Canon FD 50mm F/1.8 Lens Review

After I saw the photo taken with the Canon FD 50mm F/1.8, I was surprised. It’s actually great for a lens this old, and for $25.00 this is a great buy. I got mine used of course from Adorama. The FD 50mm F/1.8 was the kit lens of the highly regarded Canon AE-1 Program camera. It’s made mostly of plastic and some metal. I bought the lens for my Olympus PEN E-PL1 and I’m glad I did, it feels really good and well balance on the E-PL1.

Accdg to the Website MIR.COM.MY “This lens is the lightest (and also the cheapest) of all Canon FD interchangeable lenses. It weighs a mere 170 grams, even less than its predecessor. This reduced weight improves handling and portability. It has a solid reputation for stable picture quality and sharp, crisp picture performance. It was also the only lens in the FDn series that was given the S.C. (Spectra Coating) treatment as opposed to S.S.C.”


  • Focal Length: 50mm
  • Aperture: 1:1.8
  • Lens construction: 4 groups, 6 elements
  • Angle of view: Diagonal: 46° Vertical: 27° Horizontal: 40°
  • Distance Scale: (m) 0.6 (magnification 0.10X) to 10.OO (ft) 2 to 30 OO
  • Focusing: Helicoid
  • Minimum aperture: f/22 .A
  • Diaphragm: Automatic
  • Filter Size. 52mm
  • Hood: BS-52
  • Cap: C-52
  • Function: Auto Aperture, Full aperture metering (AE operation when used with ALL Canon automatic SLR cameras.
  • Length x max. diameter: 35mm x 63mm Weight: 170g

The Canon FD 50mm F/1.8 mounted on Olympus PEN E-PL1


All I can say is, I agree with everybody else,  this lens is a solid performer, it’s consitent and it’s just easy to use. It is capable of producing razor sharp images on my Olympus PEN E-PL1. The fact that it’s really cheap is an advantage. The focus ring on my fd 50mm F/1.8 is just so smooth and a joy to use, the aperture ring are surprisingly easy to turn, especially for a lens this old. This just means that this lens was made with quality in mind, it’s proven durable and can withstand the beating of time. One weakness I notice is this lens is not resistant to flares.

I can highly recommend this FD 50mm F/1.8 to those looking for a cheap but realible FD Manual lens.

If you are planning to use it on a PEN Camera or any Micro Four Thirds System, you will need to buy an adapter, the one I’m using is the RainbowImaging Canon FD Lens to Micro 4/3 Four Thirds System Camera Mount Adapter. That adapter will work on all Olympus PEN Series cameras and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1, GH1, G1.

If you are planning to use it on your current Canon DSLRs you will need to get the Fotodiox PRO Lens Mount Adapter – Canon FD, New FD, FL Lens to Canon EOS Camera. This works on all current Canon DSLR Lineup.

I just need to mention, that this is a manual lens, on my Olympus PEN E-PL1 and Canon DSLR’s, the aperture is not recognized by the camera, only the ISO and Shutter Speed will register. But that is not a problem, you can control your aperture on the lens itself. Using it’s aperture ring, you can set your desired apreture, and also you should shoot in Manual mode, setting your desired Shutter Speed on Camera and aperture on the lens.

Photos of the FD 50mm mounted on the Olympus PEN E-PL1

- Please recheck your ID(s).
- If you are showing a private album, check that the "Retrieve Photos From" option is set to "User's Private Album" and that the Authorization Key is correct.

Here are few sample photos shot with the FD 50mm F/1.8 and PEN E-PL1:
[nggallery id=101]

To view my PEN Collection, please click here, it will take you right to my GPlus Albums.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

5 thoughts on “Canon FD 50mm F/1.8 Lens Review

    1. Simplyness

      Zee, Hi, my apologies for the late reply.

      Yes it will work with your E-PL2 as long as you get the adapter, this is the one I am using, RainbowImaging Canon FD Lens to Micro 4/3 Four Thirds System Camera Mount Adapter
      . With that adapter you can now use any FD Lenses that you can find.

      Hope this helps and thank you for your comment.

  1. Tori

    Hi. I’m new to photography and I inherited a lot of gear that I don’t know how to use. One of which is this lens. I lot of the specifications do not mean much to me since I am new to this. I was wondering what kind of photos I should use this for, close-ups, landscapes, portraits?
    Thanks so much!

  2. Simplyness


    Hi, great question. The Canon FD 50mm F/1.8 was the standard lens back in the days of film. To this date it is still a great lens. With any camera body, this lens would be excellent for portraits, for taking photos of your family/the kids and it is also a great walk around lens. I use this primarily on my little Olympus PEN E-PL1 with an adapter. I also use it to take photographs of flowers and other still subjects, and also some tight landscapes. If you have one of the latest video dslr camera body like the canon t2i/t3i/t4i/6od/7d/5d etc or even the nikon ones, it will be great for videography all you’ll need is an adapter.

    Since this is a manual lens, I wouldn’t use it for fast moving subjects like kids at play running around, it is not good for sports photography or for taking macro photographs of fast insects.

    Just in case you are going to use this lens on the latest camera bodies out there you will need to get one of these adapters depending on the camera body:

    For Olympus PEN E-PL1 or any micro four thirds camera body from panasonic and olympus you will need this:
    RainbowImaging Canon FD Lens to Micro 4/3 Four Thirds System Camera Mount Adapter

    For Nikon DX Camera body you’ll need this adapter:
    Fotodiox Lens Mount Adapter – Canon FD, New FD, FL Lens to Nikon Camera Adapter

    For Canon Camera body get this:
    Fotodiox PRO Lens Mount Adapter – Canon FD, New FD, FL Lens to Canon EOS Camera, for Canon EOS Cameras

    Thank you and I hope I was able to help you. If you have any more question, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’ll be happy to answer any of your photography questions.

  3. Pingback: Vintage Canon FD Lenses | Blog | Photography Blog, Camera Gear Reviews & Photography Tips by Ness

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.