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Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 SSC tips?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by starlabs, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    I just recently acquired a Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 SSC and would appreciate any tips on using that particular lens.

    I also have the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7. Any suggestions on which would be more appropriate to use in different situations? They're both good low-light performers but obviously differ in focal length (and AF vs MF).

    I'm pretty new to photography but have the basics down. I hope. :tongue:

  2. deirdre

    deirdre Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 9, 2010
    I have two photos taken from the same place with those lenses, so this should give you an idea of the focal length differences:

    50mm Canon FD f/1.4:


    20mm f/1.7 Panasonic lens:


    And the Olympus 14-42mm kit lens at 14mm:

    • Like Like x 3
  3. Kosta

    Kosta Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 29, 2010
    No matter the complaints, i still think the kit lens produces some really nice pics. yeah it's a little noisy but it is sharp and colourful!
  4. Brian S

    Brian S Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 11, 2009
    The 50mm focal length makes a great portrait lens on a u43 camera.

    Try it for some existing light photo's. Watch for oil on the blades, I've had that happen with one of my Canon 50/1.4's.
  5. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Thanks for the tips and pics! I got a chance to try out the Canon lens tonight and I'm impressed...
    Both taken this evening; aperture wide open, ISO 800, 1/30 for the first one, 1/20 for the second.

    Focusing is a bit tricky without an evf, but the zoom in MF mode helps a lot.
    I much prefer this over the pancake 20mm focal length. Only downside is it's 2x bigger and feels at least 4x heavier :eek:  I can see how extended use can be tiring...


    • Like Like x 1
  6. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    How is the Canon sharpness wide open? I picked up a Minolta Rokkor 50mm f1.4, and I love it at f2, but at 1.4 it gets really soft. I'd like to find another 50mm that is sharper wide open. Any other suggestions welcome, but I already have an FD adapter, so I thought I'd start by asking about the Canon lens :) 

    Here's an example of the wide open softness on the minolta:
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/zachpierce/5068719968/" title="P1190565.jpg by zach.pierce, on Flickr"> View attachment 151225 "400" height="500" alt="P1190565.jpg" /></a>

    And stopped down to F2:
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/zachpierce/5068718932/" title="P1190562.jpg by zach.pierce, on Flickr"> View attachment 151226 "375" height="500" alt="P1190562.jpg" /></a>
  7. deirdre

    deirdre Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 9, 2010
    This was taken wide open on a Canon FD 50mm f/1.4:

    View attachment 151229

    I also hadn't yet gotten the EVF nor had I figured out how to invoke the magnified focus area, so that was just done with the LCD at normal res.
  8. deirdre

    deirdre Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 9, 2010
    zpierce, in your particular case, my guess is that it was just too shallow DOF to make her seem sharp. Her right eye is more in focus than her left, and the near hair more in focus than the far hair.
  9. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    That may be part of it, but there's still a very noticeable difference when you switch between 1.4 and the next step, which is 2 as best I can tell. It's very evident even in the viewfinder.
  10. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Zach, I haven't had much of an opportunity to take portraits with this lens yet, so I haven't noticed sharpness issues. I tend to shoot wide open with this lens as much as possible, so that probably contributes to me not noticing as well :rofl:

    However I just did two test shots - both taken on a Gorillapod, with the focus unchanged between shots. One was wide open + 1/60, the other at f/2 + 1/40. I do notice a difference in sharpness, but it's not a huge difference (to my eye). But that's me and your eyes may be sharper. :smile:
    I focused via 14x magnification on the grapes above the "A" (no EVF yet).

    My guess would be the difference in sharpness has something to do with the DOF and how much light gets scattered as the aperture gets wider.

    PA201151 by starlabs, on Flickr

    PA201152 by starlabs, on Flickr

    And some additional random daylight (cloudy) SSC pictures...

    PA161143 by starlabs, on Flickr

    PA161147 by starlabs, on Flickr
  11. mach330

    mach330 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 19, 2011
    The OC
    I have the same lens.i really like the flower closeup shots I've been getting. However, other shots I wasn't that impressed especially with the sharpness. I'll keep working on it though as I'm still fairly new with manual focus.


  12. brutto

    brutto Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 17, 2011
    Here's one from this morning.


    Olympus E-P1 + Canon FD 50mm f1.4
    1/8 sec @ F2 - 100 iso - hand-held - window light
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