Canon FL Lenses

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Jason Stamper, Sep 26, 2014.

  1. Jason Stamper

    Jason Stamper Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 13, 2014
    So I've just found out about the FL lenses. A few questions for those who have used them.

    1. Do they operate on our mu4/3 adapters the same as the FD's?

    2. What about this coating business? Would a single coating make much difference over the SSC?

    3. Anyone have experience with the FL 50mm f1.4, and how does it compare to the FD SSC? Got any sample images from this one?

    Thanks so much for your responses.
  2. tlovegrove

    tlovegrove Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 3, 2014
    Southern California
    Real Name:
    Jason, I can't actually make the comparison you are seeking here, but a couple things that might be helpful:

    1) I stopped using any of the lenses that have the silver breech-lock ring for a couple of reasons. First, it was much more of a pain to get on and off. Second, I had problems with the lock rings getting permanently locked on to my adapters, so that I couldn't remove the lens even with pliers. So I get only the all-black FD lenses now.

    2) Remember that the FD lenses that say "SSC" are actually older than the FD lenses that don't. The "new FD" lenses have the multi-coating but without the designation. People often think that FD SSC is better than just FD, but that's not actually true. (if I understand correctly)

    3) The coating differences might only make a real difference in challenging lighting situations. Most of the time any difference (such as slightly lower contrast) can probably be easily compensated for in post processing.

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  3. edmsnap

    edmsnap Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 20, 2011
    Edmonton, Alberta
    1) Yes - for a ยต4/3 user, FL and FD lenses use the same adapter and are functionally identical.

    2) The coatings get better with FD (as often do the optics), but I would count it as a fairly minor consideration limited to a specific set of lighting conditions in real-world use.

    3) The FL 50/1.4 II and the FD Chrome-Nose 50/1.4 were, I believe, basically identical lenses in different mounts. The earlier FL 50/1.4 versions (there's an FL 50/1.4, an FL 50/1.4 I and an FL 50/1.4 II) were one element less in the design and considerably softer. I've heard that the original 50/1.4 was the most radioactive lens that Canon ever made. My feedback would be that the "normal" FL lens to get is the 55mm f/1.2 - it's gorgeous, has stunning rendering, has better wide-open performance than the 1.4's, and is the cheapest f/1.2 option you're likely to find outside of C-mount. It auctions for $200-300 usually. Certainly more money than the 1.4, but there's a lot to like.

    What I absolutely love about FL lenses is the quality of their construction. They're tanks with precise controls. So many decades later, none of my FL lenses have any appreciable level of dust inside them, I believe owing to their top-notch construction. Canon cut no corners when they were building FL; quality all the way. The 35mm f/2.5 and the 135mm f/2.5 (along with the aforementioned 55/1.2) are particular favourites.

    Some general FL info can be found here.
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  4. alacrity

    alacrity New to Mu-43

    Oct 26, 2014
    I just picked up a 58mm f/1.2 canon FL. Waiting for a dumb adapter to arrive and if I love it, I'll get a focal reducer