Good 50mm Lens For Sony Nex ... on a Budget?

Started Mar 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
Michael Everett Senior Member • Posts: 1,944
Re: Canon FDn vs. others

ProfHankD wrote:

For the two Canon 50mm f/1.4 I've tested, I found the "silvernose" FD to be surprisingly different from, and significantly better in build and IQ overall than, the FDn.

Just the opposite in my experience.

If you get one be sure to pay the extra for one in good condition, because it was a pro lens in its time, and many have taken a lot of rough treatment.

The Canon FDn line makes an engineered optical performance gap between consumer and pro lenses. For Canon FDn (as for EF), pro lenses generally get the "L" designation, like the f/1.2 L. The f/1.8 and f/1.4 were the standard kit lens options. However, the FDn f/1.4 is an upgrade over their  f/1.8 in IQ as well as speed.

True but very few lenses had that L designation, and it usually meant that there was something special about it, special elements, extra-fast or something of that sort.  The Canon F1, a pro camera and Canon's answer to the Nikon F, commonly came with the FD 50/1.4.  In the 1970s the L designation was so rare that non-L lenses cannot be considered not-pro lenses.  Even the FD 35/2, which had a thorium element, did not have an L designation.

It is mechanically a very solid lens, however.

What? The FDn lens line is among the first to be nearly 100% plastic bodied, and the hacks needed to make a bayonet compatible with the technically-superior-but-awkward-to-use FL/FD breech lock mount produced one of the weakest bayonets ever made. There is also an issue involving the aperture defaulting to open rather than closed, making stuck-open apertures more common in Canon FD/FDn mount and requiring a pin in the NEX E-mount adapter. Something about the build/glass/coatings also seems to make old Canon lenses a tad more prone to fungus growth than most lenses. In summary, FDn build is still better than your average modern (plastic-bodied autofocus) lens, but totally outclassed by most manual lenses -- including the Canon FL line.

I will admit that the build quality usually is not a problem for FDn lenses, the lightweight plastic makes many FDn lenses balance well on a NEX, and the pin in the NEX adapters means all FDn lenses behave as presets (not just manuals). Still, "very solid" seems a very generous rating....

I'll concede your argument on this one.  I just know that my FDn lenses work beautifully and I have had no problems them.

As I said in a previous post, I am becoming more and more convinced that the sample matters almost more than the type, which makes buying one a tricky business.  Just make sure you have return privileges.


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