advise on Canon 50MM F1.2 : LUSENET : Canon FD : One Thread

I have a Canon AE-1 Program and am currently using a 50 MM F1.8 lens. I was planning to buy a f1.2 lens, but am confused as to whether to go for a f1.4 or f.12 after seeing some discussions on the web in various forms. Confusion is also added by the terms - new FD, SC, SSC, etc.,

I am not interested in speed really, just the quality of the photos. Pl. Advise me. This is only my hobby not my profession.

Thanks Kamesh

-- Kameshwara Rao (, February 22, 2002


Have a look at the various tests & reviews on this site: There are also explanations of some of the terms.

new FD: the last design style. Lens is all black with a metal release button. Easier to mount but more fragile.

FD: uses a silver ring to tighten the lens on the camera. Generally older designs - heavier and stronger.

SC: single layer antireflection coating on the optical elements. Used on early FD lenses.

SSC: Super Spectra coating - Canon's trademarked multilayer antireflection coating. This was used on all new FD lenses except for 50 f/1.8 so Canon didn't mark them so. It came out in 1973 so all lenses before and some afterward (28 f/2.8) are only SC.

IMHO go for either a new FD 50 mm f/1.4 (all black) or an SSC FD 50 mm f/1.4. These are $50-75. While there isn't a big difference between them and the lens you presently have, the above f/1.4 lenses are multicoated and I feel they have more contrast and give sightly more saturated and snappy colors than the f/1.8 which was only single coated. Canon tried to make the f/1.8 as cheap as possible so it wasn't as good as it could be. Also, try to get the proper hood which is either a BS-52 or BS-55 respectively.

Regarding the f/1.2 lenses. Unless you get an SSC Aspherical or 'L' version ($$$$$) you are giving up resolution and contrast and paying more for it; $150-250.

I have a number of the above lenses and my favorites are the new FD 50 f/1.4 & the 55 f/1.2 SSC Asph.



-- Duane K (, February 22, 2002.

I have the 50mm f1.8 (new bayonet mount) lens and the 55mm f1.2 SSC (breech lock) lens.

The f1.2 lens is beautifully built and has high resolution (120 lines/mm center and corner at f5.6) It's a high quality lens, intended to be used by people with $$$. The aspheric version (55mm f1.2 SSC ASPHERIC) Is VEEEERY expensive (costed like twice a canon F- 1). Contrast? Well it has nice contrast; maybe the f1.4 has a lot more but for me is fine! And flare control is good (for that large aperture)

The f1.8 lens is light, has good resolutiong, good contrast and it's very compact. I use it a lot.

The f1.4 lens is said to be a legend... With high contrast and great resolution (similar to f1.2 in resolution) But i think the f1.8 is as good. It happens that professionals used more the f1.4 'cause they considered the other as a cheap lens.

Conclusion: Stay with your f1.8! It is also an excellent lens. PD: But the f1.2 is beautifull as a jewel piece. It looks very nice, with a really nice multicoating. (I call it Super- Super Spectra coating!)

-- Flavio Egoavil (, February 24, 2002.

The 50/1,2 is easier to focus, and has more "less dept of fiel- capabilities". The new FD 50/1,8 is sharper on all appertures and has less weight. Compare the two on your camera, with such a light camera, it might be the weight-difference that makes it.

New FD 50 mm f/1.2L 380g New FD 50 mm f/1.2 315g New FD 50mm f/1.4 235g New FD 50mm f/1.8 170g FD 55mm f/1.2 S.S.C ca 500g FD 55mm f/1.2 S.S.C. Aspherical ca 600g FD 50mm f/1.8 S.C. ca 300g

-- Řyvind Dahle (, February 28, 2002.

Twelve years ago I bought a used 55mm f1.2 SSC lens not realizing the Aspherical was a totally different lens. (I thought I had snapped up a great deal!) At the time I directly compared it to my brothers New FD 50mm f1.8, shooting a rainbow landscape from a tripod on Kodachrome 25. (I know, not a technically accurate test). Under high magnification I was able to convince myself that the slide taken with my impressive lens with huge glass was noticeably better than the little cheap one - it was not! I have thoroughly enjoyed the f1.2 and it has taken shots in low light that would not have been possible with the f1.8 and it has served admirably with a 2X-B making it a reasonably fast 110mm f2.4. Perhaps the f1.4 is the better of the non-aspheric lenses but unless you need the extra light of the f1.4 or f1.2, I would not second guess the ability of the f1.8. Think about putting your money towards a different focal length lens of interest to you. I have owned wide angle and telephoto off-brand lenses that produced chromes that clearly lacked the depth of colour (yes, I am Canadian!) and resolution that the Canon lenses, I replaced them with, have. Good luck!

-- John Crowe (, March 08, 2002.

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