Canon FD lenses on Nikon bodies?

Discussion in 'Nature' started by anne_knox, May 26, 1997.

  1. I've been trying to find a camera body worthy of my 100 macro lens that I've been using on an old Canon AE-1. I've narrowed down my Canon choices to an F-1 or a T-90 (and I'm still taking advice on that choice), but I recently heard that there is an adapter available that will let me put my FD lenses on new AF Nikon camera bodies. Is that true, and if so are there any good Nikon bodies that are in the $450-600 range (used)?

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    Thanks,

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    - Anne
     
  2. anne, it is my understanding that with adaptors you lose

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    exposure info in that the electronics and mechanics may either

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    not funtion or not be transmitted to the viewfinder. it is best

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    to call both canon and nikon techs for an accurate answer.
     
  3. Canon makes an FD - EOS adapter. It doesn't cost much. If the goal is to get an inexpensive body that will take the old macro lens, possibly the adapter and an EOS A2 would fit the bill. The EOS A2 is only $499 after rebate right now. It has depth of field preview capability, as well as a pseudo mirror lockup (mirror pre-fire, actually). Both can be important for macro work. However, as Jeff pointed out, there are significant issues associated with "aggravation," that you may or may not be willing to deal with when you mix and match like this.

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    Another modestly priced solution that will probably have a lower aggravation level is to call KEH in Atlanta, Del's in Santa Barbara, or B&H in NYC and get a second hand body that is compatible with your macro lens. The F-1 and T-90 are good choices.

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    I don't see any incentive for sticking an old Canon macro lens on a new Nikon body, and I'm not aware of any adapters that would allow this. There are plenty of good Nikon bodies that are in the $450 to $600 range (used), but they aren't a good match for your lens.
     
  4. Just thinking about it, the FD lens with an adapter to fit the A2 probably can't exploit the A2's dof preview capability, although the combination may offer dof preview by some other method.

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    In any event, the A2 is a nice body, and when you have the interest to add further lenses, there are a lot of very nice autofocus lenses available that are compatible.

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    Here's another idea. You could sell your old macro lens and get the EOS EF 100 f/2.8 macro along with an A2 for less than $1050, including shipping, after rebates right now. With what you net from the sale of the old lens, you should be out well under $1000, and you will have entered the age of the modern camera.

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    The EOS EF 100 f/2.8 macro lens doesn't have an ultrasonic focus motor, but it is very sharp, it gives a beautiful blur to the out of focus parts of the picture, doesn't need a hood due to the recessed design, and is, in general, a neat lens. All of the folks that I know of who have one like it a lot. This lens, the 50 f/1.4 usm , and the 35 f/2, are probably the three real jewels in Canon's current non L series line up.
     
  5. There is such a converter for sale from B&H in the May catalog (page 16). However, because of differences between the Canon FD and the Nikon F mounts, the is NO way to make such a converter without optical elemements, and maintain infinity focus (otherwise you have an extension tube). The B&H catalog doesn't say who makes the converter (although I'm sure they'll tell you if you call), but I can't imagine the optics being that good, and even if they were "perfect" there would still be some loss of quality. Since you have a macro lens anyway I suppose you could "punch out" the glass from the converter and use it as an extension tube/converter, but this all seems kind of extreme.

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    If you really want to do this, I guess an N8008 (or an N8008s) would be your best choice for an AF camera body. You might be able to find a used N90 that would fit your budget.
     
