Monday, November 19, 2012

365 / 18: Done with mirrors

Maybe it's just because I gravitate toward the offbeat and unusual, but the Canon FD 500mm f/8 reflex lens has become one of my favorite lenses to shoot with. Maybe it's because I'm into astronomy and this mirror lens uses the same basic conceptual design as Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes. I dunno. I dropped a lot of hints to Lisa before she surprised me with this as a Christmas gift last year. The conversion from Canon FD to EF mount took several months (and several pints of blood, as I impaled myself several times in the process) but once I finished, I had a workable 500mm mirror lens with focus confirmation capabilities. It's a fully manual lens, so that last part was a biggie as my eyes aren't quite so sharp and eagle-eyed as Lisa's. Some photographers may scoff at this old-school lens. It's slow. It's dim. It's manual focus only. But son-of-a-gun, it's got a huge reach at 500mm and is light as a feather compared to out other telephoto lenses. It's got a steep learning curve and can be unforgiving, but I've gotten shots with it that I'd never have a prayer at getting otherwise. I can't believe how well it performed at Aerosmith the other night. Of the Texas State/Texas Tech football game, or the Texas Renaissance Festival... I think it's safe to say some of the most fun I've had shooting this past year has come while using this lens. That makes it a keeper in my book!

365 photo challenge, Lisa On Location photography, New Braunfels, Texas. Canon FD 500mm f/8 reflex mirror lens converted to EOS mount

Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Tamron 28-75mm 2.8

Lisa On Location Photography

Now Playing: Stan Getz The Girl From Ipanema: The Bossa Nova Years
Chicken Ranch Central


  1. Anonymous2:16 PM

    How did you get it to mount on an modern EOS-EF camera?

  2. I removed the FD mount and replaced it with a brass M42-to-EOS adapter with an Optix V5+ chip for focus confirmation. It took a good bit of drilling and grinding to make the screw holes line up and mount flush. This conversion works for the FD 500mm f/8 reflex because 1) it will inherently focus beyond infinity, so there's room for error, and 2) there are no electronics to communicate with the camera body, so you don't have to worry about reconnecting sensors, etc.