If you have been paying attention to the attributions on my photos you would have noticed I include the camera and lens information on every photo. (I save the aperture and speed information in every photo's meta data.) I save the equipment information on the attribution for my students. (Wave hi everyone.) And to my friends and students (who are using Canon DSLR Cameras) I highly recommend purchasing FD Lenses. Why? #1 reason: They can be used with all of the modern Canon cameras (such as the T1i up to the 1D X (with an adaptor)). The #2 reason: They are SUPER CHEAP (most anyway).
So what are FD lenses? Canon has changed the part (aka a bayonet), which connects the lens to the camera a few times in it's history. Currently Canon is using an EF mount. Prior to the EF mount, Canon used a FD mount. There are two obvious differences between these two mounts. 1, the FD is smaller than the EF. 2, the EF contains electronics; and the FD does not contain any electronics, such as auto focus. FD lenses are fully manual. This means the aperture is located on the lens, as show in the image to the left. And you must focus. No auto focus.
When using a modern camera along with a FD lens, the camera's aperture controls are blank. You will need to rotate the aperture ring on the lens and adjust the speed on the camera. Now the modern Canon camera will meter the subject; however the metering process will be off. If your camera uses "Live View," then you may notice that the "Live View" feature will not give you a "Real" idea of how dark/light the final image will be. To overcome this problem, you will have to take multiple shots until you have your desired exposure. Or after knowing how the lens shoots; you can adjust the exposure compensation in your camera as soon as you turn on your camera (with the FD lens attached).
I've found that FD lenses with my Canon 5D mark II offers a darker image when utilizing "Live View." And when using the view finder the metering is darker (as I mentioned above). As a result I know before hand to compensate camera speed to expose a slightly lighter image. I've found that you can loose up to two stops.
OMG! I'm loosing two stops of light?!? Yes you can. Why on earth would I ever buy a FD lens? Easy... I paid $20.00 for a 28mm f2.8 FD lens! (Enough said...)
Learning how to use the FD manual lenses with your modern camera may seem like a lot. But the learning curve is incredibly low, in my opinion. Like everything, you have to learn how to use it. The more you use it the quicker you will become, using it.
WARNING: At first you will notice you are not taking photos as quickly as you would with an auto focused EF lens. THIS IS GOOD!
I have really nice EF lenses. However you will find, I almost always shoot without the use of Auto Focus. Cameras are tools. Yes, you should use auto focus. However in my case. I also view it as a skill which should be sharpened constantly. For me, the biggest reason I shoot in manual focus is I can manually focus faster than most can with Auto Focus. The bee in this image was shot with an EF lens, using manual focus.
Below are examples of the image quality achieved with FD lenses.
Far left: Shot with a Canon 5D mark II and a Canon 100mm Macro 2.8L EF lens. The lens in this photo was about 2 feet away from the flower. Obviously I cropped into the image. The bee was quickly collecting pollen. This image is NOT one of a series of rapidly shot photos. I took 3 different and single shot photos.
Middle: Shot with a Canon 5D mark II with a Canon FD 50mm Macro 3.5 lens. The lens was about 2 inches away from the bee. The bee was moving quickly around the flowers; and there was a wind moving the flowers. You will notice a white dot on the butt of the bee. Click the image! The image is over 1300 pixels wide. That white dot is made of up of 3 very distinctive balls of pollen.
Far Right: Shot with a Canon AE-1 film camera using a Vivitar SMS 80-200mm F4.5 Macro Focusing Zoom (FD mount lens), using Illford's HP5 400 speed black and white film. This photo was NOT retouched at all. The boy was playing a guitar, and was looking up and down at his guitar while he showed us how well he played. Pay close attention to the sharpness of the fly away hairs to the left of the face. I had less than a second to focus on the boy.
At the end of the day, what matters is becoming a better photographer. Regardless if you are new, advanced or an out right pro. You never stop getting better at photography. FD lenses are spectacular buy. I highly recommend you look into Canon FD lenses. You will need an adaptor. The adaptor I purchased from B&H was approximately $50. It is a Bowens. They have a more expensive adaptor. However the sales person there was unable to tell me what the benefit of the more expensive adaptor was. I expect to purchase the more expensive adaptor in the near future. I'll post an update to the blog and reference this article when I do.
Below is a photo of available FD lenses which you can buy from the net. I purchased my FD lenses from Ebay and Craigslist. Please research before you buy. Make sure the lens hasn't been damaged beyond what you can live with. Make sure the lens does not have fungus. When you get the lens, examine it with a high intensity small flash light. If you see anything beyond dust, in the lens (which is common in older lenses and usually do not effect the photo) raise a question to the seller. If you suspect fungus, DO NOT ATTACH the lens to your camera.
Good luck and please comment on this article. You can just type in Good, Bad or whatever. I really want to know if this was of any help.