veejaycee

Canon FD legacy lens and a question

11 posts in this topic

Being unable to afford the Fuji 100-400mm lens and on advice from a friend in OZ I purchased via eBay, a used (probably 35-40 yrs old) Canon FD 300mm L lens from Japan. From Japan because the dealers are honest regarding condition. From UK I purchased the original matching FD 1.4X-A Tele converter and my favoured lens adapter the K&F Concept FD-Fuji. The lens is pristine and looks unused, also the TC. I'd never used FD mount before so the locking rings and buttons on the lens, the TC and the adapter were confusing enough to ensure I set it up before leaving home. Happily, once assembled it fits nicely in my LowePro mini-trekker backpack with space for XP1, 18-55, 55-200. All I need then is a Sherpa!

The weather in UK is grim, dim and wet so I've not been able to do much outside testing but what I have done has given pleasingly sharp images. I may possibly look also for a 2X TC but in my experience the come at the cost of softer images and lesser IQ. Obviously I'll not be attempting birds in flight with this but I'm too old to go chasing them now anyway. Tripod or monopod mounted for take off, landing, standing, preening and displaying will do me and of course for other wildlife too.

For small close up wildlife, a 15mm tube reduces the native 300mm focusing range of 3.0m - ∞ down to about 1.8m - 7.0m, which is more suitable for close subjects like small birds, lizards and other critters. A 25mm tube takes it down to 1.4m – 4.0m. Either Canon FD or Fuji ext tubes can be used on one side of the adapter or the other.

The lens is specifically Canon FD New 300mm L lens as this has the low dispersion glass missing from earlier models. The f2.8 is well thought of but obviously a lot more expensive and huge. The longer 400mm f4.5 is worth a thought too but is again much bigger, heavier and more expensive. If it is possible that the Fuji lens may be bought at a later date then perhaps consider buying the Fuji 1.4 TC instead to fit behind the adapter at this stage.

I hope this info is a help to anyone considering a similar path to long lens shooting and if I can get out on Friday when hopefully we get some brightness I'll give my further impressions.

Now, my question which is to owners of the new X-Pro2 specifically and even better if they have shot manually with a long lens.

I am currently using this long lens setup on XT1 but I would like soon to buy one of the newer bodies if/when money becomes available. While I will miss the tilt screen of the XT range I do actually prefer the XP2 style of body and more importantly, it is cheaper than the XT2. My concern is the viewfinder - I found focusing manually the XT1 (on tripod) was good using either standard mag or peaking. Will the smaller evf of the XP2 be problematical to manually focus with my 300mm + 1.4 TC?

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I used to use an Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm F4 with my X Pro 1 years ago without any problems. Now the latest models have focus pecking it's very easy although I don't have the 300mm now I do own a few manual lenses. The set up I have now is the XT2 and a few smaller focal length lenses. The camera works great with them and the results are fantastic. I have a Super Takumar 135 f3.5 that I use a lot and it's amazing. So EVF is fine for focusing but the screen can be great for longer lenses.

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Thanks very much for your input.

I've had lots of shorter legacy glass now reduced to 5 Minolta Rokkors and 2 Oly Zuiko. I can just about focus the longest - a Minolta Rokkor 135mm f2.8 - on a monopod. When I still had my FF Nikons I tried the Sigma 50-500mm on the XP1 but couldn't focus it even on a tripod - just too jittery with every movement of the focus ring. I now realise it was probably the lens mounting bracket was an L shaped foot which was handy for carrying but I think also it was a lightweight alloy (possibly aluminium) so the design and the material was against it. The lens mount on the Canon is very close fitting, doesn't have the tendency to vibrate and is very solid.

If you use the XP1 with 300mm then it bodes well for the XP2 viewfinder.

Perhaps because I don't see well at close distances and wear glasses for reading, I find it difficult to use the rear screen. My eye focus with glasses is set at reading distance which is too far to check critical sharpness on the rear screen but I will try it out if the weather clears.

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Yeah I'm the same as you regarding glasses now my eyes have changed over the last few years. So I'm ok through viewfinder but struggle with the screen unless I get the glasses out.

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Really gloomy weather here in UK lately so I only managed to shoot wild birds in garden. This (we have great flocks of wild ring necked green parakeets in Southern England) was shot through double glazing with XT1 + Canon FD 300mm L lens + x1.4 TC mounted on a monopod. Distance 10m, aperture on lens f4 @ just 1/220, ISO 1600.(Total equivalent 630mm @ f5.6).

