How Lens Adapters Work & Why You Should Try Them

Whether you are looking to try glass from another manufacturer or want to put antique lenses to good use, lens adapters are here to help. Dating back at least a few decades, photographers and videographers have been using lens adapters to expand the range of lenses they can use for their cameras without needing to buy a whole new system. Lens adapters can be simply mechanical or electronic, allowing some to reinvigorate vintage glass, while others allow you to use a wider set of modern lenses. In this blog, we will explore how lens adapters work and why they can be useful for various applications.

What Are Lens Adapters?

All cameras, whether DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) or mirrorless, have a lens mount. This mount is designed to allow you to easily change lenses on your camera to switch focal length, aperture speed, and more, with a button press and turn. The design of these mounts is simple, and they are usually made completely of metal with a few contact pins on them for the camera to communicate with the lens. These mounts are built to work with a designated set of lenses and cannot be easily changed. However, lens adapters can make it so you can use a wider variety of lenses than would be allowed by the original mount.

How Lens Adapters Work

In a normal camera, the mount reroutes information sent through the pins and contact plates and translates them to be read by the camera body. The communication between the lens and camera allows you to use autofocus and get correct F-stop readouts. Electronic adapters have become very popular in recent years as they can be used to maintain communication between the lens and camera. However, mechanical adapters are also available and worth considering. These lens adapters are simply metal plates that are attached to the camera on one end and the mount on the other. As such, there is no communication between the two, so your EXIF data (resolution, white balance, flash, etc.) will be blank, and you will need lenses that allow you to adjust the aperture manually. In antique lenses, this type of communication is not possible, and the lack of automation can lend more control and a unique quality to your shot.

Speed Boosters & Speciality Lens Adapters

The base functions of a lens adapter is fairly straightforward, but not every adapter is the same. There are many different types of lens adapters available which add interesting effects to image quality and lens sharpness. For example, there are lens adapters which can adapt lenses to work with larger sensor platforms than they were designed for. Following suit, there are also adapters which can do the opposite.

How “Speed Booster” Adapters Work

The term “Speed Booster” is often used for adapters which convert a specific lens to a larger sensor size than it was built for. This is because these adapters shorten the focal length, giving you a larger f-stop. Speed Boosters put a concave lens between the sensor and lens, offering a shorter focal length to better fill the sensor frame and bring in more light to the lens, giving you an additional stop of light. By contrast, a teleconverter adapter uses a convex lens (magnifying lens) to increase the focal length. As a result, the lens will gather less light and cause you to lose a stop of light or more, depending on the magnification level.

Other Speciality Lens Adapters

In addition to speed booster and teleconverter adapters, there are other specially designed lens adapters which can add special effects to your shot. A common tool is built-in filters which can do things like adjust the amount of light entering your lens, color correct, or soften contrast.


It is important to consider how a lens adapter may affect communication between your camera and lens, as well as the added bulk. However, lens adapters remain an excellent tool for adding variety to lenses and filters you can use with your camera. If you are a member of the aviation industry and in the market for a new lens adapter and/or other camera components, Unlimited Purchasing is here for you.we offer the best in both new and obsolete aircraft and electronics components! Browse our catalog of available parts on our website or send an Instant Request for Quote (RFQ) form today to get a competitive quote for your comparisons or additional information about what we offer.


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