Canon New FD 50mm 1:1.2 – review

Published by Tony on

Canon New FD 50mm 1:1.2 (nFD) lens review.

This lens always stays in the shadow of top-rated ‘L’ designed with using aspherical elements, but it looks unfair – there is a too big difference in prices with much less difference in IQ.

Canon New FD 50mm 1:1.2 + Sony 7

Canon New FD 50mm 1:1.2 specifications:

Canon museum link

MarketedDecember 1980
Original Price52,000 yen
Lens Construction (group)6
Lens Construction (element)7
No. of Diaphragm Blades8
Minimum Aperture16
Closest Focusing Distance (m)0.5
Maximum Magnification (x)0.13
Filter Diameter (mm)52
Maximum Diameter x Length (mm)65.3 x 45.6
Weight (g)315

More data

Floating elementsNO
Serial46645
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copiesHigh

Canon New FD 50mm 1:1.2 optical design

Canon New FD 50mm 1:1.2 lens exterior

Canon New FD 50mm 1:1.2 sharpness

Сlose-distance resolution test, minimal distance

Testing methods description

  • Target: 10-15 cm picture, printed on glossy photo paper
  • Distance: 1.7m
  • Camera: Sony A7II (24mpx, full-frame, tripod, remote control). M-mode, ISO fixed, WB fixed, SteadyShot – OFF.
  • The test was repeated for every F-stop on every focus position with manual focus adjustment for each shot. That is to avoid the effect of field curvature.
  • RAW processing: Capture One, default settings. All quality settings – 100%. Crops – 300×200 px

Original target image (printed in horizontal orientation on 10cm X 15cm glossy photo paper)

Scene preview

Test results

Long-distance resolution test

Testing methods description

  • Target: cityscape
  • Distance: > 200 meters to center focus point
  • Camera: Sony A7II (24mpx, full-frame, tripod, remote control). M-mode, ISO fixed, WB fixed, SteadyShot – OFF. The focus point is on the center only.
  • RAW processing: Capture One, default settings. All quality settings – 100%. Crops – 300×200 px

Scene preview

Test results

Canon New FD 50mm 1:1.4 aberrations

Vignetting

Geometric distortion

Coma aberrations

Chromatic aberrations

Long-distance bokeh

Minimal distance focus

Test conditions: lens was focused on minimal distance on the scale (0.45m), buildings are on “infinity”-distance.

This is a rare case for real photography but demonstrates the maximum possible level of blur

Medium distance focus

Test conditions: the lens was focused on half distance on the scale (1m), buildings are on “infinity”-distance

Light bubbles bokeh – long distance

The lens is on the minimal focusing distance 0.45m, lights are on infinity (cityscape)

This is a rare case for real photography but demonstrates the maximum possible level of blur

Canon New FD 50mm 1:1.2 – other resources with reviews:

Canon New FD 50mm 1:1.2 (Canon FDn 50mm f:1.2) – overall conclusion

This Canon New FD is a very popular and well known manual F1.2 lens – not expensive and shows nice IQ among other ultra-fast lenses around 50mm. I don’t need to speak many – diagrams with results of tests are enough to get an understanding of this lens possibilities. Yes, it may show too many aberrations on opened apertures, actually, I expected a little bit better resolution and little bit less softness on F1.2-2.0 diapason from the lens of early 1980-x from so famous company, but it looks like auctions prices are reflecting possibilities of sharpness of this lens, and it makes this lens very attractive for people who want to try a good 50mm f:1.2 without selling off grandmother’s jewelry.

Thus, the main achievement: it gives us the magic of slim DOF if wide opened and it can be bought for an absolutely reasonable price as for lens with such characteristics, so this is the very balanced tool. Of course, I can’t say that it’s a ‘must-have’ toy – to be honest, list of ‘must-have’ ultra-fast lenses is very short, especially after digital cameras began to be good on ISO3200, huh.., but I’m sure that an owner who knows how to use classical F1.2 will get a lot of beautiful photos – rendering/bokeh of this lens is amazing even on technical-tests shots. Additionally, the lens is well-built with quality perfect materials, lightweight and small.

Finally: the sum of all the properties of this lens allows it to become the only lens in the bag of the photographer. Recommended!


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