Canon FD 24mm f/1.4 L
Canon FD 24mm f/1.4 L (FD mount, 72mm filters, 15.2oz/430g, 1'/0.3m close focus, about $650 used). enlarge. My biggest source of support is when you use any of these links, especially this link directly to them at eBay (see How to Win at eBay) or at Adorama, when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thanks! Ken.
This is a top-flight professional lens, and since Canon was used primarily by amateurs back in its day, no one bought these. Therefore they are very difficult to find used.
If you can find one used, it costs about half as much as the new EOS EF 24mm f/1.4L II, and does pretty much the same thing. Of course this lens only works on the manual-focus film cameras, not any of Canon's EOS autofocus film or digital cameras.
Except for the aperture ring, it is all-metal precision.
If you can find one used, grab it. It is a stellar performer.
Specifications with commentary top
10 elements in 8 groups.
One ground aspherical element.
Canon 24mm f/1.4 L. enlarge.
8 straight blades.
Stops down to f/16
1 foot (0.3m).
Maximum Reproduction Ratio
3.0" (76.5mm) diameter by 2.7" (68mm) long, specified.
15.187 oz. (430.5g), measured.
15.2 oz. (430g) specified.
With both caps: 16.070 oz. (455.55g), measured.
Canon FD 24/1.4 L. enlarge.
Overall, this is a very contrasty lens at all apertures with little distortion or flare. If you can find one, you've found a winner.
At 10 ft, distortion is just about invisible.
There is very little falloff. The corners don't get much darker even at f/1.4.
Flare and Ghosts
Even with the sun is in a corner of the image and exposing for the foreground, I can't see any ghosts.
Canon 24 1.4. enlarge.
On a T90, manual focus is dead-on at f/1.4 at 0.5m and 8 ft!
Lateral Color Fringes
There is a little yellow-blue lateral color if you look very hard in the corners.
The Canon FD 24mm f/1.4 L is contrasty, even at f/1.4 in the corners. It always gives a brilliant image.
If you look very closely at the finest details, it is a bit softer in the corners at f/1.4, but they remain contrasty for a punchy image. It never just gets soft.
At f/2 it's contrasty all over, but softer in the last few millimeters. The drop-off in the last few mm is more obvious because the rest of the image is very sharp.
It's better still at f/2.8, with only the last couple of millimeters of the corners any softer than the center, and not by much.
f/4 is better still than f/2.8. Only the last couple of mm are softer, and not by much.
f/5.6 is really good. Only the last millimeter is a little softer than the rest of the image. You'd never notice any of this except with deliberate tests.
All in all, the 24/1.4 always gives punchy, contrasty images at every aperture. This is the advantage of aspherical optics: you don't lose contrast from spherical aberration at f/1.4. The only optical price you pay for the fast f/1.4 speed is slightly softer corners at the larger apertures.
Rear, Canon FD 24mm f/1.4. enlarge.
If you can find one, this one lens can lift your Canon FD system into the stratosphere. You can shoot this lens hand-held in just about any light.
Since it's half the focal length of a 50mm lens, you can hold it one-stop slower than a 50mm lens, meaning that you can shoot hand-held in light as low as you could with an f/1.0 50mm lens.
Unlike a 50mm lens, where depth of field is very shallow even at f/2.8, with a 24mm lens, even at f/1.4 the field is large enough to be reasonably useful.
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