Canon FD 50mm f1.8 Manual Focus Lens & Sony A7 | Review & Images

canon fd 50mm f1.8; lens; sony a7; night; tenby
canon; fd; 50mm; f1.8; lens; manual focus; canon fd 50mm f1.8
Canon FD 50mm f1.8, a favourite lens in its day.

Canon FD 50mm f1.8 Lens

The Canon FD 50mm f1.8 lens is a manual focus lens used on Sony mirrorless cameras or any other brand that develops mirrorless cameras with an adaptor. The FD range of lenses had a breech lock type mount produced from 1971 up until 1992. When the EOS range first appeared in 1987, production for FD lenses was beginning to take a decline; however, a variety of New developed FD lenses launched with an S.S.D. (Super Spectra Coating) as standard.

There are three different versions of this lens, the later model has a 52mm filter thread and is lighter than the other two, it is also in all black rather than the silver look near the mount of the lens. These lenses were very popular throughout the entire life of the FD series of cameras, giving sharp, colourful results.

Using the Canon FD 50mm f1.8 Today

Moving on to 2016, I decided to buy one of these lenses to try out on a Sony A7.  Being frustrated at the lack of lens range the Sony E-Mount currently has, or should I also add the price too, I decided to try the classic lens using an adaptor.  I was not disappointed with the results from this lens.  I had read that this lens can look too soft when wide open but I did not come across this problem in most situations except sometimes in the corners which are familiar with most lens brands.

The colour of the images was also excellent, in fact, I was impressed at how the colours are very well balanced compared to using a Sony lens. The sharpness of the Canon FD 50mm f1.8 is also very impressive; this is thanks to the zooming facility built into the camera that helps to give sharp and clear images.  Bear in mind that this lens is very old, but regarding competing with some standard lenses of essential brands today, I would rate this.

Choosing a Camera for Classic Lenses – Mirrorless or DSLR?

Choosing a camera to be able to use a classic lens would without a doubt a mirrorless.  These cameras work best with older manual focus lenses and the peaking feature in most camera brands will help to make your shot that extra bit sharper.  Some camera manufacturers to consider are Sony, Fujifilm or Olympus.  Other brands will work as well though the former three mentioned will work the best.  Canon & Nikon do have mirrorless versions but, these are not regarded as being good compared to the others.  In fact, I am surprised that the two top names have not developed a groundbreaking mirrorless camera yet, although there is development going on so this may change pretty soon. *Update 29/05/18 – Canon is beginning to enter the mirrorless market so will be interesting to see what they release.*

Lens Adaptor for Canon FD 50mm f1.8

There are quite some lens adaptors available on the market that can help to fit Canon FD lenses to your Sony E-mount camera, the best one out there currently for this FD mount is the Fotodiox Lens Mount Adapter.  It fits very snugly into the FD mount and the camera mount with no play.  There is also a locking mechanism to ensure the FD lens is secure.  It is a little more expensive than the cheaper options, but as they say, you get what you pay for, and this is the best one to purchase.

Images with Canon FD 50mm f1.8

I took a few pictures from this lens, one during sunset, then a trip to Tenby at night to test how well the lens performed in low light.  Most of the night images had been taken with an aperture of f1.8 while the landscape sunset images are taken at aperture f11-f16.  Minimal editing had been applied to the pictures below.

Sunset Images using Canon FD 50mm f1.8  Lens

Canon FD 50mm f1.8; lens; sony a7; landscape; sunset
Another sunset image using the Canon FD 50mm f1.8 lens fixed on a Sony A7 mirrorless camera. I love the golden colours and the contrast, and again the picture is excellent, bright & sharp.  Perhaps it has too much variation for some. This is what the lens was designed for.
Canon FD 50mm f1.8; lens; sony a7; landscape; sunset
A sunset image using the Canon FD 50mm f1.8 lens fixed to a Sony A7 mirrorless camera. It gave beautiful, bright & colourful results.

Night Images Using Canon FD 50mm f1.8  Lens

tenby,night; canon fd 50mm f1.8; lens; sony a7
Tenby at night using Canon FD 50mm f1.8 fixed on a Sony a7 mirrorless camera. I like the balance of this; it does not appear too soft.  But do take into consideration that this; I at the widest possible aperture.
canon fd 50mm f1.8; lens; sony a7; night; tenby; mirrorless camera
Another from Tenby during night time. This is a high sharp image with great colours.

Round Up using the Canon FD 50mm f1.8 Lens

The Canon FD 50mm f1.8 is an excellent manual glass to use in photography.  If you can live with manual focus, then I would recommend buying one.  They are cheaply available on eBay for around £20 or less.  Make sure you get one with S.S.D. for that extra something in your images.  Most of these, if not all these items will not come with a hood.  But I will be honest; I felt that I did not need one unless faced directly at the sun.  You can, however, purchase one that can clip to the end of the lens.

In general, the lens handled colours, sharpness and flare very well except when faced with intense sun, even when the aperture was opened up to f1.8.

You can view more images taken with this lens by viewing an article about Tenby at Night.  Some photographs are the same but have other new ones which were taken with the same item.


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All images ©Chris Ball.  Copyright to the photos will remain with the photographer (Chris Ball).  Therefore any reproduction without permission would be an infringement of copyright.  If you wish to use any images for publication or use, please obtain approval from me before using my work.

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