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Monster L Zoom: The Canon FD 50-300mm f/4.5 L

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Jman, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. Jman

    Jman Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    Columbus, OH
    Well, one of them. Got my Canon FD 50-300mm f/4.5L today. It's a relatively large and very dense lens. It weighs in at nearly 4 lbs. I got lucky on this guy. It's a pretty rare lens. (Mine was one of the first 500 manufacturered) It typically goes for between $750-$1100, and I managed to snag one for $550, and while there are a few minor nicks like on most lens bodies, the glass is absolutely perfect. Not a mark on either the front or rear element and looking into the lens, I don't even think there's a speck of dust. It is flawless. Zoom and focus actions are smooth. Aperture blades are clean and snappy. The only thing that is slightly off is that the aperture ring is a little stiff near the wider apertures. It's not the aperture itself (as you can easily snap the blades open and shut with the lever on the mount without any hint of stickiness), but the actual aperture ring. I'm wondering if just sticking a little graphite in there will help smooth it out a bit. But, it works fine, so it's not much of an issue.

    The lens with my GH2 (sorry for the shallow DOF...I was too lazy to go get my flash, and well, this lens was on my tripod).
    DMC-GX1    ---    45mm    f/3.2    1/80s    ISO 640

    The ring and label:
    DMC-GX1    ---    45mm    f/8.0    1/80s    ISO 640

    Optically, I'm rather impressed, frankly. It's not as good as the very best fixed focals I've used, but it's still very good throughout the entire zoom range as far as sharpness goes, and color is very pleasing. It is rather sharp wide open at all focal lengths, even with the very high pixel density of the GH2, and stopping down to f/5.6 makes it very, very sharp.

    The biggest thing, especially given the age of the lens and the fact that it's a zoom, is that is controls CA and purple fringing EXTREMELY well. There is virtually no CA at almost all focal lengths (every once in a while a very slight blue/yellow CA is visible, but is very easily corrected.) PF is very well controlled...a huge improvement over something like my FD 200/2.8. Bokeh is generally pleasing, with it getting a little busier the further you're focusing.

    Overall, I'm very pleased. It's a BIG lens, but since on m4/3, it's basically a 100-600mm super zoom at constant f/4.5, It'll work (Yes, I know DOF is not like a 600 f/4.5 on full frame). It's definitely a monopod lens, as handholding becomes tiring after about 5-10 minutes, but that's fine. I will likely only use it for situations where I really need a long lens, and I generally won't mind the size for those types of shoots.

    Of course, focusing requires extreme precision. Focusing at 50mm is actually somewhat difficult, as it's a slow lens at 50mm (how many 50mm f/4.5's do you know of?), and at 300mm on close subjects, the DOF is razor thin (I'm actually glad for the slightly deeper DOF from shooting it on m4/3), but when I do my job (which I did pretty well for the most part today), the images are quite good. I have to say, the very large zoom range makes it an awesome lens to shoot with. I was generally trying to shoot stuff between 200-300mm most of the time, but when the opportunity to back out a bit was needed, it was really nice to have leeway to do so.

    Some samples from the 30 minutes I had to shoot with it today:

    At 300mm, f/4.5:
    DMC-GH2    ---       f/1.0    1/1250s    ISO 320

    At about 120mm and either f/5.6 or f/8:
    DMC-GH2    ---       f/1.0    1/640s    ISO 160

    At 300mm, f/4.5:
    DMC-GH2    ---       f/1.0    1/640s    ISO 160

    At about 225mm, f/4.5:
    DMC-GH2    ---       f/1.0    1/1000s    ISO 160

    At 300mm, f/4.5 and near MFD:
    DMC-GH2    ---       f/1.0    1/500s    ISO 160

    And my favorite of the day, at 300mm f/4.5 with bounced flash:
    • Like Like x 9
  2. LVL8hacker

    LVL8hacker Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 4, 2012
    Pinehurst, North Carolina
    Larry Anderson
    Nice! I have the FD 300mm f/4.0L
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Very nice, indeed!

    Oh, but this thread is in the wrong section... it should be in Adapted Lenses instead of Native Lenses. ;) 
  4. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Very nice lens, great shots.
  5. mr_botak

    mr_botak Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 4, 2011
    Reading, UK
    Very nice thanks - I have a similar OM the 50-250. Despite the weight they are useful lenses I think. I am increasingly worried about bending the lens mount on the camera though!

    I like the goose the best.
  6. Jman

    Jman Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    Columbus, OH
    That OM is much more in line with the m4/3 size situation, though...it's 5.5" long and 1.67 lbs.

    By contrast, the 50-300/4.5L is 9.85" long and 4.01 lbs. :)  Needless to say, I would NEVER support this lens by the camera mount only...it's either mounted to a monopod or tripod by the tripod collar on the lens, or I'm holding the Lens, with the body hanging off the back.

    Of course, some of that is due to being 50mm shorter and 1/3 stop slower, but a lot is due to Oly's fantastic ability to make tiny good lenses. Bet that Oly is a good performer. How well does it control CA and purple fringing on high contrast subjects?
  7. mr_botak

    mr_botak Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 4, 2011
    Reading, UK
    It looked smaller in the picture :)  That is indeed a monster.

    The Oly is a great lens - albeit hard to focus. Nail it and you are rewarded with sharp images and rich colours. Bokeh is quite nice as a bonus. Very little CA at f5, gone at f8 which is where it seems best on MFT. I'll post some samples in the appropriate thread.
  8. Jman

    Jman Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    Columbus, OH
    Got a chance to take some more pics.
    Cool metal lens cap:
    DMC-GX1    ---    25mm    f/4.5    1/100s    ISO 160

    It's not small:
    DMC-GX1    ---    25mm    f/4.5    1/100s    ISO 160

    DMC-GX1    ---    25mm    f/4.5    1/100s    ISO 160

    Tiny camera, relatively big lens:
    DMC-GH2    ---    25mm    f/6.3    1/160s    ISO 320

    DMC-GH2    ---    12mm    f/8.0    1/100s    ISO 320
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    now if only someone would start making those 34mm drop ins... have you seen the price of those!?
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