Canon Lens FD 50mm 1:14 SSC Review

I start of this section not with any preference but just with the first vintage lens that came to hand. In this case it’s a Canon lens I picked for around £15 (including the camera) some months before. Little confession, I hadn’t tried it out before simply because I couldn’t get the adaptor to attach to it. I don’t know what I was doing wrong but having bought a Tamron lens this week with an FD mount I revisited the adaptor I had trouble with and it sat on it fine.

The Canon 50 mm 1:14 SSC has a lot of glass at the front so it’s a beefy lens, which means it wouldn’t be my first choice to take out and it’s a basic lens – by that I mean I choose my lenses for fun of use so the odder they look and the more things to play with the better.

This market is now driven a lot by the internet reviews so even though an individual buy can end up hit & miss, people will read a rave review and are prepared to pay more for that lens, I don’t follow that crowd. If I was going to pay over £100 or even £50 for just a lens it would be brand new with today’s glass not glass made under manufacturing condition from 30-40-50 years ago.

Back to the Canon 50mm 1:14 – On my short walk with the dog down by the river Avon in Hampshire I had all but resigned myself to this lens being too boring for me.  The eyelet image seems lifeless and focus seemed a bit hit-and-miss to be honest I was disappointed and as it’s also a beefy lens on my little F-T10 I couldn’t see it finding a place in my kit back for a longer trip. For this reason I took less than ten images – probably a poor show by me & I certainly didn’t give each shot the time it deserved with the dog on a lead. But keep reading, here’s the lens, adaptor and some images taken 2pm was the time frame in March.

Once I opened the images on my computer I saw the quality of this lens and regretted not taking more images.  It’s like one of those footballers that can’t trap a bag of cement but certainly knows with the goals are, it’s scores very high in the basic ability to capture detail and probably with more effort would produce much better results. So let’s have a look at some edited images and I think most will agree it’s worth the fee;

All images cropped and edited using Gimp, I don’t spend much time on this. Normally I might pass it though a sharpness filter and then use curves to select the lighting. I really am no expert at this.

CONCLUSION – This lens really pulls in the light and for that reason I think it’s best use, when coupled with a digital body, will be close shots of very detailed subjects. The landscapes are very moody in a way and that may not be to everyone’s taste but if you are the sort of person who prints scenes on to canvas this would be perfect. For others, they might think the main subject gets a little lost. Portraits aged faces would bring out the best of this lens and I’ll certain want to test it on close up topics at some time. Still, not one I would have in my kit bag as I have so many lenses that do better without the bulk & give a better experience when shooting.

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