Canon Classics

Classic Canon lens and camera reviews

Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 S.S.C.

Lens info

Lens Construction (group) 6
Lens Construction (element) 7
No. of Diaphragm Blades 8
Minimum Aperture f/16
Closest Focusing Distance 0.45 m
Maximum Magnifcation 1:6.9 (0.145x)
Filter Size 55 mm
Maximum Diameter x Length 65.3 x 49 mm
Weight 305 gr (0.67 lb)
Hood BS-55
Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 S.S.C.

Overall Score

IQ 9.4 9.4
Build 9.4
Based on 6 reviews

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25-04-2013

Jim_Miller

Has 6-10 years of SLR/camera experience.
IQ 9.0 9.0
Build 9.0
Great lens even for video  
no auto focus and no rolling iris 
I've been in the network tv business for over 10 years and to be able to use these 30 year old lenses on my Sony FS100 or any of the DSLR cameras is amazing. The depth of field you can achieve will blow you away. You have to give up auto focus but that is a small price to pay. For an example you can check out this video.... the only lens used was the Canon FD 50mm lens.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXE3WF1Ff9I

More examples on our website https://www.AtlantaVideo360.com

Thanks for letting me contribute,

Jim
14-02-2013

zanxion72

Has 20+ years of SLR/camera experience.
IQ 9.5 9.5
Build 9.5
Fast lens. 
Not any 
You will love this one! It is fast and the fastest that many can afford next to 1.2. It looks cool with that red lettering on its face and it produces results of high resolution, high contrast and great sharpness.

My only complain (not really) is that I cannot have readout of the aperture value being used on my F-1N (not that I cannot live without it).
12-05-2012

Guest

Has 1-2 years of SLR/camera experience.
IQ 9.5 9.5
Build 9.5
Sharp, cheap, great bokeh 
Focusing can be a pain 
This is an exceptional lens, and beats out the nFD 1.4 and the 1.4 USM due to its use of oversize optics. The lens is sharp even wide open, and stays decently sharp into the corners (something usually only seen in much more expensive lenses). Vignetting is minimal and it practically free of chromatic aberration. An 8 blade aperture delivers excellent bokeh up to around f/5.6. Almost nothing bad I can say about this lens, other than the focusing it at wider apertures can take a bit to learn, especially when coming from an autofocus system.
30-03-2010

Johannes

Has 6-10 years of SLR/camera experience.
IQ 9.5 9.3
Build 9.0
sharp, ultra fast, beautiful bokeh 
slow focusing 
My work horse. Exceptional fast and sharp lens, which renders beautiful colours and bokehs. I never go shooting without it. The focus ring is a little tight which results in focusing happens to be a little slow when turning from closest to infinite position.

Superior everyday lens for difficult lightning situations. Since it only stops down to f16, I recommend to use it with a pol or nd filter when shooting in sunlight.
10-03-2010

kippy

Has 2-4 years of SLR/camera experience.
IQ 9.5 9.7
Build 10.0
Very solid feel, smooth focusing, massive aperture and great DoF 
A little on the heavy side 
I bought this lens to fill the gap in my FD lens collection; I had a 28mm and a 35mm, but no 50mm standard. Then the 50mm f/1.4 SSC came into the equation, for a staggeringly cheap £35. Naturally I snapped it up immediately; there's no way you can turn down a lens like this for that price. And I do not regret my purchase one iota.

It's a big lens for a camera like the AE-1, and the weight is very reassuring. The body feels well built and very sturdy. I don't really mind the extra bulk to lug around, but I'd imagine some people might. From what I can tell, the 2nd and 3rd incarnations are smaller and lighter, with little change in optical quality.

What really shines from the f/1.4 is the quality of the optics. The closest comparison I own is my Summicron f/2 (which is also excellent), and the f/1.4 really gives it a run for its money. The sharpness and saturation, for me, is absolutely perfect. The focusing is smooth, if a little slow, and the advantage of that huge aperture means the ability to work in a huge number of lighting situations (sadly, the maximum aperture of f/16 is a slightly limiting factor). f/1.4 gives a very shallow DoF, really wonderful for portraits in poorly lit environments.

I would definitely recommend hunting around for this lens, I love mine.
13-10-2009

Jarv

Has 6-10 years of SLR/camera experience.
IQ 9.5 9.5
Build 9.5
Super bright focus, beautiful depth of field, good 'feel' when focusing. 
Only shuts down to F16, sticks out from camera body a long way. 
Well, the obvious lens to compare it to is the standard F1.8 50mm! And I have both on my lap right now, on an A1 and an AE1.
The F1.4 is really quite beautiful - the outer glass element is bulbous and almost fills the 55mm filter window. You can see about 12 reflections in the glass, some a beautiful green and blue from the anti-reflective coatings.
The focus ring is 50% thicker on the F1.4 than the F1.8, and the actual action focusing is smoother, but also much heavier. Having large hands, I far prefer using the F1.4. There's also a little knob of plastic to which sticks out to the right of the lens when at infinite focus, so you can feel where you're focusing by touch.

At F1.4 the focusing view is super bright - you can focus in a pub / indoors with no problem.

Of course - the main thing is the photos. I've taken some really very nice ones at F1.4, where that extra 65% light really helps. With Superia 1600, hand holding indoor shots at night is possible with a little motion blur. And it's brilliant for dreary London in the winter with a more sensible speed film.

As to whether the expensive F1.4 is any sharper than the bog standard F1.8, I can't really tell - both seem to be a match for any colour negative film.
Now my standard lens.
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