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Author Topic: New Article: Adapting your FD or FL lenses to EF/EOS  (Read 14306 times)

annatech

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Re: New Article: Adapting your FD or FL lenses to EF/EOS
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2011, 12:08:23 PM »
The FD lenses would have been more appealing if I had been into photography before the Micro 4/3 cameras came out - prices have already skyrocketed.

And for my purposes - FD lenses seem nice but the MTF charts are not totally convincing on most of them.

And finally - not to take anything away from the ingenuity of my friends to the north, but various people have manually been converting FD lenses to EOS by replacing the mount in the past.  Sometimes it's just replacing a single piece of metal that's needed.


I agree on the lens prices rising, the EVIL bodies are getting better and they are taking some of the bargain out of the cost equation but they are no DSLR replacement, at least not yet.  As for our outfit being original or not, I don't think we claim to be, what we hope to bring to the table is a do it yourself + keep the lens original philosophy mix that the market has not yet successfully filled. 

We had a day long development session today and some of the ideas we came up with are going to be seen as pretty wicked stuff by most people I wager to say.  If you find a fair deal on a TS 35 2.8 you may want to snap it up since a 100% EOS body compatible reversible do-it-yourself adapter kit is now beyond concept stage.  Much earlier in development but promising are a couple of ideas we have for an FD 400mm 2.8 L EOS kit, both radical departures from the standard complicated rear mount tear up and rebuild.  One of which would really put us on the map if we pulled it off. 

Sad news for some though, We've done full tear downs of FL 58 1.2 and FD 55 1.2 SSC lenses and there really is no viable do-it-yourself and reversible EOS solution so we'll leave those two lens design to the mirroless (hopefully) and mount hacker crowds.

Stay tuned -  Ed Mika


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Sorry, I might be one of those people raising prices on FD lenses...

I have a Canon T70 and purchased an Olympus e-pl2 earlier this year.

I recently adapted the Canon FD 50mm f1.2 and it has worked out great (of course, there is the 2x crop but, hey, cheap 100mm f1.2 lens!)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevetsi/sets/72157627508550731/with/6131127058/

I wish I also had a Canon full-frame, but I make do.

Anyway, here's the system I've learned with manually adapted lens:

1. Shoot full manual (yeah, of course).
2. Set your aperture on the lens.
3. Set your ISO.
4. Manually adjust your shutter speed to balance out your light meter.

Well, at least that's how I do it on the e-pl2.  I watch my EV level and adjust the shutter speed to bring it to just under 0 (usually about -1 to -0.5).

So, once you're in given environment, you can just keep manually dialing the shutter speed up or down while keeping track of the light meter.

With large aperture lenses like the FD 50mm f1.2, it also helps to switch to sequential shooting mode and do your own focus bracketing by shooting off a series of shots.  This lets you be more candid with such finicky lenses.

I've also adapted a fixed 500mm FD telephoto lens (crops to 1000mm on my m4/3rds camera).  Here's a "Super Moon" video:

Small | Large

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Re: New Article: Adapting your FD or FL lenses to EF/EOS
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2011, 12:08:23 PM »

BobSanderson

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Re: New Article: Adapting your FD or FL lenses to EF/EOS
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2011, 02:22:56 PM »
I think the best strategy that EdMika can employ is have the adapted lens tested by someone reputable (dpreview?). That info is what we all want and what would make the lens adapter sell if the results were really good. I own such a lens but will not spend $135 towards an adapter that might produce poor results. That makes no sense at all.

ontarian

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Re: New Article: Adapting your FD or FL lenses to EF/EOS
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2011, 04:40:53 PM »
I'm not sure if a place like preview would be interested in doing a review on vintage gear adapted to work on modern cameras.  If they were I'd happily donate the adapters and/or lend the lenses for testing.  Plenty of people thus far feel it was worth the unproven risk that their good old lenses really were good and would remain so on EOS.

BobSanderson

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Re: New Article: Adapting your FD or FL lenses to EF/EOS
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2011, 05:45:27 PM »
You know better...

