What’s the best camera type for old SLR lenses? Mirrorless!

M42 to Sony FE lens adapter
(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

For clarity I’m not talking about recent history. I’m talking about SLR lenses from the 1980s, 1970s or earlier, where lenses had manual focus, aperture rings and the pinnacle of technological advancement was full-aperture metering and auto diaphragms.

These lenses don’t have the crystalline clarity of modern digital lenses, but they do have their own very characterful renderings which are especially popular with filmmakers seeking a vintage look. 

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Rod Lawton

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at fotovolo.com but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at lifeafterphotoshop.com