This kit includes all you need to safely, easily, non-destructively and reversibly adapt your 1968-1971 era FL 55mm 1:1.2 manual focus lens to any modern Canon DSLR/SLR Camera with an EF or EF-S mount. The high tolerance CNC machined brass adapter has the latest Gen4 Camera programmable Dandelion autofocus-confirmation chip attached and preset to 55mm f/1.2. All tools and fasteners are provided and the conversion can be done in minutes with minimal skill required.
The brass adapter component is tuned to place infinity focus a hair short of the infinity mark of the lens (giving you just beyond infinity focus). Since the full mirror frame of a 1D/1Ds series is made of metal it is lower profile and clears the rear lens element in all shooting conditions. Unfortunately the 5D and 5DII thicker plastic mirror frames contact the rear lens element when near infinity focus thus shooting in live view in such conditions is recommended or the mirror hangs up on the lip of the lens. When this happens, no damage or marking has been observed after approximately 200 such test hangup cycles on either the mirror frame or the rear lens element.
This conversion kit only works for the FL 55mm 1.2 lens and not the similar era but vastly different mount design FL 58mm 1.2 or FD 55mm 1.2 SSC lenses. A kit for the FD 55 1.2 (chrome nose and SSC + the very differently designed Aspherical version) is next in development with a solution expected in March 2012. The FL 58mm 1.2 cannot be converted without permanent modification so I do not plan on making a kit for it.
Why did I choose the FL 55mm 1.2 to develop a conversion kit for? It is one of the most plentiful and reasonably priced f1.2 lenses available on the market with one selling almost every day on eBay globally from between 100-400 dollars depending on condition and seller knowledge. The lens feels so much better than any of the modern plastic lens offerings. Since I converted my first sleek metal FL 55 1.2, my bulky and plastic EF 50 1.2 L has barely come out of my camera bag. Not only is the converted FL 55 1.2 a joy to use, the IQ is incredible with my wife remarking that the vividness, colours, beautiful and bold lens flare and dreamy bokeh coming from the images taken with the lens is something she has not really seen since I sold our EF 135mm 2.0 L (something she will never forgive me for doing btw).
Manual focus is nothing to be afraid of for those looking for a serious performance upgrade path on a budget, in extreme low light where this lens likes to play I normally don’t trust the contrast detection autofocus of my camera and manually focus anyway and in good light I want big depth of field so I set the lens at f/11 and everything from 20 feet to infinity is crisp and in focus. To help overcome the lack of focusing screens on most DSLR cameras the installed chip triggers your camera’s autofocus system allowing a focus confirmation in the form of a beep or preventing a picture to be taken until a target is locked on depending on how you setup your camera. This method is not quite as accurate as live preview but works ok, especially if you use the chip programming through the camera to tune (micro adjust) focus for your particular lens copy. The chip also plays important roles in helping ensure proper exposure is achieved when shooing in Aperture Priority and Program camera modes as well as some bodies will detect a lens but no electrical contacts and will generate an error code when trying to shoot (EOS-3). Using this all-manual lens has been joy rather than a limitation. Beyond more than a low cost and high performance upgrade path for entry level equipment shooters I expect photographic enthusiasts will appreciate the manual only control and will want to combine the Canon's latest high ISO low light performance with a fast aperture lens with unique colour and bokeh signatures.
Each EdMika FL 55mm 1.2 EF conversion kit will also include a Canon labelled EF / EF-S rear lens cap since your original FL cap will no longer fit the converted lens. I cannot emphasize enough what a joy it is to shoot with my FL 55 1.2 converted lens on my 1D4 and 7D. I did a series of pic to pic comparison shots at f2 between the Canon EF 50mm 1.8 and the FL/EF 55mm 1.2 and the contrast of the converted FL was shockingly superior, impressive since the EF 50 1.8 is considered optically very good. I've also now sold my EF 50mm 1.2L since I actually prefer the photographic results of my converted FL.
Happy shooting –Ed Mika, flickr user Ontarian, edmikapics (at) gmail (dot) com
Conversion Instructions below
1. Place your lens on a flat clean surface with the mount up and unwrap the tape holding the 4 custom small head diameter stainless steel screws (3+1 extra spare) and 1 spare tiny ball bearing (since you won't find any of these locally if you lose yours) from the end of the provided screwdriver. If your lens is one of the more rare earlier versions (pre 30k serial number) you likely have flat head screws that you will have to find a screwdriver for yourself.
2. Rotate the silver FL mount ring such that all three original screws are visible and unscrew them in a counter clockwise using good downward force. Fully unscrew them all but leave them in.
3. While firmly holding down the ring that has M and A (Manual Auto) on it, lift off the FL mount but DO NOT REMOVE THE RING or you will lose a tiny but important ball bearing. If for some reason this happens I have provided a replacement ball but it is tricky to put back together, you have to place the ball back on the spring and put the ring back on by trapping the ball with one side of the ring first and pressing it into its hole.
4. After removing the FL mount, rotate the silver mount ring so the original screws are captured and cannot fall out and get lost. Place the FL mount in the bag the brass EF mount came in for storage and future possible conversion of the lens to original. I do not recommend wiping off the oil left on the lens from the FL mount, it does not hurt anything and will be needed to lubricate the lens if the FL mount is ever put back.
5. Place the new EdMika brass EF mount on the lens with the af-confirm chip positioned 180 degrees from the white focusing mark on the lens near the aperture control and line up the three screw holes of the adapter with those on the lens.
6. Place the 3 provided custom Philips head screws into the holes and tighten them clockwise while pressing firmly down on both the brass EF mount and screw driver handle. Do not over tighten or the stainless screw heads can be damaged. if this happens to one, replace it with the spare screw.
8. Done, you are ready to use your newly created EF lens. Keep the M/A selection ring set on M to allow for full aperture control. If set on A the lens aperture will stay fully open at 1.2 even if the aperture control dial is set to something else. Switching to A is handy because it lets you focus wide open then then flicking to M will get you back to your previously used aperture without having to click through all of them.
9. To convert back to original, just follow these instructions in reverse order.
Finally, here is a really nice testimonial for this adapted lens:
First let me say thanks for the great product. I have never actually written anyone about a product I loved, but yours is exceptional. I am referring to the adapter I purchased for my Canon 55mm FL lense. I started out using this lense about 30 years ago and I loved it then, unfortunately I "upgraded" to more expensive and newer equipment over the years and I had forgotten what an incredible lense it was. I never quite got the same results with my newer stuff and it wasn't until I really thought about it and researched adaptors for my EOS that I found your product. I can't say enough. Incredible. Thanks so much for a fantastic product. Its like finding your old high school girlfriend and finding that she has gotten better over the years, or maybe I am just smart enough to appreciate her more. In any case my question. When, or how, can I get an adapter for my FL 85mm 1:1.8. I am really, really in need of a quality adapter. Thanks much, and please, if it is not available now, count me in as customer number one as soon as it is.
A very, very satisfied customer,
On 09-Jan-12 at 07:04:01 EST, seller added the following information:
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