Sunday, March 8, 2015

Commlite EOS to E-Mount AF Adapter with Canon 180mm f3.5L Macro

I couldn't get any useful pictures with the Canon EF 85mm f1.2L II, so I will postpone the write up for that lens for a later date, and instead, I will update with the 180mm f3.5L Macro.

The EF 180mm f3.5L macro is the least used lens I have.  I should just as well get rid of it and probably would not miss it, but I know full well I will regret it as soon as I do that.  It's quite a bit better than the Sigma 180mm f3.5 I once had, in terms of build and optics.  Each time I use it, I am not disappointed.  The long working distance is perfect for shooting critters that might  move if they sense you are too close.  The colour and sharpness are outstanding qualities this lens has, not to mention how well it's built.  Unfortunately, this lens does not work well with the Commlite AF adapter.

Unlike the EF 100mm f2.8L Macro, which is a complete disaster on the Commlite adapter, the 180L does work, just not the way you expect it to.  I set the shooting mode to Aperture priority 99% of the time, except when the light is getting low, I would switch to Shutter Speed Priority.  When this lens is mounted on the A7 with the Commlite adapter, the shooting mode does not seem to have an effect, whether set to A or S.  The adapter seems to have a mind of its own and changes the aperture/shutter speed as it saw fit, like the mode dial is on P.  The strange thing is that when the adapter sets the aperture on f4.5, it does not close down when the shutter is pressed, but stayed wide open.  It does, however, support Full Time Manual focus, which is important for macro shooting, and I was able to take some pictures with the lens.

Auto focus wise, let's just say forget about it.  The 180L macro lens already has a very long focus travel distance and the adapter would rack the lens from closes to infinity each time it fails the attempted focus.  It's excruciating to watch the lens struggle.  By the time it finally obtained focus, the cows had already come home.  So, this lens is best used in manual focus mode, and AF is pretty much useless anyway when shooting macro near maximum magnification. Still, it's useful because manual focus is possible.

All pictures below were taken with the Commlite AF adapter on Sony A7 with Canon EF 180mm f3.5.


  1. yu-lin thank you again for your effort!

    i bought a similar adapter for my newly acquired Zeiss ZE 18mm 3,5 and i have similar problems with the aperture. the same as you - sometimes after pressing the shutter button the lens stays wide open. this leads to overexposure and not so good looking edges ;) i will check this out further. maybe i forgot to witch of the camera when changing the lenses/adapter? Does the adapter always work for you in manual Mode?

    best regards
    Michael from Vienna

    p.s.: Your Macro Photos are amrvellous!

    1. Hi Michael,
      Congrats on your Zeiss 18mm. I heard it's a great lens. My adapter works with most lenses in Manual mode, even the 100mm f2.8 IS Macro.

    2. hi yu lin,
      the zeiss is really great but also heavvy with the adapter.
      so it has to stay home when i am travelling next :(

      the adapter i mentioned was the Viltrox EF-NEX II it doesn't work and i have to send it back.

      i ordered the commlite now and it works with the zeiss like a charm!!

      so my experience is -> commlite is fine, Viltrox doesn't work

      my photobag for my next travel (Italy/Palermo)
      Sony A7 with Voigtlander 28mm/2.0 with helicoid adapter as my main Travel/City-Lens.
      + Canon LTM 35mm/2.0 (if i get bored of the voigtlander) + Konica 57mm 1.2 with ND filters for that extra character shots (this one is not always in my bag) + a sony nex 5t with voigtländer 15mm as my Wide-Angle lens ; ) incl. nex5t kit lens as my point and shoot during the flight ;) + a canon fd 135mm 2.0 in my bagpack. + a tripod

      this doesn't break my neck. and if i want to walk light i take the yashica ML 35mm 2.8 and leave everything at the hotel (the canon 135mm stays in my bagpack).

      michael from vienna

    3. Hi Michael,

      I was so close to buying Viltrox, but looks like it has its own share of problems.

      You have some nice lenses. If I go travelling, I will probably just bring a kit lens :)


  2. Wish I read this review a week a go :( Had the same problem with canon 100 f2.8 macro. Is there any other recommended adapter for this lens? don't say metabones because the price is so ridiculous.

    Agus Widodo