A detailed test of Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L against Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM on Sony A7R II

Started Aug 5, 2017 | User reviews
jarek leo
jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
A detailed test of Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L against Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM on Sony A7R II
8

I published a post on 40 years of the development of Canon’s superfast portrait lens and a detailed test comparing Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L, which in terms of optical formula follows the design of the original Canon FD 85mm f/1.2 S.S.C. Aspherical, against the current Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM. Both lenses were tested on Sony A7R II – a full-frame mirrorless camera with high resolution sensor, which allows mounting of both Canon FD and Canon EF lenses. The test was an eye-opener for me: four decades have passed and so little has changed in terms of optical properties.

Let me summarize the results:

Distortion: Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L has very small barrel distortion while Canon EF 85 mm f/1.2L II USM is almost perfectly corrected.

Vignetting: Both lenses behave very similarly with visible – but still very low for such fast lenses – vignetting wide open, which disappears completely by f/2.8.

Chromatic aberration: Both lenses display visible bokeh fringing in specular highlight, which only becomes unobtrusive at f/6.7.

Bokeh: Quality of bokeh greatly depends on the background; when there are no specular highlights both lenses render creamy, clean backgrounds at and near full aperture opening; with highlights in out-of-focus areas, both lenses display some busy bokeh – onion rings attributable to aspherical lens in the design, and swirly bokeh attributable to poor correction of coma; Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L is worse off with onion rings, while Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM shows more distracting swirly bokeh. After stopping down, the 8-blade aperture mechanism renders octagonal highlights.

Flare: Dedicated lens hoods are very effective; still with sunlight near the image edge, some flare is unavoidable.

Sharpness and contrast: At f/1.2 both lenses show decent contrast across entire frame and good sharpness in the center, with edges clearly lagging behind; Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L is slightly sharper in the center but its edges show a little less sharpness than Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM. The contrast of both lenses becomes excellent already when stopped down to f/1.7-f/2; sharpness in the center also improves very fast upon stopping down – at f/2 for Canon FD 85mm f.1.2L and at f/2.8 for Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM. Edge sharpness catches up with the center at f/4 for Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM while Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L needs to be stopped to f/5.6 to achieve this feat. Optical quality take a slight hit already at f/11 due to diffraction.

Both lenses are non-IF designs so there is no focus breathing. Optically they are so close that photos taken from a tripod alternately are almost indistinguishable.

The test is testament to what Canon’s engineers achieved 41 ago when the first version of the superfast portrait lens was marketed. For Canon EOS users the choice is obvious, as Canon FD lenses cannot be mounted on their cameras without extensive modifications or use of an optical adapter. For mirrorless users, however, Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L is a viable choice, being much lighter and smaller, requiring only a cheap adapter to work (Metabones adapter for Canon EF lenses is much more expensive and AF is still disappointing with Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM). Also it is less likely to fail after years of use as no electricity is needed to operate it; the Canon EF lenses (both the first and second version) have “focus by wire” feature so if the motor breaks, it’s not only AF that is gone - manual focusing becomes impossible too.

Let me be clear: I love both lenses, and on a Canon EOS the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM works like a charm. On Sony A7R II I simply enjoyed shooting with Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L more.

You can see the entire test at my blog. The text is in Polish, but photos should be self-explanatory:

https://towarzystwonieustraszonychsoczewek.blogspot.com/2017/07/canon-85-mm-f12-czterdziesci-lat-mineo.html

Enjoy

Jarek

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Sjak
Sjak Senior Member • Posts: 4,831
Re: A detailed test of Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L against Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM on Sony A7R II

Very nice!

Based on your pictures, I also prefer the FD-version, they look warmer to me, and the bokeh of the EF looks a bit busy. But I would happily use either lens, the "disadvantage" of the EF are probably easy to overcome.

I guess these are pretty expensive nowadays?

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jarek leo
OP jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: A detailed test of Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L against Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM on Sony A7R II

I can quote prices here in Poland in Polish currency. Today's exchange rate is approximately 1 USD = 3.6 PLN.

Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L in good conditions costs 2500 PLN

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM (first version) used costs 4500 PLN

Canon EF 85mm f/1,2L II USM new costs 8000 PLN, used - 5500 PLN.

At around 700 USD Canon FD is a very sound proposal for mirrorless.

Best

Jarek

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ProfHankD
ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 6,697
Re: A detailed test of Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L against Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM on Sony A7R II

jarek leo wrote:

You can see the entire test at my blog. The text is in Polish, but photos should be self-explanatory:

https://towarzystwonieustraszonychsoczewek.blogspot.com/2017/07/canon-85-mm-f12-czterdziesci-lat-mineo.html

Excellent review!

I have to say, I'm a bit surprised by the very severe onion skin bokeh on the FD lens. I thought aspherics were hand polished back then (they were priced like they were), which in theory should have been able to avoid this.... The FD does seem marginally more desirable than the EF versions for a Sony, and you could even AF it on an A7RII using the LM-EA7.

Overall, I'm still not really convinced the results are all that much better than the cheap modern Samyang 85mm f/1.4... which actually delivers smoother bokeh (as does even the dirt-cheap 52B Tamron SP 90mm f/2.5 macro). Then again, now I just grab the not-very-cheap Sony 100mm STF when I really care about smooth bokeh.

Anyway, here are a few quick OOC JPEG shots with the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 wide open on A7RII using the TechArt Pro LM-EA7 (set at 90mm for IBIS) to autofocus (more literally, to tweak manual focus, which is a good thing because this is an internal focus lens that the adapter is moving as a unit to focus):

Specular highlights on the pond behind are completely diffuse...

