Freelensing with Canon FD 50mm f1.8 SC

In a garage cleaning expedition, I came across (and dropped twice) a quaint little freelens that had been misplaced at some point in its life. Happily I brought it into the house with inklings of doing some freelensing in the near future. This lens is SOLID with an all metal body and vibrant bright orange distance markings on the barrel. For the most part the glass is clean, minus a spiffy chunk of something sandwiched between the glass (it doesn’t affect the images).

Originally the lens sported a silver breech-lock ring at the base of the lens mount, that denotes that this lens originates between the years of 1971 to 1973. It looked like this (not my picture and thusly not my exact lens):

Depending on the time I turned this lens into a freelens, the breech-lock has been transformed into a spiffy bracelet (or is lying around my house somewhere).  How the lens looks as a freelens (photographed randomly by my Nikon 50mm f1.8 D lens – 5o shooting 50). Note the chunk in the first image – towards the right side, nearly centered on the open space between SC & Canon on the right.

The biggest thing about removing the rear mount and breech-lock is there is a wicked metal piece that extrudes from the body. Its unpainted, kind of neat looking and ultimately changes how this lens works as a freelens.  Canon & Nikon have always made their lenses differently, and this also relates to their mirror boxes. Nikon has a bit deeper mirror box, which means freelenses need to get closer to the sensor to allow the lens to focus both close and to infinity. The spiffy metal piece doesn’t allow the rear glass element to get close enough to the sensor for infinite focus, but it does still work as a close range freelens.

A little frustrated that I couldn’t do any freelensing of subjects farther than approx an arms length away, I decided to flip the lens around and use it as a reverse macro. Some of the better reverse macro images I have created. And they are sharp!

Here’s an example of the difference between freelensing and reverse macro. Can you tell which is which?