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Making a Canon FD Lens to a Canon EOS Body Adapter

My uncle gave me his old Canon T50 with some lenses. It doesn't fit my 20D because it's a different lens mount. I was thinking that I can take an EOS body cap and the rear cap from one of the FD lenses to make an adapter. I googled this and found out that someone did it, but when I tried it, the epoxy wouldn't hold well because when I held the camera by the lens, the weight of the body was too much and the epoxy didn't hold. I know you did a lot of camera hacking and was wondering if you made one of these and how?

I know I can buy one for $30, but I want to save money and I heard that the optics in there are cheap, so it is better to pop out the lens and dremel out the insides. So even if I buy it, I will still have to do some work.

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 22:00:02 +0000

I haven't made the exact adapter you are talking about. But I have made a reverse automatic macro adapter, using a similar technique. I used 5-minutes general purpose epoxy and seems to work fine. Do you have a copy of my Hacking Digital Cameras book? It's Chapter 12 if you want to follow along.

You haven't given me the specifics. What kind of epoxy did you use? And are both the front and rear caps plastic? Which web site did you read to build it? Might help if I can see what you are talking about. You know how I love to hack cameras. ;-)

One thing I was thinking, depending on how you mated the two halves. Maybe some micro screws and nuts will help to solidify the adapter. Without seeing the adapter, I don't know if that'll work.

I don't know if you know this already, but a simple adapter will cause you to lose the infinity focus on the FD lens. An adapter with a corrective lens element will preserve infinity focus at the cost of image quality (unless a spectacular--expensive--lens element is used), lose one stop of exposure, and increase the focal length factor by 1.25x.

Chieh Cheng
Wed, 23 Jan 2008 01:42:36 +0000

I used Loctite Weld, which is supposed to be pretty good. The 5-minute epoxies are supposed to be pretty weak, so I am surprised that yours held up. I just tried re-glueing it with another epoxy used for fishing rods. This epoxy is very strong (it is supposed to be able to handle a 300 lb tuna). I'll see if it holds up. I think you're right, I may need to reinforce it somehow. The glue area is very small.

Both caps are plastic. I don't remember where I found that website, buy they actually used a plastic EOS body cap with a metal FD flange from a teleconverter.

Yeah, I know about the infinity focus loss, but I wanted to use it for macro photography. I just bought an FD bellows, 50mm Macro lens and a few lens reversing rings from KEH. It was really cheap (~$50). I also bought 10 EOS body caps and 10 FD rear lens caps, so I can mess up a few while trying to perfect the design.

I'll send you the results if I get a good design...

Wed, 23 Jan 2008 08:37:36 +0000

So how's the fishing rod epoxy holding up?
That's cool. You'll have to show me all these neat equipment you got one day.

Chieh Cheng
Wed, 23 Jan 2008 23:10:25 +0000

After I epoxied the caps with the fishing rod epoxy, things are much better. I shot some pictures. It works really well, except for 2 issues:
1. The distance between the sensor and the lens is increased a lot, so the lens cannot focus very far. My 50mm macro can focus at most about 6 inches away.
2. The EOS cap does not have a stop that prevents the lens from unscrewing off the camera body.

Picture 01 shows the caps before I epoxied them.

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Thu, 24 Jan 2008 23:27:55 +0000

Picture 02 shows the caps after being epoxied, with the EOS side up.

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Thu, 24 Jan 2008 23:29:07 +0000

Picture 03 shows the same cap, with the FD side up.

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Thu, 24 Jan 2008 23:29:32 +0000

Picture 04 shows the contraption mounted onto the 50mm macro lens.

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Thu, 24 Jan 2008 23:29:59 +0000

Picture 05 shows it mounted onto my A2.

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Thu, 24 Jan 2008 23:30:34 +0000

Picture 06 is a test shot of a cat statue with my 20D (handheld, so it is a little blurry).

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Thu, 24 Jan 2008 23:32:01 +0000

Picture 07 is a size comparison of how big that cat statue is.

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Thu, 24 Jan 2008 23:32:28 +0000

Picture 08 is a shot of my cat. It was shot wide open, so the DOF is pretty shallow.

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Thu, 24 Jan 2008 23:32:56 +0000

Picture 09 is the bellows I got from KEH (only $23!). Using the bellows, I took a picture of a diamond ring (Picture 10).

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Thu, 24 Jan 2008 23:33:47 +0000

Picture 11 is a shot of the diamond. This shot shows the GIA grading number, which is inscribed onto the side of the diamond. I was quite surprised that I was able to get this shot and it was so clear. Previously, I was able to see the GIA number by looking through a 20x loupe.