Small specular highlights still show some onion rings

Slightly odd color is due to mix of daylight and LED lighting

Yeah, that last one is one of my standard test scenes... which needs dusting.

 ProfHankD's gear list:ProfHankD's gear list
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jarek leo
OP jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: A detailed test of Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L against Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM on Sony A7R II

I have heard good things about the Samyang and it can be better ithan Canon FD in some aspects. To make a fair comparison , It should be tested against a Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 or Sigma 85mm f/1.4.

Best

Jarek

ProfHankD wrote:

jarek leo wrote:

You can see the entire test at my blog. The text is in Polish, but photos should be self-explanatory:

https://towarzystwonieustraszonychsoczewek.blogspot.com/2017/07/canon-85-mm-f12-czterdziesci-lat-mineo.html

Excellent review!

I have to say, I'm a bit surprised by the very severe onion skin bokeh on the FD lens. I thought aspherics were hand polished back then (they were priced like they were), which in theory should have been able to avoid this.... The FD does seem marginally more desirable than the EF versions for a Sony, and you could even AF it on an A7RII using the LM-EA7.

Overall, I'm still not really convinced the results are all that much better than the cheap modern Samyang 85mm f/1.4... which actually delivers smoother bokeh (as does even the dirt-cheap 52B Tamron SP 90mm f/2.5 macro). Then again, now I just grab the not-very-cheap Sony 100mm STF when I really care about smooth bokeh.

Anyway, here are a few quick OOC JPEG shots with the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 wide open on A7RII using the TechArt Pro LM-EA7 (set at 90mm for IBIS) to autofocus (more literally, to tweak manual focus, which is a good thing because this is an internal focus lens that the adapter is moving as a unit to focus):

Specular highlights on the pond behind are completely diffuse...

Small specular highlights still show some onion rings

Slightly odd color is due to mix of daylight and LED lighting

Yeah, that last one is one of my standard test scenes... which needs dusting.

 jarek leo's gear list:jarek leo's gear list
Sony a6000 Sony a7R II Nikon D850
Lightshow
Lightshow Veteran Member • Posts: 7,107
Re: A detailed test of Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L against Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM on Sony A7R II

I had the EF 85LII, wonderful optics, slow AF, and abysmal manual focusing, I now have the FD SSC 85/1.2 Aspherical, it's built like a tank, so it's very solidly built, manual focus is very smooth unlike the EF version, it has a 9 blade iris which helps smooth the bokeh a bit more, the biggest difference is that this version has a touch of glow wide open which can be wonderful for portraits, I'm not sure if it's just my copy or representative of the lens.

The FD 85/1.2L can have a mount swap and be mounted on EF, though that isn't cheap or super easy.

soon there will be another option, Canon is rumoured to be bringing out a new 85mm lens, an 85/1.4L, possibly it may have optical IS, its AF response should be much better than the 1.2's AF speed, and optically should be as good as or better than Sigma's 85 Art, I suspect it will be very popular.

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jarek leo
OP jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: A detailed test of Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L against Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM on Sony A7R II
1

I am aware of the small differences between the original Canon FD 85mm f/1.2 S.S.C. Apsherical and the later Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L - like the 9 blade versus 9 blade iris. But remember that remarks on onion rings and swirly bokeh are not related to the numer of iris blades as they are present in bokeh of wide open lenses when iris is not closed at all. I do not see the glow in my Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L.

As for mounting the FD lens on EOS camera I am aware of EdMika adopters; I wrote in the text that adapting FD lenses to EOS cameras is not imposible but it is not easy or cheap.

Whatever Canon comes up with, do not part with the lens you have have (I mean the Aspherical). You own an important piece of history and I can bet that it is more likely to be still working in another 40 years time than the EF version.

Best

Jarek

Lightshow wrote:

I had the EF 85LII, wonderful optics, slow AF, and abysmal manual focusing, I now have the FD SSC 85/1.2 Aspherical, it's built like a tank, so it's very solidly built, manual focus is very smooth unlike the EF version, it has a 9 blade iris which helps smooth the bokeh a bit more, the biggest difference is that this version has a touch of glow wide open which can be wonderful for portraits, I'm not sure if it's just my copy or representative of the lens.

The FD 85/1.2L can have a mount swap and be mounted on EF, though that isn't cheap or super easy.

soon there will be another option, Canon is rumoured to be bringing out a new 85mm lens, an 85/1.4L, possibly it may have optical IS, its AF response should be much better than the 1.2's AF speed, and optically should be as good as or better than Sigma's 85 Art, I suspect it will be very popular.

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ProfHankD
ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 6,697
Onions and swirl

jarek leo wrote:

But remember that remarks on onion rings and swirly bokeh are not related to the numer of iris blades as they are present in bokeh of wide open lenses when iris is not closed at all.

Onion rings generally come from imprecision in the surface of aspheric elements. Basically, they're machining marks transferred from the mold and not polished out because conventional polishing machines can only do spherical surfaces. Hand-polished aspherics should have them.

Swirly bokeh are mostly due to vignetting, but field curvature contributes too, as can some other lens design defects. Stopping down reduces swirl.

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MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 38,914
Re: A detailed test of Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L against Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM on Sony A7R II

jarek leo wrote:

I have heard good things about the Samyang and it can be better ithan Canon FD in some aspects. To make a fair comparison , It should be tested against a Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 or Sigma 85mm f/1.4.

