Camera Lens Adapters, Mounts and Tubes

Camera lens adapters and tubes can be used to increase the already impressive level of versatility given by interchangeable lens cameras. They grant access to a wider selection of lenses as well as sometimes enhancing the capabilities of existing lenses.


The lens mount is an essential part of any interchangeable lens camera. It provides a secure attachment point for lenses in order to keep them safely attached during use. Different camera manufacturers use different shaped lens mounts in order to ensure that their cameras are used with their lenses. A lens adapter allows photographers to mount lenses designed for one mount on a camera with a different type of mount, for example by attaching a Nikon lens adapter to a Pentax camera. Lens mount adapters are even available for vintage camera lenses that are no longer supported by any manufacturer, so you can use them with modern cameras.

Simple Adapters

The simplest form of lens adapter is a metal or plastic ring that fits between the lens and the lens mount to position the rear lens element at the appropriate distance from the digital sensor. These adapters do not include electrical contacts, and so aperture and focus need to be set manually. This makes them unsuitable for use with lenses that do not have a mechanical aperture ring. These adapters can also not be used to adapt lenses designed for a shorter flange focal distance to a larger body, at least not without losing the ability to focus all the way out to infinity. Extension tubes take advantage of this same principle to achieve a closer minimum focusing distance for macro photography

More Advanced Adapters

Simple adapters are versatile but limited, which is why many photographic equipment manufacturers also produce more complex adapters in order to get around those limitations. Some more advanced adapters feature their own glass elements in order to overcome excessively long flange focal distances and provide infinity focus. Some adapters also feature electrical contacts to preserve electronic communication between the lens and the body, allowing continued use of autofocus, aperture control and image stabilisation.

Lens Adapters

Another type of adapter that can be found in many camera bags is the conversion camera lens. Auxiliary and conversion camera lenses are designed to attach to a camera lens in order to alter its optical characteristics. Typically these are used to offer specialised capabilities without having to use a dedicated lens. Wide-angle, macro and fisheye conversion lenses are quite common. There are even conversion lenses available for smartphone cameras that clip onto the phone to provide access to different focal lengths.