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  1. #1

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    Canon "new-fd" 85mm f/1.8 vs Canon fd 85mm f/1.8 SSC BL?

    I'm looking to purchase one of the fd-mount 85mm f/1.8 lenses for my recently-acquired Canon FTb.

    It seems that the earlier 85mm f/1.8 SSC Breech-lock lens commands a somewhat higher price than the later "new-fd" 85mm f/1.8.

    Can anybody explain the reason for this? I would expect that the lenses are optically the same and that this is just down to a general belief that the Breech-lock mount is regarded as mechanically-superior to its "new-fd" counterpart. But is that the case?

    Thanks
    Digital Photography is just "why-tech" not "high tech"..

  2. #2

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    Canon "new-fd" 85mm f/1.8 vs Canon fd 85mm f/1.8 SSC BL?

    I have the New FD version and like it. In general I consider the older breech lock lenses to be better made. There are some lenses which I have in both versions. I have two 100/2.8 New FDs, a 100/2.8 FD SSC and two chrome front FD breech lock lenses. The chrome front lenses have the best build quality. The SSC comes next and the New FDs are last. Optically they are all good with the chrome front lenses having less modern coating. If the difference in price isn't too great and if you find one in good condition, get the SSC. The new FD 85/1.8 I found needed to be overhauled so I git it at a good price. There are some lenses like the 24/2 or 50/1.2L or 200/2.8 IF which were only made in New FD style so for those you have no choice.

  3. #3
    hpulley's Avatar
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    The new FD versions are mostly smaller and lighter which means a smaller filter thread, in this case 52mm for new FD or 55mm for SSC breech lock. Many also, as in this case, stop down to f/22 while the SSC breech lock version only stops down to f/16 if that matters to you. Otherwise the optical design is the same, same number of elements and groups, essentially the same minimum focus distance.

    The FL version is even heavier and bigger with a 58mm filter thread. Basically the farther back you go in time, the more metal there was where the new FD is mostly plastic though less than EF lenses. However the 85mm EF is in fact heavier than the new FD version, different design again.

    Overall I find the wear is actually better in some cases with the new FD mounts. The older all metal FL and FD wear the black paint off and get brassy while the plastic of the new FD actually lasts quite well.

    Coatings on new FD are a bit more advanced as well.
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  4. #4

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    I noticed the difference in filter size (55mm for the BL vs 52mm for the new FD). That implies some differences in the optical formula (most probably different glass types). As I've already got a number of filters in the 52mm size and none in 55mm - it looks like the "new FD" lens is my choice.
    Digital Photography is just "why-tech" not "high tech"..

  5. #5
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    A different filter size doesn't necessarily mean an optical change. Look at the block diagrams if you can find them; but as everyone has said, new FD and old FD 85mm 1.8 are the exact same optical design.

    The filter threads are just due to the body of the lens, the glass is identical. I think that throughout the line they try to deviate only when necessary. That's why, for me, I stick with older FD because I've accumulated a collection of 55mm filters.

  6. #6
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    I have some of both types, I prefer the new type with the plastic barrels because they are lighter, and if you have a bag full of them they are considerably lighter to carry, the bayonet fitting is much quicker to change lenses than the breach lock type, and not as easy to drop in the process, I don't know if the breech lock ones are "Better made" to say the barrels are just plastic is an oversimplification, it's a plastic material that has been specially developed to make lens barrels in which the focusing helicoids are Teflon coated to make them very smooth, I sold them in a camera store for many years and Canon at the time said they were convinced it was a better material. I have owned most of my FDn lenses for more than twenty years and have had no problems with them or know anyone who has. I have had the FDn 85mm f1.8 for twenty three years I bought it second hand, and it's a very fine portrait lens I can recommend.
    Last edited by benjiboy; 10-18-2010 at 01:56 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Ben

  7. #7

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    here's a question, will an FL mount to an FD? friend has an 85 1.8 FL

  8. #8
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    SSC stands for "Super Spectra Coating". Prior to the "new" ones FD's lenses could have different quality of coating, SSC being the premium. With the new series of lenses, all got the "SSC" coating. Optically the two lenses are the same or very similar. Any visible difference will probably boil down to condition.

  9. #9
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    If you are seeing a difference in price between the two, I do not think that enough analysis has been done. If anything, the newer ones should run slightly higher. Neither will be noticeably different than the other optically.
    2F/2F

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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by holmburgers View Post
    A different filter size doesn't necessarily mean an optical change. Look at the block diagrams if you can find them; but as everyone has said, new FD and old FD 85mm 1.8 are the exact same optical design.

    The filter threads are just due to the body of the lens, the glass is identical. I think that throughout the line they try to deviate only when necessary. That's why, for me, I stick with older FD because I've accumulated a collection of 55mm filters.
    It is possible that a change in filter size may reflect nothing more than the change from metal to plastic barreling. But a change in filter size often means a more steeply-convex outer element made possible through the introduction of a new glass type.

    In the late 70s there was another "leap ahead" in optical glasses necessitated by a need by the manufacturers to remove glasses containing lead from their catalog.

    Looking at the block diagrams is a great idea, though.
    Digital Photography is just "why-tech" not "high tech"..

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