Jarek,

Some years ago I saw a test in a magazine, which I still have somewhere but presently "lost", where the Samyang, Nikon and Canon lenses were directly compared.  The Samyang was far from disgraced.  I have one and it is a very good lens but bought when I still used PK and not used much these days.  I also have the EF 85/1.2 MkI which with the EF 17-25mm f2.8 were my first big spend in EF lenses.

The EF 85 was crippled off EF mount for years as Metabones initially did not support the lens at all (no lenses over 6 years old) I had an RJ made electronic adapter which did support AF (slowly - it tried at least) and focus as well.  Even by later firmware on A7R MkI the lens was not particularly responsive (and it was a slow AF focusing lens even on a Canon dslr body).  But it did have the advatage that when it did lock on it was truly sharp and could "take images in the dark" even when the dslr AF failed and it became too dark to work normal manual focus.

Because of its combined difficulties the FD version became very popular and its price soared.

However I have found that it works very acceptably adapted to M4/3 bodies by Metabones adapters.  From memory it even seems more responsive than it was on the dlsr bodies.  It also seems that it is now very capable on A7 series MkII bodies.  This is probably more tribute to the AF algorithms used by Metabones than any mechanical capability of the lens - slow focus was an EF 85/1.2 characteristic.

I don't use the lens enough but I am not about to divest myself of it or seek out an FD or MkII version.

The EF lens focus by wire does not work on Jintu MF-only elecronic adapters - so this makes the lens useless with this cheap alternative manual focus adapter.  The Jintu can give MF-only on all other EF lenses that I have tried.  Because they are mechanically connected?  

So if anyone wishes to use an EF lens on another body but canot stomach the Metabones entry fee there is an alternative.  But if AF is necessary the Metabones are much superior to the Jintu/Commlite AF version "twins".

From memory the words that accompanied the release of the EF MkII version concentrated on how much faster the AF system worked.

Best

Jarek

ProfHankD wrote:

jarek leo wrote:

You can see the entire test at my blog. The text is in Polish, but photos should be self-explanatory:

https://towarzystwonieustraszonychsoczewek.blogspot.com/2017/07/canon-85-mm-f12-czterdziesci-lat-mineo.html

Excellent review!

I have to say, I'm a bit surprised by the very severe onion skin bokeh on the FD lens. I thought aspherics were hand polished back then (they were priced like they were), which in theory should have been able to avoid this.... The FD does seem marginally more desirable than the EF versions for a Sony, and you could even AF it on an A7RII using the LM-EA7.

Overall, I'm still not really convinced the results are all that much better than the cheap modern Samyang 85mm f/1.4... which actually delivers smoother bokeh (as does even the dirt-cheap 52B Tamron SP 90mm f/2.5 macro). Then again, now I just grab the not-very-cheap Sony 100mm STF when I really care about smooth bokeh.

Anyway, here are a few quick OOC JPEG shots with the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 wide open on A7RII using the TechArt Pro LM-EA7 (set at 90mm for IBIS) to autofocus (more literally, to tweak manual focus, which is a good thing because this is an internal focus lens that the adapter is moving as a unit to focus):

Specular highlights on the pond behind are completely diffuse...

Small specular highlights still show some onion rings

Slightly odd color is due to mix of daylight and LED lighting

Yeah, that last one is one of my standard test scenes... which needs dusting.

-- hide signature --

Tom Caldwell

jarek leo
OP jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: A detailed test of Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L against Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM on Sony A7R II
1

Tom, I have Metabones MK IV so the EF lens autofocuses with it on Sony A7R II, but continuous AF is disappointing. Mk II version of the lens is estimated to autofocus 1.6 times faster than the first version on Canon EOS bodies. Anyway I consider focus by wire to be the greatest disadvantage of both versions. I could not believe Canon did that again.

Jarek

Tom Caldwell wrote:

jarek leo wrote:

I have heard good things about the Samyang and it can be better ithan Canon FD in some aspects. To make a fair comparison , It should be tested against a Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 or Sigma 85mm f/1.4.

Jarek,

Some years ago I saw a test in a magazine, which I still have somewhere but presently "lost", where the Samyang, Nikon and Canon lenses were directly compared. The Samyang was far from disgraced. I have one and it is a very good lens but bought when I still used PK and not used much these days. I also have the EF 85/1.2 MkI which with the EF 17-25mm f2.8 were my first big spend in EF lenses.

The EF 85 was crippled off EF mount for years as Metabones initially did not support the lens at all (no lenses over 6 years old) I had an RJ made electronic adapter which did support AF (slowly - it tried at least) and focus as well. Even by later firmware on A7R MkI the lens was not particularly responsive (and it was a slow AF focusing lens even on a Canon dslr body). But it did have the advatage that when it did lock on it was truly sharp and could "take images in the dark" even when the dslr AF failed and it became too dark to work normal manual focus.

Because of its combined difficulties the FD version became very popular and its price soared.

However I have found that it works very acceptably adapted to M4/3 bodies by Metabones adapters. From memory it even seems more responsive than it was on the dlsr bodies. It also seems that it is now very capable on A7 series MkII bodies. This is probably more tribute to the AF algorithms used by Metabones than any mechanical capability of the lens - slow focus was an EF 85/1.2 characteristic.

I don't use the lens enough but I am not about to divest myself of it or seek out an FD or MkII version.

The EF lens focus by wire does not work on Jintu MF-only elecronic adapters - so this makes the lens useless with this cheap alternative manual focus adapter. The Jintu can give MF-only on all other EF lenses that I have tried. Because they are mechanically connected?

