Tag Archives: Canon F-1

To lifesize…and beyond!

Some time ago I bought the 25mm extension tube for my Canon FD system and have been using it somewhat successfully with the 50 and 135 to get closer focusing. It was a cheap, moderately effective but rather fiddly way to get into macro territory.

Way back last spring, I found just how fiddly it was as I lumbered around Happy Hollow Gardens, swapping constantly between the 50/1.4 and 135/2.8 with extension. As usual, just about everything bar the close-ups was shot with the 50mm, which I’ve come to realize is my favorite focal length of the ones I have available.

That outing made me realize that I wanted to have the option of having a useful “walk around” lens with close focusing ability for such occasions. I considered the Canon 100 and 50 mm macro lenses for the FD system and a couple of third party 90mm macros which are highly regarded.

The Canon 100 and 50 macros share the same 52mm filter threads as my other FD lenses, the Vivitar and Tokina macros are larger. All my filters are 52mm. Since this will find use as a general purpose optic when I want to travel light with just one lens yet retain close focusing ability, it would be nice if the filters I already have will fit.

Both the 50 and the 100 will go to half life-size by themselves, but with my existing extension tube the fifty will go to 1:1. If I add that combination to my 2x teleconverter, I get a very slow but serviceable twice lifesize.

The fifty macro is usable as a normal lens, though the focus throw is pretty short from 3 feet to infinity and it’s not optimized for infinity focus. I’ll keep it on the camera for a while to see just how well it handles in day to day shooting.

The 100 would have had a more reasonable close-up working distance. Then again, a 200 macro would be better yet. Those seem rather rare, though.

The best part was the price, just a shade over $50 from KEH Camera. The cheapest 100 macro was almost $100. I took a gamble and went with one in BGN (bargain) condition. I have no clue why it was rated that way, but KEH are known for their quite conservative grading. Based on this lens and their friendly return and warranty policies, I’d have no qualms about buying BGN again.

Anyway, enough blabber. I’ll post examples when I’m done shooting the current roll of film.

It’s the little things which make you smile

Like finding out that the motor drive for your 35mm camera is smart enough to leave the film leader out when rewinding a roll of film. I’m not sure how I got to roll 15 without realizing that, except that I’d just recently started shooting with the heavy motor unit attached.

This is handy if you need to switch mid-roll as I did a couple of weekends ago or if you’re planning to develop at home (no need to pop open the film canister, just leave the leader out, trim it off and feed the film onto the reel straight from the canister, you can even use the bit of  leader you trimmed to make sure your fixer is still good).

Of course for rewinding and reloading later you do need to remember what frame you’d reached. I scrawled it onto the film canister in blue sharpie – “adv.to#24” (I’d shot to 22, seems safest to leave a 1-frame gap to avoid any risk of overlapping frames). With the motor drive set to H, it took about 5 seconds to get to where I’d left off when I reloaded the fast film later on!

Incidentally, looking at the developed negatives it appears that the frame registration would have been accurate enough to not overlap frames. I might try that with a less important roll sometime, maybe when I run my first test roll of black and white soon. Then again, I’d rather lose one frame to blankness than run any risk of messing up two frames which might have been good otherwise.