Canon 800mm FD lens on a Canon 7D with EdMika Adapter

I have an old Canon 800mm f/5.6L FD lens. It was my workhorse long telephoto lens when I was shooting film, but now it has been sitting idle ever since I got a Canon digital camera. It was pretty much useless because old FD lenses will not fit on any EOS camera bodies. I recently discovered an enterprising guy, Ed Mika, has developed a glassless adapter that lets FD lenses fit on EOS cameras. He produces these adapters in his machine shop and sells them on eBay. With shorter lenses, there is an issue about reaching infinity focus. Long telephotos like my 800mm can focus past infinity, so they work great with this EdMika adapter.

I was curious to see how well this old 800mm lens would perform on a modern digital body. After all, in its time, this was a very impressive lens. But I could not find a decent example of the performance of this lens using this adapter anywhere on the web (which is why I made this page). I ordered an adapter anyway.

My first impression was "Wow! This is really long!" The 800mm lens plus the 7D's 1.6x crop factor gives a field of view equivalent to a 1280mm lens. I took a couple test shots from my backyard. This is my neighbor's dog:

Full frame with normal lens

Full frame with 800mm lens, from the same place

Portion cropped from image, at 100%


Here is shot of a neighbor's house:

Full frame with normal lens

Full frame with 800mm lens, from the same place

Portion cropped from image, at 100%


My conclusion--this works pretty well. It's not as nice as a shiny new EOS 800mm lens but then it's not $13,000 either. The lens has some green/magenta chromatic aberration but that is easily fixed in Photoshop now. Focusing is manual, and rather tricky without any optical focusing aid in the viewfinder, but the camera will help you by beeping its focus confirmation signal when you have adjusted the focus correctly. A big concern is vibration. It is really wiggly with no image stabilization. If you are accustomed to nonchalantly handholding modern image-stabilized long lenses, this lens will make you crazy. This requires a hefty tripod and good long-lens technique. So if you want super magnification without paying the big bucks, perhaps this is an alternative to consider.

Home