In this post I’ll talk about my experience with using Canon FD lenses on my Canon 70D.

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I stumbled upon the option to use old lenses on a DSLR when trying to find good, small and relatively inexpensive lenses. There’s a large range of secondhand Canon FD lenses available for a fraction of the price of a new lens.

I finally settled on the Canon FD 50mm f1.4 S.S.C. and Canon FD 100m f2.8 S.S.C.. I bought both of them at MK Optics. They have a wide selection available, without being overpriced. In addition, they also provide detailed information about the state of the lens.

First impression

When I first unpacked the lenses I was surprised by their weight. They’re relatively heavy. As a result of this they also feel very solid and well-build.

Something else which caught my eye, were the slightly muted colors they produce (compared to the modern lenses). Depending on what I’m shooting, this is actually something which I appreciate.

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A couple of drawbacks

There are several things you have to realize though, before investing in one or more of these old lenses:

  • The adapter adds a cropfactor of about 1.2.
  • Another problem these lenses have, is that they produce very soft images when using a wide aperture. Stopping down to f4 completely solves this however.
  • One of the more obvious drawbacks when using these lenses is the need to focus manually. It takes some getting used to and I found myself forgetting to refocus when moving around.
  • Finally, another drawback is a subtle blue glare, which sometimes appears in the center of the image (see image below). From what I understand, this is caused by the adapter.

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Hama Canon FD – Canon EF converter

In order to use Canon FD lenses on a DSLR, you need an adapter. I chose to buy the Hama Canon FD – Canon EF converter. Since it was more expensive than other options, I hoped it would be of good build quality. But I have to admit I was quite disappointed. If I had to make the same purchase again, I would look at cheaper options first.

It is important however to look for an adapter with glass. Those without aren’t able to focus on infinity.

Impression so far

Since I’m not a professional photographer, I see these old lenses as a great addition to my camera gear. They certainly have their drawbacks, but I enjoy using them. They’re also a lot cheaper than their modern equivalents.

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