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Thu, 24 Jan 2008 23:34:28 +0000

So now, I want to improve things a bit. I noticed that I didn't really need to use the FD rear lens cap for this. Using only the EOS body cap and a dremel, I carved the FD lens mount into the other side of the EOS cap. Picture 12 shows this (FD side is facing down).

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Thu, 24 Jan 2008 23:37:33 +0000

Picture 13 shows this with the FD side facing up. The light gray stuff is epoxy, which I used to fill a groove in the lens cap. If you look at the front of any EOS lens caps, you will see the groove I am talking about.

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Thu, 24 Jan 2008 23:39:32 +0000

Picture 14 and 15 shows the dremel work I did... it was pretty messy looking.

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Thu, 24 Jan 2008 23:40:35 +0000

This adapter fits very well and I can focus much farther with it. The only problem now is that I want to put a "stop" into it so it will not unscrew from the body. I epoxied a piece of plastic to solve this problem. I need to wait until tomorrow to see if this worked or not.

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Thu, 24 Jan 2008 23:41:42 +0000

One thing that I also realized is that if I wanted to permanently convert the FD lenses into EOS mounts, I can do so easily by cutting up the EOS body cap and glueing it onto the FD lens. I can even remove the locking ring on the FD lens so that I can get infinity focus... from my research, the FD lens has a flange to film distance of 42mm. The EOS mount has a flange to film distance of 44 mm. By removing the locking ring, I can make up the 2mm difference and gain infinity focus. I don't know if I'll try this because that macro lens is really fun to use and I don't want to mess it up.

Anyways, I'll let you know how prototype 2 works out when the epoxy is dried tomorrow.

Thu, 24 Jan 2008 23:42:24 +0000

That's neat, Charles. The photos you shot makes it easy for me to see what you are doing.

I can see that, in photo 2 and 3, the FD lens cap is hollowed out entirely. Therefore, only a surface area of the ring for gluing. I wonder if the rear lens element really need to use up the entire backplane of the cap. If it doesn't need to be hollowed out entirely, maybe a few machine screws would firm up the attachment.

For the locking ring . . . maybe it's possible to put a wooden ring into the Canon body cap. Then drill a hole into the wooden ring for the locking pin.

If you decide to mount the FD lens directly onto your camera body at 42mm, you might want to check and make sure that the mirror do not hit the rear lens element. It's probably unlikely on your 20D with its 1.6x magnification. But might happen on a full-frame sensor/film EOS body.

Your experiment makes me wish I have the time to make my own adapter. But your macro shots have intrigued me once again. I think it's time I pull out my automatic reverse macro adapter and shoot some more extreme macro shots. The last time I shot macro was these Grumpy Spider photos.

I'd love to see the macros you shoot. Feel free to share them with me. Keep me up to date on your exploration. It's fun to see what you are doing.

Chieh Cheng
Mon, 28 Jan 2008 18:21:59 +0000

The fishing pole epoxy is very strong, and it looks like it'll hold up now. I also made another prototype, this one keeps the lens closer to the film plane. It will give me more distance between the lens and the subject. Attached are some photos.

Photo 1 (attached below) shows the prototype. It is just a EOS lens cap with the FD interface carved into it. I also attached a tab on it that will act as the click stop. It looks kind of flimsy, but it seems to work and hold up fine.

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Tue, 29 Jan 2008 02:13:06 +0000

Photo 2 shows the prototype mounted onto my A2. You can see the tab acting as the click stop.

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Tue, 29 Jan 2008 02:13:39 +0000

Photo 3 shows the FD 50 macro mounted on my A2.

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Tue, 29 Jan 2008 02:14:16 +0000

The other 3 photos (see below) were shot with a FD 70-200/4.5. This lens gives me a lot of distance and I can still get about 1:1 magnification. I shot the pictures in my aquarium because when I get close to some of these fish, they will hide, except the clownfish. The clownfish will swim around rapidly because it thinks that I am going to feed it. The 200mm gives me enough distance so I can take pictures without the fish being scared. These fish are pretty small... I think the clownfish and cardinal is about 3/4" and the watchman goby is about 1". After shooting with the 70-200 lens, I like the 70-200 lens better than the macro because of the distance it gives me. It is also pretty sharp when I can get the subject in focus... I am not very used to manual focus and the depth of field is very shallow most of the time.

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Tue, 29 Jan 2008 02:21:09 +0000

Photo of the Pajama Cardinal in aquarium.

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Tue, 29 Jan 2008 02:22:00 +0000

Photo of the Watchman Gorby in Aquarium.

