Can You Use DSLR Lens on a Mirrorless Camera

Using a DSLR lens with a mirrorless camera is possible, but you’ll need a special adapter. This has both pros and cons, as while it lets you use a wider range of lenses with your mirrorless camera, the adapter can also create quality issues.

I’m Caleb, and I have five years of photography experience. I’ve mainly specialized in sports photography and shot various sports from the semi-pro to college levels.

In this article, I’ll explain how you can use a DSLR lens with a mirrorless camera and some of the upsides and drawbacks of doing so.

If you’re eyeing a mirrorless camera and are considering using your DSLR lenses with it, read ahead to ensure you have the full info first.

Can You Use a DSLR Lens on a Mirrorless Camera?

You can use a DSLR lens on a mirrorless camera, but not without jumping through some hoops. Because the internal mechanisms of DSLRs are different from mirrorless cameras, you’ll need an adapter to make the lens work.

These adapters fit in between the lens and the camera, compensating for their mechanical differences. They’re relatively inexpensive, and most come in at under $100, though there are some exceptions.

These adapters aren’t a perfect solution, however. They have advantages and downsides, which I’ll go into more detail below.

Pros of Using a Lens Adapter

Obviously, the big advantage of using a lens adapter is a larger selection of lenses. If you already own a large collection of DSLR lenses, you can use an adapter to carry them over to a new mirrorless camera.

You might also want to use a specific lens that doesn’t have a mirrorless version. In that case, an adapter is your only option. 

Also, because adapters are relatively cheap, buying one is much more affordable than buying new lenses for a mirrorless camera.

Finally, using a DSLR lens with a mirrorless camera can give you some of the performance advantages of DSLR lenses, such as better image stabilization.

Cons of Using a Lens Adapter

Using a lens adapter isn’t a perfect fix. These adapters can introduce some problems of their own. For example, when using one, you may notice slower autofocus performance or worse image quality.

Compatibility can also vary wildly. You might have no trouble using an adapter with one camera but experience these issues when using it with a different one. Before buying an adapter, check to see if others have reported problems using it with your camera model.

Additionally, even if the lens retains its core functionality, certain ‘quality of life’ features might not work when using an adapter. It all depends on the camera, lens, and adapter in question.


These are some of the frequently asked questions about using a DSLR lens with a mirrorless camera.

Can I Use My Canon EF Lenses on Mirrorless?

Yes, Canon EF lenses will work on mirrorless cameras, provided you have an adapter for the EF mount.

Can I Use Canon Lenses on a Nikon Mirrorless Camera?

Canon lenses can be used on a Nikon mirrorless camera, but you’ll need an adapter that specifically allows compatibility between Canon and Nikon mounts.

Why Are People Switching From DSLR to Mirrorless?

One of the major reasons is cost. Mirrorless cameras are usually smaller and cheaper compared to their DSLR counterparts. Also, mirrorless cameras are historically better at video compared to DSLRs

Do Mirrorless Cameras Need Special Lenses?

Yes, mirrorless lenses are built differently from DSLR lenses, thanks to the different mechanical systems of the two camera types. This is why it takes an adapter to use DSLR lenses with mirrorless cameras.

Final Thoughts

You can use a DSLR lens with a mirrorless camera by getting an inexpensive adapter. However, this isn’t always a perfect fix, as using an adapter can introduce some problems of its own. 

Before getting one, research and find out whether an adapter is a good solution for your specific camera and lens.

Is there a DSLR lens you want to use on a mirrorless camera? Let us know in the comments.

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