How to Find Compatible Lenses for Your Canon or Nikon Camera

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Shopping for lenses for your digicam isn’t at all times easy. The 2 main producers, Canon and Nikon, each have totally different choices relying on whether or not you’re getting a lens for a full-frame or crop sensor digicam. Even for those who’ve bought a Canon digicam, you possibly can’t ensure that any Canon lens will work.

Third events, like Sigma and Tamron, make issues much more complicated. Additionally they make lenses that include a alternative of mount. You may get a Sigma 24-105 for both Canon or Nikon cameras.

Let’s break issues down a bit and take a look at what mounts Canon and Nikon are at present utilizing for their cameras and lenses.

Canon: EF, EF-S, EF-M

Canon cameras use certainly one of three lens mounts: the usual EF mount after which two derivatives, the EF-S mount and EF-M mount.

The EF mount was launched by Canon in 1987. It’s what’s utilized by their fashionable full-frame cameras just like the 5D Mark IV and the 6D Mark II. Each EF lens has an autofocus motor construct into it—the EF stands for Electro-Focus. You possibly can’t purchase non-autofocus EF lenses from Canon, however third occasion producers do make handbook focus lenses that match the EF mount. If a lens is listed as for Canon cameras with out specifying additional, it’s nearly definitely an EF lens.

The EF-S mount is utilized by Canon’s crop-sensor cameras such because the 7D Mark II, 80D and 1300D. Because the sensor is smaller, the lenses can be smaller and lighter. An EF-S lens is not going to work on an EF mount digicam, nevertheless the reverse is just not true—EF lenses work completely with EF-S mount cameras.

The EF-M mount was created for Canon’s mirrorless cameras such because the M100. EF-M lenses will solely work on EF-M cameras. EF and EF-S lenses can be utilized with an adapter.

Nikon: FX and DX

In contrast to Canon, Nikon solely has one lens mount: the F-mount, which was launched in 1959. There are, nevertheless, nonetheless just a few issues.

Nikon has two sensor sizes: the FX full-frame sensor, utilized in cameras just like the D810, and the DX APS-C sensor, utilized in cameras just like the D500. There are lenses out there for every that use the F-mount.

The DX sensor is smaller, so lenses designed simply for it don’t want to mission as massive a picture. A DX lens will nonetheless match on any F-mount digicam, nevertheless, they gained’t give you the option to absolutely use the bigger sensor. Fashionable Nikon FX DSLRs will robotically crop out the empty picture area in the event that they detect you’re utilizing a DX lens, however you can be left with a decrease decision, and doubtlessly decrease high quality, picture.

FX lenses are designed to work with the bigger FX sensor. Additionally they use the F-mount so you should utilize them together with your DX cameras as properly.

Nikon additionally has a mirrorless mount: the Nikon 1 mount. Nikon 1 lenses can solely be used with Nikon 1 cameras, though F-mount lenses can be utilized with an adapter.

Any third-party lens designed for Nikon cameras will use the F-mount, although some is likely to be designed simply for DX cameras.

Earlier than you get too complacent and assume you should utilize any Nikon lens on any digicam, there’s one other wrinkle. In contrast to Canon cameras, the place each lens has an autofocus motor, some Nikon lenses, like this 50mm f/1.eight, don’t. As an alternative, they use an autofocus motor that’s constructed into excessive finish Nikon DSLRs. Confusingly, these lenses are known as AF lenses.

In the mean time, the one Nikon cameras with out an autofocus motor are the D5600, D5500, D5300, D5200, D5100, D5000, D3400, D3300, D3200, D3100, D3000, D60, D40X and D40. These are all entry-level DX fashions. You possibly can nonetheless use AF lenses on them, nevertheless you’ll need to manually focus them.

Lenses with an autofocus motor construct in are known as both AF-S or AF-P, relying on the type of motor they’ve. These can be utilized on any Nikon DSLR and can at all times have autofocus.


Camera and lens requirements have modified and developed as new applied sciences have advanced. Camera gear, nevertheless, can final alongside time. Most lenses from the 90s will work on fashionable Canon cameras and a few lenses from the 70s will work on Nikon cameras. Simply be sure that they’ve bought a suitable mount.

Picture Credit: A. Savin/Wikipedia, Bernie/Wikipedia.

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