Canon FD 50/1.2 and FD 50/1.2 L -- Differences?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by gmikol, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. gmikol

    gmikol Member

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    Hey all...

    I'm feeling a G.A.S. attack coming on, and I've been eyeing one of the Canon FD 50/1.2 lenses. I see that there is an "L" version, and a non-L version. As a practical matter, is there much of a difference, in terms of sharpness, flare, vignetting? How would they both compare to, say, a good-old FD 50/1.4, especially in the 1.4-2.2 range? How about compared to my EF 50/1.4?

    And more importantly, what's a fair price for these two 1.2 versions? KEH doesn't have any listed. There are a couple on the 'bay, but without a reference, how do I know how much is too much? (I'm in the US, by the way...)

    Thanks for any help--

    Greg
     
  2. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    The best "bang for your buck" in Canon FD standard lenses is the 50mm f1.4 (which is optically the same as the 1.4 EF), as an all round optic aperture for aperture, so unless you spend most of your time shooting black cats in coal cellars IMHO that's the best buy.
     
  3. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    I actually have both. The FD 1.2L that I have is very compact, not any bigger than the 1.4, and takes the same 52mm filters. Build quality is great as is the image quality, you can shoot it wide open and expect nice results. The 1.2L is obviously much better at 1.4 than the 1.4, if you get my drift! However the 1.4 is certainly a good all round performer, and unless you shoot wide open a lot, then this is the best buy, far, far cheaper than the 1.2.
    Incidentally, I have three versions of the 1.4, and apart from the size, the image performance seems the same.
     
  4. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    With Canon FD lenses, I think the "L" indicates it has florite glass and it's apochromatic which means it gets all 3 colors in focus on a plane. I've seen chromes taken with a Canon L lens on a light box and the colors pop. Just gorgeous.
     
  5. gmikol

    gmikol Member

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    Thanks everyone for the responses. I have an EF 50/1.4, and I've never been quite happy with it, especially wide-open. I've been trying to do a little wide-field astrophotography (i.e. no telescope), and I've gotten far better results with my EF 24-70 L @ 50 than I did with the EF 50. I also know that going up to the EF 50/1.2 L doesn't buy me a whole lot wide open, either, from what I've read.

    So the question is, ruling out the FD 50/1.4, are either of the FD 50/1.2's appreciably better? If so, which one? And what should I pay for one?

    --Greg
     
  6. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    The 50 1.2L is 'better' of the three. But for the money you can't beat the 1.4.

    Jeff
     
  7. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    The L series lens will be a little better than the earlier 1.2, which I believe is quite soft wide open. The 50mm 1.2L is not an apo lens but is built (like other) L series lenses, to more stringent tolerances.
    This should gaurantee that the lens will be as good as it can be. The problem is the price, as a good 1.2L can sell from $500.00 or thereabouts.
    You have to decide whether the extra $400.00 or so is worth it to you. However, like Leica lenses, the L series Canon glass will hold it's value well.
     
  8. Mackinaw

    Mackinaw Member

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    The 50mm F1.2 L contains an aspherical lens element, it doesn't contain Fluorite glass. All high-speed lenses are afflicted with spheric aberration, making pictures look a bit blurry when shot wide-open (low in contrast too). An aspherical element greatly reduces spherical aberration giving you a much sharper and more contrasty pic when taken at F1.2.

    If you're into taking pics in low light, or like very shallow depth of field, the 50/1.2L is the lens for you. If most of your shots are at F 4.0 or so, save yourself the money and buy a 50/1.4 or even an 50/1.8.

    Jim B.

    Jim B.
     
  9. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    The Canon FD 50mm f1.2 (non-L) version is soft wide-open and not as sharp as the f1.4 closed down.
    The 50mm f1.4 in EF mount is the same lens optically as the FD mount. However the build quality may be better with the FD lens.

    i dont have any L lenses, but they have an excellent reputation.
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I used to have the FD 50/1.2L, but not the earlier one, so I can't compare, but it was an outstanding lens, and the build quality was particularly nice, in addition to having that extra half stop, which made for very accurate focusing as well as being useful in low light.

    I did make some tests to compare it to the 50/1.4 and 1.8, and unsurprisingly, it was sharper (I've probably posted this somewhere around here or maybe over on photo.net some years ago), but interestingly, if you use reversed lenses for macro, the 50/1.8 was the clear winner of the three when reversed.