Monday, February 17, 2014

Old Glass on the EOS M

Here is another reason for me having obtained the Canon EOS M.

From my early days in photography, I still own some old lenses, mainly M42. Of course they are all manual focus, old skool! Some of those lenses made amazing photographs. It would be a shame to just let them rot in a corner.

Of course, the most obvious choice would be to buy Canon's EF-M to EF-S adapter, making available to the EOS M all Canon AF lenses. And with some additional adapter(s), lenses with all sorts of different mounts. However, Canon's adapter is rather expensive, especially when considering fully manual lenses only (no electrical connections required).

There are some makers/vendors of after market adapters, in particular from China, which offer purely mechanical adapters of decent quality. The price for those are really low, so I gave it a try and ordered  "EF-M to EF-S" and "EF-S to M42" adapters. (to find them: google, ebay, youtube, etc.)

First impression on the rings from China. Machining is very precise and the quality appears solid. Mounting the "EF-M to EF-S" ring of the EOS M shows a feature I am not so happy about, nevertheless can live with. The EOS M's locking mechanism goes "click", but there is no mating means in the adapter ring, hence, the ring can be turned further, with just a little force. Maybe hole for the locking pin is too small.

The "M42 to EF-S" ring clicks in place just fine, no issues here.

For the fun of it, I mounted a 35mm f/2.8 lens, which could be a very good lens for street-photography.

Here come the critical bit connecting the old to the new world:
  • Set your lens to manual, so that the iris acts according to your settings ignoring the SLR-command pin.
  • In your EOS M, set the Custom Function item 7 "Release Shutter w/o Lens" to "Enable", so that the camera ignores the fact that it can't sense a (high tech) lens.
  • Put your EOS M in either "Av" or "M" mode.
  • You may want to choose MF (manual focus), although I am not sure if that makes any difference.

In "Av", life is nearly as easy as with a stock lens. Choose your aperture at the lens' aperture ring, focus and shoot. The shutter (and ISO w/ ISO on auto) will be determined by the camera. Of course, if you are old skool (like me), you will set your ISO yourself... At least to my time, there was not "auto film", the only option I had was taking a body with a certain spool inserted to choose an ISO sensitivity, usually either 50 or 400... As I said, old skool!

In "M", life is what it used to be, 30 years ago.
  • Select the ISO suitable for the situation, please do not use auto-ISO!
  • Decide on a shutter speed according to the task.
  • Adjust the aperture while taking meter readings by half-pressing the shutter button.

And here you have it, this is why I think the Canon EOS M is one of the best mirrorless cameras to buy at the moment:
  • It has a poor reputation for slow AF speeds...  who cares when manually focusing old lenses?! For that reason, the price for this camera is pretty low presently!
  • After market adapters are cheaply available.
  • The EOS M is customizable by the Magic Lantern software (*).  

All in all, now that all my parts are in, I hope to be able to do what this camera was intended to in my house: Astro-Photography. First attempts using the 22mm prime lens, see earlier post, were promising.
Manually focusing the EF-M STM lenses proved difficult.
However, now that pure mechanical focusing is possible, using legacy lenses, there is light at the end of the tunnel, literally. In particular since I envisage to use the adapter ring to mount the camera to my T2 equipped telescopes.

(*) For astro-photography, ML promises to replace a setup of a dedicated computer wired up to the imaging camera, i.e. by taking timed bulb exposures.

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