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Photography Question 
Leisa Allen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2007

Can I Use a Film Lens on Digital Camera?

I have the Canon XTi. Can I use a film lens on my digital camera? Any help would be appreciated!

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6/18/2007 11:40:37 AM

Bob Fately   Leisa, the real question is if the particular lens you have will fit that Canon digital SLR. You need to give us more details as to what lens it is, exactly.
As long as the lens will fit on the camera (and communicate with it electronically), then optically, however, the lens should work. There is the so-called "crop factor" that comes into play due to the chip size being smaller than the 24x36MM frame size of film, so to give you an idea of how that lens will behave you should multiply its focal length by the crop factor. That is, if the crop factor for your camera is 1.6 (which I think it is), then if you put a 100MM lens on the XTi, it would appear to look like a 160MM lens would look on a film camera. It's like getting extra telephoto length for free, sort of. And it also means your wide-angle lenses lose their width - a 24MM lens, which is a nice W/A on film, effectively behaves like a 38MM lens, which isn't so wide.

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6/18/2007 11:59:12 AM

Stephanie M. Stevens   Yes, you can use film lenses on your camera. You just wouldn't be able to use a digital lens on a film camera (or full-frame digital); this combination would cause vignetting. I buy film lenses for my Rebel XT so that if I move up to a full-frame later, I can use all of the lenses I already have.

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6/18/2007 12:05:02 PM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
The real question that needs to be answered is what film camera did you use this lens on? If it is an autofocus lens from a Canon EOS film camera, then yes, it will work on your Rebel XTi. If it is a manual focus lens from an older Canon film camera, like an AE-1, then no, it won't really work on your Rebel XTi. You could make it fit with an adapter, but it would only partially work and wouldn't really be worth the trouble.
Chris A. Vedros

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6/18/2007 12:21:31 PM

Jim  M. White   There are two factors to consider here: Is the lens is a Canon lens, and is it EF mount? Most EF mount lenses made by Canon will work on a Canon Digital SLR. I have seen a few of the older EF lenses give what is called an "Error 99" message on the 10D and 20D. This literally locks up the camera and the battery has to be removed to reset it. Usually for a nominal fee or sometimes free, Canon will update the chip on the lens to make it compatible. The Error 99 problem occurs more often with EF lenses from aftermarket manufacturers such as Sigma. It indicates an electronic incompatibility with the lens.
Bottom line: try the lens with your camera before you buy.

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6/20/2007 7:20:06 AM

Ronna D. Conseen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/16/2007
  I am looking at an XTI, but should I get a good "wedding" lense before I buy a camera and then get a camera to fit the lense or can I find a good "wedding" lens to fit the XTI afterward?

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2/18/2008 10:10:21 AM

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