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The Remarkable Canon New FD 200mm f/2.8
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 1:46 pm    Post subject: The Remarkable Canon New FD 200mm f/2.8 Reply with quote

I owned one of these lenses back in the 80s. Bought it new in 1985 and sold it in 1989 when I decided that I was gonna switch systems to Nikon. Well, the switch didn't last for very long, but unfortunately I never bought back another copy of that lens, until last week, when I bid on one on eBay on a whim, really. I bought it because it was priced quite a bit less than other ones there, yet it still had mint glass even though the exterior showed wear. That sort of thing I can live with.

It's an outstanding lens, if you know how to use it right. By that I mean, staying away from its weak points. Which are mostly any situations which will cause it to exhibit CA -- and it can exhibit boatloads of it, if you're not careful.

This is the latest version of the New FD 200/2.8, with internal focus. I prefer the model with IF because it is much quicker to focus than the earlier models. It also has a built-in metal hood, which I recommend is used all the time -- not just for keeping the sun off the front optic, but for protecting it as well. The lens came with a 72mm Canon 1-A filter -- but I really don't like using filters unless they're for a specific effect.



I took some shots with it yesterday. The light was overcast and brooding. It rained later. Still raining today. So the light's not the best, but I think the following photos give you a pretty good idea of this lens's performance. Shot with a Sony NEX 7 and FD-NEX adapter. No post processing was done to any of the images except for conversion from RAW to jpg and then downsizing for viewing here.

You can see here that the lens is somewhat soft wide open, and has sharpened up a lot by f/8 -- actually, by f/4 it's already very sharp. And that the lens also handles diffraction pretty well. It has aperture stops to f/32 and as you can see, f/22 is still very usable.

f/2.8


f/8


f/22


Ditto what I wrote above, pretty much.

f/2.8


f/8


Again, pretty much ditto what I wrote above. To me, the shot at f/2.8 has a decent 3D look to it.

f/2.8


f/8


f/16


PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Canon new FD 2.8/200mm IF is in fact a nice lens, mainly because of the internal focusing. I have acquired it recently, prepairing myself for a large 2.8/200mm test on artaphot. Optically it is OK but not overwhelming (CAs, as you said!!).
The FD 2.8/200 SSC seems to a bit better, and so does the Minolta MD 2.8/200mm. The non-ED 2.8/180mm Ai-Nikkor obviously is different in its construction (blueish-yellow CAs instead of red-green ones at Canon/Minolta), and certainly not worse.
I haven't used the Nikkor AiS 2.8/180mm ED yet, but it certainly will be better than the non-ED (and thus also better than the Canon/Minolta equivalents). But again: the fast internal focusing is very useful in many situations, and therefore i also like the Canon FD 2.8/200mm IF most (apart from the Minolta AF 2.8/200 APO which is much better, but that's an AF lens and another story).

Stephan


PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2016 5:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that if/when you obtain a copy of the Nikkor 180/2.8 ED, you will be impressed. I know I was when I bought mine. It was an amazing lens. Sadly I had to part with it during times of too much gear and not enough money. The only reason why I don't have one right now is because I noticed some surprising similarities over at adaptall-2.org. The site was comparing the Tamron 180/2.5 LD with the Nikkor 180/2.8 ED, and something seemed familiar about the Modern Photography resolution/contrast tests they were listing there for the two lenses. It finally occurred to me what it was. The Nikkor's test numbers were almost identical to the MP test numbers shown there for the Tamron 80-200/2.8 LD zoom. Sure enough -- bouncing back between the two pages, I was able to confirm that the outputs of those two lenses are almost identical. I was hoping to find a good deal on the Nikkor, so I expanded my search at the time to include the Tamron zoom. And I ran across one in BGN condition at KEH -- about $100 cheaper than what the Nikon 180 ED was selling for. I've been very happy with the performance of that zoom. I feel it does rival the Nikkor in terms of resolution and contrast. Only thing is, it is heavier than the Nikon. But fortunately it has a tripod collar, whereas the Nikon doesn't.

So anyway, something to keep in mind when you're considering getting a copy of that Nikon 180 ED.

I pretty much knew the shortcomings of the Canon 200/2.8 going in because, as mentioned, I'd owned one before. So this was a reacquaintance of sorts. I have always been quite fond of a number of shots I've gotten with this lens, shots that stayed within its area of capabilities, where I wasn't pushing its envelope too strongly. Here area a couple of images I took with it back in the 80s, ones that show its capabilities to good results, I think. I've also posted them in another current thread -- on recently acquired lenses.




I suppose I should just admit as well that I miss the lens -- absence making the heart grow fonder and all. So I guess this purchase was necessary for me to get any sentimental traces out of my system. Hey, who knows? Maybe I'll just put it back on eBay, once I've had time to reacquaint myself with it.

One thing I'm curious about, though -- is just how it will compare with the New FD 200mm f/4. I have one of these lenses. There's a big difference as to what the two are worth. You can pick up the 200/4 for $40 or so on eBay. But it's a sleeper, really. It too has IF, but unlike the 200/2.8, it is very well corrected for CA and it is also very sharp. I haven't pulled my New FD 200/4 out of the case since I bought my NEX, so a head to head test should be interesting.


Last edited by cooltouch on Thu Mar 10, 2016 5:23 am; edited 3 times in total


PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2016 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cooltouch wrote:


One thing I'm curious about, though -- is just how it will compare with the New FD 200mm f/4. I have one of these lenses. There's a big difference as to what the two are worth. You can pick up the 200/4 for $40 or so on eBay. But it's a sleeper, really. It too has IF, but unlike the 200/2.8, it is very well corrected for CA and it is also very sharp. I haven't pulled my New FD 200/4 out of the case since I bought my NEX, so a head to head test should be interesting.


