Canon FL vs FD, is there a difference in quality? : LUSENET : Canon FD : One Thread

I have just found this site, what a wonderful resource! Here is my question. There are a lot of fine FL lenses on ebay that sell for less than FD lenses. I am thinking of getting a 55mm f1.2 fast FL lense now. I shoot with A series cameras and I don't mind putting up with the FL's need to do stop-down metering. My question is, are the FD superior lenses? If they are better quality than the old FL lenses, then I won't bother pursuing them.

Thanks for your time and assistance!

-- Steve Sphar (, February 28, 2001


I'm afraid that for the most part FD lenses are better than the FLs but it's not a great bowl-me-over kind of difference.

The biggest difference is in coatings. All the FL lenses are single coated; most of the FD lenses are multicoated. This translates into better contrast and flare resistance.

The 2nd difference is just design refinement of the higher performance lenses and of zoom lenses. The lens you cited can indeed take very good pictures, but you'll find it's wide open performance is not as good as the later f1.2 units. ie., softer and with lower contrast. Something to be expected for a lens design about 35 years old. I borrowed one recently and found it was a good performer when shaded properly. The images were good but not as good as those from the FD 50/1.4.

Some positive notes are that Canon had very good quality control and the FL lenses are exceedingly well built, many with ball bearing diaphragms. They may get sticky but they don't often wear out or break.

Good luck and cheers,

-- Duane K (, February 28, 2001.

As an amateur photographer I have found the price/value ratio of the FL lenses to be about right. I am building up a collection of prime lenses and always use them with the Tiffen enhancing filter which brings the color rendition up to today's standards at the price of one stop.

The FL lenses were first offered in only 19/3.5 mirror up, 35/2.5, 50/1.4, 58/1.2, 50/3.5 macro, 85/1.8, 100/3.5, 135/2.5, 200/3.5 and the two zooms versions. The lens that you refer to came along later in a second wave to replace the 58/1.2. I remember reading that it contains rare earth elements to improve color endition under low light conditions. But it is relatively expensive at $100 and as the last person has said it probably isn't equal to the FD.

Hope this helps you decide. I can only add that the heft and craftsmanship of the FL lenses adds a lot to my pictures in terms of composition which to me is more important than laboratory bench criteria.

-- david harry gabis (, December 14, 2001.

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