The Toothpick Trick

For a while now, we wanted to explain in detail what the toothpick trick is, what it does, and why it's important, finally, we'll try to make it as clear as possible, by explaining how to do it and why you should know about this.

I recently got an email from a client asking us why his used lens, which he bought from us didn't work, basically he couldn't adjust his aperture, he went as far as taking it in to a local repair shop to see if they could figure out why his lens wasn't working, and they told him, it would be too expensive to fix, and that it would be better if he got a new one. Well as we all know, Canon FD Lenses aren't in production anymore, so getting a new one, is actually a rare experience. Either way for the benefit of everyone, in our small community of independent filmakers, experienced and beginners, here's the solution using the so often called the "toothpick trick".


Basically, Old Canon FD Lenses, have this aperture lever which when it is not engaged, the aperture will not work. Originally, while mounting the lenses on the SLR cameras, the body had a stopper that would engage the lever, and while your lens was mounted, then it would allow your aperture ring to function. Well since the Jag35 adapters don't have this stopper, the lever never gets triggered, so simply mounting your lens alone will not work, which is where the toothpick trick comes in.


If you basically take a toothpick and cut it to right size, you'll need to push the aperture lever to try and measure it to be approximately the right size, it doesn't have to be exact but the closer you get it, the better, as you do need to have the lever pushed all the way for it to work correctly. Once you have the toothpick cut to the right size, you'll basically have to pull the aperture lever back, and jam the toothpick inside the track where the lever moves, to stop the lever from moving returning. On most lenses the lever spring is pretty strong, so simply pulling the lever and dropping the toothpick in and releasing the lever, it usually has enough pressure to hold the toothpick in place and keepin' the lever engaged. Keep in mind that your aperture is still not gonna work after this, you'll still need to mount your lens on the Jag35 Adapter, then you'll be able to see the aperture manually adjust as you turn your aperture ring.


If you plan to use this lens exclusively with the Jag35 Adapter, we sometimes put a couple of drops of hot glue to ensure the toothpick stays in place, and usually that eliminates the chances of the toothpick slipping out while your doing a shoot or while adjusting your aperture in between shots.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I take it this lens is a Canon 50mm 1.8?

Misa Garcia said...

It's either a 50mm f1.8 or f1.4 - I can't quite remember exactly, but the procedure is exactly the same for both of these.

Josh said...

Great!

I had the exact same problem and thought it was just something wrong with the iris being stuck (and the eBayer I got it from screwing me over) but after fiddling around for a little bit, I managed to get it working exactly like you said.

On a side note, I'm surprised I didn't see this earlier! I think you guys should consider a slight revamp of the website to make the information more accessible. For instance, I remember finding a link to buying the Achromat along with the Jag35 adapter from one page, and then the next day when I went to go back, I couldn't find it again! I.e: the link is only on one page (Products > Accessories) but not on things like FAQ > "What is an Achromat" or even "All About Achromats" on the Blog.

In the same way, this article is listed under the blog, but I didn't notice any mention of it in the FAQ.

Not to be critical of you guys or anything, I think you're doing a great job, but just a couple of things to keep in mind in terms of making sure that customers (like me, haha) aren't confused when they find the answer to FAQ questions in the blog, but not in the FAQ, hehe.

Dustin said...

Ha! I think this might be my problem! I just got my Jag two days ago and have not been happy, today I was looking at the aperature and it looked closed, but I had it open all the way, I shrugged it off like a buffoon, I'm glad I came here.

I'll post again when I find out for sure.

Dennis said...

When I purchase my Jag35 bundle, will it already have the "toothpick trick" implemented? Can I request it (with hot glue)? I'll only be using the lens with my adapter.

Anonymous said...

***Hey this is some interesting news for all Nikon Lens owners***

This same "toothpick" technique can be used on Nikon AF-S lenses! I just did the same thing on my 18mm-55mm lens. But I used sticky tack gum, but same principle, you just "manually force the aperture open. Keep in mind you get a brighter picture with a faster lens, mine was a 4.8 and it was pretty dark!

Anywho just an FYI to all you people out there with Nikon D40 kits, like me! :)

superek4 said...

Can the aperature still be ajusted with this techique while on the dslr?

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