Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

Canon FL 55mm f/1.2 lens onto EOS cameras

9 November 2011 4 comments

“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 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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Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse of 2010 Dec 21, taken at 01:53 -- Canon 40D 300mm f/5.6 ISO 1600 1.3s (edits: cropped to 50%)

I am supposed to be coding vertical cross-sections off of a 3D tomographic volume. Instead, I am chillin’ (somewhat literally) outside and enjoying the celestial expo.

Lumix GF1 autofocus issue

So I ordered a MFT camera over the weekend, and had it overnighted, so that I can play with it and take it to a family gathering for this coming weekend.

My awaited Lumix GF1 with the 20mm kit lens came in yesterday morning, thanks to and FedEx. It felt awesome opening the box; unwrapping the accessories; and finally piecing together the lens and camera. A thing of beauty. That was, until…

I tried to take a photograph, and the autofocus started going bananas! Depressing the shutter button half-way sent the focusing motor into a cyclic frenzy trying to find something to focus on. Even when I took my finger off the shutter button it still continued to autofocus.

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Photo Gallery: Puerto Rico

In the midst of a prolonged Winter spill in Oklahoma, and the rest of the United States for that matter, I didn’t need much convincing to go to Puerto Rico for a gravity survey. Though it was mainly for work, we did get a chance to stop by the beach near the Aguadilla airport.

Puerto Rico 2010

Click on the pic to see the photos.

Photo Gallery: China Revisited

The year started off with a return from Hawaii, and another visit to China. The trip was a great scientific endeavor, but I could say less for my photographic ventures. I saw my third solar eclipse, but was working that day so I didn’t bring my camera (RATS!). The setting was surreal as the pollution made viewing the eclipse possible without the need for optical doohickeys such as a pinhole projector. Oh, how I regretted not taking my camera that day.

I try to expand my photographic boundaries every trip I make. Although, I didn’t take much photographs this time around, I did learn a lot about photography. One that comes to mind is the importance of tripods. I took a light-weight tripod for the convenience of traveling, but sacrificed (what could have been) a good shot because of it. Lesson learned. Never again.

Bird's Nest

At least a few of the shots came out passable… Maybe.

Photo Gallery: Testing the waters in Hawaii

Hawaii 2010Hawaii, so many beautiful things to see. BUT, I was too busy stuffing my face with local food that I didn’t have much time to take photos. Coming back to the islands has become somewhat routine. I come home, stay at my mom’s house, and gain 20 pounds while I eat my way through island favorite (more on this late). This time around, I wanted to do something different.

Mainly due to the great influence of Chinese culture, I believe the state of Hawaii is the only state in the union to welcome each new year with ridiculous amounts of fireworks/firecrackers. The flares, smoke, and noise are ubiquitous at the stroke on midnight – and we wouldn’t want it any other way. I remember the weather report on New Year’s Eve: Partly cloudy with a chance of showers on the windward side throughout the day, with heavy patches of smoke appearing after midnight. Seriously, if you think dropping a ball in Times Square is exciting, come and stay in Waimanalo for new year celebration.

With that said, I took the opportunity to try firework photography. I’ve never done it before – “How hard can it be?”, I thought. Well, I’d say 2 of about 80 shots turned out well – but you be the judge. For that, I’d like to thank my anonymous neighbor for setting off the beautiful aerial fireworks. Note: aerial fireworks are not exactly legal in Hawaii (unless you have a commercial permit or something), so shhh…

I also tried capturing some high dynamic range (HDR) photographs, but these were hand-held ventures due to my lack of a tripod at the time.

Photo Gallery: China & Alcatraz

I had completely forgotten that I updated the photo gallery to include some shots from my December trips to China and Alcatraz. D’oh! I’ll leave the pictures below without captions, hopefully they’ll be self-evident as to which is which.

China 2009

Alcatraz 2009