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Archive 2007 · OM or FD on Canon

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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · OM or FD on Canon

Sorry if this post is naive - I am a virgin when it comes to sticking lenses on the wrong camera body!

Is there an adaptor that allows me to use Canon FD or Olympus OM (or indeed any old manual focus lenses) on a Canon EF mount (350D, 5D or both!). Not leica lenses as they seem prohibitively expensive for this little experiment unless there is a c28mm fast prime that costs something south of 500!

If it is possible, is there any way for the camera to recognise aperture and focus confirmation, or do I need to rely on my eyes and a light meter?

Yours hopefully

I should say what I am looking for is a 24-28mm lens and maybe a c100lens that are fast (f2 or wider) and as compact as I can get. IQ wide open is important.

Jun 02, 2007 at 09:50 AM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · OM or FD on Canon

Your EOS dSLR's can mount Olympus OM, Nikon, Contax, Pentax M42, Leica-R and a few more brands with only a simple mechanical adapter. SMC Pentax K-mount lenses have to be modified to remove the aperture control lever and protective tab before they can be used on the 5D, but most will fit on the 350D without this mod. Some lenses, notably a few ultra wide Zeiss and Leica, can strike the 5D mirror - you can find lots of info on this subject if you search the FM archives for it. Old Canon FD lenses can't be used without getting an adapter with optics in it, to make up for the difference in "lens register" (see links below), so it's normally not done.

The EOS bodies will meter correctly on their own, so you do what is known as "stop-down" aperture control - you compose and focus with the aperture wide open, and then you manually stop-down the lens to the taking aperture before taking the shot. The body will meter the stopped-down aperture fairly well - there is sometimes a consistent over or underexposure (it varies between lenses), but it generally works well.

You can also get mount adapters with a "focus-confirmation" chip, which fools the body into thinking that an AF lens is attached, and so it blinks the focus confirmation light when the body thinks the image is in focus (which is generally pretty good). I use a third-party Haoda split-prism focus screen in my 20D to improve MF accuracy, plus I use focus-confirmation adapters from happypagehk (eBay member) for my Contax Zeiss 85/1.4, Tamron SP 180/2.5 and Nikkor 400/3.5. I just use simple mechanical adapers on a few Zeiss, Pentax and Oly wide angle lenses that I have kicking around. Here's some links that provide more info:

Bob Atkins
NK Guy
Practicality of M42 telephoto to XT and film bodies
W.J. Markerink's Camera Mounts and Registers Page

Jun 02, 2007 at 05:39 PM

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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · OM or FD on Canon

Thanks for your incredibly useful reply.

Do you think it is necessary/advisable to change focussing screens? I intend to use a mix of EF and manual lenses so I am not sure I want to go that far. (I might leave the 5d for the moment until I've tried it with the 350D).

It is great news that I can access so many different mounts. I like the look of some OM lenses I saw recently and so may try and get an adapter for that.

Is there a 'focus confirmation' adapter for OM lenses?

Jun 02, 2007 at 06:47 PM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · OM or FD on Canon

One of the main reasons for using alternative lenses on EOS bodies is to get really good wide angle performance. In some cases, you can get best-possible performance (or as near as darn) with relatively cheap lenses like the Contax Zeiss Distagon 28/2.8 and 35/2.8. In other cases, you can get the best possible performance at a high price, such as the Distagon 21/2.8. So, for wide angles (and probably normals and short telephotos as well), it makes sense to put them on a full frame body, like your 5D. This way, you take advantage of the full capability of the lens, and you are using a relatively bright finder that will be a lot easier to focus through than the 350D. You could pick up a Distagon 28/2.8 or 35/2.8 in near mint condition for under $300, and try it out on your 5D, as is.

The multicoated version of the Olympus OM 24/2.8 has an excellent reputation (see 24mm World Cup qualifying round lens tests at 16:9). I've been tracking serial numbers of the Oly 24/2.8's to get a better handle on the transition between single- and multi-coated versions, and I attached the info at the end of this posting. AFAIK, all Oly 24/2.8's with S/N greater than 1837xx are multi-coated. Some sources say that there are unlabelled MC versions of the earlier black-nose version, but I don't know about that. Here's a few good sites on Olympus equipment:

Unofficial Olympus Sales Information File
Unofficial Olympus OM Zuiko Lens Page
Unofficial OM system web page

When I use alternative wide angle lenses on my 20D and 30D bodies, it's almost always on a tripod for landscape, seascape or cityscape photos. Don't forget that you can use scale focusing on the well-marked older primes: estimate your subject distance, figure out the DOF you need and check the hyperfocal distance, set the lens focus point to the appropriate spot using its distance scale, stop down the aperture, and take the shot. I plan to get a 5D later this year, and I can hardly wait to see 'scapes taken with my Distagon 28/2.8 and 35/2.8 (the 21mm is on my "to get" list, right after the 600/4 L IS).

Speaking of super-telephotos, another reason to use alternatives on EOS bodies is to get decent optical performance at long focal lengths, at a price that you can handle. That's why I'm shooting the Nikkor 400/3.5. In this case, it makes more sense to use the crop-factor bodies like your 350D, as it's all about reach, especially if you're shooting stupid birds. This is where focusing is a real challenge, as the crop bodies have relatively dim finders and the lens has a very shallow DOF, and so this is where split-prism focus screens are most useful.


Olympus OM Auto-W 24mm f/2.8

S/N changes between H.Zuiko and Zuiko

H.Zuiko (chrome nose)
OLYMPUS OM-SYSTEM H.ZUIKO AUTO-W 1:2.8 f=24mm nnnnnn
101695 oldest
1304xx newest

H.Zuiko (black nose)
OLYMPUS OM-SYSTEM H.ZUIKO AUTO-W 1:2.8 f=24mm nnnnnn
135170 oldest
1779xx newest

Zuiko MC (black nose, multicoated)
1837xx oldest <>
191330 newest

Zuiko (black nose, multicoated, but not marked with MC)
OLYMPUS OM-SYSTEM ZUIKO AUTO-W 24mm 1:2.8 nnnnnn Japan
189782 oldest
2221xx newest

Jun 03, 2007 at 01:28 PM

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