Canon FD Resources - Standard lenses
New FD 50mm f/1.2
L, FD 50mm f/1.2,
New FD 50mm f/1.4, New FD 50mm f/1.8

 

The standard lens is so common and '"uninteresting" that most of the time, it is taken for granted and often neglected as a lens incapable of complementing a photographer's imagination. But when you see a particular scene as appealing with your very own eyes just the way you have perceive it. And if you want to capture that same view, the appropriate lens choice is, therefore, the standard 50mm lens. Compared with other focal length lenses, it does not project unusual characteristics into the image - it remains essentially faithful to the human vision. Since this lens usually comes with the SLR as the standard package back in those days ('70s and '80s) before the popularity of zoom lenses, the 50mm lens also sells the most in terms of "volume", making it as one of the cheapest lens around and more importantly, also offers superb optical performance and is often referred to as the company's yardstick in exhibiting their best in optical design and quality.

oldCanon50mmf12.JPG

FDn50mmf1.2.jpg


Why ? Since it usually comes with the camera as a package, it is most likely to be used as the 'reference lens' in most camera tests as well, and thus a lot of research has been conducted to ensure its high performances. Generally, the standard 50mm focal length offers the widest options and also has the fastest lens speed among all lenses made in any brand.

<<<<-- Far left, a Leica's screw mount Canon standard lens. Left: a modern FDn 50mm f1.2 shares almost the dimension and weight with an older version of FD 50mm f1.4 S.S.C.

FDn50mmf12LadoramaB.JPG
You may ask, what is so "standard" about this lens ? Why is the 50 mm lens is referred to as the "standard" lens? Aside from the fact that in the past a 50 mm lens has customarily accompany most 35mm SLR cameras on purchase, there are several other reasons:


Credit: Images of the old Canon lens and the FDn 50mm f/1.2L courtesy of "Ebay - Mathew Duren" <ebay@adorama> URL: Adorama.com, who also operates a popular Ebay Store. Image Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Adorama Inc. also can be contact at: Used & Collectible Ebay Department Adorama® Inc. 42 West 18th Street New York, N.Y. 10011 1-212-741-0052 1-830-223-2500 Option 55 Ext.119 FAX: 1-212-675-8715

One theory is that this lens' focal length is closest to the 43.2 mm diagonal of the 35 mm camera's 24 x 36 mm frame. Another is that its field of coverage (40° horizontally, 46° diagonally) is roughly equal to what one human eye can view with relative clarity. Simply, the 50 mm standard lens gives an "honest" image, which is extremely close to what the "unaided" eye sees. Combine this with the fact that this lens is often successful in creating the same image of the scene that the photographer has in mind, and it's easy to see why the 50mm lens is a good basic lens.


The Canon FD 55mm F 1.2 AL Lens

This can be considered as Canon's first aspherical lens and comfortably * claimed to be the world's first photographic lens that was incorporated with an aspherical element that eliminated drawbacks such as spherical aberration by reducing the light refraction's steepness near the lens' edges and converging the light rays at a common focal point. A margin of error of less that one micron in manufacturing precision is necessary to be able to polish an optical glass to an aspherical surface. For this reason, it had been extremely difficult to achieve such a surface.

This is a large aperture standard lens with an aspherical surface, which aimed to provide the highest image delineation. Besides, this lens incorporates also Canon's early conceptual Floating Elements System which also improves image quality at close distance. Furthermore, a 'rare treat indeed, as most early FD lenses were still single coated, Canon's multi-layer Super Spectra Coating was applied to this lens. Canon calls it "the perfect lens" because of the sharpness it provides under any photographic condition. Thus, the more familiar '
L' series of FD lenses that uses this advanced lens technology owed their origins to this Aspherical 50mm lens' design.

*
Nikon has an earlier production of an aspherical lens than the Canon 50mm f1.2 featured here, but that was a fisheye lens (10mm OP-Nikkor) and more leaning towards scientific application and it requires camera bodies that has mirror lockup feature to work.

Canon FD 55mm F1.2AL
Lens Composition: 6 components 8 elements.
Picture angle : 43 degrees diagonal, 36 horizontal and perpendicular 25 degrees.
Coating: Super spectra
Aperture Scale: 1.2, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16.
Distance Scale: 0.6 to 10 meters (2 to 30 feet).
Hood: S-58.
Filter diameter: 58mm.
Length x Maximum diameter/weight: 55mm x
75.7mm (2-3/16" x 3") 605 grams (1 lb. 7 oz.).

