Home > photography > Canon FL 55mm f/1.2 lens onto EOS cameras

Canon FL 55mm f/1.2 lens onto EOS cameras

“Why would you want to do such a thing?”, you may ask. Simple. This legacy lens is solidly built, has superb optics (even when wide open), and does not cost an arm and a leg. I’ve had the pleasure of shooting with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM — the lens exhibits marshmallow-like sharpness wide open, and the ultrasonic motor leaves much to be desired (it’s REALLY slow for a USM). So, I decided to look for an alternative lens within the same focal range.

That’s when I stumbled upon the EdMika 55mm-conversion kit on eBay. I decided to give it a shot. Why not. It’s a quarter of the EF’s price tag, and the images are sharper with better tonal contrasts. The only “drawback” is that the focusing motor is your left hand — not so ultrasonic, but it’ll do.

1. Get your hands on a Canon FL 55mm f/1.2, which is somewhat hard to come by, but not so rare that it’s impossible. You might be able to find one at estate sales, your local camera shop, or eBay. I got mine at KEH.com. These usually got for $250-$400 depending on the condition. Just make sure there’s no fungus, and the usual used-gear precautions.

2. Order the EdMika 55mm-conversion kit, which comes with everything you need — including the screwdriver! They’re $124 + shipping (from Canada).

3. The kit also comes with 3 replacement-screws, plus an extra replacement-screw, and a spare ball-bearing.

4. You will need to remove the 3 original screws holding the FL mount onto the lens assembly. This only requires basic shop skills (i.e., righty-tighty, lefty-loosey).

5. Install the brass EF mount. The difficulty level is about a 2… out of 100. Super simple.

6. That’s it! Mount the lens onto your favorite Canon EOS, and start churning out the bokeh. One of the great things about this is that it’s not destructiveness — mount-swapping is reversible! So, keep the old FL mount in a safe place, in case you decide you want to use the lens on an older film camera.

Focus confirmation is achieved with a Dandelion chip. The chip that was attached to my copy was already pre-programmed for the 55mm f/1.2, so I could start cranking out photos as soon as I was finished tightening the last screw. The whole conversion took about 5 minutes — that’s with pauses to document the process. There’s also a YouTube video (not mine) that shows the whole process.

Happy shooting!

Check out my Facebook or Flickr for sample images from this lens.

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  1. 9 November 2011 at 09:41

    Thanks for this post. I have been doing the same with my SMC Takumar lenses from my Spotmatic days – most of them work well on my Canon EOS 5Dii and the optics are good quality and interesting. The lenses, for me, were languishing so it is nice to get them in action. Only caution, wider angles (35mm and wider) may come in contact with mirror unless modified or used very carefully. I have been on the lookout for other lenses that will work, so am glad to see this post.

    • 9 November 2011 at 10:51

      The thicker mirror frame on the Canon 5D2 will come into contact, when the lens is focused at infinity, but is fine 30ft/10m and closer — this does not happen with a 1Ds. I don’t have ready access to the 5D (classic), but I assume that it clears the entire focus range.

      • 12 November 2011 at 01:09

        For some of the Takumar lenses I understand that there is a difference between the EOS 5D and the 5Dii. For instance, the 35mm lens at infinity will hang up the mirror on my 5Dii, but I have heard not on the 5D. All the longer lenses there seems to be no problem. But these are the screw mount lenses (m42) from the Spotmatic. The k-mount lenses need modification to work, and probably some of them don’t work, but that is only from what I have read, never tried one of those.

  2. 15 November 2011 at 21:15

    Wow, nice writeup on our FL 55 1.2 adapter kit thanks. I’ll have to save a link and send people here for some unsolicited opinions on our EdMika kits. We have an FD 55 1.2 conversion kit in the pipeline so finding a fast good build quality 1.2 lens is about to get a whole lot easier than having to find the rarer FL version. -Ed Mika

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