May 23, 2015 at 9:54 pm #9050
“I currently own the Minolta Rokkor X MD and found that at Wide Open F1.4, the edges of my subjects are quite soft. Assuming that the lens is in great condition, does the Canon FDn 50mm F1.4 produce sharper edges? Thanks in advance!”
I might sound as a broken record, but the truth is that the condition of the legacy lens will have bigger impact on the image quality than its original design (in most cases).
There are many reasons why your lens might show soft (glow) edges around subject in focus, one of them (most frequent) is that the lens has been cleaned by non professional service, and thus re-assembled in the wrong way. Old lenses were mostly assembled manually using special optical bench for calibration of the best angular position of the optical elements. Due to more complicated and less precise production, lens elements weren’t all the same and thus manual calibration was necessary. Therefore 100% exact position of all elements is important for perfect lens calibration and small imperfections might cause tremendous optical aberrations.
Another thing to consider is exact type and year of production of your sample.
In this case, answer to your question MTeee is – yes, you will have sharper subject edges (wide open) with Canon FDn 50/1.4, if the lens is in good condition (not opened for cleaning, but still clean enough, without haze, fungus etc. Assuming also that it was a good sample from the beginning).
I made few shots for you with 3 types and 2 samples of Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 lenses and finally one with Canon FD 50/1.4. Following crops should illustrate deviations among samples and differences in rendering between Minolta MD and Canon FDn.
100% crops of the focus zone:
I like this Minolta 50/1.4 most of all versions.
This one is sharpest of the Minoltas from my 50/1.4 collection but I still love former version more… Canon still has the edge in terms of sharpness though.
Both newest Minolta MD 50/1.4 lenses are visibly softer then their predecessors but at the same time, version 1 is sharper than version 2.
I hope that this post will help you MTeee to find your answer.
ViktorMay 24, 2015 at 2:19 pm #9059
Wow thank you so much Viktor for taking the time to make this comparison! I really appreciate it! Can I confirm that this is the FDn 50mm F1.4 lens you took it with?
Thanks!May 24, 2015 at 2:21 pm #9060
MTeeeParticipantMay 24, 2015 at 6:30 pm #9061
you ate correct. That’s the same type of Canon FD lens that I used for the comparison above.
ViktorAugust 10, 2015 at 9:14 pm #9280
This is a great report.
I have had several 50s so far, from the Sony NEX SEL50F18, to Hexanon 50mm 1.4, Pentax A 1.7, Rokinon 50mm 1.4 and two Canon 50mm FD 1.4s (plus tested a breechlock one).
Condition plays a big factor indeed as one of my FD 1.4s was clearly sharper than the other and more constrasty with less glow Wide open.
The Breechlock was inferior to both but again, all about condition not implying the breechlock has a design problem.
The Hexanon was so glowy that I couldnt stand it. The Rokkors was good but not as sharp as the FD.
Of those the FDs were my favorite and I still have one until i decided to try a 1.2 L or Mitakon .95 😀August 11, 2015 at 2:08 pm #9281
I tried both Canon FD 50/1.2 L and Mitakon. Mitakon is special lens with very specific rendering, while Canon L is great lens with very modern rendering. Both are great but Canon is more versatile IMHO.
ViktorAugust 15, 2016 at 12:25 pm #10668
Great test, thank you! I use 1.7 from Minolta and I was wondering if I should buy 1.4, as I see 1.4 is pretty sharp at 1.7. This is a great lens but Canon is much better here, really good contract and sharpness. Cheers.August 15, 2016 at 1:52 pm #10670
They are both nice lenses, also 50/2 MC Rokkor-PF is very sharp, however, with all legacy lenses, it really depends on particular sample. I have Zeiss Distagon 50/1.7 C/Y which looks pristine but is very soft wide open, while identically looking second sample is one of the sharpest 50mm lenses (in the center) that I own.
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