(also see older FD lenses (S.S.C.)

Optical group.jpg

55mm12al.jpg

Another view of this lens



Among the many primary features that can be found in standard 50mm lenses, the top of the list is their large maximum apertures. Used with high ISO film, these lenses can handle virtually any light level. The aspherical element used in the Canon New FD f/1.2
L was utilized to eliminate flare that is quite common with fast lenses at the maximum aperture. An additional characteristic of fast lenses is the shallow depth of field that can be obtained when the lens is used at the maximum aperture. When the aperture is large, the foreground and background become blurred, isolating and emphasizing the main subject. The differences between the minimum and maximum apertures of these two old and new FD 50mm aspherical lenses are very large which allows you to have a lot of control whether the depth of field should be kept deep or shallow.

Instead of assuming that the standard lens can only take normal pictures, we should explore its possibilities further. Always think of it as a short telephoto lens. Since it is the only lens which lies between the two types between wide angles and telephoto lenses.

Bill and his family.jpg (63k) Loading...
<<< Amidst the soap opera at home, during the state visit to China in '98, President Bill Clinton and his family.

Pix: © 1999, Vincent Thian, an AP photographer. (The Associated Press)


It is thus the best lens to be used to study basic photographic techniques. After the photographer has completely mastered this lens, he or she can safely move on to the super wide-angles, wide-angles, telephotos, super telephotos, macros and zoom lenses, with the added knowledge of what these focal lengths can achieve after having learnt how to utilize the benefits of a 50mm lens.

Alexander Dietel mailed in some info relating to his finding on his own 50mm FD: FD-lens. ".... It´s a October 1972 (datecode) version of the 50/1,4. There is no S.C. or S.S.C. writing, the lens has a chrome (silver) bajonett-ring at the front. Connecting the lens to a camera with the chrome-ring, you notice that there is no self-locking, when attached to the camera...."

I always think any new-enthusiast-on-the-block should use this 'conventional approach"to start off one's photography. But nowadays, it is hard to convince one especially when they are being introduced to the 'fascinating world"of using variable apertures zoom lenses. Asking someone to start off with a standard 50mm lens can be considered as an insult to some. But only the veterans who have gone through all the stages of experiencing with the various focal lengths would understand what I meant.

By the way, Canon has four options at this focal length, each comes with their respective optical characteristic in lens speed and design to suit one's budget and requirements. They are the New FD 50mm f1.2
L, New FD 50mm f1.2, New FD 50mm f1.4 and New FD 50mm f1.8.

FDn50mmf12LadoramaC.JPG
New FD 50 mm f/1.2L

The use of an aspherical element eliminates the flare typically found in lenses with large maximum apertures. Contrast and other factors important in image quality are well corrected when the lens is used at full aperture. Use of the Floating System helps to maintain image quality from infinity to 0.5 meters. Considered compact with its unusual fast speed, the lens' total weight is only 380 grams.

Credit: Image courtesy of "Ebay - Mathew Duren" <ebay@adorama> URL: Adorama.com, who also operates a popular Ebay Store. Image Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Adorama Inc. also can be contact at: Used & Collectible Ebay Department Adorama® Inc. 42 West 18th Street New York, N.Y. 10011 1-212-741-0052 1-830-223-2500 Option 55 Ext.119 FAX: 1-212-675-8715

A lens that was specially produced to perform in low light, maximum aperture situations, critical selection of glass and the proper use of single and multi-film coating techniques have improved the spectral transmission factor and reduced ghost images.

50mmf12lensoptic.jpg
Specification:

Focal length: 50mm
Aperture ratio: 1:1.2
Lens construction: 6 groups, 8 elements (including 1 aspherical element - lens element colored it red, illustrated as left)

FDn50mmf12LadoramaD.JPG

FDn50mmf12LadoramaA.JPG


Credit: Image courtesy of "Ebay - Mathew Duren" <ebay@adorama> URL: Adorama.com, who also operates a popular Ebay Store. Image Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Adorama Inc. also can be contact at: Used & Collectible Ebay Department Adorama® Inc. 42 West 18th Street New York, N.Y. 10011 1-212-741-0052 1-830-223-2500 Option 55 Ext.119 FAX: 1-212-675-8715