So if anyone wishes to use an EF lens on another body but canot stomach the Metabones entry fee there is an alternative. But if AF is necessary the Metabones are much superior to the Jintu/Commlite AF version "twins".

From memory the words that accompanied the release of the EF MkII version concentrated on how much faster the AF system worked.

Best

Jarek

ProfHankD wrote:

jarek leo wrote:

You can see the entire test at my blog. The text is in Polish, but photos should be self-explanatory:

https://towarzystwonieustraszonychsoczewek.blogspot.com/2017/07/canon-85-mm-f12-czterdziesci-lat-mineo.html

Excellent review!

I have to say, I'm a bit surprised by the very severe onion skin bokeh on the FD lens. I thought aspherics were hand polished back then (they were priced like they were), which in theory should have been able to avoid this.... The FD does seem marginally more desirable than the EF versions for a Sony, and you could even AF it on an A7RII using the LM-EA7.

Overall, I'm still not really convinced the results are all that much better than the cheap modern Samyang 85mm f/1.4... which actually delivers smoother bokeh (as does even the dirt-cheap 52B Tamron SP 90mm f/2.5 macro). Then again, now I just grab the not-very-cheap Sony 100mm STF when I really care about smooth bokeh.

Anyway, here are a few quick OOC JPEG shots with the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 wide open on A7RII using the TechArt Pro LM-EA7 (set at 90mm for IBIS) to autofocus (more literally, to tweak manual focus, which is a good thing because this is an internal focus lens that the adapter is moving as a unit to focus):

Specular highlights on the pond behind are completely diffuse...

Small specular highlights still show some onion rings

Slightly odd color is due to mix of daylight and LED lighting

Yeah, that last one is one of my standard test scenes... which needs dusting.

 jarek leo's gear list:jarek leo's gear list
Sony a6000 Sony a7R II Nikon D850
jarek leo
OP jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: Onions and swirl

Thanks for the clarification. Your knowledge of optics far surpasses mine.

Best

Jarek

ProfHankD wrote:

jarek leo wrote:

But remember that remarks on onion rings and swirly bokeh are not related to the numer of iris blades as they are present in bokeh of wide open lenses when iris is not closed at all.

Onion rings generally come from imprecision in the surface of aspheric elements. Basically, they're machining marks transferred from the mold and not polished out because conventional polishing machines can only do spherical surfaces. Hand-polished aspherics should have them.

Swirly bokeh are mostly due to vignetting, but field curvature contributes too, as can some other lens design defects. Stopping down reduces swirl.

 jarek leo's gear list:jarek leo's gear list
Sony a6000 Sony a7R II Nikon D850
MusicmanUK Contributing Member • Posts: 646
Re: Onions and swirl

ProfHankD wrote:

Onion rings generally come from imprecision in the surface of aspheric elements. Basically, they're machining marks transferred from the mold and not polished out because conventional polishing machines can only do spherical surfaces. Hand-polished aspherics should have them.

The 85/1.2 SSC had machine-polished aspherical elements. Mass producing asphericals was one of Canon's breakthroughs around 1975 and they make a feature of it in their copy in the Canon Camera Museum

http://global.canon/en/c-museum/product/fd162.html

"Normally, aspherical lenses require advanced design technology and extremely high- precision production technology, making them special lenses with a high price tag. However, Canon has fully utilized the latest technology such as measuring machine using laser light, grinding stones using special materials and electronics technology for controlling polishing machines. By doing so, we have established mass production technology with a precision better than 0.1 microns (1/10,000 of a millimeter) that was considered difficult to achieve even in the laboratory, and this has made it possible to mass produce like normal lenses and provide products to the market at a reasonable price."

I think we should probably conclude that the later 85L was also machine polished.

The early versions of the FD 55mm f/1.2 AL/Aspherical were hand polished, but the final one was also machine polished.

I have both the 85L and the final version 55mm Aspherical and I love them both.

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jarek leo
OP jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: Onions and swirl

Thanks for the info. Inputs from people like you help to explain results of the test. BTW, I have access to Canon FD 55mm f/1.2 S.S.C. Aspherical and will be testing it soon.

Best

Jarek

MusicmanUK wrote:

ProfHankD wrote:

Onion rings generally come from imprecision in the surface of aspheric elements. Basically, they're machining marks transferred from the mold and not polished out because conventional polishing machines can only do spherical surfaces. Hand-polished aspherics should have them.

The 85/1.2 SSC had machine-polished aspherical elements. Mass producing asphericals was one of Canon's breakthroughs around 1975 and they make a feature of it in their copy in the Canon Camera Museum

http://global.canon/en/c-museum/product/fd162.html

"Normally, aspherical lenses require advanced design technology and extremely high- precision production technology, making them special lenses with a high price tag. However, Canon has fully utilized the latest technology such as measuring machine using laser light, grinding stones using special materials and electronics technology for controlling polishing machines. By doing so, we have established mass production technology with a precision better than 0.1 microns (1/10,000 of a millimeter) that was considered difficult to achieve even in the laboratory, and this has made it possible to mass produce like normal lenses and provide products to the market at a reasonable price."

I think we should probably conclude that the later 85L was also machine polished.

The early versions of the FD 55mm f/1.2 AL/Aspherical were hand polished, but the final one was also machine polished.

I have both the 85L and the final version 55mm Aspherical and I love them both.

