Tag Archives: Canon

Canon F-1

This represents a turning point for Canon: their first professional grade camera, introduced in March of 1971 along with a new lens mount – the FD range.

The F-1 established it’s pro-credentials by offering a huge range of interchangeable parts – viewfinders, focusing screens, winders, backs – and a range of flash accessories. Also notable was the 1/2000s top shutter speed

A number of interesting technical solutions are seen with the F-1, including TTL metering achieved by locating the meter cell at the side of the focusing screen, where light was directed to it by a small mirror. This allowed metering to be independent of the finder attached, much simplifying things.

One of the most curious accessories was the Servo EE finder, a bulky finder made even bulkier by the battery pack it needed, holding 8 AA cells. This finder incorporated a servo motor – hence the name and the need for all the batteries – which mechanically connected to the shutter speed dial in order to change speed based on metered light and selected aperture.

Canon Pellix

This is a definite odd-ball, and example of creativity attempting to solve an engineering problem: how do you capture light coming through the lens for metering purposes?

The Canon answer was to use a pellicle mirror; one which allows about 2/3rds of the light to pass through, and diverts the remaining 1/3rd to a light sensor. The mirror is fixed, and remains down during exposure. The CDS meter cell is moved into the path of the light by pushing the self timer towards the lens barrel, which also causes the aperture to stop down.

In order to keep light from the viewfinder from influencing metering, there’s even a blind that covers the eyepiece – operated by a ring around the rewind knob.

There are disadvantages to this approach, primarily that there’s about a 1/3rd stop loss in light transmission. To compensate for this the Pellix was supplied with a 55mm f1.2 lens – the museum sample has the FL50mm f1.4.

Advantages are several however:

  • Less vibration due the absence of mirror slap
  • Quieter operation
  • No viewfinder black-out during exposure, making tracking shots easier
  • The rear element of lenses can protrude further into the body, permitting a compact design

Canon Lenses on a Fujifilm body

I’ve shot with Canon digital gear since the Rebel XT/EOS 350D I acquired in 2004, and naturally I’ve accumulated a fair few lenses along the way.

I’ve been shooting with Fujifilm, both fixed and interchangeable lens models, since I bought an X-PRO1 in 2012. I like the size, the controls, and the image quality.

With the X-T3 my Fuji APS-C body now has a higher resolution sensor than my 5DII, and I use the 5DII less and less due simply to weight and bulk. So, the natural question: can I get more life from my Canon lenses on the X-T3?

The TS-E 17mm doing what only it can: multiple shifted shots stitched into a seamless image inside a small space.

The primary goal – TS-E lenses.

Each of the TS-E lenses I own cost more than the X-T3, and there’s nothing equivalent from Fuji to take their place. I use them extensively for landscape and architectural photography, almost never with tilt but almost always with shift to either compose without distortion, or to stitch multiple images for an even wide field of view.

In order for them to be as useful as possible, I would prefer to preserve the original field of view, so the 17mm would still give me close to the 93° horizontally I enjoyed with the 5DII. There’s really only one way to do this: the Viltrox EF-FX2 “speedbooster” adapter.

This comes very close to preserving the original field of view, and provides full support for electronic aperture and auto-focus. I paid about $160 for mine through ebay.

I only expect this adapter to work with full frame EF lens, not the EFS models intended for Canon’s APS-C models. It’s designed to take the image circle formed by a full frame lens and reduce it to the size of one suitable for the smaller APS-C sensor, so putting the smaller APS-C intended image circle in front of it (by using an EFS lens) seems like a recipe for disappointment.

If preserving the field of view wasn’t important, I’d probably go with the Fringer EF-FX Pro II, from which I would expect no degradation in image quality at all.

Field of View

Canon 5DII top, Fujifilm X-T3 with Viltrox adapter bottom

Pretty close – Viltrox claims 0.71x, which is only slightly off from the 0.66X needed to accommodate the “1.5 crop” of the APS-C sensor.

Both cameras were on the same tripod, at the same location, with no adjustments applied at all during ACR processing.

Corner sharpness

Adapted Fuji left, Canon 5DII right

This sample is the worst case scenario: the lens shifted vertically to its maximum, and then the very top right corner sample. Both examples are at f/8 with no sharpening or other adjustments during ACR processing. I adjusted the zoom of the Fuji image so that the two would look about the same on screen.

I should also note that I’m far from proficient at manual focusing with the X-T3, and it’s entirely possible that I could have been more precise. Stopping down a little further would probably improve things too, though I tend to shoot this from f/8 to f/11 as that seems to be the sweet spot.

X-T3, Viltrox EF-FX2, Canon T-SE 17mm fully shifted vertically

This second sample is at 100% after my standard raw sharpening, and it looks pretty darn promising.

Auto-focus

It works, and it’s accurate. I haven’t used it enough yet to form a stronger opinion than that, and it certainly seems a little less snappy than with a native Fuji lens, but it does work.

Conclusion

For my specific use case this seems to be an entirely effective solution. It’s inexpensive and the image quality is only slightly degraded from the results I get with the 5DII; field tests will tell whether there are flare or chroma distortions to be concerned about.