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Wow is the FD 50/1.4 a good lens.

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Jman, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. Jman

    Jman Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    Columbus, OH
    I've been dabbling in FD glass on my GH2 recently, and had heard some good things about the FD 50s. I own and have owned a TON of 50mm lenses, and most of the f/1.4 lenses are a little soft wide open (though most are acceptable). Other than the C/Y 50/1.7, I had yet to find a faster than f/2 lens that was truly tack sharp wide open.

    I picked up an FD 50/1.8 for about $20 a few weeks ago and was amazed by the sharpness...very sharp wide open, and far better than the EF 50/1.8. I was then intrigued to get the new FD 50/1.4. I was in Midwest Photo and they had one of them in their used camera gear pile. The focus ring was bent in, so it could only focus smoothly from infinity to about 0.8m before grinding to a halt, but the glass was flawless and it otherwise looked great, so I asked for a discount. Got it for $40. I took it home and bent the focus ring back slightly with a precision screwdriver, and got it so that it now can focus the full range relatively smoothly (there's still a slight change in tension passing over the 0.7m mark, but it's slight). Took some shots, and I'll be darned if this thing isn't the sharpest 50mm I've ever shot with at f/1.4. I'm sure on a full frame body it would be just a razor...it's still super sharp even on the very high pixel density of the GH2. I took some comparison pictures against my EF 50/1.4, and darn it if the FD was significantly better at most distances.

    The FD outperforms the EF wide open from about 0.7m and further. Inside 0.7m, the FD starts to show some blooming, and it loses contrast and a little bit of sharpness. At 0.5m, the EF outperforms the FD. A little sharper, and a little better contrast. From 0.7m and further, though, the FD is noticeably better, at least as far as sharpness and contrast goes. Color is identical, and bokeh, from everything I'm seeing, is identical.

    These are all 100% crops wide open. This is from about 1m or so. Top shot is from the center of frame, bottom is the lower right corner of the frame.

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    Here's something showing that it doesn't do as well at close focus distances (with the EF a little better), but how it crushes it going a little further out. Top shot is center at f/1.4, focused at around 0.5m. Bottom shot is at 1m. Both are pretty typical of a 50/1.4 close up, but the FD is amazing just a little further out, and in most portrait distances for m4/3. Awesome.

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  2. compositor20

    compositor20 Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 21, 2010
    I have it too and the problem is not the lack of resolution at f1.4 which i could leave but those spherical aberrations... that make the borders of high contrast bloom and have an halo of bright light... i hate it and at f2 its much better usable at 2.5 its already very good and at f2.8 this lens is excellent with no coma no purple fringing and very high contrast (although contrast gets better already at f2)

    however this lens is sharper then the pancake 20mm lumix or it is less sharp than 14-42mzuiko kit lens since i see some aliasing (although not much moiré) that look like compression sharpening artefacts that i dont see in the pancake in in the hair on portraits!
  3. Jman

    Jman Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    Columbus, OH
    I hear what you're saying, but every 50ish f/1.4 has those artifacts, I've found. Even modern lenses...the FD appears to have much lower incidence of them. Notice how clean the pop can is...(and a lot of other pics I've taken are clean like that as well. It's not a perfect lens, but it's likely the best all around 50 I've used, at least so far.
  4. stressin

    stressin New to Mu-43

    Jul 9, 2011
    I've been thinking about picking up an adapter to use my old FD... this forum got me thinking :) 
  5. leonberdi

    leonberdi Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2011
    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmUZGdi7Ty4"]Do it![/ame]
  6. PSimmons

    PSimmons Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 24, 2010
    Central Florida
    Awesome stuff, not surprised though, the old lenses just seem to be better built and I'm guessing they're weren't as mass produced because fewer ppl had slrs
  7. icy_se7en

    icy_se7en Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 17, 2011
    Ive got a Canon FD 50mm f1.8 aswell but cant seem to get such a clear picture as my Olympus OM 50mm f1.8 lens, heres a pic I took with the Olympus one:

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    I've been debating wether to get an FD 50mm f1.4 because it costs alot more than the f1.8 but not sure if its really worth it
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