Hello and welcome back to another installment of #filmsesh where we talk all things film. In this session we will be introducing something we’re well acquainted with - lens adapters. To be more specific a 3D printed adapter.
Here at Fotodiox we are well known for manufacturing lens adapters for just about every modern camera and even those that predate digital. But we’re not here to completely geek out about lens adapters alone.
We will be discussing an adapter that was 3D printed and allows Minolta MD lenses to be mounted onto a Canon FD camera.
The adapter was found on Thingiverse and printed using Treatstock. Its simple to use and anyone wanting to try out this adapter can do so with a couple clicks of a mouse and for as low as $12 with shipping. We’ll link the adapter at the end of this post.
Made from good old ABS plastic the adapter is designed to be printed in one piece. There are no leaf springs or brass mounts. It is simply an all plastic adapter with no locking pins and only has mounting marks for the FD side of the adapter. A small notch on the FD side seems to lock the MD bayonet in place.
This adapter also sports a “try at your own risk” label and should be carefully used.
If you have a Minolta MD camera, I suggest lining up the adapter to the bayonet of the camera in order to mark where to properly mount your MD lens:
I strongly suggest that the adapter be mounted to the FD body first, and be sure that the adapter snaps on flush to the camera. At this point you’ll want to turn the adapter clockwise until its tight enough but not jammed.
After that, the lens can be mounted slowly as to feel when the fin on the MD bayonet locks onto the pin of the adapter. Once this is done, you’re ready to shoot.
Since I was using the Canon A-1 to do this shoot, the cameras autoexposure modes will not function properly. The Canon A-1 features automatic exposure modes (TV, AV, P); to get to M mode the A-1 needs to be set to TV in order to control the shutter speed.
Aperture control is done through the lens, in this case a Minolta MD Rokkor-X 45mm f/2. A very affordable lens with amazing micro-contrast, I highly recommend this hidden gem of a lens.
I also used a free light meter app to determine my exposure. The app I used was only available on iOS, but I read the reviews and tried a few out before settling with one.
Despite all the play from the adapter there was never any sign of light leaks:
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One of the biggest challenges was focusing for a shot where the exposure called for anything above f/4. As the iris in the lens is stopped down, there is a loss of light that makes it difficult to see what is in focus. This also renders the split image focusing screen useless:
The center point of the screen which helps you focus becomes black, preventing you from knowing if you’re in focus or not. You could focus and then stop down the lens by feeling the click on the aperture scale. The issue with this method is that you must be gentle because the lens can easily rotate off.
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What is impressive about the adapter is INFINITY FOCUS. For being something so crudely manufactured it allows you to focus to infinity right on the mark. I was very skeptical about this claim by the creator, but it is available.
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This is a fun adapter to play with especially if you already have the lenses and cameras necessary for it, and once you overcome the quirks you can focus on shooting. If you’re the experimental type, try this out; I think you’ll enjoy it. There are awesome Minolta MD lenses that blow Canon glass out of the water and this adapter helps bridge that gap. As promised, here's a link to the adapter.
If you give this adapter a try share your photos using #filmsesh wherever you post your content. Leave a comment below and subscribe to our newsletter for more.
Let’s keep film alive and well.