Canon FD 24mm f/2.8 is a beautiful lens introduced by Canon in 1971. It has typical Canon design from that era - polished barrel, green and red markings, and focus ring machined to pyramid pattern. It's not as nice as Zeiss or Leica, but it's more pleasant to operate than modern plastic lenses. There are several variants of the lens, most notable is the high speed and expensive FD 24mm f/1.4 ASPHERICAL.
The f/2.8 S.S.C version, that I got, was introduced in 1973. I bought it for £75 after reading several reviews claiming excellent image quality. The front component is housing two large diameter glasses. These serve to improve light transmission in the periphery areas of the lens, to eliminate coma, and to compensate for distortion. The lens also includes floating elements design which corrects aberrations at close focus distance.
|Coating||Super Spectral Coating|
|Angular Field||84 degrees|
|Lens Construction (group)||8|
|Lens Construction (element)||9|
|No. of Diaphragm Blades||6|
|Closest Focusing Distance (m)||0.3|
|Maximum Magnification (x)||0.114|
|Filter Diameter (mm)||55|
|Maximum Diameter x Length (mm)||66 x 52.5|
I used this lens with Novoflex NEX/CAN adapter.
The lens is well balanced on a7R, not too heavy not too light. It locks securely into place with a twist of the mount ring, there is no play or looseness at the mount. The focus ring is well dampened and smooth to turn, but I wish it was rubberised like on Zeiss C/Y lenses. Aperture ring is a bit clunky and has too much movement to my liking, but to be fair it clicks securely in half-stop increments and diaphragm operation is accurate.
Overall, I can't complain about the build and fit of this 40 year old lens. I doubt many lenses produced by Canon or Nikon today will be able to function as well after 40 years of use.
The images are sharp in the center from wide open and get sharper at f/4. There is no further improvement in center sharpness after that. Colors look true and although scene rendition is fairly neutral - this is definitely not a cold lens. Overall it has pleasant colors, some aberrations are visible in high contrast areas, and light barrel distortion exists.
Most of the issues that plague a7R with wide angle lenses are not present. There is no magenta casts in the corners, no yellow casts at the top and bottom of the frame, there is also no smudging in the corners.
There is however loss of detail in the corners at large apertures. Heavy at f/2.8 and gradually gone by f/8. It looks like the loss of detail in the corners is not due to light fall off, which can be seen with rangefinder lenses, but due to diffraction?.. Not sure what else to call it, I'll let the images speak for themselves.
You can find MFT charts of Canon FD 24mm f/2.8 on ERPhotoReview. Those clearly
point to the same issue I have experienced, so I doubt it is specific to my copy of the lens.
100% crops from bottom left corner
Nice lens, produces good results at f/8 and f/11. Definitely better than any other legacy lenses on a7R, but far from great.
If you intend on using it for landscape it is a decent option as long as you are happy to stay within the narrow f-stop range where it produces good results. If you are looking for a more general wide angle lens - this is not it.
Here is a shot where the crops came from. I took it at the coast in Dorset last weekend.
With Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 Vario-Tessar T* out now, it might not make sense to look at lenses like FD 24mm because they are not much different in size once you add the adapter and they definitely cannot compete in quality. On a more exciting note, my copy of Sony FE 16-34mm f/4 has arrived today and I am extremely excited to put it through some testing this weekend. Expect a review next week!
Final thought. FD 24mm f/2.8 is cheap and will not set you back more than £50-75. This makes it a viable option. In the end there has to be a compromise and we can't have the best of both worlds.