera, look up which types of mounts are used by Canon and there should be a list of lenses available in that system.
If you plan to use Canon EF lenses on your Sony camera, make sure the lens is not an EF-M or EF-S lens. This is because these types of Canon lens models will not be able to communicate any information with your camera and may cause damage.
How To Adapt My Canon EF Lenses To My Sony Mirrorless Camera?
Adapters are necessary to use Canon EF lenses on Sony cameras. There are a variety of adapters available for converting a Canon EF lens to work on Sony mirrorless cameras. Let's start by looking at the most common type used with Sony E-mount:
Passive Lens Adapters
A passive lens adapter is the cheapest option for this situation, but it has some major drawbacks. Since the adapter has no electronics, it won't be able to automatically focus the lens or control the aperture. Instead, you will have to manually focus the Canon lenses and adjust the aperture with manual control on the adapter.
Despite the downsides, there are many benefits to using a passive adapter such as being able to use any type of Canon EF lens from fisheye lenses to tilt-shift lenses on your Sony camera.
Electronic Lens Adapters
The ultimate option for people who wish to use their EF lenses on Sony cameras is an electronic lens adapter such as those made by Viltrox or Metabones. Electronic adapters provide the best compatibility with Canon EF lenses because they have the proper electronic connections which allow the camera to control both focusing and aperture.
This type of adapter can be more expensive than passive or aperture control adapters since it requires more electronic components. However, it is also the best option especially if you wish to use very large-aperture lenses such as f/1.2 or f/1.4 lenses from Canon or Sigma in EF mount.
Keep in mind, while the electronic aperture control is almost always going to be solid and reliable, the autofocus performance on adapted lenses will often be decreased when compared to a native E-mount lens on bodies. It also will be likely worse than you've experienced when using the same Canon EF lens on a native Canon DSLR body.
Our Adapter Recommendations For Using Canon Glass on Sony Bodies
Given that we have switched from Canon to Sony cameras and didn't end up reinvesting in Sony lenses, we have experience using a multitude of different lens adapters. Here are our recommended models:
The Metabones adapter is a fantastic choice for those who need to support full-frame and APS-C format Sony E-mount cameras. The smart adapter offers numerous capabilities thanks to the use of a high-performance 32-bit processor.
Those features include support for both phase-detect and contrast-detect AF systems, as well as the ability to control the aperture from the camera body. Distance and zoom are displayed and have various other features such as auto magnify, and auto APS-C size capture settings on select cameras.
This adapter is equipped with many physical advantages including a black felt flocking on the inside of the adapter that prevents reflections for larger lenses, and a removable Arca type compatible tripod foot with 1/4″-20 threads.
More than electronic communication, the adapter has numerous advantages as well including support for phase-detect AF on the Sony A7 II, A7R II, A6500, and A6300 cameras. Overall this is a solid choice for an EF to E-mount adapter that is equipped with the latest technology.
The K&F Concept EOS to E Mount Adapter gives you the ability to use your irreplaceable prime lens and saves you the cost of purchasing new lenses. The adapters are precision made to ensure the perfect fit and are made of a hardened anodized aluminum for great durability.
More importantly, these lack electronic contact which means that there is no automatic aperture control or any form of autofocusing available through the adapter. If shooting in Manual or Aperture Priority Mode then "stop-down" mode needs to be used since the lens does not have the ability to be controlled by the camera.
If shooting in Auto Mode on one of these cameras there is no way you can control either aperture or shutter speed through the camera so suffice it to say, don't bother using it on an old or newer model unless it is simply the auto ISO setting.
These adapters are compatible with ALL Canon EF lenses. If you have a Sony camera that you wish to use with an EF lens without spending a lot, then this may be the perfect accessory for you.
I hope this article helped answer the question: Do Canon Lenses Work on Sony?