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Canon EF body + M42 lens


M42 lenses can be easily adapted to Canon EF systems.

You'll need a 1.46mm thick adapter ring (the difference in flange focal depth) when converting M42 lenses to Canon EF cameras.

The simpler versions are made of aluminum or magnesium with a painted black finish, fit for lighter lenses. The heavy M42 telephoto lenses will need the steel ones though.

Every type of A-M42 adapters has a chipped version, outfitted with a small electric device that will manipulate the focus system of the body, which means that the usual sound and flash feedback will be available when the focus is set. This system is, however, rarely accurate and not only due to the shutter lag, but the difference in focal points. Therefore before you decide to buy such an adapter, read in this article to get familiar with the issue.

One thing worth mentioning: some M42 lenses have a small lever which is responsible for operating the diaphragm. On the simpler, older M42 lenses the shutter will react according to the values set on the calibration dial only when this bit is pressed in. Not all adapter rings are fit for these, since there are two versions manufactured: one with aperture ring and one without it (this issue usally comes out with older Helios optics, the newer M42 lenses have an A-M switch, which allows using full manual mode, thus the aperture will be on the set value without having to use a separate bit).

The aperture ring can cause problems in one more case: if the lens has an aperture value feedback mechanic (a small sticking out red lever). This lever may touch the bezel and get the whole aperture control stuck. The SMC Takumar 1.4/50 is also has this feature, which means it needs an adapter without a bezel or you'd need to sand off a few milimeters from it. On the figure below you can see an adapter without a bezel, it's clearly visible why you'd have troubles with the other type.

As for the adapter ring brands, there is a huge assortment of them from noname ones to major manufacturers' solutions.

In most converters, the M42's threaded receptacle is a separate ring within the whole unit, which is fixed by three small bolts. After loosening the bolts, the thread can be turned within the converter, allowing to set the lens precisely, with the numbering on top.

Certain M42 lenses (like the 50mm ones with brightness feedback) might overhang the bayonet lock. The overhanging lens housing or aperture control mechanism might cause issues with certain EF cameras, since the mirror might get stuck in them. A stuck mirror doesn't necessarily cause more serious problems, but that might damage the mirror, it could fracture of detach. Certain bodies due to their quality and design are less prone to this problem (like the 5DMII), and some are less robust (like the 6D). A possible solution for this issue might be using live view mode if available, this is possible only with those types that don't actually record with open mirror (like the 5DMII), but some newer EF cameras tend to release the mirror before exposure (like the 6D). The smaller mirror of the cameras with APS-C sensor doesn't interfere with the lens.

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In terms of compatibility, we distinguish four separate categories:

This means that you'll be able to apply the lens on the camera in question with a proper adapter, and full focus range will be available with it (often with aperture control too). If AF is supported, you'll see it in the description.
This means that due to the flange focal depth or other factor this conversion would be normally unfeasible, but with some compromises (e.g. using a speedbooster adapter) can be made possible.
This means that the flange focal depth should make mounting and using inifinty focus possible, but for some reason there are no adapter rings available or other factors make it unviable.
This means that you won't be able to mount your lens due to mechanical incompatibility or the difference in flange focal depth doesn't make inifinity focus possible. Although numerous lenses can be mounted on cameras without infinity focus, but this cannot be considered actual compatibility.

Additional information for compatible variations:

manual focus (on the lens, with its own control ring)
autofocus available (AF controlled by the camera body)
manual aperture control (on the lens, with its own control ring)
automatic aperture control (controlled by the camera body)
speedbooster (focal reducer) adapters are available
macro (variable length) adapters are available
tilt-shift (or other flexible) adapters can be used

If you'd like to read more in-depth about compatiblity, you'll need to get familiar with flange focal depth, see this article.