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ProfHankD
ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 6,697
Typo -- Re: Onions and swirl

MusicmanUK wrote:

ProfHankD wrote:

Onion rings generally come from imprecision in the surface of aspheric elements. Basically, they're machining marks transferred from the mold and not polished out because conventional polishing machines can only do spherical surfaces. Hand-polished aspherics should have them.

Typo on my part here: Hand-polished aspherics should NOT have them.

The machine polishing for aspherics generally isn't very good.

The 85/1.2 SSC had machine-polished aspherical elements. Mass producing asphericals was one of Canon's breakthroughs around 1975 and they make a feature of it in their copy in the Canon Camera Museum

http://global.canon/en/c-museum/product/fd162.html

"Normally, aspherical lenses require advanced design technology and extremely high- precision production technology, making them special lenses with a high price tag. However, Canon has fully utilized the latest technology such as measuring machine using laser light, grinding stones using special materials and electronics technology for controlling polishing machines. By doing so, we have established mass production technology with a precision better than 0.1 microns (1/10,000 of a millimeter) that was considered difficult to achieve even in the laboratory, and this has made it possible to mass produce like normal lenses and provide products to the market at a reasonable price."

I think we should probably conclude that the later 85L was also machine polished.

Yup, and apparently still not well enough to avoid onions; 0.1 microns isn't small compared to the wavelength of the light (it's about 2X). My understanding is that there has been some new technology just in the past few years that gets the surfaces good enough to avoid the onion issue, from Sigma, if I remember correctly...?

The early versions of the FD 55mm f/1.2 AL/Aspherical were hand polished, but the final one was also machine polished.

I wonder if it shows onion bokeh?

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jarek leo
OP jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: Typo -- Re: Onions and swirl

Now I am really curious if the Canon FD 55mm f/1.2 S.S.C. Apsherical I have access to had hand- or machine-polished apsherics. I will check it for onion rings during my forthcoming test of the lens against later 50mm f/1.2L Canon lenses - an FD and and EF.

Jarek

ProfHankD wrote:

MusicmanUK wrote:

ProfHankD wrote:

Onion rings generally come from imprecision in the surface of aspheric elements. Basically, they're machining marks transferred from the mold and not polished out because conventional polishing machines can only do spherical surfaces. Hand-polished aspherics should have them.

Typo on my part here: Hand-polished aspherics should NOT have them.

The machine polishing for aspherics generally isn't very good.

The 85/1.2 SSC had machine-polished aspherical elements. Mass producing asphericals was one of Canon's breakthroughs around 1975 and they make a feature of it in their copy in the Canon Camera Museum

http://global.canon/en/c-museum/product/fd162.html

"Normally, aspherical lenses require advanced design technology and extremely high- precision production technology, making them special lenses with a high price tag. However, Canon has fully utilized the latest technology such as measuring machine using laser light, grinding stones using special materials and electronics technology for controlling polishing machines. By doing so, we have established mass production technology with a precision better than 0.1 microns (1/10,000 of a millimeter) that was considered difficult to achieve even in the laboratory, and this has made it possible to mass produce like normal lenses and provide products to the market at a reasonable price."

I think we should probably conclude that the later 85L was also machine polished.

Yup, and apparently still not well enough to avoid onions; 0.1 microns isn't small compared to the wavelength of the light (it's about 2X). My understanding is that there has been some new technology just in the past few years that gets the surfaces good enough to avoid the onion issue, from Sigma, if I remember correctly...?

The early versions of the FD 55mm f/1.2 AL/Aspherical were hand polished, but the final one was also machine polished.

I wonder if it shows onion bokeh?

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Sony a6000 Sony a7R II Nikon D850
MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 38,914
Re: A detailed test of Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L against Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM on Sony A7R II
1

jarek leo wrote:

Tom, I have Metabones MK IV so the EF lens autofocuses with it on Sony A7R II, but continuous AF is disappointing. Mk II version of the lens is estimated to autofocus 1.6 times faster than the first version on Canon EOS bodies. Anyway I consider focus by wire to be the greatest disadvantage of both versions. I could not believe Canon did that again.

Jarek

I agree with you Jarek,

Like you I really like the lens despite its rough edges in use.  I had thought that when I was moving from EF to try ML (mirrorless) bodies that the 85/1.2 MkI was going to be a lens that was going to be sacrificed as a dud because of its focus by wire.  But the RJ electronic adpater of its day gave me some hope that AF and MF were going to be possible when Metabones was not addressing that lens at all.  But as noted the lens worked on my little used A7R MkI last time I tried it but was nothing to get excited about.

When I used it on the M4/3 bodies with Metabones all of a sudden it was quite useful.  I am working up some intention to get the old thing out and give it another go as I write (I have had it since about 2002).

I don't use continuous focus much but it still seems far away for adapted EF on M4/3 bodies of all types - the only one that seem to get good reports is the Olympus E-MIii body.  But I don't remember the 85/1.2 MkI being much of a CF lens even on dslr bodies - the focus action was too slow.

Noteworthy is that a lot of modern lenses made for ML bodies are being made focus by wire.  This of course makes them useful on the oem mounts but zero (zilch, nil, nul, useless) on any other body.  Lack of interchangeability of curent made oem lenses between mounts may be something we will come to regret should that mount be abandoned - shades of the Samsung NX mount.

But of course the main part of the buying public want ease of use and merrily buy into systems as if there were no tomorrows.

