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Sony announces new LA-EA5 lens adaptor for A-mount lenses on E-mount bodies

Sony LA-EA5
(Image credit: Sony)

Right from the start, Sony has made adaptors for using older A-mount lenses on its mirrorless E-mount bodies, but typically with some restrictions on the features available. The latest LA-EA5 adaptor, however, seems to take the A-mount lens compatibility to the next level, supporting many of Sony's latest mirrorless AF advances.

Sony's A-mount cameras were a comparatively short-lived 'SLT' (single lens translucent) DSLR/mirrorless design with a fixed, semi-translucent mirror and an electronic viewfinder. They gave the advantages of DSLR-style phase detection autofocus sensors combined with the live view of today's mirrorless cameras. Sony is still selling its high-powered Sony A99 II, but the rest have been consigned to the history books.

However, during its brief reign, the Sony SLT range accumulated a decent number of 'Alpha' (as in 'A-mount') lenses, which represent a considerable investment in themselves, so right from the start Sony offered an A-mount adaptor for its new E-mount mirrorless cameras.

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony LA-EA5 features

The Sony LA-EA2 adaptor is now only available used, and while the LA-EA3 and LA-EA4 adaptors are progressively more advanced, it's the latest version which offers the best features.

Sony says the new LA-EA5 adaptor makes Alpha lenses compatible with the AF and high-speed shooting features of the latest E-mount mirrorless cameras. This includes A-mount lenses with SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor) and SAM (Smooth Autofocus Motor) lenses, and A-mount lenses that do not have internal focus motors at all.

Compatibility across the whole mirrorless range is not quoted, but Sony does say that when the new LA-EA5 adaptor is used with the Alpha A7R IV or Alpha A6600 specifically, high-speed continuous shooting with AF/AE tracking at up to 11 fps is possible with SSM/SAM lenses and lenses that do not have internal focus motors, such as the Sonnar T* 135mm F1.8 ZA and Planar T* 85mm F1.4 ZA. 

The new LA-EA5 adaptor also offers full support for Sony's phase-detection AF, wide-area phase-detection AF, real-time Eye AF for both humans and animals, and real-time Tracking and AF/AE[iv] (auto exposure) tracking.

The LA-EA5 is designed to be compact and has both an aperture drive unit and an AF drive unit. 

Sony LA-EA5

Sony made a large number of A-mount lenses for its SLT Alpha cameras, and the new LA-EA5 adaptor could give them a new lease of life with Sony's mirrorless models. (Image credit: Sony)

Sony LA-EA5 price and availability

The LA-EA5 will be available in October/November 2020 for around $248. That's more than the older LA-EA3 and LA-EA4 adaptors, but the LA-EA5 is a more advanced version that could be the best choice for those who still have a large inventory of A-mount lenses.

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Rod Lawton

Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio. Previously he has been Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. 

Rod's near-encyclopedic knowledge of cameras both old and new makes him an invaluable resource, whether we need to ask a question about transparencies or the latest X-Trans sensor. He owns all manner of cameras, from Nikon DSLRs through Olympus, Sony and Fujifilm bodies, and on any given day you'll see him using kit from just about every manufacturer.