Top 10 FD lenses

Discussion in 'Canon FD' started by philip_wilson, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. Mark suggested it so I will start:
    1 85mm F1.2L
    2 135mm F2
    3 80-200 f4L
    4 24mm F2
    5 35mm F2.8 tilt/shift
    6 300mm f2.8
    7 200mm F2.8 internal focus
    8 35-105 F3.5
    9 35 f2
    10 15mm f2.8 fisheye
    Ones that just missed include the 50 f1.4, the 100 f4 macro and the 17mm f4
  2. I think if there's anyone here who's used all the FD lenses, it's a safe bet he doesn't have a girlfriend . . .
    Anyway, what I'm gettin' at is that our individual lists will be colored by personal experience. I doubt if anybody here has used them all.
    My top 10, more or less in order:
    1. 50/1.4
    2. 80-200/4 L
    3. 100/2
    4. 35-105/3.5
    5. 135/2
    6. 35/2.8 T/S
    7. 50/3.5 macro
    8. 200/2.8 IF
    9. 24/2
    10. 14/2.8 L
  3. Well, I'm not sure I can think of ten, but I am sure I can't put them in any order.
    My favorites include...
    85 f/1.2L
    50 f/1.2L
    135 f/2
    28-85 f/4 (currently on my T90)
    80-200 f/4L
    35 f/2
    and nothing wrong with my 24 f/1.4L
  4. Due to economic reasons, here is my 1 cent:
    1) 80-200mm f4L
    2) 85mm f1.2 Aspherical(IMHO, edged out the L)
    3) 55mm f1.2 Aspherical
    4) 50mm f1.4
    5) 35mm f2
    6) 35mm TS f2.8
    7) 24mm f1.4L
    8) 17mm f4
    9) 35-105mm f3.5
    10) Kiron Lester Dine 105mm f2.5(Sorry, if I strayed but, this is an AMAZING lens.)
  5. 1-10) 50/1.2L
    and damn i regret selling it!
  6. The only lens I have which is on Philip's list is the 35/2. If I follow the list I have the following lenses in these approximate focal lengths: 1) 85/1.8 New FD, 2) 135/2.5 FD SC, 3) 80-210/3.8-4 Tamron Adaptall II, 4) 24/2.8 FD SSC chrome front, 5) 35/2.8 PC Nikkor w/adapter, 6) 300/5.6 FD SSC IF, 7) 200/2.8 New FD 1st version, 8) 28-90/2.8-3.5 Vivitar Series 1, 9) 35/2 New FD - 1 US NAVY model, 3 plain ones, 10) 19/3.8 Vivitar - not a fisheye.
    Of the other lenses listed I have verious 50/1.4 FD lenses as well as a 100/4 New FD. When you have many systems in your collection it is difficult to have every focal length in every speed for each system. I have a very nice 15/2.8 Konica UC Hexanon fisheye but that's the only fisheye I have. I do not generally like zoom lenses. My favorite OEM zoom is the 70-210mm f/4 one touch Minolta MD. I have never compared it to the 80-200/4L Canon FD lens or any other lens except for the Tamron. When I put the MD lens on an X-700 the finder is very bright and the results are good.
    Many people confuse the speed of a lens with its performance. It's true that some companies put more effort into their faster lenses but there are some of the slow ones I really like: 28/2.8 FD SC, 50/1.8 FD SC w/aperture lock lever, 55/3.5 FD SSC or New FD, 100/2.8 FD SSC or New FD, 135/3.5 FD chrome front, 200/4 FD SSC. If you need the extra speed then a faster lens can be very handy. This doesn't mean that the slower lenses are not also capable of excellent results. I also have many Canon mount lenses made by other companies and I do not know exactly how they compare to original Canon lenses of similar focal length and speed. Some of my favorites are: 28/2 Vivitar 28XXX..., 35/1.9 Vivitar, 55/2.8 Panagor macro, 90/2.5 Vivitar Series 1 macro, 100/2.8 Vivitar macro 22XXX..., 135/2.8 Vivitar Close Focusing, 200/3 Vivitar Series 1 w/adapter, 35-70 Soligor/2.5-3.5 C/D, 28-105/2.8-3.8 Vivitar Series 1.
  7. The ordering may be rather loose, but the following certainly are among my favourite FD lenses:
    1. 85/1.2 L
    2. 80-200/4 L
    3. 50/1.2 L
    4. 55/1.2 SSC Aspherical
    5. 50/1.4
    6. 135/2
    7. 24/2
    8. 35-105/3.5
    9. 20-35/3.5 L
    10. 300/4 L (The 300/2.8 L is a little better, but impractically large)
    The close to qualifying would include the 400/4.5, 135/2.5 SC, 100/2, 35/2, 20/2.8, 17/4, and 14/2.8 L.
  8. Phillip, I'm surprised your list does not include the 55mm f/1.2 Aspherical...
  9. Couldn`t name my 10 favorites but I guess the 5 FD lenses I`ve kept are my favorites. In my camera bag I carry the 24/1.4L, the 35/2 (concave), the 50/1.2L, the 85/1.2L and the 80-200/4L.
