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

Started Mar 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
boardsy Senior Member • Posts: 2,215
Re: Canon FDn vs. others

ProfHankD wrote:

Michael Everett wrote:

I tried a few, including the OM 50 1.8 Japan version, the Zeiss Planar 1.7, the Canon Fd 50 1.4, and the Canon FDn 50 1.4.  The Canon FDn outperformed them all, including the Zeiss.  It's so sharp it's almost scary, and it is even sharp at 1.4.  FDn prices have gone up, and a good one is now around $100, but it's worth it IMO.

I've said this before, but based on the over 125 lenses I own and have tested, the Canon FDn adoration that often surfaces in this forum is not well grounded. (I don't have enough experience with Zeiss or OM glass to comment on those.) The Canon FDn line was produced in huge quantities, and they only work on mirrorless digitals, so many FDn lenses are widely available and not too expensive, but the FDn 50mm f/1.4 is somehow commonly selling for about twice what the IQ/build would justify relative to most competitors.

From what I've seen, Canon FDn lenses tend to have very good contrast, but other IQ attributes (color, bokeh, edge sharpness, etc.) are often poorer than for competitors. 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.

Really? According to your review "Around f/5.6, this lens is a winner: perfectly sharp with high contrast across the APS-C frame. At wider apertures, bokeh are better than average (MUCH better than its f/1.8 siblings) ... which also gives glow and low contrast wide open...a bit below average in IQ wide open. Of course, a bit below average is still darn good when talking about fast 50s." Personally my only gripe with the FDn 50/1.4 is slightly odd bokeh wide open, where sharp lines diverge. I prefer the bokeh on the FDn 35/2, the Olympus OM made in Japan 50/1.8, or the Minolta MC Rokkor PG 50/1.4.

50/1.4 at f22 (just to see!):

Wide open, hand-held snap in low light, through thick cabinet glass:

^ Both on the old 14MP NEX-5, from JPG, not RAW.

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.

If you say so, but my FDn 100/2.8 (got cheap due to a loose mount which just needed a simple  screw-tightening job), 50/1.4, 35/2, (feather-weight) 28/2.8, and 24/2.8 work perfectly and are an almost perfect weight and ergonomic compromise between plastic, glass and metal - not as "re-assuringly" hefty as say my MC Rokkor PG 50/1.4 but more easy to carry, handle and focus.  I often have to Gaussian blur portraits taken by the 50/1.4 and 35/2, they're too sharp!

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