Eric L. Woods

This Old Lens: Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 S.S.C

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Preface

Film or digital, no matter the camera, if the lens is no good none of those other things will matter. There will be no spoilers as I will like all of these lenses. This lens was a byproduct of my odd obsession with the Canon T70. Why? I don’t know. Perhaps a mild obsession with oddballs. But the T70 is quite the capable oddball.

Canon T70

Anyhoo. The lens.

Canon T70

Asking Price

This lens can be found from $45 to $90 fairly easily. I in no way claim to be an expert on FD Canon lens provenance so one version may perform better than another.

Value

This lens is an excellent value considering its f/1.4 aperture and performance/build (more on that below). Unlike the significant price spread between some same mount 50mm film SLR lenses, like the Contax Zeiss CY f/1.7 and f/1.4, the small price difference between this lens and slower f/1.8 (a fine lens) makes the f/1.4 an easy pick. For adapting to mirrorless the mount does not matter of course. While there are other similarly priced used film era 50mm f/1.4 manual focus lens options one could easily spend much more. New manual focus SLR/DSLR and Mirrorless lenses with this same 50mm f/1.4 spec are even more of course.

Why I Bought It

Because T70. Anything more than that is gravy. And there is more.

Image Quality

As mentioned I have had the FD f/1.8 which I used with the Canon AE-1 Program.

#canonae1program #canon50mmf1_8 #film #filmisnotdead #believeinfilm #gobrokeshootfilm #staybrokeshootfilm #ishootfilm

Nice lens. This one is better.

  • Flare
    • Have not witnessed any flare with this lens.
  • Sharpness
    • This lens is so sharp that it surprised me. It is one of the best lenses I have tried wide open. Impressive for an inexpensive f/1.4 lens.
  • Colors
    • Has no big name Zeiss like brand puffery but it puts in a very impressive performance nonetheless.
  • Bokeh
    • Another surprise. Very nice bokeh. See samples.

Samples With Film (Canon T70)

Canon T70
Canon T70/Canon FD 50mm f1.4 S.S.C
Lomography 400
Canon T70/Canon FD 50mm f1.4 S.S.C
Lomography 400
Canon T70/Canon FD 50mm f1.4 S.S.C
Lomography 400
Canon T70/Canon FD 50mm f1.4 S.S.C
Lomography 400
Canon T70/Canon FD 50mm f1.4 S.S.C
Lomography 400
Canon T70/Canon FD 50mm f1.4 S.S.C
Lomography 400
Canon T70/Canon FD 50mm f1.4 S.S.C
Lomography 400
Canon T70/Canon FD 50mm f1.4 S.S.C
Lomography 400
Canon T70/Canon FD 50mm f1.4 S.S.C
Lomography 400

With Digital

Canon 50mm f/1.4
Used with FD to LM and LM to Sony E Helicoid adapter. for close focus
Canon 50mm f/1.4
Wide open at f/1.4
Canon 50mm f/1.4
Closed down to f/5.6
Canon 50mm f/1.4
Canon 50mm f/1.4
Canon 50mm f/1.4
Shot wide open and cropped. for framing
Canon 50mm f/1.4
Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 S.S.C
Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 S.S.C
Close focus adapter test in near dark.

Conclusion

Seriously, I wish I knew how well this lens performed before. Would have still purchased other lenses, but this one would have definitely been added sooner. A great value. While I like the Zeiss lenses I have reviewed a bit better this is still a fine performer. I recommend it for film, but it does very well with digital.

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