Saturday, November 30, 2013

$1 lens for my Canon EOS M

One of the cool things about the new mirrorless cameras is their shallow focal depth. With an adapter you can attach just about any lens. Of course most old lenses have to be focused manually, but if that's not a problem for you there's tons of old glass practically being given away.

Canon fixed their slow EOS M autofocus problem which initially drove the price into the ground so I had been planning on getting my hands on one. Luckily, my beautiful and generous wife bought me one for our Anivistmas (Anniversary/Christmas).

There are plenty of reviews on this camera so I'm just going to talk about the lenses here. I went a little crazy on eBay and have about eight cheap lenses on the way. Today I got my first adapter and lens in the mail. The adapter is for the old Canon FD/FL film lenses and my first lens is a 50mm 1/1.8 which was listed on eBay as damaged because a Hoya Skylight filter was stuck on the front. Final price, 99 cents.

My EOS M came with a nice 18-55mm 1:35-56 image stabilizer lens that's a good all-purpose and great video lens. I'm comparing it to the eBay lens to show how cheap and easy a specialized lens can be had for this camera. My thought was that the old lens would be good for low light imaging and I was right.

Here's the stock 18-55mm lens that came with the camera. It's a great lens with image stabilization. Indoor shots at night like the one below come out grainy without a flash. The EOS M has a hot shoe but I just really don't like the shadows and flatness you get from a flash.

Here's a cropped section from stock 18-55mm lens. The full image was actually pretty good considering the amount of light that was available.
Here's the $1 Canon FD 50mm 1:1.8 lens purchased on eBay. I think it gives the camera a cool retro look. As you can see in the image below, this lens lets in much more light. If you don't mind spending a little extra you can get autofocus from an EF 1.8 lens and have the light advantage too. Also, something to keep in mind is the conversion factor when you buy a film lens. With the 1.6 sensor conversion, this 50mm acts like an 80mm so plan on the extra built-in zoom.

You can tell that the sensor has much more light to work with when the old 1:1.8 lens is used.

So far I've ordered five lenses for around a dollar each before shipping costs. The most I've paid is $20 for a digital EF lens. Like I've said, there are lots of reviews to help you decide whether this camera is good for you. I wanted the camera because it's a good fit for me. It's small enough that I can hike with it and attach it to a telescope without throwing the weight off. That said, I recommend it mostly because it's fun.

Right now the EOS M price is down to around $350 with a lens or $250 without. Not bad for what is basically a smaller mirrorless Rebel t4i.