Canon FD lenses...not much love here, and I just...can't

RnR

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If you have a good handful of old lenses with the same mount, please consider a decent focal reducer. If you enjoy the manual experience, they really are worth it imho. Wider focal lengths, more light, everything is sharper (depending on your focal reducer ofcause).
 

Armand Di Meo

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I used to shoot with the Canon FD system until Canon decided it would no longer support it. This was around 1999. I had a pretty good collection of Canon FD lenses and I would say they were all solid performers. Many would rank Canon FD lenses just behind Leica, Zeiss, and Nikkor lenses in performance. Build quality was also outstanding at least up until the mid-1980s, when they abandoned the old breach-lock design. Overall, the Canon FD lenses were almost but not quite as excellent as Nikkor lenses from the same era. Considering that you can pick up many Canon FD lenses (except for L series) for a song, they are an unbeatable value.
 

Machi

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... I looked at some of the lenses, and they really are not ... lovely. Utilitarian at best. None of the milled aluminum of the Nikons, the tiny grace of Pentax-M or OM lenses, and certainly not the artistry of the Takumars, not even the variety of markings that the newer Minoltas showed. Plain, black, boxy things with white lettering.
I don't buy lenses for their appearance but I think that my prettiest combinations are silver E-PM2 + silver Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 and E-M10II + Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 SSC.

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ektar

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Well, to resurrect this thread and confess a bit: One of our fine members enticed me to purchase an nFD 50/1.4, and I will say it’s pretty impressive. It also started an undesireable search and enjoyable study. One thing I’ve noticed is that the diaphragm springs on these is beefy. People refer to aperture operation as “snappy...” I think these would be snappy if you used axle grease on the blades.
 

ektar

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Oh, and I’ll add that the breechlock lenses (not FL, I haven’t put hands on any of those) have a solidity and feel that is in the style of the earlier Rokkors and Nikkors.
 

ektar

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Oh, and another thing:

The internet is a questionable place. When I say "enjoyable study," that understates the level of amateur "research" that can be done. With embarassment, I will confess that I now know the meaning of FL, FD, nFD, BL, SC, and SSC. I can almost decipher Canon date codes without looking them up.

It's the internet's fault.
 

ektar

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Well, in a semi-honest attempt to share, I will confess to being a convert of sorts. I have fiddled, researched, fondled, read, and made some acquisitions. I haven't shot enough, but will do so in due time. This is some pretty nice glass, with character, even beauty of their own.

The FD lenses have a heft and robust feel that is impressive. Similar to, but a little smaller than some of the MC Minolta lenses. Also a little smaller than the all-aluminum pre-AI Nikkors. Bigger and maybe a little less sleek than most Takumars. But very much the precise feel and nice focusing of the optics of their contemporaries. Mounting them is (as expected) a little odd when used to conventional bayonet fixing, but you can understand Canon's engineers eliminating the wear points and keeping any mating surface abrasion away from the inner workings of the camera body.

The nFD (or NFD, FDn or "new FD") lenses are to the FDs as some of the smaller AI and AIS Nikkors are to their ancestors. They're not as much smaller as the Pentax -M or -A series' are compared to the Ks, but the -Ks were smaller to begin with, and the -Ms are downright tiny, more akin to virtually all of the OM lenses I have or have seen. But the nFDs are still solid, refined looking optics. It's my understanding that some of the late ones got pretty plasticky before and right after the dawn of the EOS era.

So, for me, this expression of the OLAS syndrome is interesting. If nothing else it has been a learning experience, and should give me some nice tools.
 
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Dear Board,

Adapted Canon and Nikon lenses are what made me enter the M4/3 world. I had the lenses but no body, so I bought a bargain E-PL2 from that camera store around Atlanta GA.

Long story short, I liked my results and so I bought an OM-D-M1 and commenced, awkwardly into the world of adapted lenses and MF. It's been a struggle, mostly due to my ignorance of how MF works on Olympus cameras. I getting there though, slowly but surely.

Here is my backyard birding rig.

Regards,

Tim Murphy
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Harrisburg, PA :)
 

WT21

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Bored on a Sunday morning.

With the sale of Olympus imaging and it's potentially anticipated demise, I had wondered what M4/3 stuff I should look for, while it's still available. One of the things I thought of was a Canon FD-to-M4/3 adapter. Now, TBH, I don't and have never owned a film-era Canon anything. The reasons are unimportant, and to go into them would just derail an already random train of thought.

But, the lenses are out there, and reportedly some are pretty reasonable. So, I came to this fine forum to see what the assembled multitude had done and posted. I found largely crickets. A few showcase posts, but really not many, and easily fewer than Oly, Nikon, Pentax or even Pentax Takumar. So, are we just of like minds that Canon has left us "meh?" I looked at some of the lenses, and they really are not ... lovely. Utilitarian at best. None of the milled aluminum of the Nikons, the tiny grace of Pentax-M or OM lenses, and certainly not the artistry of the Takumars, not even the variety of markings that the newer Minoltas showed. Plain, black, boxy things with white lettering.

So, should I save the $20-ish for the adapter and watch for bargains elsewhere, or can someone in the know point me to a Canon imaging ugly duckling that will turn into the proverbial swan?
the more modern FD lenses I tried didn’t focus smoothly. I probably tried 3 of them (two fifties and a thirty five) and could not fine tune the AF easily. The focus was just a bit ‘sticky.’ The Takumar and OM lenses were all much smoother. Add to that the odd FD mount (isn’t that the one where you have to move/rotate a lever to “lock” it) and it just wasn’t worth it. IIRC, too, it requires lining up the lens “exactly” the the adapter to mount them such that switching FDs off the adapter was a minor bother. Though I would say the color and contrast were nicer than some other legacy lenses I tried.
 

HarryS

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Until I got the fast bright M43 lenses over ten years of M43 ownershio, I did make do with many legacy primes.

My FD 85mm f1.8 cost me $115 in 2011 and I used it for years on my M43 bodies until I finally could buy the Olympus 75mm. My main irritant with it was having to use lenstagger in Photoshop to enter the focal length, and I never knew the apertures. That was my most expensive legacy lens. Everything else was garage sale gear or lenses from my film days.
 
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