Old Lens, New Camera




The idea.
Basically, I want to put an old lens on a new camera. M54 would need an adapter. but as I have not or could not buy what fabriqué ..... but...HOW??

I show you how!!

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Step 1: Dismounted

The lens is going to change (ZENITH HELIOS 58mm).
Remove the back of the 58mm. on the picture you can see a 300mm lens that dismounted the back so you can place IN the 58mm.

Step 2: Plastic Rings

In this step, we will cut 2 plastic rings (for this I used two cds) for them to act as a seal between the adapter 300mm (Silver) and 58mm adapter (black).
measured with caliper and see which gives us a measure of 1.18 mm. this means that we have to cut it after sanding and reduced to 1mm.

well! we already have our rings, now sanded. well sanded! (remember. .. each with 1mm)

Step 3: Lace and Cut

Now we will fit one of the rings on the outside 58mm adapter.
the other ring cut into 3 parts so that we can create a lift and screw the adapter 300mm.

Step 4: Locking the Diaphragm

before closing (black cap 58mm adapter) we will lock the diaphragm.
we do this with an elastic band so that we can open and close the ciafragma manually later.

(this is because the anchor will be completely covered and we will not be able to work it from the command of the camera) is obvious! hahaha

then to lock it with a rubber band we get from the outside aperture control ring light we can have it in "semi-automatic mode" hahaha

Step 5: Glue

OK, now we can screw the lid and then to paste the plastic ring.
embedded and cut once, we will measure the position of the screws 300mm adapter and paste parts of ring cut into the other ring is positioned on the 58mm adapter.

Step 6: Measuring and Pasting

300mm lens has some rather fine metal rings. they serve so that if by mistake lack 1mm or 0.5 mm from the outside to the inner lens we can fix it.

As expected .... I miss 1mm

but I could be well solved with these metal rings. so I took 2 of 0.5 mm and I stick to the 300mm adapter.

in Photo 1 we can see the metal rings and plastic ring. together are 2 mm. oh yeahh!

Step 7: Fire, Measure & TRY

into pieces of smaller ring ... I measured the location of the screws. With heated on fire really small screwdriver and create a hole so you can create a thread with the screw itself.

the new distance measurement from the outer lens to the second database adapter 300mm. really gave 44mm! that's good!

once done, screwed the adapter for Canon camera and once I certify that I was well fixed, I decided to TRY!

Step 8: Really Fixed

check that it is really fixed. any noise.
The aperture ring really works.

Now let's test the image!

Step 9: 1 Pic

this photo was made with the normal lens of my Canon T3i. 18-55mm

we can see the depth of field and lighting for comparison with the other later.

Step 10: 2 Pic


observe the depth of field.
excellent sharpness and exactly how far we were right! (none of the 2 pictures, treatment has color, sharpness or contrast to programs)


Thank you very much for viewing this little project.
I hope to provide knowledge or can build your own project these ideas. no matter the visual. mind the expected result!

Pablo Maritorena



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    24 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Lol, I've got the same lens and an adapter for it. actually awesome lens :D but yeah. better get an adapter. it's like 1$


    5 years ago

    Bravo! Some people don't seem to understand that starving artists can quite literally be starving artists and cannot afford to spend money on adapters, as cheap as they may seem to be. Also there's something to be said for someone who can do it themselves rather than rely on other resources. Good work!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Or just get one of those adapters :

    2 replies

    5 years ago on Introduction

    This is insanely clever. Well done. Bravo.

    For me though, thank goodness I can just buy adapters for my m43 Lumix. Speaking of which, I think I hear the the vintage primes calling my name over on ebay.


    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Why agonize if the transition can buy a ring?
    m42 to nokon,canon,.... :)

    Yes it seems like a lot of work just to get a lense to fit. I searched all over for an adaptor for Canon lenses. Found some, cost the earth but while on holiday to the USA this year I found one at a sensible price. Now I can fit all my old lenses (manual operation of course) but as the results are THERE, adjustments can be made on the spot. I can now use my extension bellows, big telephoto and anything else that has survived the ravages of time and fungus.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Very clever! I didn't imagine that we can adapt an old lens on a digital camera (or do I misunderstand?).

    3 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, the media (film, sensor) only cares about the optics and the optics is just glass. But .. Sensors in digital cameras come in different sizes. If the sensor is same size as the film area in film camera then the pictures taken with both cameras are similar. A digital camera with that big sensor is marked as "full frame" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full-frame_digital_SLR). But if the sensor is smaller than film frame (36x24mm) then the optics on the digital camera give an image that (compared to the film camera images with same optics) seems like more zoomed in or "tele".


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    @ Pablomar33: excellent improvisation and detailed instructable. One comment. I didn’t really know what was the real purpose of reconditioning the lens other than to use attach it to a different camera. Your statement “”the new distance measurement from the outer lens to the second database adapter 300mm. really gave 44mm! that's good! “” appears to imply, to me, that you needed to achieve that distance to something, not quite that clear to me. However, what kind of saved the day for me was Libahunt’s comments and the link. Thanks for that.

    So, @ Libahunt, and everyone else: I have thousands of slides and 35mm negatives. I got this old idea of using my daughter’s Nikon D7000 DSLR camera with its Nikkor 18 to 200 lens to digitize the mentioned material. The camera specs say “23.6 x 15.6 mm CMOS sensor; total pixels: 16.9 million” which is what you were referring to, less than “full frame” ….
    So I imagined to come up with a couple of cardboard tube extensions to FIND the right distance to place that Nikkor lens away from the camera body to COVER the full 35mm slide area.

    Any idea or suggestions of approximated distance to start with? The main problem for me is that the camera is with her and I am kind of afraid to have to “experiment” too much with that piece of expensive equipment which is not mine. I will appreciate any inputs from anyone. Thanks.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    if you can!
    so if you can not use the motor for autofocus camera and can not control the aperture.
    what is interesting is the effect achieved. one more retro, vintage style.

    thanks for the comment!


    5 years ago on Step 10

    Interesting and involved instructable. You are clever to adapt the old lens to your digital camera. I gather you modified it to respond to the camera's automatic controls. I have old FD lenses and bought a manufactured adapter. You lose all automatic control and must focus manually. Then I interpolate the exposure settings and set them manually also. With digital you can see the results immediately and make adjustments.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    The original mount was M42, not M54, and adapters for them are EXTREMELY common. You just destroyed two lenses when you could have bout a 10 dollar adapter.

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for that comment. I cringed a little when I saw that poor Zenit lens being dismantled. Since you have a Canon DSLR, you can use any lens system that has a flange to lens distance bigger than 44mm. You can be sure there will be an adapter for most of the lens systems on ebay. As said before, this is an m42/Screw mount lens, thus a cheap ~$3-4 adapter works perfectly.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flange_focal_distance for a list of lens systems you can find adapter for Canon DSLR. Everything under Canon EF should fit easily on your DSLR.

    The only reason I'd "destroy" a lens would be for flange distance smaller than 44mm. I did the same kind of modification on a Minolta mount 90mm Macro lens since it was the only solution to use it on my Canon DSLR. Instead of getting a broken EF lens, you can use a cheap m42 adapter as a mount for the conversion.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    first: live in brazil, and here arrives all too late for example if I buy the adapter on e-bay.

    second: you're right about the adapter. really confused me. I will try to fix it.

    third: 300mm which extracted the ring was broken and fungi.
    if the 300mm was not broken and moldy ... NEVER disarm for that purpose haha

    thanks for the comment!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    You create a lift.. how do you know exact distance to lift? Isn't that critical?