Do FD-EF adaptors make for poor images?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by lisa_swartz, Jun 8, 2016.

  1. Hello! I am a beginner-intermediate photographer in need of new lenses. Being a cash-strapped teenager however, I was looking into buying older, used FD lens (specifically looking at 50mm and 24mm primes) and getting an adaptor to make them fit my Canon rebel t5 eos 1200d. It would save me a lot of money, however I am obviously only interested if the adapter won't negatively affect my images. Thoughts? Anyone have experience with this, or could recommend a good adaptor?
    Note: There was another question very similar to this posted in 2012, but new adaptors or new insight may have taken place in the past four years.
  2. The laws of physics haven't changed. The flange distance, this is the distance between the film/sensor and the bayonet is shorter for the FD system so an adapter would need to have a negative length. As a result EOS-FD adapters come in two kinds: With optical elements, these degrade image quality or without optics where you loose infinity focus. Occasionally I use FD lenses on an EOS-M but focussing and exposure are a bit of a hassle.
    Fifty mm lenses are inexpensive. Perhaps have a look at Nikon or M42 lenses with an adapter.
  3. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Additionally, in case you are not aware of these other details:
    > although there are some adapters with a “focus confirmation chip” which permits the use of EOS cameras' focus confirmation functionality – note that Manual Focus is employed (i.e. NOT Auto Focus)
    > I am not aware of any FD to EF adapter which maintains the automatic lens control from the camera to the lens. This means Manual Mode is usually best used for shooting
    > (probably more important to note) “Stop-down Metering” should be employed if you want to use the TTL meter for exposure guidance
    > What really will you save (in time, effort when shooting and also money), if you are only considering those two Primes? The EF50F/1.8MkII is surely comparable to the FD 50mm Primes and it is not that expensive new: the EF 24 F/2.8 is surely comparable to the FD24 F/2.8, it is a bit more expensive that the EF 50/1.8MkII, but not an overly expensive lens by any means; and the EF Lenses can still be maintained: and you have to factor in the cost of the adapter
  4. Some adapters may be better than others for going from FD mount to EF mount, but none of them will provide as good images as you would get from a comparable quality Nikon F mount or M42x1 (Praktica/Pentax screw) mount, where no additional lens is needed.
    Old M42 and Nikon non-AI lenses are really as good a bargain these days as the FD-mounts.
  5. Forget about it. The image quality is dire and focussing accurately is difficult.
  6. It could be worth it if you have some FD-mount supertelephoto lens like a 400mm, which Canon made with fluorite elements for the older system. For the exotic 50mm f/1.2 in FD mount there might be some value if you enjoy tinkering as much as taking photos. For an ordinary 50mm or 24mm lens forget it. If you really want to save every last penny and you like making life difficult for yourself then there are other manual lenses which can be adapted (Olympus made 50mm and 24mm lenses which are cheap to pick up used), but I would suggest instead looking for a used Canon 50mm (any of them) or saving up for the EF-S mount 24mm pancake lens.
  7. Besides the question at hand, I would add that, while you probably confirmed with your kit lens the focal lengths you want
    in prime lenses, it is worth reminding that a 50mm in an APS-C camera, like yours, is a short telephoto, just the right one
    for portraits; but the 24mm wouldn't be my most common selection for a prime in such a camera, at least in our times (it
    provides an angle of view close to a wide angle typical of 40 years ago, but too close to a normal to be considered a true
    wide angle these days, and a little short to be considered a normal view).
  8. I am so enthralled by the idea of using old lenses just for the sake of doing so, that I focused in on the point of which lenses to adapt.
    If you want to use old lenses to save money, however, it doesn't make any sense to do this for anything but fun, or a situation where some old lens has some unique feature that you need.
    The prices of old lenses are going up with new small cameras that will adapt almost anything to them (but why?).
    Old lenses are old. They may have been damaged, and things like zoom lenses took a long time to reach anything like parity in quality with newer versions.
    I could give lots more reasons, but trust me -- FUN is why we do this, certainly not for any fantasy of saving money on lenses.
  9. As the others have said, Lisa, don't bother trying to adapt FD lenses to your EOS body. You'd be much better off just picking up an EF 24mm and 50mm lens, and be done with it.
    But if you really have a hankering for old manual focus beauties, I'd follow JDM's recommendation and look at the Nikkors and M42-mount Takumars and Zeiss's. However, as JDM has said, don't expect to save any money. Once you pick up your first couple of Nikkors or Takumars, you'll want more!
  10. Thank you all for your help! The decades-old lenses do have that vintage allure, but I just ordered the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM, can't wait to try it. $110 with shipping! Canon is having a sale. And good point Ruben about my camera being APC-S and not full-frame (argh!!). What would you suggest instead for a wider angle lens? 22mm? 20? Or lower?
  11. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    What would you suggest instead for a wider angle lens? 22mm? 20? Or lower?​
    Do you have any lens(es) you are using now?
    If so, what?
  12. There are lots of old film EOS full frame zoom lenses turn up at garage sales for practically nothing. If they don't have mould, and work, you get your focal length range, but might want to use middle apertures. (eg 28-80mm, 28-90mm, and longer zooms).
    Wide angle, first look at 10-18mm EOS new & see if you can afford that. Adapting old full frame wide angles or using old EOS full frame lenses will be disappointing, particularly as a 28mm will come out = a 44mm, and old lenses didn't go much wider than 21mm which again translates as around 34mm for APS-C
  13. Looks like Ed Mika is back in business and selling his FD/FDN/FL to EOS lens conversion kits. Ed's conversion kits replace the FD/FDN/FL mount on the lens with an EOS mount. You get infinity focus but everything is manual.
  14. The only lens I have right now is my kit 18-55mm.
  15. the 18-55 for your camera should be one of the later ones. Apart from a fair bit of linear distortion at 18, which I believe can be fixed in Photoshop, they are quite reasonable lenses.
    I bought a number of EOS adaptors, for Pentax screw, Rollei bayonet, Leica R when I got my EOS. Hardly ever use them now, though some are clearly better optically. Too much like hard work.
  16. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "The only lens I have right now is my kit 18-55mm"​
    Thanks for answering.
    It's unclear to me the exact reason as to why you want a Wide Angle Prime Lens as opposed to a WA Zoom Lens?
    Note that there are not very many Prime Lenses much wider than 20mm, and those that are, are relatively expensive.
    To address your question about how wide a Prime Lens it is that you want, you can get a good idea by using your existing kit lens set to 20mm and 24mm and 28mm.
    But as already mentioned, the kit lens is pretty decent and already extends to 18mm, so it seems to me that it is best you think about whether you really need a Prime Lens and the reasons for that.
    If you want something wider than 18mm then I think a WA Zoom is a better option than a Prime.
  17. Looks like Ed Mika is back in business and selling his FD/FDN/FL to EOS lens conversion kits. Ed's conversion kits replace the FD/FDN/FL mount on the lens with an EOS mount. You get infinity focus but everything is manual.​