    Plus for macro the 90/2.5 Tokina AT-X, the Vivitar 105/2.5 Series 1 and the 20/3.5 FD bellows lens. These I use on non-FD bodies and bellows as well.
  10. I've used nearly all of the New FD lenses, and I indeed don't have a girlfriend, but that's because I've been happily married for nearly 26 years and intend to stay that way from now on.
    My favorites today (not in order of preference):
    1. 14mm/2.8L
    2. 17mm/4
    3. 24mm/1.4L
    4. 50mm/1.2L
    5. 85mm/1.2L
    6. 135mm/2.0
    7. 200mm/2.8
    8. 300mm/4L
    9. 400mm/4.5
    10. 500mm/4.5L
    Other favorites when it "depends" on something else:
    1. 7.5mm fisheye when something calls for it
    2. 15mm fisheye for the same reason
    3. 20-35mm/3.5L for walking and travel
    4. 35-105/3.5 for the same
    5. 80-200mm/4L for the same
    6. 300mm/2.8L when size and weight don't matter
    7. 400mm/2.8L when size and weight really don't matter
    8. 800mm/5.6L when nothing else is big enough even if it weighs 13 pounds
    9. 85mm/2.8 soft focus is just fun to use
    10. 85mm/1.8 is my favorite playground lens
    10. 100mm/4 macro
    10. 200mm/4 macro
    When my wife is along with her AE-1 Program:
    1. 24mm/2.8
    2. 28mm/2.8
    3. 35mm/2.8
    4. 50mm1.4
    5. 85mm/1.8
    6. 100mm/2.8
    7. 135mm/2.8
    8. 200mm/4
    9. 300mm/5.6
    We recently took a short trip. I packed my travel favorites and some of the more exotic ones, plus a small bag of the slower and smaller lenses for my wife. We both enjoyed our selection. Her photos will probably be better than mine. Even my young daughter has a better eye than I do. If I could get her off of the digital point and shoot and onto something FD, she'd be great.
    Lately, with prices so low, I've picked up a few of the lenses people like to avoid, such as the 100-200/5.6 and the 85-300/4.5. At some point I want to try these just to see what they really can do.
    And while this is all great fun and I like having the exotic lenses, I think I was just as happy 24 years ago when all I could afford was a 28/2.8, 50/1.4, 50/3.5 macro, 35-70/3.5-4.5 zoom, and 100-300/5.6 zoom. As people sometimes remember to note, we can make great pictures with any FD lens. Many of my best were made with those original five.
  11. Looks like the lists have a lot of commonality. For myself it looks like I should investigate the 24 F1.4, the 55 F1.2, the 300 f4L and the 20-35 F3.5L. In answer to Cesar's question the 55 F1.2 is not included as I do not own it (I am not really a standard lens shooter - I either prefer an 85mm lens or a 35 mm lens). I doubt if I will buy the 24 F1.4L or 14 f2.8 L as they are still very expensive and I would rather get an EOS version since the FD ones I have seen are about 60% of the price of an EF mount lens. I know this is a heretical statement but I can shoot film and digital with EOS. Of the others the 300 f4L and the 55 F1.2 both look like lenses I should add. I really like the 50 f1.4 and 300 f2.8 but the F1.2 is evidently remarkable and as Mark points out the 300 F2.8 is a very big and heavy lens.
  12. Philip, the FDn 300/4 L is a remarkable lens. Check out Baldur Birgis's portfolio at Birgis (and be sure to view the entire slideshow). All of his images were shot with FD gear, and a few with the 300/4 L (including my favourite, the one with the telephone poles).
    I also love my FD 50/1.4's. You're probably aware that the EF 50/1.4 has the same optical formula as the FD version. The EF 50/1.4 has produced the best images I have obtained with my EOS gear.
    The 20-35/3.5 L is sometimes maligned by FD users, but I find my copy to have close-to-prime resolution and sharpness. It's every bit as good as the EF 17-40/4 L, which is every bit as much a love-it-or-hate-it lens.
  13. Of the ones that I have owned I would put the 17/4, 80-200/4 L and 400/2.8 L in my overall top ten.
    I had a 35/2 yellow concave, but it just was not my focal length. The 200/2.8 was one of my most used lenses, ever, but I was dissappointed when I realized the 80-200/4 L was sharper. 400/4.5 was very sharp but not in the same league as the 400 f2.8.
    I would then add, by reputation or specific need:
    7.5mm f5.6 Circular fisheye
    14mm f2.8 L
    24mm f1.4 L
    55mm f1.2 SSC Aspherical
    85mm f1.2 L
    200mm f1.8 L (not really an FD lens, just the mount)
    800mm f5.6 L (just for the fun of it)
  14. John surprised by the 17 f4 - i have always been fairly disappointed by mine - it is not the sharpness but the faily low contrast and wider apertures that is the issue. You have an impressive list with two lenses I have never used (one I have never even seen - the 200 f1.8) the 200 f1.8 and the 7.5 Fisheye.
