You might wonder why we can’t use crossover lenses for different camera bodies. You will often find that Canon lenses are for Canon systems and Nikon lenses only work with Nikon systems.
Even within the same manufacturer, specific lenses are for specific cameras. This all comes down to a camera’s flange distance. Read below to find out what it is.
What Is Flange Distance?
Flange distance is literally the distance between the mounting flange and the film plane or sensor. It’s that simple.
You can look at it this way too. It is the distance the lens needs to be at from the film/sensor plane to allow it to focus properly.
Every camera system has a different flange distance. This causes issues when attempting to pair a lens to a camera from a different brand.
With interchangeable lens cameras, we have to find the correct lens for our system.
It can become complicated quickly, for example, if you have many different types of camera from the same manufacturer. Let’s have a look at the different lens mounts for Canon throughout the years.
- FL – This was introduced in 1964.
- FD – The FD mount was used between 1971 and 1987.
- EF-M – This mount is specifically for their mirrorless M range.
- EF-S – This was developed in 2003, specifically for APS-C EOS cameras.
- EF – Used since 1987. This lens mount is used for all digital lenses and EOS camera systems, unless specified.
- RF – 2018. This mount is specifically for their mirrorless R system.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV will only work with EOS lenses. Luckily it tells us in the lens name. This camera won’t work with RF lenses, for example.
You can use the RF lenses on an EOS camera body, but only via an adapter.
The different systems have different flange distances, and those distances need to be accounted for.
NB – If you ever wanted to know where your sensor is placed inside your camera, find the weird symbol (circle with a line through it) on the top of your camera.
If you want to use a Canon EF lens on a Sony E mount, we need to first figure out the flange distances.
- The Canon EF has a flange distance of 44 mm
- The Sony E mount has a flange distance of 18 mm
When we take 18 mm from 44 mm we get 26 mm. This is the necessary thickness of the adapter, as it fills in the gap between lens and sensor plane.
If we were trying to put a Sony E lens on a Canon EF camera body, the maths would be reversed. This means that the adapter needs to be -26 mm thick. That’s impossible, so having this combination wouldn’t work.
To Infinity…And Beyond!
These adapters are slightly smaller than the exact size the mounts need. This allows the lens to focus, just past infinity.
This was done, so that the lenses have a little more play. The alternative is that the lenses wouldn’t be able to focus to infinity.
The question most people will ask is about light loss. These adapters are not like extension tubes, where there is loss of light. Instead, these adapters fill in the exact size the lens needs to work with that particular camera system.
|Lens Mount||Flange Focal Distance||Camera Type||Camera Format|
|Canon EF-M-mount||18.00 mm||Mirrorless||APS-C|
|Canon EF-mount||44.00 mm||SLR||24—36 mm / APS-C|
|Canon FD-mount||42.00 mm||SLR||24—36 mm|
|Canon FL-mount||42.00 mm||SLR||24—36 mm|
|Contax 645||64.00 mm||SLR||6—4.5 cm|
|Contax C/Y-mount||45.50 mm||SLR||24—36mm|
|Contax G-mount||29.00 mm||Mirrorless||24—36mm|
|Contax N-mount||48.00 mm||SLR||24—36mm|
|Contax RF-mount||34.85 mm||Mirrorless||24—36mm|
|CS-mount||12.50 mm||TV||1/4″, 1/3″, 1/2″|
|Fujica X-mount||43.50 mm||SLR||24—36mm|
|Fujifilm X-mount||17.70 mm||Mirrorless||APS-C|
|Hasselblad 1000F / 1600F||82.10 mm||SLR||6—6 cm|
|Hasselblad 500 / 2000||74.90 mm||SLR||6—6 cm|
|KMZ Zenit DKL-mount||47.58 mm||SLR||24—36mm|
|Kodak Retina DKL-mount||45.70 mm||SLR||24—36mm / 28—28mm|
|Konica AR-mount||40.50 mm||SLR||24—36 mm|
|Konica F-mount||40.50 mm||SLR||24—36mm|
|Leica M-mount||27.80 mm||Mirrorless||24—36mm|
|Leica R-mount||47.00 mm||SLR||24—36mm|
|Leica SL-mount||19.00 mm||Mirrorless||24—36mm / APS-C|
|M39 mount||28.80 mm||Mirrorless||24—36mm|
|Mamiya 645||63.30 mm||SLR||6—4.5 cm|
|Mamiya RB67||111.00 mm||SLR||6—7 cm|
|Mamiya RZ67||105.00 mm||SLR||6—7 cm|
|Micro Four Thirds||19.25 mm||Mirrorless||17.3 x 13mm|
|Minolta / Sony A-mount||44.50 mm||SLR||24—36 mm / APS-C|
|Minolta MC/MD mount||43.50 mm||SLR||24—36mm|
|Minolta V-mount||36.00 mm||SLR||APS-H|
|Nikon 1-mount||17.00 mm||Mirrorless||CX|
|Nikon F-mount||46.50 mm||SLR||24—36mm / APS-C|
|Nikon S-mount||34.85 mm||Mirrorless||24—36mm|
|Olympus Four Thirds System||38.67 mm||SLR||17.3 x 13mm|
|Olympus OM-mount||46.00 mm||SLR||24—36mm|
|Olympus PEN F||28.95 mm||SLR||18x24mm|
|Pentacon Six||74.10 mm||SLR||6—6 cm|
|Pentax 645||70.87 mm||SLR||6—4.5 cm|
|Pentax 6—7||85.00 mm||SLR||6—7 cm|
|Pentax Auto 110||27.00 mm||SLR||13—17mm|
|Pentax K-mount||45.46 mm||SLR/Mirrorless||24—36mm|
|Pentax Q-mount||9.20 mm||Mirrorless||1/2.3″ â€“ 1/1.7″|
|Praktica B-mount||44.00 mm||SLR||24—36 mm|
|Rollei / Voigtlnder QBM||44.50 mm||SLR||24—36mm|
|Rollei SL66||102.80 mm||SLR||6—6 cm|
|Rollei SLX||74.00 mm||SLR||6—6 cm|
|Samsung NX-mount||25.50 mm||Mirrorless||APS-C|
|Sigma SA-mount||44.00 mm||SLR||24—36 mm / APS-C|
|Sony E-mount||18.00 mm||Mirrorless||24—36mm / APS-C|
|Voigtlander Bessamatic DKL-mount||45.70 mm||SLR||24—36mm|
|Voigtlander Vitessa T DKL-mount||45.70 mm||Mirrorless||24—36mm|
|Yashica MA-mount||45.80 mm||SLR||24—36mm|
|YS mount||55.00 mm||SLR||24—36mm|
And there you have it. There are many different lenses you can use with different camera systems. And if you can’t buy them, there is a chance you can always make one.
If you are looking for more information, we have a great article on lens mounts.