For example maybe the EF mount is on borrowed time - is Canon bent on making the EF-M their main mount system of the distant future?  If so those EF lenses about need to be focal reduced to EF-M bodies but there is no move by Canon to provide such an adapter.

So present EF-M users clamour for more native EF-M lenses for a mount system that has barely got off the ground and Canon may yet even make a ML system directly FF for EF mount lenses.  So sticking with EF or going EF-M is a bit of an each way bet.  Meanwhile Canon's experiment with EF-S is neither fish nor fowl and specifically designed to make using them focal reduced on other mount systems awkward to say the least.

Tom Caldwell wrote:

jarek leo wrote:

I have heard good things about the Samyang and it can be better ithan Canon FD in some aspects. To make a fair comparison , It should be tested against a Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 or Sigma 85mm f/1.4.

Jarek,

Some years ago I saw a test in a magazine, which I still have somewhere but presently "lost", where the Samyang, Nikon and Canon lenses were directly compared. The Samyang was far from disgraced. I have one and it is a very good lens but bought when I still used PK and not used much these days. I also have the EF 85/1.2 MkI which with the EF 17-25mm f2.8 were my first big spend in EF lenses.

The EF 85 was crippled off EF mount for years as Metabones initially did not support the lens at all (no lenses over 6 years old) I had an RJ made electronic adapter which did support AF (slowly - it tried at least) and focus as well. Even by later firmware on A7R MkI the lens was not particularly responsive (and it was a slow AF focusing lens even on a Canon dslr body). But it did have the advatage that when it did lock on it was truly sharp and could "take images in the dark" even when the dslr AF failed and it became too dark to work normal manual focus.

Because of its combined difficulties the FD version became very popular and its price soared.

However I have found that it works very acceptably adapted to M4/3 bodies by Metabones adapters. From memory it even seems more responsive than it was on the dlsr bodies. It also seems that it is now very capable on A7 series MkII bodies. This is probably more tribute to the AF algorithms used by Metabones than any mechanical capability of the lens - slow focus was an EF 85/1.2 characteristic.

I don't use the lens enough but I am not about to divest myself of it or seek out an FD or MkII version.

The EF lens focus by wire does not work on Jintu MF-only elecronic adapters - so this makes the lens useless with this cheap alternative manual focus adapter. The Jintu can give MF-only on all other EF lenses that I have tried. Because they are mechanically connected?

So if anyone wishes to use an EF lens on another body but canot stomach the Metabones entry fee there is an alternative. But if AF is necessary the Metabones are much superior to the Jintu/Commlite AF version "twins".

From memory the words that accompanied the release of the EF MkII version concentrated on how much faster the AF system worked.

Best

Jarek

ProfHankD wrote:

jarek leo wrote:

You can see the entire test at my blog. The text is in Polish, but photos should be self-explanatory:

https://towarzystwonieustraszonychsoczewek.blogspot.com/2017/07/canon-85-mm-f12-czterdziesci-lat-mineo.html

Excellent review!

I have to say, I'm a bit surprised by the very severe onion skin bokeh on the FD lens. I thought aspherics were hand polished back then (they were priced like they were), which in theory should have been able to avoid this.... The FD does seem marginally more desirable than the EF versions for a Sony, and you could even AF it on an A7RII using the LM-EA7.

Overall, I'm still not really convinced the results are all that much better than the cheap modern Samyang 85mm f/1.4... which actually delivers smoother bokeh (as does even the dirt-cheap 52B Tamron SP 90mm f/2.5 macro). Then again, now I just grab the not-very-cheap Sony 100mm STF when I really care about smooth bokeh.

Anyway, here are a few quick OOC JPEG shots with the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 wide open on A7RII using the TechArt Pro LM-EA7 (set at 90mm for IBIS) to autofocus (more literally, to tweak manual focus, which is a good thing because this is an internal focus lens that the adapter is moving as a unit to focus):

Specular highlights on the pond behind are completely diffuse...

Small specular highlights still show some onion rings

Slightly odd color is due to mix of daylight and LED lighting

Yeah, that last one is one of my standard test scenes... which needs dusting.

-- hide signature --

Tom Caldwell

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Tom Caldwell

MusicmanUK Contributing Member • Posts: 646
Re: Onions and swirl

My 55/1.2 Aspherical is quite a late one, made in 1979

A post by cadillacmike on photo.net explains the differences

https://www.photo.net/discuss/threads/55mm-1-2-al-vs-55mm-1-2-aspherical.211159/#post-5584024

"There are actually THREE different versions of the 55mm F1.2 AL / Aspherical lens. These correspond with the three different version of breech ring FD lenses. All three have the same optical formula. The first two versions had hand ground and polished aspherical elements. The third version had machine ground and polished aspherical elements.

"The first version had the "chrome nose". The aperture ring had a green "o" for auto exposure (which was only possible at the time this lens was made if one had an F-1 with the Servo EE Finder), and there was no locking of the aperture ring when set on "o". The breech ring could be turned freely, there was no locking detent on the ring. This 55mm had blue AL letters on the barrel front and a gold line around the front of the barrel. It had SSC coating but it is not marked. These were made up to around early 1973.

"The second version, made from 1973 to around 1976 or so, had black nose (complaints about flare, etc led both Canon & nikon and well as others to make the front of the barrels black). This version has SC or SSC as appropriate for the lens coating. The aperture ring still had a green "o" but there was a chrome button that one had to push to put on the lens on or to take the lens off of "o". The breech ring now had a locking detent to prevent the ring from turning unless one put a cap on or put the lens onto a body. The breech ring was also spring loaded to turn slightly to aid in getting the lens mounted. The 55mm Aspherical still the blue AL and the gold line, but also added the SSC letters on the barrel.

