Old FD 28mm f/2.8 BL or New FD 28mm f/2.8?

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I am considering the purchase of an FD 28mm f/2.8 S.C. Breech-Lock (older silver bayonet ring). Is this lens optically better than the new FD 28mm f/2.8? I have briefly used the newer version and it felt very cheap and "plastic-y". Also, what would this lens (the older version BL) in excellent to mint condition cost? Thanks.

-- James (Wfpatho@aol.com), December 10, 2001


If the old one is an S.C. (and not S.S.C.), then it's single coated. All New FD lenses are multicoated, except for the 50/1.8, so that would be a reason to favor the new one.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), December 10, 2001.

Hi, James -

Despite the New FD series having multicoating, I find their construction much less substantial (as have you). Personally, I prefer the older breechlock mount lenses. On the other hand, you'll likely find it easier to search for a New FD mount in fine shape; the really "cherry" breechlock lenses are getting more and more scarce.

For a useful website reference to used gear prices, see http://www.photographics.com/

Hope this helps a bit -- good luck with your search!

-- Brooke (b_read@sme-eng.com), December 11, 2001.

In my opinion from using different lenses from different companies of different time period, all prime lenses are very good. I bet you won't be able to tell the difference between two prime lenses of same focal length only by looking at the photos. Moreover, I believe that optical formula have not changed between these two versions. "Older Version: FD 28mm f2.0 S.S.C & FD 28mm f2.8 S.S.C- [...] Both lenses essentially remain optically unchanged other than cosmetic changes, when they were 'upgraded to the FDn types. " (from Photography in Malaysia website) So all that said, I think it's a bit of too much effort spent in trying to find which version is better. If you have to be picky, I would choose later version since it has better coating and probably is more plenty. (I have this version and I tell you, your images won't disappoint you.) Also another factor to consider is filter size of other lenses you have. Newer versions mostly come in 52mm but the old in 55mm. So it will help to save investment of filters (if you use them at all) to stay on one side.

This is just my personal opinion but I think people spend too much time in trying to find out which lens is the best. Given small difference in the performance of prime lenses from major companies, we should strive more for quality of our eyes than that of our cameras to improve our photographic images. Other than that it all comes down to economics. (i.e. which is cheaper? - unless you are rich enough not to care..) For the price go to Ebay.com and search the completed items.

-- pil (gjoo@po-box.mcgill.ca), December 18, 2001.

I agree that you will probably not see any noticeable difference between the lenses in your photos. Perhaps if you do a exhaustive lens test you would see a difference. I would instead think about what type of mount you feel more comfortable with and the filter size you have. As pointed out the new lenses are 52mm and the old 55mm. I prefer the new mount since for it I can switch lenses more quickly with that mount compared to the old breech lock mount. If you are concerned with weight then go for the newer lenses since they generally weigh less than the older ones. But then as you said, some people feel the newer ones feel cheaper and plastic.

-- Magnus Nystedt (nystedt@bigfoot.com), January 04, 2002.

I too looked at breech-lock 28mm and New FD 28mm. Straight away the breech-lock one looked tougher and smoother in operation. But saying that, as focus is not that critical with 28mm I don't think it's a problem. If it were a tele or macro then it would. One benefit of the breech-lock is that it will work with manual extension tubes. You flick a switch on the back and it operates in stop-down mode. The new FDs can't do this-as I found out when I tried them with my M extension tubes. Optically I think they're pretty much identical, i.e. very good as are most FD lenses.

-- Steve Phillipps (steve@redvixen.freeserve.co.uk), January 28, 2002.

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