Coating: S.S.C (super spectra coating)
Angle of view: Diagonal: 46° Vertical: 27° Horizontal: 40°
Distance Scale: (m) 0.5 (magnification 0.13X) to 30.
OO (ft) 1.75 to 30.oo Focusing: Helicoid
Minimum aperture: f/16 .A
FDn50mmf12La.JPG FDn50mmf12L.JPG
Diaphragm: Automatic; Filter Size. 52mm; Hood: BS-52 Bayonet
Cap: C-52 (CG2-0070)
Function: Auto Aperture, Full aperture metering (AE operation when used with ALL Canon automatic SLR cameras.
Length x max. diameter: 50.5mm x 65.3mm
Weight: 380g


Credit: Image courtesy of "The Canon Man" <pmreis2002@yahoo.com> who also operates a popular Ebay Store with Ebay ID "thecanonman". Image Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.



50mmf1.2.jpg
New FD 50mm f/1.2

This design is based on the design of Canon's popular 50 mm f/1.4 lens. Use of new types of glass has allowed the maximum aperture size to be increased. Proper arrangement of high refractive index elements results in high image contrast and sharpness, even at full aperture. Use of a short focal point design and a more compact optical system allow total weight to be reduced to only 315 grams. A reasonably compact and fast standard lens without bursting your wallet.

50mmf12optic.jpg
Specification:

Focal length: 50mm
Aperture ratio: 1:1.2
Lens construction: 6 groups, 7 elements
Coating: S.S.C (super spectra coating)

Angle of view: Diagonal: 46° Vertical: 27° Horizontal: 40°
Distance Scale: (m) 0.5 (magnification 0.13X) to 30.
OO (ft) 1.75 to 30.oo
Focusing: Helicoid Minimum aperture: f/16 .A
Diaphragm: Automatic
Filter Size. 52mm
Hood: BS-52
Cap: C-52 (CG2-0070)
Function: Auto Aperture, Full aperture metering (AE operation when used with ALL Canon automatic SLR cameras.
Length x max. diameter: 45.6mm x 65.3mm
Weight: 315g


FD 50mm f/1.4 "reference" lens

50mmillus.jpg
The front and rear lens groups in Canon's FD 50mm f1.4 are symmetrical in optical design. Symmetrical lens construction is a feature of standard lenses which is not found in wide-angle or telephoto lenses. Main advantage of this optical design is permitting a large maximum aperture and still maintain excellent color reproduction. Because of these qualities, standard lenses are usually regarded as a starting point from which to build a lens system including wide-angle and telephoto lenses before the advent and popularity of zoom lenses which has slowly replacing the status of 50mm as 'standard lens'.


Canon's most famous as well as the most popular standard lens were the New FD 50mm f1.2
L and also the New FD 50mm f/1.4 lens. Both lenses have excellent reputations for high performances and stable image reproduction capabilities. The 50mm f/1.4 lens was used for optical measurements at various public institutions and is also the standard which determines color balance for the rest of the nearly 60 lenses in the FD series. Perhaps instead of "standard", a more accurate name would be "reference" lens.

Canon's standard lens are excellent for a number of reasons; suitable for low light shooting situations, offers greater flexibility to choose faster shutter speeds with their fast maximum apertures and focusing in dim lighting conditions is another advantage with their bright viewfinder images. also due to the larger apertures concerned.

Considering their compactness and prices, both the 50mm f1.4 and f1.8 are attractive options. Always choose your lens depending on your personal requirement and budget. And since most people would not appreciate the broad scope of usage that are possible with 50mm lenses, they are usually very cheap in the used market, you can carefully take your time to go through the many used retail outlets to shop around for one.

50mmf14view.jpg
New FD 50mm f/1.4

In spite of additional improvements over its famous predecessor, the lens has remained compact and lightweight. It weighs a mere 240 grams. Its high resolution and high contrast are achieved by using high refraction index glass and a method for distributing lens power that suppresses spherical aberration and off-axis halos. The lens' renowned color balance is the standard for all other Canon FD interchangeable lenses.(
also see older FD lenses (S.S.C.)

