Lens adapter on camera: Can I still focus to infinity?

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We explain how you can focus to infinity when you’ve got a lens adapter on your camera.

If you’re making use of an old or favourite camera lens with a lens adapter, you may wonder if you can still focus to infinity.


Focusing to infinity allows you to bring everything in your frame to focus, no matter how near or far away it is from your camera lens. Similar to a very wide depth of field, infinity focus is especially useful for landscape or wildlife photographers. It’s also handy if you shoot scenes in low light or at night. For example, if you take photos on a starry night, you’ll only be able to capture sharp detail of the stars by focusing at infinity.

Christian FregnanImage—@christianfregnan

How you focus to infinity depends on the camera lens you are using. Not all lenses offer this function. If yours does, how you focus to infinity will be determined by whether you have an autofocus lens or use a manual focus. These days, most modern cameras rely on autofocus for infinity focusing. 

If you decide to use a lens adapter on your camera with autofocus capability, this adds another element for consideration. Most lens adapters don’t allow for electronic communication to pass from the lens to the camera. This renders autofocus functioning as useless. Since a lens adapter disables autofocus functioning, this also prevents you being able to focus to infinity. In this case, you would need to focus to infinity manually. However, there are some lens adapters available that can adjust for infinity focusing or allow for autofocusing. These tend to be costly, however.


Focusing to infinity manually is pretty straightforward. Indeed, many photographers prefer to carry out this function manually, even when they have the autofocus option. Focusing to infinity simply involves turning the focus ring to line up with the infinity symbol, represented as ∞.

It’s perhaps a bit more difficult focusing to infinity in the dark. If you find yourself in this situation, identify an object in the far distance that you can see clearly enough. Bring the faraway object into clear focus by adjusting your lens. You should then be able to take your photo.

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