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Canon Rangefinders - Peter Dechert and Peter Kitchingman Peter Dechert is best known for his Canon Rangefinder, Canon SLR, and Olympus Pen books, the latter two long out-of-print. He was a monthly columnist for many years for SHUTTERBUG magazine, and has contributed to many others. Most recently he has written about the pre-WW2 Zeiss 35mm cameras, but his interests in camera equipment and optics are many and varied. As a pro protographer and honorary life member of ASMP, Peter is also expert in using the gear! Peter Kitchingman - author of Canon Rangefinder Lens book Peter Kitchingman's 'Canon M39 Rangefinder Lenses 1939-71' book is the definitive source on these very interesting optics. His interests also go to the entire Canon Rangefinder system and beyond.

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Canon FD 50mm 1.4 old vs new
Old 10-02-2016   #1
papo
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Canon FD 50mm 1.4 old vs new

Apparently Canon has released two of these FD lenses. Does anyone know if the newer one is actually better?
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Old 10-02-2016   #2
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Discounting changes in coatings (SC vs. SSC) and lens mounts (FD vs. FDn), all FD 50/1.4 lenses are optically identical. What is "better" may come down to things like more convenient handling, better build quality, etc. Optically, don't expect any big changes between the varieties out there.

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Old 10-02-2016   #3
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not sure which is better, l once owned a fd 50mm and it was a great performer
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Old 10-02-2016   #4
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As far as mine go the FDn lens is slightly better, with visibly higher contrast - but I cannot tell whether it is better coated or merely better preserved.

Canon shifted to separate pro and consumer product lines with the FD/FDn switch, which zapped many of their excellent mid price lenses (e.g. the 135/2.5), so memories of the FDn introduction are pretty widely darkened by the then common feeling of being fleeced, rather than a decline in the quality of the lenses carried over to FDn.
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Old 10-02-2016   #5
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I have the breech mount version, it's a heavy piece of glass. I'm sure the newer FDn mount is a bit lighter. That's probably the biggest factor between the two.
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Old 10-02-2016   #6
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Could someone post both pics? I am trying to see the difference so i can know which one i am buying. Its for my AE-1
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Old 10-02-2016   #7
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As a general rule, breechlock mount lenses have a sturdier mount, and often the FD lenses that followed had better coatings.
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Old 10-02-2016   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papo View Post
Could someone post both pics? I am trying to see the difference so i can know which one i am buying. Its for my AE-1
Earlier lenses are breech lock, that is they have a metal collar to secure them (and may fall off if it is loose). FDn changed that to a button press lock on the lens (rather than the camera body).
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Old 10-02-2016   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevo View Post
Earlier lenses are breech lock, that is they have a metal collar to secure them (and may fall off if it is loose). FDn changed that to a button press lock on the lens (rather than the camera body).
sorry, i guess i dont have enough fantasy to imagine what it looks like. so the newer lenses dont have a metal collar?
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Old 10-02-2016   #10
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Heres' the FD breechlock version.

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Old 10-02-2016   #11
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Here's the FDn "bayonet" version.

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Old 10-02-2016   #12
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Thank you so much!

Last question: i noticed that the aperture blades on my 28mm do not move, no matter how i rotate them.

Now before you state the obvious, heres the thing: I use it with my AE-1 and the aperture scale in the viewfinder does actually react to aperture changes that i make, even though i dont see the blades move. Is this normal? I am not used to not seeing aperture blades move.
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Old 10-02-2016   #13
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Try this. Take the lens off “A” and set it to F16. Set the shutter speed to “B.” Point the camera at you so you’re looking down the throat of the less. Press the shutter button and hold. You should see the lens stop down to F16. If not, you have problems.

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Old 10-02-2016   #14
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Many years ago I did a comparison sharpness test of the FD BL 50 f/1.8, FDn 50 50 f/1.8, FDn 50 f/1.4 and the FL 58 F/1.2. Tested at max f/stop, mid f/stop, and min f/stop. IMO, the 1.8's were identical, the 1.4 was the sharpest of all and the 1.2 was soft down to f/2.8 then from f/4.0 to 16 almost as sharp as the 1.4. This was surprising to me since the 1.2 is many years older. I do not have a direct comparison of the BL 1.4 and the FDn 1.4 side by side but I do have years of experience using using each at different times. I saw no change of sharpness, color or contrast between the two. I used them for Commerical/Advertising photography and the results were always stellar.
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Old 10-03-2016   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mackinaw View Post
Try this. Take the lens off A and set it to F16. Set the shutter speed to B. Point the camera at you so youre looking down the throat of the less. Press the shutter button and hold. You should see the lens stop down to F16. If not, you have problems.

Jim B.
thanks a lot, worked perfectly.
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