Manual Focus shooters - what classic lenses do you use?

Started Jul 4, 2014 | Discussions thread
MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 36,007
Re: Manual Focus shooters - what classic lenses do you use?

Eric Nepean wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

Maklike Tier wrote:

I've been thinking about the Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 as my next lens, but instead of that I was maybe thinking about trying to find some classic glass and attaching it to my E-P5.

For all you manual focus fans out there, what would be a great piece of glass for MF street and general walkabout style shooting?

Wides seem very popular but what is wrong with medium telephoto?

If you find an exquisite Canon FL 50mm f1.4 and fit it to a FD focal reducer you get a very sharp MF lens of some real quality. Also the focal reducer converts the lens by giving an extra stop of light and the net effect on the crop factor is 1.4x instead of 2.0x.

In effect your FL 50mm f1.4 becomes a 70mm f1.0.

I have the FD 50mm F1.4 and find this works great ... do you know if there is an IQ difference between the FL and FD series?


FL/FD has never worried me - I have some "20" FD/FL lenses including the three FD 50mm f1.2 versions, 85mm f1.8, 20mm f2.0, 100mm f2.0, 200mm f2.8 and lesser lights.  I find them all good, perhaps the FD f1.2 lenses tended to slightly disappoint my great expectations of them.  The FL lenses are generally larger and heavier.  It was a son who bought himself a 50mm f1.4 FL lens that raised my jealousy.  I am now convinced tht he is simply a better photographer as well.  In any case I did buy several 50/1.4 FL lenses until I found a really good one.  There are two types and perhaps the older one is very slightly better.  But I found out how to fix sticky/stuck apertures in the process as it seems a common compliant with these old lenses - probably from years of low level use.

I also have the large FL 55mm f1.2 and am happy with it but think that the f1.4 is better value bang for buck and is probably sharper.  There is a whole study in the various FL "50's" and I am far from an expert but I consider them all good lenses.  Some swear by the SSC and chrome noses but I don't own them.  There are some remarkably well preserved versions about.  I have a few and they are all in excellent condition. You have to be careful about the rear elements as they are well exposed and easily damaged - never should be left uncapped and care taken in mounting. Apart from the sticky apertures and the eeasily damaged rear elements they seem to be solid, heavy, well made, sharp lenses that will last another sixty or so years and create many happy grins.

I also have the 35mm f2.5 FL "bulge back" which does not fit Chinese lateral post adapters and the 35mm f2.0 which has a "normal" mechanism cover.

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Tom Caldwell

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