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No-name FD Focal Reducer

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by HarryS, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    I just got this FD-43 focal reducing adapter from a Chinese vendor off ebay. I hope I can return it.

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    I chose FD because I have three Canon's in 50mm, 85mm, and 135mm plus some third party lenses in 28 and 135.
    FD makes for probably the most fiddly of all adapters and this adapter was quite fiddly. There is really just too much
    hardware on the back of an FD mount and when you shorten the adapter and add a lens, there isn't much room .The
    FD50mm barely makes it while the FD 85 fits easily. A 3rd party (Sears) 135mm hits the lens housing inside the
    adapter. My M42-FD ring also does not go in, so I can't adapt my Takumars to it..

    The show stopper is it will not go into my EM5. The adapter's lens housing hits the lower baffles in
    the first camera. The lens housing, as indicated by the arrow, can be screwed deeper into the adapter to give
    clearance, but that changes the original optical paths. The original designer would have to machine down the shoulders
    on the lens housing on both ends to make this a more viable product. It does fit my EPL5 as delivered.

    I was going to keep it until I wrote this post and saw all the negatives in print. As far as image quality, I did
    try it out with the 85mm and 50mm and I would have been happy with it. $95 USD, by the way.
  2. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Legend

    Mar 21, 2014
    I believe I have the same focal reducer, though mine has an inward sloping chamfered edge on the surface where your blue arrow is pointing, so it doesn't seem to interfere. Though yours looks like it might have the same? I guess there might be some sample variation in terms of quality. Mine did not fit with the cheap M42 adapter from Pixco (it was too tight, so I tried machining it down on my lathe and removed a bit too much material), so then I purchased a more expensive, old used Canon-made FD to M42 adapter (called the Mount Adapter P) adapter and that fit much better. So it could be the fault of your M42 adapter, not the focal reducer.

    One thing to know about these adapters as well is that the lens element can screwed in and out by hand, as you've noted. I have used this to solve infinity focus problems with some lenses. It may have had some impact on image quality, but I didn't test it extensively. I use it for when I need speed and am already at my ISO limits (a pretty strict 3200 on the GX1), and that's that. Have you tried screwing it in in order to avoid the clearance issues? When you talk about the original optical paths, it's not necessarily true that it was assembled in the exact perfect state and tested. In fact, I would be very surprised if there was much, if any, testing performed on these.

    Before you get rid of it, I would try adjusting it and see if it works to your satisfaction.

    You may also find that your Sears 135mm will not work on any focal reducer if it doesn't work on this one. The no-name (RJ brand originally, I believe) focal reducers actually appear to have fewer fitment issues than the Mitakon Lens Turbos. I'm not certain about clearance issues with the Metabones Speed Boosters, either, but they obviously cost 4x as much.
  3. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    It's like setting the e-brake on my Mazda.. Run the screw down til it bottoms and back it off a 1/4 turn. Yes I did that to the lens assembly to get it inside the EM5, and I had to move the element about 2 or 3 turns. The Canon 135 f2.5 still appears to have infinity focus, but it's very cold outside here, and I didn't do many test shots..

    Optically, I think center sharpness is good. Getting f1.8 light gathering capability on the FD135 (it's an f2.5) was why I bought.it. I'd have to check it out on my EPL5 with the len element in the original position to see if I can see a tradeoff. I'd only use it on the EM5.

    On further thought, what's wrong on the other end is the flange height on the FD mount. It's too short. I took off the ring and by itself, it still won't go under the breech blades on either my Pixco or the Sears lens. Fits all three of my FD's fine though.
  4. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    Killarney, OzTrailEYa
    The thing with FD is that the lens "flange" is actually inside the lens, the metal part at the back actually just squeezes the lens tightly onto the flange. Because the camera side flange sits proud.
    The lenses typically have three small screws on the base around the circumference of the barrel. These hold the metal tension plate on, y know the bit that grips the flange edge that sits from the camera body (or in our case adapted body).

    Loosen the screws a bit on your cheapie lens and then see if it fits.

    If you buy cheaper rubbish you have to expect to be a bit handy with tools to get it to fit.
  5. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Legend

    Mar 21, 2014
    Truth. I remember having to do some strategic hammering using the flat head of a bolt in order to compress the leaf-springs a bit on a cheapy Minolta MD adapter in order to get the lens to fit. After that, it worked a charm, just the right amount of tension.
  6. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    The ebay seller authorized a return, but I figured it's at least $10 to mail it back with tracking/insurance.

    Keeping it. I took off the front flange and sanded with emory cloth on a flat surface, testing it until I could rotate the breech ring on my Sears FD and M42-FD adapter ring over it. About 10 minutes of work. Attached pic is before I polished it with finer grit cloth. The metal was removed on the ridge above the flanges, which were untouched. I've misplaced my micrometer, so I cannot say how much I took off. Not too much? That solves my front fit problem, and I left enough metal that my Canon 135 and 85 still mount firmly.

    As mentioned above, I also screwed the lens assembly in 1.5 turns which allows it to fit my EM5. It always fit my EPL5. Like pellicle sez, cheap goods makes for some repair.

    I'm liking the results off my Tak 35 and 135. Will post some examples later.

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  7. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    While I realize I'll get better resolution with a metabones lens, my FD lenses didn't cost very much, so I think this adapter is a better fit as
    far as costs. If I were trying to fit some L-glass, well they would deserve something better.

    However, I did pay a price on build quality. Because of that, the FD version is not a recommended.

    Some samples. All with adapter adjusted to fit my EM5.

    FD 85mm f1.8 wide open
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    FD 50mm f1.8 SC stopped down
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