Reader Report: Canon FD 50mm f1.2 L & Zeiss 55mm f1.8 by Hassan Abba.
All shots were taken on a Sony A7II.
Since 2003, I have been a Canon DSLR User and sucker for “L” lenses for Wildlife, Sports and Family. I have also had a sweet spot for a compact walk-around camera that delivers similar quality.
I got the Sony NEX-5 in mid-2014, a compact platform with an APS-C sensor on which I could attach E-Mount lenses, Voigtlander M-Mount lenses (28mm f1.9, 35mm f1.7) and many FD lenses including the Canon FD 50mm f1.2 L. 2011 was a Lens Gadget Acquisition Phase – suffice to say Ebay shareholders were doing well with my pounds.
However I was not satisfied. The close focus distance of the Voigtlanders did not work for my style of shooting and Sony was not coming up with any fast primes with a 50mm full frame focal length. I jumped over to Samsung for their superb pancake 30mm f2 lens. I kept the Canon FD 50mm F1.2 L, because this lens is special to me as for its speed and rendering.
I was satisfied with the Samsung 30mm pancake but the NX100 body felt relatively unresponsive and plasticy compared to the NEX-5. After countless reviews and discussions with an A7 friend, I came back to Sony and purchased the A7II in January 2015. For the past few weeks I have been shooting the A7II with my Canon FD 50mm.
I will present a few photos and my personal experience, albeit a short one so far in using the A7II and Canon 50mm & Zeiss 55mm lenses. I am still going through a very enjoyable learning curve in street photography. I hope these photos and lessons learnt so far provide you with an insight into this setup.
More pics can been seen here on flickr.
Canon FD 50mm F1.2 L and Zeiss 55mm in the Field Examples
I have used the 50mm in two contexts with the A7 so far, portraits and candid shooting while on the way home from work. This journey takes me from Oxford Circus to Charing Cross in London in dark. In both contexts I am shooting at F2 or faster. Here are some examples that give a sense of the quality of both these lenses.
Canon FD 50mm, ISO 100, F2, 1/160.
Taking portraits of babies with a manual lens is no easy task but great fun (narrow depth of field and subject that cannot keep still) – you need prayer, luck and many shots for a few keepers. Here is a photo of my niece’s daughter, the larger is the full frame and a crop into the Eyes. This photo was zeroed in Lightroom.
Canon FD 50mm, F2 or 2.8, ISO 100, 1/80. He was scouting for something to shoot and I shot him at Covent Garden during the Chinese New Year celebrations. He stood still long enough for me to focus on his eyes.
Canon FD 50mm, F2, ISO 3200, 1/100 – This lovely chap from Ghana was giving out theater flyers outside Leicester Square. I had a chat and a joke, he smiled. This photo has been slightly cropped and zeroed in Lightroom.
Canon FD 50mm, F2, ISO 200, 1/60 – Covent Garden, I have played with colours in Lightroom.
Zeiss 55mm ISO160, 1/160, F2 – He was on his way to work from Woolwich Arsenal to Charing Cross sitting opposite me.
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