Fotodiox FD to EOS Lens Adapter Review on Canon 7D

by Harlan Yee on November 30th, 2012

I remember a few years back I was shopping for used lenses and I kept running into Canon lenses with an FD mount. At the time, I thought who would buy these old lenses from 35mm film cameras? Well today, I am one of those who bought and is still seeking out old Canon FD lenses. If only I had made the realization that FD lenses could be used on DSLRs, I could’ve gotten some incredible deals on these lenses. But the cat is out of the bag and demand for FD lenses is increasing!

Fotodiox FD to EOS Adapter and Lenses

While the prices have gone up on FD lenses, they’re still dirt cheap. I do not make many impulse buys but I came across an eBay listing for 3 FD lenses for $100 and I immediately pulled out my credit card. Here are the lenses I got:

FD 28mm f2.8

FD 50mm f1.8

FD 50mm f3.5

Canon FD Lenses

Because these lenses are old, they had scratches and scuff marks on all of them. However, the physical appearance doesn’t really matter. But on the 28mm, I noticed a few scratches on the front glass. But they don’t seem to affect the images or video I’m shooting. But at this time, I haven’t used them that much so hopefully, this won’t be a problem in the future.

Completely Manual Lenses

One thing to remember is that these FD lenses have no electronics in them. That means these are completely manual. You have to turn the focus ring to focus. But let me tell you that focusing is really smooth. These old lenses have a high quality feel to them. To tell you the truth, focusing manually really doesn’t bother me. It just reminds me of my photography classes way back when when I was using an old 35mm SLR.

Canon FD 28mm f2.8

Aperture is also controlled manually. When you attach an FD lens to a Canon DSLR, the camera’s LCD display shows double zeros where an aperture number would normally appear. Again, that’s because there are no electronics to give the camera feedback about lens settings.

What Lens Adapter Am I Using?

Because the FD lenses do not fit on EOS mount cameras, a lens adapter is required before attaching to a modern digital camera. The adapter I’m using is the Fotodiox FD to EOS. It’s also inexpensive and allows for many more cheap lens options. It’s very simple to use and I explain it better in the video.

I plan to keep a lookout for more FD lenses as I browse through eBay and Craigslist. Now when I visit neighborhood garage sales, I will also be keeping an eye out for FD lenses.

Most of people think the lenses are worthless now and will sell them very cheaply. My goal is to find an FD 20mm 2.8.

Crop Factor Considerations

One thing I didn’t explain in the video is the crop factor. Because of this, my 50mm lens is not a 50mm on a Canon 7D. Here are the crop factors when using these lenses on a crop sensor camera:

1.6x from camera

1.2 from lens adapter

Here are the actual focal lengths of my 2 most used lenses from my eBay purchase:

50mm = 96mm (50 x 1.6 x 1.2)

28mm = 54mm (28 x 1.6 x 1.2)

So you can see why I’m on the lookout for the FD 20mm f2.8. The 20mm will actually become a 38mm.

Loss of Light

Since the Fotodiox FD to EOS adapter uses glass lens elements in the adapter itself, you should expect to lose one stop of light when using FD lenses.

Fotodiox FD to EOS Adapter

I have not experimented with this yet but for the price I paid for these lenses and adapter, I’m just happy to have 3 new lenses to play with!

There’s probably a bunch of stuff I left out about FD lenses and adapters but that’ll have to wait for another post. If you’re interested in the Fotodiox FD to EOS adapter click here to read some other user reviews on it. I know prime lenses can be expensive but FD lenses are a great alternative to the higher priced EF lenses.

2 Comments
  1. Really good info Harlan. Something I may give a try. I just checked my local Craigslist and I found about 4 FD lenses available for cheap.

  2. Harlan Yee permalink

    Hey Steve, this is definitely a good thing to try out without having to spend a bunch of cash. I orginally got the idea from a friend that bought a new Nikon body but got an old Nikkor manual lens. So that’s when I started thinking about these old FD lenses for my DSLR. I may try out some old manual Nikkor lenses with a different adapter in the future.

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