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Tue, 29 Jan 2008 02:22:39 +0000

I found out someone had converted a 55mm 1.2 FD lens to be an EOS mount. The link is here:
Canon 55mm f1.2 FD -> EOS Conversion
But I think it could be much simpler. I think you can just get an EOS cap and use that to create the interface. I am not too worried about the rear lens element striking the mirror, but on the FD lens, there is a metal aperture control lever sticking out of the lens. I think this lever will probably hit the mirror and will need to be removed. I may try this because I have an FD 35-70/2.8-4 that is not very useful to me. I am not sure if I should start this because of time constraints though.

Wow, those Grumpy Spider shots are awesome! I now know how difficult it is to get good shots like that. The depth of field in macro is very shallow and the subject can move at any second.

I have a lot of insects in my yard. I've seen dragonflies, grasshoppers, lizards, and one time, there was this cool albino praying mantis! Once it stops raining, I need to take pictures!

I am also looking into making some macro lights so that I can have a faster shutter speed. When I stop down the lens to get more depth, I pay for it in long shutter speeds... the diamond pictures from earlier post had shutter speeds of several seconds.

Tue, 29 Jan 2008 02:23:16 +0000

Hey, Charles. You got my blood boiling again. I pulled out my cameras last night, my Nikon to EOS converter, and an old Sakar MC 135mm f/2.8 Macro lens. Played around with adapting extender tubes and shot some photos of our baby with the manual focus lens. Got some wonderful shots. Sounds you like lizards and insects in your backyard. I'll have to spend some time finding a video I shot of a lizard jumping for a nat.

I had some time to read through the details of your second prototype carefully and look at the second batch of photos. There is one thing that I am not understanding. Is this a infinite focus adapter? It seems like you have really shortened the distance from the rear lens to the film plane. So I guess the glue answer is fishing rod epoxy, eh?

I am now considering doing something similar to what you did. I've been wanting a 180mm macro to shoot insects. Like you said, they don't like you getting too close to them. Unfortunately, the cost is prohibitive. But I guess first, I got to sit down and do some calculation on magnification. I wondering if mounting some extension tubes on 70-200mm or 300mm lenses will get similar results.

As for lighting, electronic flash is probably the brightest source of light. On the other hand, a hot shoe mounted continuous spot light is excellent at night time. You'll definitely want to look into an off-hot-shoe bracket.

Chieh Cheng
Tue, 29 Jan 2008 21:29:05 +0000

The second prototype does not allow infinity focus. In order to get infinity focus, the FD lens needs to go into the EOS body 2mm more than physically possible. One way to do this would be to take the back off the FD lens (which I think is called the breech lock mechanism) and then put a hollowed out EOS body cap in it's place, but it is 2mm further in. It is hard to explain, but if I do it, I'll be sure to take pictures.

One thing I realized a few days ago is that the pajama cardinal picture I posted is probably the sharpest picture I ever took. I used mirror lock up for the first time and I got lucky that the fish did not move. I need to use MLU more often!

That is cool that you're getting into it too. It is pretty fun playing with all the equipment. The bellows I bought is pretty nice because it has rails which allow you to move the entire assembly forward or backward by small increments. This way, I can move the depth of field very easily without re-positioning the tripod. You need to get one. They are really cheap at KEH. I bought mine for $23. I saw one there the other day that was in better condition than mine and it was around $30.

The cost for all this stuff isn't too much. My FD 70-300/4.5 lens was free from my uncle, but I don't think it is too expensive. It isn't even a Canon... it's a Kiron lens. All the FD lens are pretty cheap. I bought the 50mm/3.5 Macro FD lens for $29. This is why it's so fun for me. I spent around $70 for the bellows, 50mm/3.5, some reversing rings, a extender tube and other miscellaneous stuff. If I wanted to buy EOS macro... that would be waaay too much $$$ for me.

Wed, 30 Jan 2008 18:41:46 +0000

Hey Chieh, I thought I should show you a picture I took today. I saw my hermit crab out of his shell, so I got out my macro setup and took some pictures. I used my bellows with the FD 70-200 lens. I couldn't get a good picture because the hermit crab kept moving and was hiding in the rock, which was dark. This is probably the best shot I got.

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Wed, 30 Jan 2008 18:50:25 +0000

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Title: Canon FD to EOS Adapter
Weblog: Camera Hacker
Excerpt: Do you happen to come across any adapter that can be used for Canon FD len on EOS mount? Tks.
Tracked: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 01:53:39 +0000

Title: DIY: Mounting Canon FD to Canon EOS
Weblog: Camera Hacker
Excerpt: I have a lot of Canon superb FD lenses and want to use it on Canon EOS 10D body. I also have several Canon/Nikon cameras for my daily work. I tried to use adapter with optical seem not effective well except macrophotography. Seem the adapters were not good way to resolve with FD's 42mm to EOS' 44mm. . . .
Tracked: Wed, 15 Jul 2009 14:35:23 +0000

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