Old glasses, new tricks! We review four of Canon’s EF-EOS R lens adapters

With Canon’s EOS 850D being the latest Canon DSLR to be released, in February 2020 Canon users have had little choice but to go mirrorless when looking to upgrade if we want the latest and greatest camera innovations and new technologies. .

We’re sure that, like us, you’ve also faced the tricky dilemma of what to do with your collection of old Canon EF and EF-S lenses for your DSLR. Do you keep them with your old camera as a backup or trade them in to get cash for your mirrorless purchase? In this project, we look at a third option: using one of Canon’s EF-EOS R adapters (of which there are several iterations) that allows you to continue using your old lenses with the new series of EOS mirrorless cameras. R.

• DSLR and mirrorless – these are the best canon camera (opens in a new tab)s

The four adapters we’re looking at here are: the standard EF-EOS R, which allows you to use your EF lenses on a full-frame mirrorless EOS R with auto function and lens communication; another adapter with a control ring, which has become commonplace in later RF lenses; and two drop-in filter variants that allow you to use a drop-in polarizer or variable ND filter behind the rear lens element, so can work with any EF lens, even if it has an element bulbous front and no thread front filter. In this project, we take a close look at each to determine which is the best option.

1. “Standard” EF-EOS R adapter

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The EF-EOS R Mount Adapter is the standard version made by Canon, allowing you to adapt your collection of older Canon EF or EF-S lenses to its new full-frame mirrorless RF mount bodies, such as the EOS R6. It’s also the most budget-friendly of the four adapters we’re reviewing here.

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The adapter increases the flange distance caused by the presence of a mirror in Canon’s DSLRs, but this is absent on mirrorless models, and the spacer allows older lenses to be used correctly. These adapters also feature electronic connectors so communication between lens and camera is possible, meaning you can set your aperture and use features like autofocus without a hitch.

2. EF-EOS R Control Ring Mount Adapter

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The Control Ring Mount Adapter for EF-EOS R benefits from an upgrade in the form of a control ring, which has become commonplace on Canon’s RF lenses. It lets you control settings the same way the command dials on the camera body control aperture and shutter speed.

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We find the extra dial handy for quick ISO settings when using your old EF optics. To configure the control ring, press the Menu button and scroll through the function menus until you see Customize Watch Faces, where you can make changes to your front and rear control dials, as well as assign a function to the control ring on the adapter.

3. Circular Polarizer

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A circular polarizing filter is essential for a number of photographic disciplines, but perhaps most particularly for increasing the punchy blues in the sky when shooting landscapes, and for reflections in water or metal and glass, which also makes them useful for product and automotive photography.

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This adapter from Canon uses the drop-in filter mount adapter for EF-EOS R and comes with a removable C-PL filter. “Circular” refers to the etched pattern on the glass, not the shape of the filter itself. A dial on the drop-in filter is used to rotate the polarizer to alter its strength, and is a cinch to adjust even when your eye is looking through the EOS R camera’s electronic viewfinder (EVF).

4. Variable ND filter

A landscape scene taken without a neutral density filter and a regular shutter speed of 1/160 sec. (Image credit: future)

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Like the circular polarizer drop-in adapter, the variable neutral density (VND) adapter uses the same EF-EOS R drop-in filter mount adapter housing and can be purchased separately without the housing, allowing for save some money. The great thing about these adapters is that the filters are positioned behind the rear lens element, so the filters can be used even with wide lenses that have a bulbous front element and no front filter threads – whereas such optics would typically require an expensive complex and filter housing. These are the best neutral density filters (opens in a new tab).

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With the neutral density filter in place, the light is blocked and a shutter speed of 240 seconds was possible, allowing us to record the movement of clouds and water. (Image credit: future)

VND filters allow you to gradually block light for slower shutter speeds, blocking 1 stop of light at the minimum setting and 9 stops at the maximum setting. Variable ND filters are also great for video use.

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