Put Together an 800mm Frankenlens for Only $100

Big focal length usually translates into big money. If you don’t have thousands to spend on a high-quality far-reaching super-telephoto lens, the fine folks over at Screaming Tree Films came up with this 800mm Frankenlens that’ll only make your wallet around $100 lighter (as opposed to thousands).

All you need is a cheap 400mm lens (he uses a $50 Vivitar 400mm f/5.6 in the video), a Canon FD 2X extender (purchased off eBay for $27), and a Canon FD to EF converter (approximately $30 on Amazon).

All together, that’ll turn your 400mm lens into an 800mm lens with 1280mm in reach when used on a crop frame camera.


Here are some sample shots taken using the lens attached to a Canon 60D:





Of course, the quality doesn’t hold a candle to the results you’ll get with, say, Canon’s $13K 800mm f/5.6 — with all that glass you’ll need great light and high ISO to get anything useable — but it’s a fun super-telephoto lens to play around with for only $100.

(via Screaming Tree Films via Reddit)

Image credits: Video and photographs by Screaming Tree Films

  • Travis

    When you adapt FD lenses to the flange distance of an EF mount, the adapter works as a slight tele-convertor to maintain infinity focus as well, I hear. So the reach might be even more than 800?

  • 11

    you might be better off using a new mirror lens…which is also cheap

  • Dave

    I always wanted a photo of solar panels covered in cormorant poop on my wall.

  • Ben Jacobsen

    or for ~$180 you can get a t-mount lens and at least not have so many extra optics in there…

  • Theroller

    What about the samyang, rokinon etc. Almost the same prize for 800mm, 500mm, 650-1300mm but “worth” the money?

  • Richard

    I think this guy is great and so is what he’s doing. The video is great too. Love the moon base. We need more videos like this.

  • Mansgame

    No, it’s 8oomm. Even on a cropped sensor camera the lens is still 800mm.

  • Leonardo Abreu

    lol Frankenlens

  • El_Fez

    That’s a great lens. . . if you’re looking to take pictures at high noon. . . of the sun. On venus.

  • Ken Elliott

    Years ago, I tested a 500mm mirror lens, a 70-300 prosumer zoom, and a 70-200 pro zoom. I photographed the moon. I cropped the zooms to match the 500mm mirror lens. The 70-300 blew away the 500, and the 70-200 was even better. I’ve never bothered with cheap long lenses since.

  • Bill

    The cool thing is, for a bit more $$ than a $100, you can get some really decent glass let’s say from an old Canon FD mount long lens, buy a FD to EF adapter, then use an extension tube to really get some massive focal length.
    Sorry Nikon and other guys, just not familiar with all the other makes of vintage gear, but I am sure it’s out there.
    You see these FD mounts like a Canon 400mm 2.8 FD mount for sale at very good prices compared to their EF mount cousins, usually under $1500.
    Only drawback, like this guy said would be that it wouldn’t be for fast re-action type shooting, everything would be manual.

    Love the people who take the plunge and make their own gear. I always look at old [vintage] glass when at swap meets or yard sales, but sadly most are beat up to be useful.

  • Ralph Hightower

    Is there an EOS to FD mount adapter?

  • Greg McKay

    “Majestic huh, The sound like flying Mule deer.” <- My favorite quote!

  • kendon

    if the adapter works as teleconverter then yes, it does have more than 800mm. teleconverters change the characteristics of the optical system, including focal length.

  • Michael Andrew Broughton

    how the hell is this remotely newsworthy? some guy put a teleconverter and mount converter on an old lens… so freaking what?! people have been doing that for as long as teleconverters and mount converters have existed. that’s what they’re for! duh! the lens isn’t even modified in any way. frankenlens my ass.