Monday, May 21, 2012

Canon FL 58mm f1.2 - Some Notes

Dillon and I went for a relatively long (about 30K) bike ride today along the DVP and all the way to the end of the Taylor Creek Trail.  It was fun but lots of people as today's weather is amazingly nice.  Brought along the "finally" EOS-converted Canon FL 58mm f1.2 with me.  This lens was a failed attempt to convert to EOS, long ago when EVIL cameras were not yet on the market.  So it has been sitting idle and last night I went ahead and filed the FL mount down until it's short enough to focal to infinity on the 1D Mark III.  It's a cruel job, but works OK.  Now it works on my Canon as well as the NEX/M43 cameras.

Cruel conversion -- The lens was JB Welded to a Rollei QBM-EOS mount.

The FL 58mm f1.2 was the first f1.2 lens Canon made for its reflex cameras.  It works on Canon FL as well as FD bodies, and now Digital.  Compared to the FD 55mm f1.2 S.S.C and the Canon nFD 50mm f1.2, this 58mm f1.2 lens is softer at f1.2, which is expected.  It would have been a failure if the next generation lens is worse than the lens it replaced.  There is a bit of blooming and purple fringing wide open, again expected for a lens this age and class. One stop down makes a huge difference, both in terms of sharpness and bokeh.  I find the bokeh more pleasing with the 55mm f1.2 SSC and the nFD 50mm f1.2 than this lens.

Wild flowers near Taylor Creek -- NEX-5N & Canon FL 58mm f1.2 @ f1.2. Click for larger.

I am sure this lens was not designed to take pictures at f1.2 in the middle of the day, which was what I did.  In low light situations, it should perform better.  So far, I didn't do much testing with this lens.  The corner performance is not yet known.

Dillon. He did wear a helmet but took it off for the picture -- NEX-5N & Canon FL 58mm f1.2. @ f1.2.

Yours Truly. Picture taken by Dillon -- NEX-5N & Canon FL 58mm f1.2 @ f2.8.


  1. that's a nice look to that lens!

  2. You ride a fixie and those handles put the bike couriers to shame.

  3. yes bokeh not good kind irritating

  4. I have the same lens, is the coversion pretty much filing the back off, (I heard around 7mm?) but does this affect the mounting of a new lens mount? (I'd more than likely use a M42 to EOS)

  5. I didn't measure and I filed a bit too much of it. In any case, it's a conversion that's more than I can handle and consequently didn't do a very good job.

  6. Also I am guessing this camera wasn't a full frame? Sanding off that much seems like it could have the rear element to close to the mirror on a larger sensor. Either way this is impressive it was attempted it's one of the only 58mm Canon lenses I've found modified for an eEOS mount.

    1. you have to shave the focus heilicoil and on full frame the question is how much do you shave?
      i do not think it is possible to achieve infinity focus with a full frame without having mirror collision.
      my converted fl 58mm 1.2 will focus to about 16/20 feet.
      i could shave more heilcoil, but how much more?
      7mm sounds right, but what i need to know is how many mm past the ef mount will mirror collision happen?
      a few tricks that are easy, 1, move the spacer washer that is placed for fl infinity focus.

    2. Hi Bruce, I have this lens and I would use it on my canon eos 6D mkII, please could you post some pictures showing what you shaved it.

      Shaving 7mm the helicoid sounds strange for me if the difference (eos EF to FL ) in the Flange Focus Distance is about 2mm? And what is the spacer washer you suggest to move I do not understand , could you explain maybe with a picture? I posted some pictures and questions on the MF lens forum,p,1524289.html#1524289

  7. You should really use the lens on a canonflex RM for which it was designed, and not a digital camera. The RM is from 1962. A true photographer shoots film and no photoshoppingn