Flower shot on Epic 5K 5:1  with Soligor FD 28mm f/2.8

Up until recently, it was very difficult to use these fantastic old FD lenses on digital cameras. With the EOS mount, Canon changed the Flange Focal Distance (FFD) of their mounts, so even with an adapter, the FD lenses wouldn't work properly. Thanks to Optitek in Thousand Oaks, CA - who have manufactured an FD mount for the Red Epic - we can now see this wonderful glass in action on digital cameras. For those who are not familiar, the Epic has a fully removable mount, and manufacturers can make mounts that fit any style lens and get the FFD correct so the lenses work as expected. Before I begin, here's a short video sample of the video that was recorded in order to grab the still photo above.

For this little test I used one of the cheaper off-brand lenses as I haven't purchased many primes yet in the FD mount. This test is more or less just showing the differences of the lens at different apertures, but also showcases the detail of the epic in 5K FF (full frame) mode. Below are a few samples of images taken with minimal color adjustments, debayered from the Epic with RedColor3 and RedGamma3 with a slight gain and curve adjustments, everything else zeroed out.

These images were taken at f/2.8. The first is a scaled 5K full frame still and the second is a 1:1 crop from the 5K image (click to see larger view):

As you can see with the lens wide open, we're seeing a lot of the blooming and softening quality much like the older Zeiss Super Speed MK1 cinema lenses. On a wider shot like this, it's a bit more bothersome, but it has an old nostalgic quality that I wouldn't actually mind in some cases. I'll have to see how it looks in motion, but for stills, it slightly resembles that old-school 80's glamour portrait look. On the closer shots (such as the yellow flower up top) it works a bit better and gives a nice soft feel that isn't distracting.

Clicking the iris down a half stop we are at an f/2.8-4 split:

Here, we still have a bit of blooming that hasn't really subsided much, but it's slightly less distracting.

On to f/4:

Finally one stop down from wide open, we have a pretty clean image. The color and contrast is a little better as well, and this is a really nice sharp looking image for a $60 used piece of glass! This is what's so great about these lenses is they cost next to nothing and perform quite well. Once I get into the higher-end Canon brand FD lenses (usually $200-$500) It'll be really interesting to see the quality for the price.

Next up f/4-5.6 split:

Looking better yet, which brings us to...

f/5:6:

So here we're two whole stops down from wide open and we have a beautiful, incredibly sharp image. Again, this is absolutely no post-sharpening, or even any pre-sharpening from the debayer. The contrast and color really pop out on this one, which is all from the lens, the only color adjustments I made where sliding the ISO during debayer to compensate for the iris change, as well as the last two sets had a very slight luma curve push to match the brightness.

I'm going to put together more comprehensive tests once I get more lenses - this was just a fun little test I did the other day. Plus, I'm sure it's the only lens test for an off-brand FD lens on the internet! So if you found this searching for a Soligor FD 28mm f/2.8 lens, hopefully you found this useful.

1 Comment