"The third version changed the green "o" to an "A" and the chrome aperture ring auto lock release went from chrome to black. This change was probably made to match up with the nomenclature in the new A-series bodies. This third version also used plastic front barrels in a few of the lenses, most notably the FD 50mm F1.8 SC. The 55mm Aspherical lens no longer had the blue AL or the gold line but the word "ASPHERICAL" in gold lettering before the red SSC letters."

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jarek leo
OP jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: A detailed test of Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L against Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM on Sony A7R II
1

For me the main argument against using a lens such as Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM on M4/3 bodies is that you lose a lot of coverage of the lens while having to carry the weight and size responsible for full-frame coverage. Yes, you gain more reach; still it seems more feasible to use a lens like Canon 85mm f/1.8 with Speedbooster.

Sony uses focus by wire in its lenses and if you need truly fast AF on Sony A7-series II bodies you have to buy the OEM lenses, which are very expensive. A case in point - a long time ago I tested Sony 35mm f/2.8 lens on Sony A7 against twenty times cheaper Canon FD 35mm f/2.8 lens and the Canon as better. As for Canon mount, the EF-S thing is flawed. Nikon did not make the mount of DX lenses any different from full-frame mount and this makes more sense. Canon seems brilliant at times and completety at loss at others.

Best

Jarek

Tom Caldwell wrote:

jarek leo wrote:

Tom, I have Metabones MK IV so the EF lens autofocuses with it on Sony A7R II, but continuous AF is disappointing. Mk II version of the lens is estimated to autofocus 1.6 times faster than the first version on Canon EOS bodies. Anyway I consider focus by wire to be the greatest disadvantage of both versions. I could not believe Canon did that again.

Jarek

I agree with you Jarek,

Like you I really like the lens despite its rough edges in use. I had thought that when I was moving from EF to try ML (mirrorless) bodies that the 85/1.2 MkI was going to be a lens that was going to be sacrificed as a dud because of its focus by wire. But the RJ electronic adpater of its day gave me some hope that AF and MF were going to be possible when Metabones was not addressing that lens at all. But as noted the lens worked on my little used A7R MkI last time I tried it but was nothing to get excited about.

When I used it on the M4/3 bodies with Metabones all of a sudden it was quite useful. I am working up some intention to get the old thing out and give it another go as I write (I have had it since about 2002).

I don't use continuous focus much but it still seems far away for adapted EF on M4/3 bodies of all types - the only one that seem to get good reports is the Olympus E-MIii body. But I don't remember the 85/1.2 MkI being much of a CF lens even on dslr bodies - the focus action was too slow.

Noteworthy is that a lot of modern lenses made for ML bodies are being made focus by wire. This of course makes them useful on the oem mounts but zero (zilch, nil, nul, useless) on any other body. Lack of interchangeability of curent made oem lenses between mounts may be something we will come to regret should that mount be abandoned - shades of the Samsung NX mount.

But of course the main part of the buying public want ease of use and merrily buy into systems as if there were no tomorrows.

For example maybe the EF mount is on borrowed time - is Canon bent on making the EF-M their main mount system of the distant future? If so those EF lenses about need to be focal reduced to EF-M bodies but there is no move by Canon to provide such an adapter.

So present EF-M users clamour for more native EF-M lenses for a mount system that has barely got off the ground and Canon may yet even make a ML system directly FF for EF mount lenses. So sticking with EF or going EF-M is a bit of an each way bet. Meanwhile Canon's experiment with EF-S is neither fish nor fowl and specifically designed to make using them focal reduced on other mount systems awkward to say the least.

Tom Caldwell wrote:

jarek leo wrote:

I have heard good things about the Samyang and it can be better ithan Canon FD in some aspects. To make a fair comparison , It should be tested against a Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 or Sigma 85mm f/1.4.

Jarek,

Some years ago I saw a test in a magazine, which I still have somewhere but presently "lost", where the Samyang, Nikon and Canon lenses were directly compared. The Samyang was far from disgraced. I have one and it is a very good lens but bought when I still used PK and not used much these days. I also have the EF 85/1.2 MkI which with the EF 17-25mm f2.8 were my first big spend in EF lenses.

The EF 85 was crippled off EF mount for years as Metabones initially did not support the lens at all (no lenses over 6 years old) I had an RJ made electronic adapter which did support AF (slowly - it tried at least) and focus as well. Even by later firmware on A7R MkI the lens was not particularly responsive (and it was a slow AF focusing lens even on a Canon dslr body). But it did have the advatage that when it did lock on it was truly sharp and could "take images in the dark" even when the dslr AF failed and it became too dark to work normal manual focus.

Because of its combined difficulties the FD version became very popular and its price soared.

However I have found that it works very acceptably adapted to M4/3 bodies by Metabones adapters. From memory it even seems more responsive than it was on the dlsr bodies. It also seems that it is now very capable on A7 series MkII bodies. This is probably more tribute to the AF algorithms used by Metabones than any mechanical capability of the lens - slow focus was an EF 85/1.2 characteristic.

I don't use the lens enough but I am not about to divest myself of it or seek out an FD or MkII version.

The EF lens focus by wire does not work on Jintu MF-only elecronic adapters - so this makes the lens useless with this cheap alternative manual focus adapter. The Jintu can give MF-only on all other EF lenses that I have tried. Because they are mechanically connected?

