Archive for February, 2015

135mm-1I am a long time Canon die-hard and the most frustrating thing about that is probably the fact that the old FD lenses from the manual focus camera days cannot be adapted to work completely with the modern Canon EOS system bodies. The reason for the problem is the flange distance between the image plane and the lens mount. The old FD flange distance is 42mm and the new bodies are 44mm. Effectively any FD lens adapter to fit an EOS camera will become at the very least a 2mm extension tube. This minimum of 2mm will eliminate the ability to achieve focus at infinity. The maximum focus distance will vary depending on the focal length of the lens. Longer lenses are less effected by extension than shorter lenses.

There are some professional repair people out there that can permanently adapt a FD lens to mount on an EOS DSLR body with full infinity focus but it is an expensive conversion. There is an adapter that utilizes a glass element and effectively becomes a tele-converter but allows infinity focus. I think those are junk. Why do I want to give up a stop of speed and get a lousy 1.25x magification? There is likely some optical quality deficiencies as well; no thank you.

I have two Canon FD lenses in my personal set. They are the 50mm Macro which I wrote about in an earlier post, here. And the Canon FD 135mm f 2.0. The FD 135mm 2.0 was not an “L” series lens back in the day like it is in the modern EOS series. It was however a pretty sharp piece of glass. I used to own that lens back in my FD days and I loved it, so I found another one to buy. You can find these lenses from $200-$500 depending on condition. I bought a rough one with great glass but a fair amount of cosmetic wear in the low 200s.

I am able to use this lens on my EOS-M mirrorless camera with an adapter and full focus range. Most mirroless bodies should be able to take this lens and suffer no focus issues with the proper adapter. Since the EOS-M uses an APS-C crop sensor the effective focal length is 216mm, Who doesn’t like the idea of a 216mm f 2.0 lens 😀  On my EOS 5D Mk II however the flange distance problem erupts.

135mm-2I bought two metal FD to EOS adapter rings, The first is a very simple ring adapter that appears to have no extension whatsoever. This ring is effectively a 2mm extension due to the aforementioned flange distance difference. This was pretty cheap although it was shipped from China and took awhile to arrive. I think I paid less than $12 delivered. With the 135mm 2.0 lens I can focus to about 18 feet. The extra “extension” yields a few extra inches of close focus ability so I can get real tight shots up close. The problem with this ring is that it fails to engage the FD aperture control lever 135mm-5so you are stuck shooting wide open all the time. For bokeh-licious images that’s OK 😉 The second adapter I got is a little thicker and has a complete FD aperture coupling so I can stop the lens down. The thickness is such that it limits the maximum focus distance to less than 8 feet 😦 Tight head shots only! I use the thicker adapter on my 50mm Macro lens and it just lets me focus that much closer. Both of these adapters are available on EBAY or even better at camera shows such as PhotoFair. If you bring your camera and lens, some of the show dealers will let you try it out at the table.135mm-4

The 135mm 2.0 lens is a hefty piece of glass. This is a 72mm filter thread lens and the front element fills out the space right to edge. There is something inherently cool about a short, fat lens.

I decided to go out in the back yard and do a little winter reverie with the 135mm 2.0 and my EOS 5D Mk II. I used the skinny ring and thus had to shoot all the images wide open. We are having a fairly balmy winter here in Vancouver, USA. It has been warm and wet instead of cold and wet. Temps have been in the 50s (10s centigrade) you gotta love it. Anyway as for the images, pardon the crudity of the composition, I was rather quick about it this time.

135mm-5-2West of the Cascades in Washington state we get a fair amount of rain, and with that moss and lichen will thrive. The Canon 135mm 2.0 wide open gives a creamy bokeh that is quite soft and ever so dreamy. See what I did there? Maybe the poetry thing isn’t for me 😉 The dreary winter sky leaves the light gloomy and soft which contrasts nicely with the rich green highlights. This 135mm lens isn’t quite as tack sharp as I remember it in my film days but it is still pretty good considering the enormity of the aperture opening.

I love using old tech and new tech together; it is delightfully fun 😀 Here are the rest of the images I made with the Canon FD 135mm f2.0.







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