Like many Sony camera users out there, I was jumping for joy when I first found out that their latest mirrorless cameras could accept a multitude of Canon lenses with an adapter. This was initially fantastic news; simply strap on some form of adapter, the cheaper the better, and you’re good to go.
However, just like any type of adapter which tries to seamlessly link a third-party lens to a camera body, there are many caveats. Luckily for us photographers, the forums and online groups soon started filling up with information on the good and bad versions, how they worked and with which lenses.
On the surface, an adapter to use a Canon lens on a Sony camera should be a straightforward item. Something to simply bolt your lens onto another camera. This can be fine if you are happy with manual only control of the lens, but things become more complicated if you want all the fancy lens wizardry to work seamlessly.
Firstly, there is the need for all electronic functions to work as intended, which means that the lens has to communicate with the camera body as it would do with a native lens.
Then, there is the issue of full autofocus performance and focus speed. All focusing modes should work and be as fast as possible. For Canon lenses with built-in stabilization, will it work seamlessly with Sony’s built-in camera system? Will only basic stabilization be available or can you have full access to the different stabilization modes?
Then there is the question of will certain adapters work with every conceivable type of EF and EF-S lens, both primes and zooms? What if you own a bunch of third-party lenses that are built to fit a Canon body and you now want to use them on a Sony? And lastly, the additional cost of an adapter is something to bear in mind.
As you can see, there are lots of things to consider. This may sound daunting, but with a good quality Canon to Sony lens adapter, you can enjoy all the optics and functionality of an L-series Canon lens. This is a great situation to be in if you already own a bunch of these lenses.
1. Metabones Canon EF Lens to Sony E-Mount T Smart Adapter (Mark V) (Overall Winner)
This is the fifth-generation version of the Metabones Canon EF Lens to Sony E Mount T Smart Adapter which allows Canon EF and EF-S mount lenses to be attached to full-frame and crop sensor Sony E-mount cameras. This version offers a rubber gasket for better weatherproofing, an LED to show various modes of operation, and a switch for controlling image stabilization.
This Canon to Sony lens adapter features a 32-bit processor for controlling all aspects of the autofocus system, which can be done in-camera. A programmable function button allows manual focusing along with transferring Exif data to the camera. Along with full electronic communication, the adapter is built to prevent internal reflections, along with an Arca-type tripod mount for large lenses.
One big benefit of this adapter is that it allows firmware updates. This feature doesn’t just improve overall performance, but it also adds support for lenses that may have fallen through the gaps. This is definitely a smart adapter that allows control over all exposure settings, autofocus, and image stabilization.
The programmable function button is very handy for accessing commonly used settings and focus-by-wire manual focusing is readily available. We tried a bunch of post-2009 prime and zoom lenses, and although the speed wasn’t quite as fast as when used natively, the lenses worked seamlessly.
While the example lenses worked fine for us, it’s advisable to try out one of these adapters in person with the latest firmware updates to make sure your copy of lens works as it should. This is why with all these adapters, there will always be mixed reviews. In other words, try before you buy is a necessity with this camera accessory.
The Metabones adapter may be the most expensive adapter on this list, but if you want seamless lens workings, it’s worth every penny.
The Sigma Mount Converter MC-11 is designed to mount Sigma EF-lenses to Sony E-fittings and comes in at a much cheaper price point than the Metabones. It’s understandable that this Canon to Sony lens adapter has gained popularity with many people owning Sigma lenses.
This adapter features a built-in LED to assure compatibility. It offers full AF control, which includes Eye AF and Lock-on AF. Functionality such as full auto mode, image stabilization, and transfer of EXIF data is supported. Plus, the adapter allows firmware updates, which are only compatible with Sigma EF-lenses.
As with the Metabones above, AF speed was slightly reduced, which means high-speed photography may be out of the question. But in all other respects, the Sigma is a solid performer. Art series primes and zooms worked well, as with the Sports primes, but as above, you will need to try this adapter with your own copy of the lens.
While the two options above provide the most guarantee of working with the widest range of lenses, they do cost a good few hundred dollars each. For more cost-effective solutions there is the Commlite CM-EF-E HS Lens adapter.
This high-speed adapter supports Phase Detection AF and can switch between PDAD and Contrast AF, with a convenient button on the side of the adapter. Other features include control over the electronic aperture, transfer of EXIF data, and access to image stabilization. The unit also allows firmware updates via a USB port.
This unit is made from aluminum alloy, with goldplated contact pins for longevity. On the whole, this is a basic Canon to Sony lens adapter with solid build quality, but autofocus can be hit or miss at times, which means this is a definite candidate for trying out in person.
There will always be the scenario where people want to use older type Canon FD/FL lenses with the Sony E-mount. This is where the Fotodiox Pro Lens Mount adapter comes into play. The adapter doesn’t offer any type of electronic communication, which in most cases isn’t needed with older style lenses.
The adapter is made from aluminum alloy and brass, with a cool looking blue ring to control aperture. This Canon to Sony lens adapter makes sure infinity focusing is on point and having no internal glass means image quality isn’t degraded. The blue aperture ring is a little fiddly to get used to and may not work seamlessly with every type of conceivable lens, but as a basic cost-effective solution, the Fotodiox Pro works well with most types of FD/FL lenses.
5. Fotodiox Pro Fusion Adapter (Budget Winner)
The Fotodiox Pro Fusion Adapter is the cheapest offering on this list, but it also has the most basic functionality. This adapter allows the use of autofocus and exposure, plus the use of image stabilization and transferring of Exif data.
This lightweight unit is made from an all-metal construction with brass mounts. It features basic electronic communication. AF speed isn’t the fastest, it doesn’t support Phase Detection or video AF, and there aren’t any firmware updates available. This means that not all Canon lenses are supported and officially only those produced after 2006.
If you only have one or two Canon lenses and you’re happy with basic functionality, the Fotodiox Pro Fusion is a good budget option.
Bottom Line on Canon to Sony Lens Adapters
The best Canon to Sony lens adapters have come a long way in recent years, with full communication between camera and lens. In most cases, it’s advisable to test these units in person to make sure your particular copy of the lens works as intended.
The best units will cost the equivalent of a cheap lens, but when you consider these Canon to Sony lens adapters are expected to work with every conceivable lens, with full communication, they have a weighty task on their hands.
The adapters listed above are the prime current candidates and if you want full peace of mind and don’t mind the hefty price tag, you can’t go wrong with the Metabones edition.