50mmf14optic.jpg
Specification:

Focal length: 50mm
Aperture ratio: 1:1.4
Lens construction :6 groups, 7 elements
Coating: S.S.C (super spectra coating)

Angle of view: Diagonal: 46° Vertical: 27° Horizontal: 40°
Distance Scale:(m) 0.45 (magnification 0.15X) to 10.
OO (ft) 1.5 to 30.oo; Focusing: Helicoid; Minimum aperture: f/22 .A; Diaphragm: Automatic
Filter Size. 52mm; Hood: BS-52 Cap: C-52 (CG2-0070) Function: Auto Aperture, Full aperture metering (AE operation when used with ALL Canon automatic SLR cameras.
Length x max. diameter: 41mm x 63mm; Weight: 235g
50mmf18shutterbladB.jpg
New FD 50mm f/1.8

This lens is the lightest (and also the cheapest) of all Canon FD interchangeable lenses. It weighs a mere 170 grams, even less than its predecessor. This reduced weight improves handling and portability. It has a solid reputation for stable picture quality and sharp, crisp picture performance. It was also the only lens in the FDn series that was given the S.C. (Spectra Coating) treatment as opposed to S.S.C.

50mmf18optic.gif
Specification:

Focal length: 50mm
Aperture ratio: 1:1.8
Lens construction: 4 groups, 6 elements
Coating: Canon's S.C (spectra coating) Coating
50mmf18shutterbladC.jpg 50mmf18shutterbladA.jpg  

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of 'Shutterblade team' (e-mail)who specializes trading of new, used collectable cameras. The Company also operates a popular Ebay Store. All image(s) appeared herein are Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Angle of view: Diagonal: 46° Vertical: 27° Horizontal: 40°
Distance Scale: (m) 0.6 (magnification 0.10X) to 10.
OO (ft) 2 to 30 OO
Focusing: Helicoid
Minimum aperture: f/22 .A
Diaphragm: Automatic
Filter Size. 52mm
Hood: BS-52
Cap: C-52
Function: Auto Aperture, Full aperture metering (AE operation when used with ALL Canon automatic SLR cameras.
Length x max. diameter: 35mm x 63mm
Weight: 170g

CanonT80 with an dedicated AC lens.jpg
The FD-mount Canon T80 can select to shot either in One Shot AF, Servo or reverting back to use manual focus (on each of the AC lens, there is a setting for you to alter any of this shooting preference. A mini Photo Showcase on Canon T80 and the Three Autofocus AC lenses. Shown is the Canon AC 50mm f/1.8 Standard lense.

Just when you thought you had enough of information on the Canon standard lenses of f/1.2, f/1.4, f/1.8. Ever heard of a Canon FD 50mm f/2.0 ?f/2.0 - WHAT ? f/2.0 ?? Yes.. Recently a Canon user named Frederick <nospam_thebear01@blueyonder.co.uk> from UK first posted a question relating to his Canon 50mm f/2.0 Breech Lock-mount standard lens, most of us thought it was a joke but it has turn out to be how fragile can our individual knowledge be. It exists. Good news is - Winston has managed to get hold a few images of this rare piece of Canon 35mm SLR photographic lens because due to almost identical physical appearance, BOTH the 50mm f/1.8 and the rarer f/2.0 version can mix-up anyone's attention. Rick Oleson mailed them to me for publishing as future reference. Note: the FD50mm f/2.0 is not being listed in Canon Museum. Similarly, there is another visitor who shown me some pictures of his Canon T5 (very similar to T50 but the camera simply named as Canon T5. Images will be uploaded later at the Canon T50 section as Canon variants.
Winston50mmf2b.jpg Winston50mmf2a.jpg Winston50mmf2.jpg

Canon 50mm f2.0 by Frederick
canonlens50mm2jpg

Credit
: Images copyright 2005 WINSTON Lowe E-Mail:- winclowe@yahoo.com. Image at the left courtesy of Mr. Frederick, UK <nospam_thebear01@blueyonder.co.uk> . Please respect the visual property f the contributing photographer.

old50mmf1814.jpg
Older Version: FD 50mm Standard lenses :Canon Lens FD 55mm f/1.2 S.S.C.;
Canon Lens FD 55mm f/1.2
S.S.C. Aspherical; Canon Lens FD 50mm f/1.8 S.C.

Often referred by the "reference" lens where neutrality in color and contrast of other FD Canon optics were measured.
Click Here
to the dedicated pages for these few versions of lenses within the 50-55mm focal length. Another Special Purpose but also
can act as a all round lens with slower speed is the FD
50mm Macro f3.5 S.S.C.
The current EF AF lenses of 50mm can be reached by
clicking here (Bookmark for future reference).
Canon EOS SLRs | Canon EF lens Resources

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