Canon New FD 50mm 1:1.4 – review

Published by Tony on

Canon New FD 50mm 1:1.4 (nFD) lens review.

The modern popularity of Canon pushes manual old FD-mount lenses to the list of popular optics among collectors and photographers, and in fact, it is deserved.

Canon New FD 50mm 1:1.4 + Sony A

Canon New FD 50mm 1:1.4 specifications:

Canon Camera Museum link

MarketedJune 1979
Original Price32,000 yen
Lens Construction (group)6
Lens Construction (element)7
No. of Diaphragm Blades8
Minimum Aperture22
Closest Focusing Distance (m)0.45
Maximum Magnification (x)0.15
Filter Diameter (mm)52
Maximum Diameter x Length (mm)63 x 41
Weight (g)235

More data

Floating elementsNO
Serial4510590
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copiesHigh
  • Some sources say that previous model Canon FD50mm F1.4 S.S.C. is optically the same with the tested lens

Canon New FD 50mm f1.4 optical design

Canon New FD 50mm 1:1.4 lens exterior

Canon New FD 50mm 1:1.4 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 (1m), 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 (2m), 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 1:1.4 – other resources with reviews:

Canon New FD 50mm 1:1.4 (Canon FDn 50mm 1:1.4) – overall conclusion

 

This is the lens from the Top category of 50mm lenses. Perhaps not the best among others, but one of the best for sure, even by modern standards.

Each company had a few fast fifties in a portfolio. Most of such optics have similar schemes, sizes, build-quality, and even prices. All common advantages of these lenses are also present in the tested copy. It has a universal focal length, lightweight, small size, good sharpness on the wide-open aperture, and excellent sharpness if closed. Also, it shows the beautiful drawing in a bokeh zone, and an ability to blur the background because it’s a very fast lens.

Of course, aberrations are present, but the amount is not bigger than on other analogs and quite acceptable for real photography. This lens can be the only lens in the bag of the photographer.

The lens is ready for landscapes on F5.6. And completely sharp over the whole frame on F8. For other styles, it can be used from F1.4, but still, I would advise being careful with open apertures – a low contrast level is possible for some scenes.

A big plus is the price of this lens in auctions – it is not overpriced, definitely.

Strongly recommend. You will enjoy it.

BTW:

Let me express my opinion about ‘accessories’. As you know, adapters are needed if a mirrorless camera is using. And I’ve tried adapters for many different systems. So, Canon FD adapters – the most stupid that I came across. There is always a risk that the adapter’s locking ring will be shifted and the lens will stop responding to aperture changes.

For tests, I just fixed the ring with scotch tape, but I have no idea what to do in real photography. Probably the best way is to buy adapters for each lens and wrap all with scotch tape. However, the problems of the adapters do not affect the optical IQ of the lens.


0 Comments

Vincent · 2019-01-25 at 09:33

Tony!
A highly detailed review! You did an excellent job and you keep everything interesting. I like your review style. Keep up the great work my friend 😉

Maybe you can review the Minolta MC 58mm 1.4 Rokkor. A creative lens option for portraits.

Cheers!

    Tony · 2019-01-25 at 11:38

    Thank you for support Vincent! I’m in preparing phase for reviews of some MC lenses and Rokkor 58/1.4 of course in the list, even more – it is already acquired, so, I hope to continue shootout for new reviews after the snow at this season go out

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