    Whether you get infinity focus depends on the specific lens and body you're using, because certain lenses make contact with the mirrors of certain bodies at longer focusing distances. See Ed Mika's eBay listings for details.
    A great thing about Ed Mika's conversions is that they are non-destructive and completely reversible.
  18. While the flange distance does not allow using FD lenses on Canon SLR bodies using adaptors without optical elements, it should be possible to create pure mechanical adaptors for mirrorless bodies. But even then, it would only be worth for "expensive" FD lenses.
  19. Hey Lisa, I have some experience with this topic, so I'll pass it along.
    I have two FD (lens) to EOS (body) adapters -- a cheap Bower and a better quality Fotodiox. Both have the corrective glass element, so that infinity focus can be achieved. I found that, when using lenses with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or faster on the Bower, the flare produced was so bad that the photos were unusable. Which is why I bought the Fotodiox. I found that the Fotodiox was only marginally better in these situations.
    Interestingly enough, however, I also found that, once I closed the lens aperture down to f/4 or smaller, the flare disappeared and the quality of the photos was actually quite good, such that by about f/8 there was essentially no loss in image sharpness. So it is incorrect to label these adapters as "junk." They are just of limited usefulness.
    But something else I found out about my EOS -- which, like your T5, uses a porroprism finder and not a pentaprism -- because of this finder design, less light is transmitted, so Canon designed the focusing screens to be brighter. But a direct consequence of this is that it is impossible to accurately focus manually with fast lenses on these cameras. This is an issue that is well documented. I found that, when using my Nikon 50mm f/1.4 at faster aperture, mounted to my EOS using a Nikon to EOS adapter (which retains infinity focus), I could not focus accurately using the viewfinder. The only way I was able to was using Live View. So, it doesn't really matter if you're trying to use FD lenses with adapters or other lenses with adapters -- if they're fast lenses being used at fast apertures, you can't focus with them anyway -- unless you use Live View.
    About the FD-EOS adapters, though, I don't understand why they have this flare problem to begin with. Basically all these adapters are are mild teleconverters. They magnify the image slightly -- about 1.25x. Which got me to thinking -- why not find an FD 1.4x or 1.5x teleconverter and convert it to EOS mount? Unfortunately, 1.4x or 1.5x FD teleconverters are very uncommon items. I finally found one recently and am currently evaluating the best way to convert its mount for EOS. The good thing about using a 1.4x or 1.5x teleconverter is they don't have these flare problems that the FD-EOS adapters do.
    Now, about using an FD-EOS adapter with the glass element removed -- with shorter focal length lenses all they're good for is macro stuff. But with longer telephotos, they can be of some usefulness. I used to own a Canon FD 400mm f/4.5 -- a very nice telephoto that actually focuses past infinity (a lot of long teles are like this). And I found that, when mounted to my EOS using the glassless FD-EOS adapter, I could focus out to about 30 meters or so. This rendered the lens quite usable for, say, bird photography, or other wildlife that isn't too far away. This is the way the ED Mika adapters work, btw -- no glass, but they're designed to be so short that one still has some reach with the lens.

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