Incense

by Bart Arondson

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Are there any downsides of converting an old FD(n) lens to the EF by means of actually replacing the mount with a EdMika or similar? The lens will become a manual focus and manual aperture control lens, but will be a very affordable one since old lenses are quite cheap.

I've tried to think of possible shortcomings of the result, but I've only come to think of

  • Only manual focus and aperture control
  • The viewfinders brightness will suffer when using high apertures
  • There will probably be more lens flare in older lenses, given the lack of multi-coating
  • When focusing at certain distances the back element may protrude so far back into the camera body that it could be hit by the mirror and possibly damage it or get damaged itself

As long as using it for portrait at large apertures that would require manual focus anyway or video recording it seems like an affordable option to consider at least. Is there anything important I've missed that would render it pointless to convert old lenses.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Since you also mention video, I assume you want to mount them on a DSLR.

It's not pointless (especially given the saving), but... the result might not be what you expect. This depends of course on the quality of the lens : an excellent one could still perform quite correctly. And maybe tack sharp is not what you need, depending on your artistic aims.

I'll try to sum up the possible issues with using older lenses on digital cameras.

  • The imaging sensor is more reflective than the surface of film used to be, which is compensated in newer lenses by an extra coating on the back, that older lenses don't have. So image contrast can be degraded.
  • It was not true some time ago but now 20+ megapixel sensors are much more discriminating than film
  • Some optical formulas, as well as glass performance have evolved, so you might find a current lens with equivalent performance... at the same price (or cheaper on second hand)
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