Lens adapter on camera – but you can’t take a photo?

How to adjust settings for different camera models if you can’t take any photos when using a lens adapter.

Urth HQ   |   Australia


Using a lens adapter lets you connect different lenses to your camera, allowing for greater flexibility and creativity. But, it can be frustrating to fit a lens to your camera using an adapter only to find that the camera doesn’t work, and you can’t take any photos.

Try not to panic at this point! It could be something as simple as a piece of equipment not secured in place properly on your camera. In which case, take the lens and adapter off, and try again. Check that the lens isn’t dirty, as well, as an unclean lens can affect the contact between the camera’s elements.

Adjusting your settings

In most cases, however, you probably just need to make an adjustment to your settings to allow your camera to function correctly using a lens adapter. 

Most lens adapters aren’t able to allow electronic communication between the lens and camera. Therefore, the camera isn’t able to ‘see’ the lens and it will lock the shutter button. The shutter isn’t likely to engage if it can’t sense that a lens is attached. In this case, overriding the release without lens setting allows you to shoot without it. By enabling the release without lens, the shutter button can be pressed. However, you’ll still need to make manual adjustments to your focus and aperture settings.

How you adjust your release without lens setting to take photos using a lens adapter depends on your camera brand. So, consult the manual your camera came with, check online or read the troubleshooting tips.

To release the shutter without the lens, you first need to switch your camera on and go to the camera’s menu.


Image—Manuel Gros


Camera brands

If you own a Canon camera, go to Menu, Settings (wrench #4), Custom Functions, C.Fn 7, Release shutter without lens.

For Sony cameras, navigate to the Menu, Setup, Release without lens and Enable.

To release the shutter without the lens on a Nikon camera, go to Custom Menu A1, change to Release instead of Focus. Make certain you’re in AF-C mode, and then you should be able to release the shutter without the lens.

For Fujifilm cameras, go to the Set Up in the main menu. Then look for the shoot without lens function under the Button/Dial setting sub-menu, and click On. In some models, this is located under the Shooting setting main menu, in the Mount Adapter section.

For Pentax models, you can eliminate the problem of a no lens attached error message by going to Menu, Setup, Release without lens and then pressing Enable.

If you own a Pansonic Lumix model, go to Menu, Custom Menu 5, Shoot W/O lens, and select On.

For an EOS M mirrorless camera, head to Menu, Custom Menu, Custom Function 7, and Release shutter w/o lens.

Owners of a Konica Minolta, should go to Custom Menu 3, Shutter Lock, and set it to Off: no lens.

If you own a Samsung camera, the adapter triggers a sensor inside the camera’s body, so you won’t actually need to change any settings. If you get a ‘no lens’ error message, rotating the adapter slightly or re-mounting it should be enough to solve the problem.

Bear in mind that the exact naming and location of these instructions may vary slightly depending on each camera model. Some of the error messages that you get will also vary, to include: ‘no lens attached’, ‘lens is not properly installed’, ‘check lens – pictures can only be taken when a lens is attached’ or just ‘no lens’.


Feature image by Manuel Gros