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Finding Compatible DSLR Lenses


Finding Compatible DSLR Lenses

The Pentax K-01 DIL camera can make use of K-mount Pentax DSLR lenses.


Lenses can be expensive pieces of equipment for your DSLR and DIL cameras, so it’s important to know which lenses will work with your camera.

For example, if you're looking to buy lenses for an older interchangeable lens camera, you want to be absolutely certain that the lenses will fit on your camera and be compatible with it.

Some people also want to use older 35mm film camera lenses with their digital cameras. This can work, as long as the lens mounts are compatible between the 35mm film camera and the DSLR camera.

There's even a model of DIL camera, the Pentax K-01 (pictured here), which can use Pentax DSLR lenses because of the type of mount that it works with.

With all of these options and things to think about, it can be a little confusing to ensure full compatibility between your lens and DSLR or DIL camera. Use these tips to learn more about finding compatible lenses for your advanced camera.

  • The first thing to know about interchangeable lenses is that they contain very detailed names that try to explain the features of the lens, such as “AF 80-200mm f/2.8.” However, such names can be difficult to remember. Just be sure you’re matching the correct lens name with the list of compatible lenses for your DSLR or DIL camera, because having a change in one letter or number can represent a completely different lens.

  • The best location to find a list of compatible lenses and compatible accessories is at the Web site for your DSLR or DIL camera’s manufacturer. Find the Web page dedicated to your camera, and it should have a link on the page for listing compatible lenses.

  • Additionally, if you have your DSLR or DIL camera’s user manual, you may be able to find a list of lenses. Look near the back of the user manual for the list. Keep in mind, though, that it might not be the most up-to-date list.

  • Many times, the compatible lenses will be listed by a family, a category, or the mount that they can use. The mount refers to the type of electrical and physical interface between the camera and the lens. The mount is the portion of the camera to which you connect the lens. For example, some Nikon DSLR cameras are compatible with all lenses that have an AF-S designation, while some Canon DSLR cameras will require lenses with an EF-S designation. Some lenses will include the name of the mount with which they're compatible, such as Pentax K series lenses, which are compatible with cameras that have a Pentax K lens mount. These designations give you the best clues as to compatibility between your DSLR or DIL camera and the interchangeable lens you're considering.

  • The lens mount on your DIL or DSLR camera typically is unique to that manufacturer of camera. In other words, the lens mount on a Nikon DSLR camera is going to be different than the lens mount on a Canon camera. In addition, a DIL camera's lens mount is going to be different than a DSLR camera's lens mount. The lens mount units can be different in diameter and size, they can have the electrical contact points in different places, and they can use different threads for the lens to twist into. These may seem like slight differences, but they're enough to cause certain lens and lens mount combinations to be incompatible.

  • Don't try to force a lens into a mount that isn't made for it, or you're going to damage the equipment. Even the slightest damage can leave a lens or camera inoperable. As long as you have the lens and lens mount lined up properly, it should be easy to twist the lens into place. If you have to force it, you either have an incompatible lens or you have the lens lined up incorrectly.

  • Most of the time, the same company that makes your DSLR camera also will make interchangeable lenses for the camera. However, some third-party companies make lenses for certain brands and models of cameras. If you’re unsure about a lens from a third-party manufacturer, check both the camera’s Web site and the lens manufacturer’s Web site for compatibility.

  • Finally, when looking for compatible interchangeable lenses, be sure the lens has the features you want. Some lenses may not work with your DSLR camera’s autofocus, for example, so be sure the lens not only fits onto your camera’s lens mount, but that all of the lenses features are also compatible with your camera.
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