  6. I am disappointed in how a lot of people chime in on this issue with using the Old Canon FD lenses with the new digital bodies-- Nikon or Canon-- or in this case, Nikon 35mm film bodies.
    I have been researching this issue for several weeks now.
    I keep seeing everyone's opinions on how this is "IMPOSSIBLE" to do, and there is this subtle suggestion that perhaps the questioner has some kind of mental handicap for thinking about doing this.
    Can someone who has taken the time and expense to do an experiment to verify these "assumptions" and "conjectures" on the optics? I mean Optics is a Science, can we have some?
    I understand the critical distance and the optics of Back Focus. But frankly, even there is a LOT of slop mechanically with any system. How perfect is "perfect?"
    The one thing that is a concern with using the older FD lenses -- actually any of the older lenses in the digital age is:
    How 'perfect' of back focus converage do you have with lenses?
    In this day and age of sensor chips, it seems the optical performance demands are more rigerous-- film tended to warp, wobble. and sag. It cannot be said the best film back plate cannot really get the film plane to be "perfectly Flat." So I do feel the Aspheric lenses i have with my Canon F1/A1 combo might be a museum item because of this issue.
    I have been through this about 10 years ago when "chip" cameras started to come into broadcasting, and the rude awakening that best TV Lenses were horrible and the Darn TUBEs everyone pummeled for years as being terrible actually HELPED out and compensate and correct for the Optical issues these lenses had!
    (There was also a story on a Sports Illustrated Photog had his Canon Aspheric lenses modified to mount on Nikon F-2 bodies. Don't know how true that was. I just know that in the movie business, i used to work for a company that sold Canon Aspherics on various mounts for 35mm motion picture cameras. The results were often said better than what Panavision offered. )
    Just my 2cents worth.
    Calvin Ogawa
     
  7. Calvin Ogawa wrote: "... Optics is a Science, can we have some?"
    The Canon FD mount register is 42mm, the Nikon F mount register is 46.5mm. If you wanted an adapter with no optics to fit an FD lens to a Nikon F body and focus to infinity the adapter would have to be -4.5mm thick. Yup, that's a negative number. Easy to calculate, but since the FD mount diameter is larger than the F diameter, not so easy to make.
    "I understand the critical distance and the optics of Back Focus. But frankly, even there is a LOT of slop mechanically with any system. How perfect is "perfect?""
    How far away is infinity? The error caused by an incorrect adapter thickness will have varying effect on 'infinity' depending on the focal length of the lens. A hypothetical FD-to-F adapter only 10mm thick (we have to allow for the difference in mount diameter too) will result in a hypothetical 20mm FD-mount lens giving you a 1:2 reproduction ratio when the lens' distance scale shows infinity. Since this would be a retrofocus lens that means the subject would likely have to be behind the front element. Might as well try to make the -4.5mm-thick adapter. The effect with a longer lens isn't as absurdly impossible to work with, but if you have a non-IF lens with a distance scale, you can see for yourself what the effect would be: starting from infinity, turn the focussing ring until the lens has extended 10mm. Read the distance scale. This would be the farthest you could focus with a 10mm-thick adapter.
    "I used to work for a company that sold Canon Aspherics on various mounts for 35mm motion picture cameras."
    Anything is possible if you throw enough money at the problem. What is the mount register for the 35mm movie cameras? If it's less than FD's 42mm, adapters are not a problem.
     
  8. About Douglas Herr comment, I feel that making statements about "... the adapter would have to be -4.5mm thick," just underscores the attitude of what I originally wrote. (2nd example would be the "How far away is infinity? " comment.)
    The posting I wrote is about Someone taking ACTUAL measurement of actual results with non-optical and/or optically corrected adapters, and then posting images to compare, let people decide for themselves. And yes I know a non-corrective lens solution is ideal, but how bad is it REALLY to have that mini-teleconverter lens? Again, I mentioned the real world example of what was going on with TV Zoom lenses in the Tube Camera world... This is where conjecture became science and when the technology changed, the truth came out.
    The statement : Easy to calculate, but since the FD mount diameter is larger than the F diameter, not so easy to make.
    -- ok... let's see the formula you used?
    One thing I remembered with the diameter issue has to do with how much a certain focal length presents itself to the image plane... Meaning a smaller diameter hole vs a larger one for a given length like 100mm will make it a normal lens vs a telephoto. We are dealing with this very scenario with the FX vs DX or full frame vs APS-C type of sensors. The same with the video guys who try to use 1/2" onto a 2/3" system, or 1/2" vs 1/3" sensors. Same lens, when you use the smaller aperture, the more 'telephoto' the effect you will see. If it was that significant you will get some differences when you use a nikon lens on canon body. It must not be too big since it is routinely done.
    As to the question on "What is the mount register for the 35mm movie cameras? If it's less than FD's 42mm, adapters are not a problem." (Personally, I think it is more than 42mm.) I'd have to ask Max Penner who did a lot of optical retro-fit for the Canon's. I used to work for Cinema Products, company that won one of the few Class 1 Oscars that been given, for the Steadicam. Max did the work for making the candle light scene for Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon. (In the days where movie stock kodak 5247 was rated at ASA 100, and the lens needed had to be a T/STOP of 0.7, which is a measure number not a 'calculated' number like the f/stop.)
    Calvin
     