I suspect that the results will be close.
Looking forward to it
OH


PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2016 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't be surprised if the 200/4 outperforms it, to be honest.


PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2016 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cooltouch wrote:
I wouldn't be surprised if the 200/4 outperforms it, to be honest.


You may be right.
The FDn 4/200 produces very nice results and is - just maybe - the most undervalued Canon FD lens
OH


PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2016 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought a copy of 200 macro. It is even heavier than the 200/2.8. I wonder which 200mm is sharper at F4.


PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2016 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Canon nFD 4/200mm Macro also suffers from quite strong CAs.
It has - like the other 200mm FD lenses from Canon - neither UD nor Fluorite lenses.

Stephan


PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2016 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Canon actually produced an FD 200mm L lens -- the 200mm f/1.8 L. It was produced in 1989, over a year after the introduction of the new EF line. It is reported that Canon finally gave in to demand from pros, and released the New FD 200/1.8 L in response to their demand. But apparently it was built in very small numbers. It is exceedingly rare, with prices to match, I'm guessing.

I suspect the EF 200/1.8L's optical formula is the same. Probably close to the ultimate 200mm in terms of performance, I'm thinking. I reckon it looks something like this:


PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2016 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cooltouch wrote:
Canon actually produced an FD 200mm L lens -- the 200mm f/1.8 L. It was produced in 1989, over a year after the introduction of the new EF line. It is reported that Canon finally gave in to demand from pros, and released the New FD 200/1.8 L in response to their demand. But apparently it was built in very small numbers. It is exceedingly rare, with prices to match, I'm guessing.


Original price was 513,000 yen
I am unsure of the exchange rate to other denominations in 1989, but that is an expensive lens for sure.
OH


PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2016 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've found it hard to find a really good 200mm. The Konica Hexanon 3.5/200 is great but I rarely use it because it won't fit on my a850. I went through a whole host of third party 200s from Sankor, Komura etc and never found a really good one. The best I had found was an Olympus Zuiko 4/200 which I converted top fit the a850. It's very good but not outstanding.

Then I spotted a Bronica Zenzanon PS 3.5/200 dirt cheap and grabbed that as the Zenzanon PS 2.8/100 I already have is a really great lens. Here's some wide open samples from the Zenzanon 3.5/200, I doubt I'll find a better 200 than this without spending lot more money. It's got less CA than I've seen from any long lens that wasn't labelled APO and sharpness is great even wide open. Contrast is also very strong.





PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2016 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice job walking down memory lane and rekindling the FD 200mm f2.8 love affair.
It looks pretty good, not much chromatic aberration and contrast is excellent wide open. Especially using standard glass. Does better than my AT-X 80-200 f2.8 at 200mm wide open.

I hope the nFD 200mm f4 is as good as it appears and the way it's praised here. I found a very clean one for a good price last night. But will take weeks to get to me on a slow boat out of Japan. Been interested in one for my FD collection.

I've tried a number of 200s from the main brands, and I also found the Hexanon f3.5 tops for me. The OM Zuiko MC f4 is smaller and handles better on the APS-C Sony. A MD Rokkor-X f4 MD-I was very good, but was (EDIT*) NOT better. Nor was a Nikkor-Q f4. So I'm looking forward to see how the Canon will do, and it will complete the circle of 200s.

That last shot from the Bronica is excellent. So sharp and clean, and melts away smoothly.

*grammar error brought about with age. Don't know why I'm leaving off the 'n't'! Smile


Last edited by WNG555 on Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:10 am; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2016 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a rainy day here today, so I don't know how much testing I'll be able to do, but I've decided to test the smorgasbord of 200s that I own. I have the two Canons, plus two Komine-built Vivitar 200mm f/3.5's -- both are identical to each other, most likely built back in the early to mid 70s, so I'll just be using one. Plus I have a 200mm f/4 Micro-Nikkor. Now, if I were to add in zooms that incorporate 200mm in their focal range, I'd be adding probably another 7 or 8 lenses to the test. Too many. But four lenses will be just right. Something old, something relatively new film-wise, plus a macro.

I'll let you know how things turn out, and I'll post the results in a separate thread.


PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 1:10 pm    Post subject: Re: The Remarkable Canon New FD 200mm f/2.8 Reply with quote

cooltouch wrote:

...
It's an outstanding lens, if you know how to use it right. By that I mean, staying away from its weak points. Which are mostly any situations which will cause it to exhibit CA -- and it can exhibit boatloads of it, if you're not careful.


You're absolutely right Wink See here (scroll down for the nFD 2.8/200mm IF):

http://www.artaphot.ch/systemuebergreifend/objektive/529-200mm-lenses

Stephan


PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for resurrecting this thread. It reminded me, as I read through it again for the first time in over two years, that I never did the 200mm comparison I mentioned I'd do. Have to do something about that!

Maybe today I can drag out a collection of 200s and take some test pics.


PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cooltouch wrote:
Thanks for resurrecting this thread. It reminded me, as I read through it again for the first time in over two years, that I never did the 200mm comparison I mentioned I'd do. Have to do something about that!

Yep, for sure!!

cooltouch wrote:
Maybe today I can drag out a collection of 200s and take some test pics.

Good idea;) - i'm looking forward to to your results ...

Stephan