Edwin Herdman

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Re: New Article: Adapting your FD or FL lenses to EF/EOS
« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2011, 03:26:07 PM »
I just looked up some 35 TS SSC prices on eBay... :o

For optics that are almost certainly going to perform poorly compared with even the oldest TS-E lenses in the lineup, I'm not willing to pay anywhere near $700-$1000.  If one shows up cheaper than $50 I might bite.  I guess we're beyond that point though, huh?

ontarian

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Re: New Article: Adapting your FD or FL lenses to EF/EOS
« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2011, 07:38:54 PM »
If you look at places like KEH and other online retailers other than eBay you can usually find a reasonably good TS 35 for under 600.  I agree that for around 1000 there are older version EF mounts around that are competition for the value argument but unless they are full metal construction (I don't know I only know the TS-E 24mm 3.5 L II I just sold was a plasticy monstrosity) they just don't have the magic feel the compact and precise FD mount version brings.   People who bought the FL 55 1.2 conversion kit from me will know what I mean.  I don't expect to sell nearly the same number of TS 35 2.8 EF conversion kits as the other two I make because of the costs and limited lens production numbers in comparison but thats cool, its still wicked to bring the nice stuff back into action in a digital world.

Edwin Herdman

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Re: New Article: Adapting your FD or FL lenses to EF/EOS
« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2011, 11:31:24 PM »
([...] I only know the TS-E 24mm 3.5 L II I just sold was a plasticy monstrosity)

The 17mm version is almost all metal, and I have read everywhere that it's essentially identical to the 24mm build-wise.  The-Digital-Picture's Bryan Carnathan writes: "The Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L II Tilt-Shift Lens is, optically and physically, the highest quality 24mm Canon-mount lens I've reviewed to date."  As far as I'm concerned, the 17mm is already hefty enough, but I have no qualms about its handling (aside from the unavoidable care required for protecting the front element, which isn't such a problem for the 24mm version).  The focus ring is amazing.  Even without having used the 24mm, I think I'd have to say either you're crazy or you have the new 24mm version mixed up with something else.  It might be your opinion, but as an ambassador for the FD lens line, such a statement yells "my nostalgia glasses tint new things puke-colored!" to me.

With older lenses, particularly TS lenses from the FD era, I have to work from the assumption that they aren't as good optically and even mechanically as newer versions, until proven otherwise (and the amount of research time I put into plunking even $50 down on a lens more or less precludes me from buying because "it's cool because it's old" unless it is $20 or less).  Yes, it's a shame that Canon hasn't seen fit to release a newer version, but there's lenses that can be pressed into service for that focal length range (the 17mm works as a 28mm on APS-C, and the 24 should overshoot the mark a little (for just over 38mm), if not on full frame.  Without any online tests, there's no argument for me to point to that the lens is good enough - for the money.

Without some kind of test data to point to, trying to sell the lens at either $600 or $1000 is not what I'd call a sure bet.  I've been around long enough to know that lots of people put things up for sale at hopeful price points (I've even bought some), eBay or not.  I'm happy there's a dedicated group of FD to EOS connoisseurs but when I buy an EF lens I'm also buying into the assurance that it isn't going to be obsoleted by a product announcement.  How sure can we be that TS-35mm-to-EOS fans will stick around to buy a copy if a new TS-E 35mm was announced?

You are selling something.  I realize it's done as a hobby and that "the CR guy" has given you his blessing, but I hope nobody thinks it unjust for me to say that I think it's excessive to to hype up old lenses without any profiles for digital cameras available online, while calling one of the new TS-E lenses a "monstrosity."  Instead of hype, "magic," and possible FUD, I would rather see some MTF testing of old lenses.  (For what it's worth, the first definition of the word "monster" is a creature made up of parts from different animals, which isn't a description of a native EF mount lens.)