  9. Calvin, perhaps you could also ask Max Penner how much each conversion cost and what clearances he has to maintain between the rear of the lens and the film plane. I suspect his answers will rule out the OP's criteria of a Nikon body in the $450-600 range.
     
  10. "I am disappointed in how a lot of people chime in on this issue with using the Old Canon FD lenses with the new digital bodies-- Nikon or Canon-- or in this case, Nikon 35mm film bodies."
    The thread dates from 1997; the previous reply was posted in May 1997. All of the people above your reply have since lost their hair. Back in 1997 the only 35mm digital bodies were the older Kodak DCS models, which were astronomically expensive. The internet wasn't a great deal of use for this kind of information back in 1997, instead people had to make do with lengthy Usenet posts full of nonsense. Remember the paperclip in Microsoft Office? That was about five months old when this was originally posted. People still thought it was hilarious. 1997 is an unimaginably distant and primitive time. You, yourself, posted the above message over a year ago and you haven't posted since then.
    Nonetheless this turns up as Google's top result for "canon fd nikon adapter". Bob Atkins has a pretty decent guide to the issue here, with some samples taken with an optical FD-EOS adapter:
    http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/reviews/canon_fd_eos_adapters.html
    I surmise that FD-F adapters would have similar performance. They are widely available on eBay for about £20 or so; probably not very good, but as a novelty they're cheap. This chap had a go with the official FD-EOS adapter mounted on one of the extremely rare FD versions of the 200mm f/1.8 - the last FD lens of all, released several years into the EOS era - and although it's in Italian the caption says it all:
    http://www.marcocavina.com/articoli_fotografici/Canon_200_1,8L_con_FD-EOS_converter/00_pag.htm
    There is also the option of mounting the lens on a Micro Four Thirds body, in which case there is no optical element but the focal length is effectively doubled, or alternatively you can mount FD lenses on a Sony NEX, in which case there's the standard APS-C crop.
    All of this was science fiction back in 1997. The poor fools thought that we would have made contact with aliens by 2011, or that the United Nations would have invaded the USA with the help of FEMA; or that liberal democracy would have triumped and we would now be sticking machines into our bodies. Or there would have been a nuclear war with China. They had no clue back in 1997. eBay was barely around. No Facebook, can you imagine that? No Facebook. People lived separate lives and died alone.
     
  11. From a quick forum search this issue seems to keep coming up every couple of years. Having just received one of those inexpensive Canon FD to Nikon "infinity focus adapters" via e-bay, I thought folks might be interested in seeing some results.
    The first image was taken fully zoomed in with a 70-300mm F/4.5-5.6 AF-S G ED IF VR on my Nikon D5100. The subject is some agricultural buildings about half a mile away:
    http://www.photo.net/photo/15929958
    The second image used an old RMS Tokina 500 mirror lens with the adapter. The adapter acts as a teleconverter (1.4x?) so the effective focal length is about 700mm (or 1050, allowing for the crop factor of the sensor).
    This was the best of 18 attempts, playing with various combos of shutter speed and ISO. I only have a shaky Promaster tripod so focussing was quite difficult. I used an electronic cable release, and the 1 sec delay feature didn't eliminate the softness, so I put it down to low quality glass in the adapter.
    http://www.photo.net/photo/15929961
    The next image is a 100% crop from the mirror lens image:
    http://www.photo.net/photo/15929959
    The final image is a 100% crop from the Nikon lens image, re-dimensioned by a factor of 2.4. I think it has comparable detail to the mirror lens image but better contrast:
    http://www.photo.net/photo/15929957
    Hope this may be of interest,
    Jim Ruley
     

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