The Guide to Canon FD lenses on the Sony a7 series

Canon FD lenses on digital cameras

Introduction

This guide was written to give you a good idea what to expect from Canon’s older FD lenses, many of which still perform very well on modern digital cameras.

All tests are performed with the 24MP full frame Sony a7/a7ii. Our ratings are always based on using the lenses with these cameras, the evaluation will be a different one on a smaller sensor. To learn more about using manual lenses on the Sony a7 check our beginners guide.

Most of these summaries are based on our own experience but we also decided to also include lenses we haven’t used ourselves to pool useful information we found on the net which we have summarized based on our experience with reviewing lenses. We would also be very happy if you shared your own experience with Canon FD lenses we don’t have any reliable information on yet. We are quite picky with the information we use though. That’s because 95% of the information we come across is unreliable: Everyone has different standards, Person A might rate the very same lens as a great performer while person B thinks it’s total junk. So we are mostly interested in full resolution images taken with a fullframe camera including information on the aperture used.

Of course the list isn’t complete, it is work in progress and we are working at extending it but this will take it’s time.

Wideangle lenses

 Canon (n)FD 4/17

Status: Used by Jannik for a short time in the past17mm_a

  • At f/4 the center is quite good but…
  • … I’d recommend to stop down to f/11 for usable sharpness across the frame although it never gets tack sharp, partially because of the very strong lateral CA.
  • Very low distortion (the biggest quality of this lens, especially in the film era), bad flare resistance and 6-bladed aperture.
  • Medium size, and average price/performance ratio.
  • The age of this legacy lenses shows clearly when it iscompared to modern options. Nevertheless, it is pretty usable if you give the files some love in the post processing (remove CA’s and sharpening).

360g + adapter | $200 | technical datasample images |  user reviews

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User guide to Ultra Wideangle lenses for the Sony Alpha 7 series

super wide angle ultra uwa swa

We summarize our experience with all the native E-mount and a few (manual) legacy lenses in the 10-20mm bracket to give you a compact resource for choosing the right super- to ultra-wide-angle lens for your Sony a7 cameras. In this summary we also included some adaptable AF lenses we think are worth mentioning.

We also have a guide to 21-35mm lenses.

We have no association with any lens manufacturer apart from occasionally loaning a lens for a review. Before any short introduction we tell you how long we have used a lens and if we have borrowed it from a manufacturer. But in most cases we have bought the lenses new from retail stores or on on the used market. If you want to support our independent reviews please consider using one of the affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you anything and helps us a lot.

If we have left any question unanswered please leave a comment and we will do our best to answer it.

Voigtlander 5.6/10 E

Status: Sample provided by the manufacturer reviewed by Bastian, who bought one for himself at retail after that. Still often in use.

voigtlander_10mm_5.6

  • At f/5.6 most of the frame is pretty sharp, only the extreme corners are somewhat soft. Contrast is always high.
  • You have to use f/11 for best across frame sharpness, the corners never reach excellent values.
  • Almost no distortion, quite good flare resistance, beautiful 10-stroke sunstars.
  • Small and lightweight, decently priced.
  • Widest rectilinear lens there is in a small package. Downsides are huge vignetting throughout the aperture range and maximum aperture of only f/5.6.

375g | $1300 | full Review | aperture seriessample images

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voigtlander hyper wide heliar 10mm 5.6 stuttgart sony e a7 distortion stuttgart mercedes benz museum

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The Manual Photographers Series Part 0.3: Jannik Peters

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 Hi Jannik,
can you tell us a little bit about yourself and why you use manual Lenses?

Jannik: I am an automotive engineer from Wolfsburg, Germany. I started out with an Sony Alpha 200 in 2008 but I discovered photography as my passion when the first Sony A7 came out. I preordered it and was fascinated by the ability to revive all the legacy lenses, that were “dead” for a long time. My first manual lens was a Canon nFD 1.4/50 which was an eye opener for me. At this time, I only owned the Sony FE 3.5-5.6/28-70 kit lens and I was never really satisfied by it. The sharpness and the creative potential of the fast aperture combined with the bargain price (50€) were amazing. I added lots of Canon FD lenses soon and started to discover other systems like Olympus OM and especially Contax/Yashica as well. With some experience, I found the different rendering styles of specific lenses and I am happy that I can choose between several lenses depending on the look that I want to create.

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Sony A7 | Canon nFD 2.8/24mm | Na Pali Coast, Kauai
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Sony A7 | Samyang 2.8/14mm | San Francisco

Continue reading The Manual Photographers Series Part 0.3: Jannik Peters

User-Guide to wide-angle lenses for Sony a7 a7ii a7rii

Wide-angle lenses Sony a7 ii

We summarize our experience with all the native Sony E-mount wideangle lenses and a few manualones in the 20-35mm bracket to give you a compact resource for choosing the right lens for your Sony a7.

We have no association with any manufacturer apart from occasionally loaning a lens for a review. Before any short introduction we tell you how long we have used a lens and if we have borrowed it from a manufacturer. But in most cases we have bought the lenses on the market. If you want to support our independent reviews please consider using one of the affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you anything and helps us a lot.

For lenses below 21mm check out our guide to ultra-wideangle lenses for the Sony a7.

If we have left any question unanswered please leave a comment and we will do our best to answer it.

Sony FE 4/16-35 ZA OSSZeiss 4/16-35

Status: Phillip reviewed a loaner from Sony and bought his own copy more than a year ago. He uses it regularly. Jannik owned but sold it in favor of the Loxia 2.8/21.

Jannik: A lovely lens with decent image quality and effective image stabilization. Personally, I tend to shoot always too wide with such a zoom lens although I miss it’s great versatility.

  • At f/4 the center is excellent across the zoom range, for best corners I would stop down at least to f/5.6, better f/8 where they are quite good.
  • Pronounced distortion at the ends, average vignetting and annoying ghosting for some scenes but fine most of the time.
  • This is neither a light nor a small lens but it isn’t huge either. Build quality is good.
  • A very versatile lens: It covers a very wide focal range with good optical quality and thanks to the stabilizer even on the a7 one can shoot before sunrise without a tripod. The price is significant but justified.

518g | $1348 | full review |  sample images

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Sample Image Sony 4/16-35 OSS

Continue reading User-Guide to wide-angle lenses for Sony a7 a7ii a7rii

Manual Lenses | Sony Alpha