    Mark, I will keep my eye out for a 300 f4L but these days I rarely use my FD 300 f2.8 as i have the EF version as well - the AF makes it much more useful for sports. On the 20 -35 F3.5L I had the EF 17-40 and recently replaced it with the 16-35 F2.8 mark II. The new 16-35 is an amazing lens - much better than the first version which I felt was inferior to the 17-40.
  15. In the very long lenses, I've used the 600mm 4.5 and currently own the 800mm 5.6. I realize the optics are mostly identical, but the 600 was sharper and I truly regret selling it to buy the 800.
    Beyond that, I do believe the 50mm 1.4 is perhaps the best camera lens ever mass-produced. I'm reading people's comments on wide angles, I currently own the Vivitar 17mm 3.5 and I'm not entirely happy with it. It's ok, I guess. I'm considering replacing it with something from someone's list above.
  16. I am surprised by the general infatuation in the 1.2/50L; I tested one recently and found it significantly less sharp in corners than the 1.4/50 at full aperture.
    OK, that's somewhat unfair as it is slightly more open, but then what is the use of the additional half stop if it is bad. To be honest, I didn't make a full test, only one picture with each, so maybe it was a bad copy. Anyway, I sent it back to the seller!
  17. Jean-Bernard, perhaps you got a dud. Or perhaps you mis-focused. As you know, focusing is very tricky with a fast lens wide open.
    But never mind. There's very little that the 50/1.2 L does that the 50/1.4 can't do. I have several FD 50/1.4's, and love them all. And my EF 50/1.4 is by far my sharpest EF lens, too.
  18. I don't think that I have ten Canon FD lenses I would view as "top" contenders, but here is what I own and also like to use:
    1. 50mm/1.2L: A great lens with smaller dimensions than its older cousin the 55/1.2SSC
    2. 85mm/1.2L: A legendary lens. I just got mine CLA'd.
    3. 80-200mm/4L: Relatatively slow max aperture, but what a zoom lens it is.
    4. 19mm 3.5 FL: Same optics as the RF lens. Vintage and classis.
    5. 35mm/2.8TS: One of a kind for when you really need the TS.
    6. 500mm/4.5L: A super quality tele lens.
    The rest of my Canon lenses include: 50/1.4, 50/3.5 macro, 100/4 macro, 28-50/3.5 SSC, 300mm/4, 200mm/2.8 IF, 17mm/4, 7.5mm/5.6, 24mm/2.8, 28mm/2.0.
    I also have non-Canon but FD mount lenses. My Tamron 90mm/2.5 is a great macro lens and it is better than the Canon 100/4 Macro.
  19. Jody, I do not have the Vivitar 17 F3.5 but do have the Series 1 zoom (19-35) which is a poor perfomer. Although the Canon 17 F4 does not make my top 10 is is much better than my Vivitar Zoom
  20. Jody, I'll second Philip's endorsement of the FD 17/4. While it's not quite as good as the 20/2.8 or the remarkable 24/2, it's a much-loved FD wide angle prime.
    As far as FD wide angle zooms go, I've always been very happy with my 20-35/3.5 L, so much so that I also acquired its autofocus cousin, the EF 17-40/4 L.
  21. Here's my list of favorite FD lenses
    1) FD 85mm F/1,2 L
    2) FD 85-300mm F/4.5 SSC
    3) FD 50mm F/1,4
    4) FD 20mm F/2,8
    5) FD 28mm F/2,8
    6) FD 20-35mm F/3,5 L
    7) FD 100 macro F/4
    8) FD 35mm F/2
    9) FD 135mm F/2
    10) FD 200 macro F/4
    Not in order of preference, of course... Regards.
  22. Heck, I'll wade in though I'm not sure I actually own 10 that are worth making favourites of... at the moment. So I have restricted myself to lenses I own or have owned, there are a couple there that I no longer own and I will buy them again at some point.
    1. 20-35mm f/3.5L
    2. 28-85mm f/4
    3. 135mm f/2.0
    4. 28mm f/2.0
    5. 50mm f/1.8 s.c
    6. 70-210mm f/4
    7. 85mm f/1.8
    8. 85-300mm f/4.5
    9. 50mm f/1.2L
    10. Sigma 70-210 f/2.8 APO
    For the wish list I might substitute in the 80-200L, 50-300L and 85/1.2L. I prefer the 50/1.8 s.c. over the 1.2L because of the way it vignettes.
  23. Here'e my list - all in new FD mount, except for # 10
    85mm F1.2 L
    24mm F2
    50mm F1.2 L
    20-35mm F3.5 L
    200mm F2.8 IF
    80-200mm F4 twin ring not the L
    28-85mm F4
    300mm F2.8 L
    35-105mm F3.5
    50mm F1.4 – any
    I much prefer the new new FD 80-200mm F4 with the twin rings, it focuses closer than the L, has a built in hood, and the front element does not rotate, making ploarizer use much easier. And it has 95% or better image quality to the fat L model. I also like the 28mm and 35mm F2s and the 135mm F2, but it if has to be top ten the above are my choices. it gets you from 20 to 300mm.

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