I used a technique passed on to me by an M4/3 manual lens shooter, of employing CL grabbing focus (Mag peaking) as near as possible then shooting off 4 or 5 frames. Hit rate was 3 out of 5 with 1 or 2 out of 5 expected for BiFs after practice, which is far better than I ever thought I would get with a manual focus lens. Hopefully we will soon get some brighter, if colder and snowy weather from this weekend to make it worth while going further abroad now I know I can shoot with a monopod. My mentor shoots 400-500mm on M4/3 with the same technique - often handheld!

The lens is very sharp even with X1.4 TC. I have a 2X TC on it's way but I'm not expecting such good results with that fitted. Unfortunately I don't think Canon made an FD TC of X1.7 which would give me an extra half stop of light still with good reach. Uncropped image - click full size then + for whole image.

Second picture added today of a Long tailed tit. The weather hasn't brightened today, in fact both of these were at least 2 stops under-exposed and needed some heavy recovery with the necessary NR in pp. The first picture taken through double glazing while for today's I moved just outside but had to contend with a strong breeze blowing the feeder. I remembered to input the correct FL today of 300mm + 1.4X TC = 420mm. Aperture set on lens, f4 @1/1000, ISO 1600.

XT1S9930.jpg

XT1S9959b.jpg

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Nice work, focus peaking is a godsend! I'd love to see a photo of your X-T1 with the lens adapted along with the teleconverter.

I'd make the argument to stick with the X-T form factor over the X-Pro line, if only for the massive EVF on the X-T2. I can't speak to the new X-Pro2's new viewfinder with a diopter, but with the X-Pro1 I found it very difficult to see the full frame while wearing glasses, due to the viewfinder optics. With the X-T1 and X-T2, I'm able to wear my glasses while shooting and still see the whole EVF frame edge to edge.

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Thanks Chris. This is my friend's setup. Same as mine minus TC which is about the size of the adapter.

The smaller size of the XPro2 EVF is the one thing that really concerns me since I need to manually focus. I shall sell some of my legacy glass and maybe my little used Fuji 18mm f2 to add to what I get for the XT1 to offset the cost. Stores in the UK still show "awaiting stock" so there's no rush and it will be a while before the price of the XT2 drops.

4399c98011da426c81cb8aacec1ab27a.jpeg

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Vic, I am glad you are enjoying your new lens. Based on the two bird pictures above, it looks to perform well in term of sharpness. Personally I find its rendition of out-of-focus details somewhat nervous (see the cages in the background but also the foliage in the parakeet image). However, this may be not just because of the lens but also because of the background's distance. Probably smoother results would be obtained with backgrounds further away from the camera. 

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Hi Marco. Yes as much as the weather allows. I've not been able to use it in earnest yet. The background you mention is quite close and shows badly whichever lens I use especially on a windy day as this was. It is the only background to look nervous even on my Fuji 90mm f2. I'm still getting my head around the DoF of the setup and hoping brighter weather will allow smaller apertures to ensure more hits. It is a pleasure to use, just like my other old lenses - but a lot heavier.

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These are both great shots for me. The birds and feeders are beautifully rendered and sharp.

I would argue that the difference in cost between an X-T2 and X-Pro2 is modest when you consider it over the length of time you will keep the camera. Worst thing would be to save a couple of hundred quid on the body and then regret it for years.

It's a bit like buying a laptop - you generally cant upgrade them so it's always best to stretch yourself once every few years and buy the best you can.

I love legacy glass and use a Canon FD 50mm f1.4 for modest tele and portrait work. Massive bang for the buck. I also recently just picked up a Carl Zeiss Flektogon 35mm f2.4 which is making an awesome walk around lens, although as you say the light, until today, has been pretty grotty recently in the UK.

Please keep us up to date with your adventures with this lens. I'm interested in the teleconverter too. Thinking about what a 2x on with my 50mm would give me.

P.S. I agree with you about K&F Concept. I have FD, OM, M39 and M42 adapters and they are all quality items at £10-£15 each.

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I loved my Canon FD lenses. I have very fond memories of the 135 f2.5 - such dreamy soft focusing if needed. I also loved the 20 mm f2.5. It was huge - a 'real' lens. 

As soon as I bought a Fujifilm X-E1 I bought the 14mm to replace what I was missing from my Canon days. The 14 mm is brilliant. 

The kit which Richard has set up looks impressive and performs well. There might be a rush on Ebay for the Canon 300 f2.8 lens as a result.

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