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Re: New Article: Adapting your FD or FL lenses to EF/EOS
« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2011, 11:31:24 PM »

ontarian

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Re: New Article: Adapting your FD or FL lenses to EF/EOS
« Reply #22 on: October 08, 2011, 12:06:11 AM »
The EF mount TS 24 3.5 II was one of the sharpest in the corner lenses I've ever shot with and owned. It spoiled me to the point that shooting with the 16-35mm 2.8 II felt like slumming when it came to IQ and sharpness especially being the unapologetic pixel peeper that I am. That said, the lens is the biggest non telephoto,  awkwardest most fragile feeling construction with flaking paint at the delicate plastic undercuts of the various pivot/twist points I've shot with (I don't count tamron/sigma) that the built like a tank yet diminutive sized FD mount TS 35 2.8 just put it to shame. for 2,500 dollars I expect more. As for how the old lens performs on comparison, the jury is still out, but I and others who I know will happily choose to try will share our expectedly good results as they roll in.

Though the title of ambassador of FD lenses intrigues and somewhat flatters me I'd argue it's not completely accurate. I do like bargains, especially if they hold up very well to the latest lens offerings but it they don't, I've got no love and even less use for them.

Edwin Herdman

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Re: New Article: Adapting your FD or FL lenses to EF/EOS
« Reply #23 on: October 08, 2011, 12:30:09 AM »
The EF mount TS 24 3.5 II was one of the sharpest in the corner lenses I've ever shot with and owned.
So that's something in favor of the TS-E line.  I know we all like the idea of being able to hand lenses down through the ages, but to get the best image quality sometimes you really do need the newest lens.  (With the important exception that for FlickR and the average hobbyist, for current uses their digital cameras, even 6 megapixel ones, are already overkill; on the other hand, I don't buy lenses for the past, but as an investment for the future.)

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That said, the lens is the biggest non telephoto,  awkwardest most fragile feeling construction with flaking paint at the delicate plastic undercuts of the various pivot/twist points I've shot with (I don't count tamron/sigma) that the built like a tank yet diminutive sized FD mount TS 35 2.8 just put it to shame. for 2,500 dollars I expect more.
Of the relatively few EF mount lenses I've used, I'd have to put a kit lens (like the 18-55mm lenses, or the older 28-90mm) in the category of "fragile" instead of a lens that is MOSTLY MADE OF METAL.  Even the 50mm f/1.4 is worlds worse-handling.  The older FD lenses aren't exactly blued gunmetal either (one often sees old "L" white telephotos with dull gray edges where the paint has chipped off) - I also wonder how one manages to rough up the lens that badly.  I've carried the 17mm around in bags a bit, but there isn't even a scratch on the crinkle finish paint.  In terms of paint, I don't see how it's worse than all other "L" lenses out on the market (and most of the older ones as well) or how those lenses would hurt you in a less-than-perfect rough handling urban or wildlife situation.  Maybe I haven't been banging mine against metal poles or branches enough, but at that point I would start to find fault with my own handling of the lens instead of with the lens itself, and I'd start to worry that I was doing something to damage the sharp alignment of the optics.

The four plastic knobs on the 17mm aren't exactly unsturdy.  You don't even need to use the one for the tilt because right next to it there is a locking switch, so you can always leave it fully unlocked if you wish (but opening and closing my tension knob repeatedly hasn't left it loose).  The same is just about true of the shift lock knob; although it doesn't have a lock switch, even fully open there is enough friction to keep the lens at any shift position without moving.

As for the rest of the plastic and rubber, it's very nice when using this lens without gloves in winter to have some non-metal surfaces to grab onto.  It's also nice to have the various bits of rubber dust and moisture out of the inside of that lens from the various places it could come in, and out of the camera.

The bottom line for me is that your reasoning for criticizing the 24mm (and by extension the 17mm, which I've been playing with as I write this) is very mysterious to me.

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I do like bargains, especially if they hold up very well to the latest lens offerings but it they don't, I've got no love and even less use for them.
We agree about the problem, then:  Adapters are cool but I have to see that it's worth it to use them.  And even then, it's just a temporary thing - sometimes the latest really is the best.

ontarian

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Re: New Article: Adapting your FD or FL lenses to EF/EOS
« Reply #24 on: October 24, 2011, 01:17:29 AM »
EdMika TS 35mm 2.8 EOS conversion kit sneak peak.  Its even better than I thought.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ontarian/6275060067/in/photostream

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Re: New Article: Adapting your FD or FL lenses to EF/EOS
« Reply #24 on: October 24, 2011, 01:17:29 AM »