Need input on Canon FL lenses

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by nianys, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Hey guys, the manual lens nut speaking ;)

    I have a little problem you might help me solve. I've had (still have one) some Canon FD lenses in the past, and optically, they are just brilliant. However, I never have any desire to shoot them because, cosmeticallly, they're just very plain, totally non exotic, and as unexciting as they come (I find the barrels to be neither good to look at, nor to handle).

    Enters, Canon FL. Now we're talking. Good old gun metal barrels à la Takumar, Pentax, Hexanon etc...

    So, here goes my question : has anyone shot FL lenses, and if so how do they compare, optically, to the later FD designs ? Because if they are as good, all I'd have to do is get the FL units and actually *enjoy* shooting them ??
  2. kevistopheles

    kevistopheles TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Are we talking the Canon RF lenses like the "Japanese Summilux" Canon 50/1.4 LTM or the 50/1.8 LTM? Like THIS?
  3. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Kevin you have to stop making me discover those awesome super exotic sexy lenses !!! NO, I was just talking about your run of the mill super common cheap Canon FL, the same as FD, just previous mount. Better looking barrels like the Tak.
  4. applemint

    applemint TalkEmount Veteran

    Sep 20, 2012
    You are probably better off not looking at this site then: ;)
    Lens Bubbles
  5. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Ah ah. I checked it out and survived. I've had several of the EF lenses reviewed on the first page. I have to admit right now, what seems wonderful and compelling to me is the whole new world of lenses which existence I did not even suspect ! I've never been familiar with (or even aware of) rangefinder lenses, so discovering them and how tiny and suited to our NEX they are, is a shock.

    However, I'm putting all my lenses thru their paces right now, almost daily, and I'm coming to some conclusions. I'll be getting a Jupiter 8 for the sake of curiosity next week, and whatever assessment I make of it will determine whether I wish to go further with them...
  6. kevistopheles

    kevistopheles TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 18, 2012
    Stop? Whatever for? The Canon 50/1.4 LTM isn't any more exotic than that Pen 38. Now a $5,000 Summicron 50...that's EXOTIC but the Canon 50/1.8 (reputed to be sharper and more contrasty than the 50/1.4) is probably around $300. Think of it as CONSOLIDATION (that's good right?). Take the funds you have wrapped up in three or four lenses you like but perhaps don't love and put into one lens you do love. Me and my 10 fast 50's are a recent convert to the idea and I need company ;).
  7. eno789

    eno789 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Jan 1, 2012
    NoCal, USA
    The coating on FD lenses are usually equal or better than FL SSC, and better than plain FL.
    Most FL lenses have bigger filter size than FD counter part.
    Personally, I keep a few nFD lenses because they are slightly smaller & lighter, thus better matches to smaller body. The construction is still pretty solid, and plastic probably is easier in winter. The manual focus damping is just fine.
    If I want metal lenses, I have in other mounts.
  8. Bugleone

    Bugleone TalkEmount Veteran

    Aug 21, 2011
    The 'FL' lenses were Canon's first attempt at a retro-focus system for their first 35mm SLR cameras,...the 'Canonflex' from about 1954(?) Some of them are similar to the Canon rangefinder lenses however the whole idea was a set of lenses that allowed for the reflex mirror of SLR's and could be quickly changed by means of a bayonet fitting with locking ring. This desing was thought to give the best defence against wear of the camera lens mount since not turning of the lens was/is neccessary, just fit lens and turn locking ring.

    The 'FD' lenses are in two basic types, 'old' and 'new' FD. 'Old' or 'first type' FD is very similar to FL and many early models were the same components. the main difference is the abiltiy for auto iris diaphragm operation by the camera,.....the bayonet/locking ring is the same.

    'New' FD lenses were an attemtp to make the lenses lighter, smaller(probably becasue of Olympus OM sales) and considerably cheaper to produce. The locking ring was discontinued and now the whole lens was turned to mount on camera,..a small and awkward button is pushed to allow dis-mount.

    Many of the basic lenses are similar thru 'FL', first FD and later FD. However, since these lenses span about 30 years of development, there were constant changes in design and also improvemnets such as coatings,....'SC, & 'SSC' etc.

    None of these are to be confused with the later 'EF' lenses which were introduced for 'EOS' system with auto-focus,...although, yet again many of teh early EF lenses were optically teh same items.

    By and large the first FD lenses are very high quality both optically and ergonomically,..quality products in every way that reflects their original high cost.
  9. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Thanks a lot for the thorough description, I appreciate it. I have a FD 50.1.8 of 1984, so obviously later production, optically it is brilliant, however I find it very "80's" in its look, it's cheapo satin black plastic, and the design is err... mundane (at best). Actually it's plain (and) ugly. I get no joy from handling it either, there is none of that luxury dampened feel of older metal lenses, the Takumar being the finest example of what I mean.
    I inquired about FL lenses because if they are as good optically as the FD (and it seems from your explanation they should be close), they'd make a better choice for me since their construction and design is much closer to the older lenses that I like.
    Well, I guess the only way to know is to try one...
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