Completely confused by aperture on FL lenses

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by ntenny, Sep 19, 2009.

  1. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    So I've got this Canon AE-1. Lovely camera, beautiful plumage, &c., &c. I inherited it along with a 50mm FD lens, which works great, and a 28mm FL lens, which I gave up on because the aperture didn't seem to work---no matter what I did, it was wide open. So I figured it was broken and didn't worry about it further.

    I've just bought another FL lens, and I find the aperture doesn't seem to work on that one either. Set the aperture, shoot, and it doesn't stop down for the shot. Set the aperture, hit the DOF switch, and it doesn't stop down. Take the lens off the camera and poke the aperture lever by hand, and it doesn't stop down.

    Now I'm figuring that the first lens probably isn't broken after all, but I don't understand how to make FL lenses work properly. Can someone explain to me what incantation to perform to make the apertures work?

    These are third-party lenses (Zesnar, apparently a Soviet manufacturer from what I can gather), by the way; they don't appear to have the two-ring "select/lock" system that some (all?) of the Canon-made FL lenses had. The only moving parts are the breechlock ring, the focus, and a single aperture ring.

    Thanks

    -NT
     
  2. Mike P

    Mike P Member

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    From memory, the FL lenses I had used the same stop-down system as my FDs. I used them interchangeably with my FD lenses on cameras like the FT and FX. It was the earlier lenses that used a different system. Only some FLs had a two ring system with an A-M switch. Many did not.
     
  3. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    OK, so I've got the single-ring kind. Any memory of what I need to do to make the diaphragm do its thing?

    -NT
     
  4. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    Aperture On FL Lenses

    There is no particluar advantage to using FL lenses on a Canon AE-1. Most of them will mount properly but none of them will give you either full aperture metering or automatic exposure. I have many FL lenses from 28-200. I wouldn't say there is anything special about the 28/3.5 FL. If you have a camera like the Canon F-1 or FTb, using stop down metering is fairly simple. The A series cameras are much more cumbersome to use that way. The Canon 28/2.8 FD SC sells for very little and is quite sharp. The 28/2.8 New FD is also cheap and sharp.
     
  5. elekm

    elekm Member

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    If the aperture blades won't close, there are two likely causes: The mechanism is gummed up or there is oil or moisture on the aperture blades.

    I've seen this before, and it's not too difficult to remove the oil, but some disassembly and removal of lens elements is often part of the process.
     
  6. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Does this mean that as far as anyone can tell I'm doing it right, and I just have the ill luck to have two lenses that both have the same problem? I'm a little sceptical---for one thing, it would be quite unlike my father-in-law to have kept a lens in a non-working condition. I'm still inclined to think this is a case of operator error.

    Can someone give me pathetically explicit, step-by-step instructions for doing stop-down metering with an FL lens on an AE-1?

    Thanks

    -NT
     
  7. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    ...except that I, y'know, *have* them. The putative disadvantages are things that don't really bother me, and I kind of enjoy bottom-feeding for strange old equipment.

    -NT
     
  8. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    Sure, but first a question just to be sure. I'm going by dim recall here cuz I haven't owned or used an FL lens in years, but you might have to rotate your breech lock ring counter clockwise before the aperture will open and close. I know this is the case with breech lock FD lenses, but can no longer recall if this has to be done with FL-style lenses. Now, with an FD lens, in order to rotate the breech lock when it's off the camera, there's a pin on the rear of the lens, inside of the breech lock ring, that has to be depressed before the ring will rotate. A ball-point pen is sufficient to depress this pin.

    If you cannot get the aperture blades to move doing this, then they're most likely stuck.

    Now, assuming that the aperture opens and closes normally, mount the lens to the camera and push the stop down switch to the right until it clicks in place. Meter the scene by adjusting shutter speeds and/or the aperture ring until the needle aligns with the Stop-Down Index Mark, which is a protruding mark next to 5.6 on the scale inside the viewfinder.

    BTW, I am a big fan of some of Canon's FL lenses. The 55mm f/1.2 is actually pretty decent, and the 35mm f/2.5 is the nicest 35mm lens I've ever used.

    Michael
     
  9. elekm

    elekm Member

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    It's been a while since I handled an FL lens, but with nearly all non-electronic camera lenses, you should be able to operate the aperture manually when the lens isn't mounted on the camera.

    It's often a pin or lever. Close the aperture to f/8 or minimum aperture and try to see if you can get the lens aperture to open and close manually.
     
  10. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    OK---that's what I'm trying to do. If the shutter is cocked, I can sort of feel that a mechanism is engaging somewhere in there---this happens with FD lenses as well---but the blades don't actually close.

    So I guess I've got two lenses with the same problem. Well, they're usable at full aperture, which might not be so bad for some uses, and maybe one of these days opening one up to clean it will make it up to the top of my to-do list...

    Thanks for all the assistance, everyone.

    -NT
     
  11. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    I have been reading a fair amount about the FL lenses because of my purchase of the 2 great lenses that have been mentioned here. Some where it said the apature will remain open until the shutter is activated. Keep checking the links from Wicopedia they might have better info than I do.
     
  12. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Do the FD lenses stop down? If they don't it's camera linkage not lens.

    The FL lenses didn't have the interlock for the breech lock or open aperture linkages.
    If you set the f to 16 & move the lever at the back of the lens it should stop down. If it doesn't 99:1 it's oily blades. When it was put away it most likely worked. This is something that happens over time.
     
  13. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    Yes, the FL lenses provide for full-aperture viewing, but not metering. You have to stop down the lens to meter the scene, but you don't have to leave it stopped down when taking the photo.

    Michael
     
  14. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    FL lenses

    Thanks for the info. It is hard to line up information on old lenses because you run into so many different options etc on the lenses. Turns out that that was the way I was doing it. I just experimented on running my FL 55mm f/1.2 on my A1 today but I forgot that there was colour film in it so I'll have to wait to get it processed.
     
  15. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    You know, now that I think about it a bit more, I think I may have misspoke, er, mistyped. Dang it, I wish I had an FL lens handy. Most Canon FL lenses have a separate ring that allows the user to open and close the iris without having to adjust the aperture ring, much like the way many "preset" lenses operate. This is to aid in focusing ease. So, when you push in the stop down lever, and click it into place, the lens aperture is now stopped down, and you can meter the scene. You must leave it like this when you take the photo. That separate ring, you can use to momentarily open up the aperture to insure correct focus, then you turn the ring back and take the picture. Sorry about the mistake there. It's been over 20 years since I've shot with an FL lens.

    Michael
     
  16. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    Yes it would seem that the FL lenses on FD bodies are a combination that has a few variables. I have tried it stopped down but I won't know the outcome until I shoot the whole roll and develop it. I not going to be too much more experimenting until I find out.
     
  17. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    Took the FL off the A1 FD and put FL back on the FT. So everything will be OK :D :D :cool: :munch:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 21, 2009
  18. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    22
     
  19. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    John, I was referring specifically to using FL lenses on FD cameras. I probably should have been more clear. What I wrote above agrees with both my Canon AE-1 and AE-1 Program user manuals.

    Michael
     
  20. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    I just acquired a manual on the FT QL and I see my 2 lenses are different. On one of them there is a separate ring. One has a manual aperture ring as well as the preset. The other has the automatic ring as well manual. That might be one of the problems setting apature. So different instructions for each kind of FL lens. I see that it was explained before but not the FULL description that is in the manual. Like the saying goes if all else fails read the manual. Worked for me anyways.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2009