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Q: smooth focus ring? OM or FD?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by WT21, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I sold my Oly 45mm and PL45 because I just don't use this focus length much at all. I already have an FD50mm 1.4 for occasional portraits. I want to purchase a 50mm 3.5 macro for my (very occasional) macro work. I have adapters already for both.

    My question: I tested my FD50 vs. Takumar 50 vs. OM 50mm 2.0 macro perviously (have since sold the latter two). I found the OM to be sharpest, the Takumar to have the best bokeh, but the FD to have the better color and contrast. So, I've stuck with the FD.

    My one issue with the my bayonet FD is that the focus ring is not buttery smooth like either my Takumar or my OM were. Because of this, it can be fiddly when you get down to fine focusing (like when you are shooting wide open).

    Is this typical of FD mounts? Do they have sub-standard focus ring action? Maybe it's just the bayonet mounts, and the breech mounts are smoother? Maybe I just have a sub-standard FD copy?

    Any help is appreciated, as I'd like to get a 50mm macro, and want to know if I'll be OK with another FD and if they are SUPPOSED to have better focus rings, maybe I'd even replace my 50/1.4 with a different copy.

    Thanks for any insight.
     
  2. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Hrm, the Canon 50mm f/3.5 macro I have has a nice smooth focus operation.

    Since it's a macro lens, the focus extends or contracts the barrel, so it may not be indicative of what the other Canon FD lenses are like. I have not used one yet so have no point of comparison there.
     
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  3. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Thanks. Do you have a breech or a bayonet mount? (breech has the heavy silver ring around the base of the lens)
     
  4. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Looking at pics to compare, mine looks to be a bayonet mount version.
     
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  5. I have found some breech-lock FDs to have quite heavily damped focus rings, although that could have something to do with their individual age and usage more so than being inherent in their design. The focus ring on my breech-lock FD55/1.2 is very smooth until the last approach to the minimum focusing distance where it tightens up. The bayonet FDs don't have as solid a feeling overall but I've generally found their focus rings to be quite light and smooth. One thing I have noted with these lenses is that a few I've handled have developed some free play in the focus mechanism that is noticable when you switch from one direction to the other.
     
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  6. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    My current 50/1.4 doesn't have any freeplay, but it does stick (which is a strong term here) just enough, so that it takes just a little extra pressure, which then causes it to move past the point you wanted (again, only noticeable in wide open, very fine focusing). I can probably just live with it, and wouldn't know the difference, if I hadn't compared it to my other two lenses.

    Sounds like it might be the copy (bought off eBay -- can you believe it?!?!?).

    Thanks for the replies!