So if anyone wishes to use an EF lens on another body but canot stomach the Metabones entry fee there is an alternative. But if AF is necessary the Metabones are much superior to the Jintu/Commlite AF version "twins".

From memory the words that accompanied the release of the EF MkII version concentrated on how much faster the AF system worked.

Best

Jarek

ProfHankD wrote:

jarek leo wrote:

You can see the entire test at my blog. The text is in Polish, but photos should be self-explanatory:

https://towarzystwonieustraszonychsoczewek.blogspot.com/2017/07/canon-85-mm-f12-czterdziesci-lat-mineo.html

Excellent review!

I have to say, I'm a bit surprised by the very severe onion skin bokeh on the FD lens. I thought aspherics were hand polished back then (they were priced like they were), which in theory should have been able to avoid this.... The FD does seem marginally more desirable than the EF versions for a Sony, and you could even AF it on an A7RII using the LM-EA7.

Overall, I'm still not really convinced the results are all that much better than the cheap modern Samyang 85mm f/1.4... which actually delivers smoother bokeh (as does even the dirt-cheap 52B Tamron SP 90mm f/2.5 macro). Then again, now I just grab the not-very-cheap Sony 100mm STF when I really care about smooth bokeh.

Anyway, here are a few quick OOC JPEG shots with the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 wide open on A7RII using the TechArt Pro LM-EA7 (set at 90mm for IBIS) to autofocus (more literally, to tweak manual focus, which is a good thing because this is an internal focus lens that the adapter is moving as a unit to focus):

Specular highlights on the pond behind are completely diffuse...

Small specular highlights still show some onion rings

Slightly odd color is due to mix of daylight and LED lighting

Yeah, that last one is one of my standard test scenes... which needs dusting.

 jarek leo's gear list:jarek leo's gear list
Sony a6000 Sony a7R II Nikon D850
MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 38,914
Small format camera bodies

I went small camera body format with a vengeance.  The GM1 and in time the GM5.  I like the "pro" idea of multiple camera bodies in miniature.  The ability to swap cameras rther than swap lenses and with oem lenses at least I can have three GM5 bodies with lenses in a smaller bag than one that might carry a dslr outfit with one (only) lens attached.  More lenses - need an even bigger bag.  Use multiple dlsr bodies each with a lens?  Tried that - it is quite and expedition - and I don't get the pro-user cheque in the mail.

But I am not rigid in my style - I do have a GX7 (now a GX85 also) and an Olympus E-M1 with battery pack as well.  When the situation calls for it I am happy to adapt my larger EF lenses to a larger body - although the GM series copes reasonably well with larger lenses if pushed.

So I have the Pansonic Nocticron 42.5/1.2 OIS which sits nicely on a GM5 body and gives an equivalent field of view to the Canon 85/1.2 on a FF camera body.  It is an excellent lens in its own right and rapid and accurate to ue where the Canon EF can give slow and accurate and with a focal reduction setup can push the lens to 60mm f0.95 which makes a for a handy 120/0.95 in FF fov terms.  But of course it is a large lens and even if the Noctricorn is largish by M4/3 terms it is not nearly as large as the EF.

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Tom Caldwell

jarek leo
OP jarek leo Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: Onions and swirl

Thanks a lot for a such a thorough reply. It will greatly help me with my review of superfast standards lenses by Canon.

Best

Jarek

MusicmanUK wrote:

My 55/1.2 Aspherical is quite a late one, made in 1979

A post by cadillacmike on photo.net explains the differences

https://www.photo.net/discuss/threads/55mm-1-2-al-vs-55mm-1-2-aspherical.211159/#post-5584024

"There are actually THREE different versions of the 55mm F1.2 AL / Aspherical lens. These correspond with the three different version of breech ring FD lenses. All three have the same optical formula. The first two versions had hand ground and polished aspherical elements. The third version had machine ground and polished aspherical elements.

"The first version had the "chrome nose". The aperture ring had a green "o" for auto exposure (which was only possible at the time this lens was made if one had an F-1 with the Servo EE Finder), and there was no locking of the aperture ring when set on "o". The breech ring could be turned freely, there was no locking detent on the ring. This 55mm had blue AL letters on the barrel front and a gold line around the front of the barrel. It had SSC coating but it is not marked. These were made up to around early 1973.

"The second version, made from 1973 to around 1976 or so, had black nose (complaints about flare, etc led both Canon & nikon and well as others to make the front of the barrels black). This version has SC or SSC as appropriate for the lens coating. The aperture ring still had a green "o" but there was a chrome button that one had to push to put on the lens on or to take the lens off of "o". The breech ring now had a locking detent to prevent the ring from turning unless one put a cap on or put the lens onto a body. The breech ring was also spring loaded to turn slightly to aid in getting the lens mounted. The 55mm Aspherical still the blue AL and the gold line, but also added the SSC letters on the barrel.

"The third version changed the green "o" to an "A" and the chrome aperture ring auto lock release went from chrome to black. This change was probably made to match up with the nomenclature in the new A-series bodies. This third version also used plastic front barrels in a few of the lenses, most notably the FD 50mm F1.8 SC. The 55mm Aspherical lens no longer had the blue AL or the gold line but the word "ASPHERICAL" in gold lettering before the red SSC letters."

 jarek leo's gear list:jarek leo's gear list
Sony a6000 Sony a7R II Nikon D850
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