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Canon A1 help

FranciscoVeldír

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Hello!

I hope you guys can help.

I have recently purchased a Canon A1 with a 50mm FD 1.8 in pretty much mint condition it seems.

I have had three rolls back from the camera and just nothing seems to be sharp at all.

I’m just wondering if there is anything wrong with the camera or the lens at all? As the photos are nowhere near the sample images I have seen for this camera and lens.

What could the possible issues be?

I’m sure focusing could be one of the issues, but surely there would be at least something actually fully in focus in the photos if that was the case.

I have attached some sample images so you can see, but if you could help me it would be incredible as I’m not quite sure what to do.

All of the images were shot in Kodak Colourplus 200

Thanks in advance!

C7C2EC7F-96EB-40F0-AC53-02AF9A48014E.jpeg
92658CBD-18F5-40D7-8063-B765E74477CA.jpeg
96166D8C-E60F-4FCC-AB34-4EC7B94C317F.jpeg
FAE79305-F01F-4C76-B88A-59115185C2A8.jpeg
50E12816-7ACE-43A4-850F-4145856ECEBF.jpeg
08C79838-DD88-47CA-8AC1-32DB8DE9827D.jpeg
DB7C2468-2162-4149-880F-D64E757F7CBD.jpeg
D5B6D557-58F8-45B9-A3F7-27C70853C94C.jpeg
197FE929-B8BA-4260-AA18-4E475DE66ACD.jpeg

C7C2EC7F-96EB-40F0-AC53-02AF9A48014E.jpeg 92658CBD-18F5-40D7-8063-B765E74477CA.jpeg 96166D8C-E60F-4FCC-AB34-4EC7B94C317F.jpeg FAE79305-F01F-4C76-B88A-59115185C2A8.jpeg
 
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I do not see an apparent "sharpness" issue with the images you have shown. It is not easy to validate this as we cannot see the actual negative. You should view the neg with a good loupe to verify.

The Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 is not the highest IQ lens ... it is good but the f/1.4 is much better, especially wide open.
 
I agree with @dxqcanada. I used to have an A1 with the 50mm 1.4, and it was sharp for me. What shutter speeds and apertures are you using when you hand hold the camera? One experiment you can try is to mount the camera on a tripod, attach a cable release, put something with text, like a book or whatever you have, focus carefully throughout the aperture settings and after the film is developed, have a close look and see if it sharpens things up.
I also suggest purchasing the 50mm 1.4 lens. You won't be sorry.
 
I noticed some dust shot on the neg ... I think the scan has something to do with this as this is sitting right on the film ... though still not that bad.

upload_2021-4-9_22-27-49.png
 
I agree with @dxqcanada. I used to have an A1 with the 50mm 1.4, and it was sharp for me. What shutter speeds and apertures are you using when you hand hold the camera? One experiment you can try is to mount the camera on a tripod, attach a cable release, put something with text, like a book or whatever you have, focus carefully throughout the aperture settings and after the film is developed, have a close look and see if it sharpens things up.
I also suggest purchasing the 50mm 1.4 lens. You won't be sorry.
Thanks for replying.

I never go below 1/60 and usually shoot at 1/250, so I’m not sure why it isn’t sharp.

I usually shoot at an aperture as high as possible, never really shooting at the low end.

Could this be some sort of faulty lens issue do you know?

Is there also a difference in sharpness between the 1.8 and 1.4?
 
I do not see an apparent "sharpness" issue with the images you have shown. It is not easy to validate this as we cannot see the actual negative. You should view the neg with a good loupe to verify.

The Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 is not the highest IQ lens ... it is good but the f/1.4 is much better, especially wide open.
Thank you for replying.

What do you mean by highest IQ?
I’m wondering if it is a lens issue of some sort.

I recently purchased the FD 35mm F3.5 and it’s on the way, so hopefully just using another lens on a roll I’ll be able to see if there is a difference.
 
I don't see a lens issue. That lens is adequately sharp, I use to use one a a Canon T70 . I suspect the quality of the scan first. Unless your rock steady, I would try and stay above 1/125s. With that lens, usually f/8 produces the sharpest output and fidelity. Things are normally very good from f/2.8 up to f/11 and then diffraction starts to soften things after f/11.

Kodak color plus is decent but doesn't scream sharpness as a film stock for what's its worth.

Load a roll and shoot a brick wall at all the apertures, mounted on a tripod. Your manual focus skill could be rusty as well. All that being said, I still think the scan is probably limiting some detail. I use a V800 and with 135 film, everything needs to be spot on in the process to get a decent result. Decent is relative when it comes to 135 and a flat bed, a dedicated 135 scanner will produce better results. Labs offer various scan qualities and it really makes a difference. So scanning is a rabbit hole with 135. I am not a pixel peeper and sharpness has never been a primary concern for me when it comes to the image. Sharpness is last on the list but missing focus usually will rear its ugly head. I don't see that in these. You can reverse that 50 and use it as a loupe to check your negatives in a pinch.

It seems to me that if sharpness and image quality is a huge deal for the photog, medium to large format is usually the path they go due to the larger negative.
 
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Would help to know what type of scanner was used. The files on here are small but I agree with others that they do not look to unsharp.
 
I agree with @dxqcanada. I used to have an A1 with the 50mm 1.4, and it was sharp for me. What shutter speeds and apertures are you using when you hand hold the camera? One experiment you can try is to mount the camera on a tripod, attach a cable release, put something with text, like a book or whatever you have, focus carefully throughout the aperture settings and after the film is developed, have a close look and see if it sharpens things up.
I also suggest purchasing the 50mm 1.4 lens. You won't be sorry.
Thanks for replying.

I never go below 1/60 and usually shoot at 1/250, so I’m not sure why it isn’t sharp.

I usually shoot at an aperture as high as possible, never really shooting at the low end.

Could this be some sort of faulty lens issue do you know?

Is there also a difference in sharpness between the 1.8 and 1.4?

Hi Francisco,
There is always a possibility that the lens may be faulty, depending on the quality rating of a used lens. Only a lens repair tech can know for sure. The images you uploaded looked sharp to me, however, you have to be comfortable with your equipment.
Yes, there is a bit of a difference between the Canon FD 50mm f1.8 and specifically, the FD 50mm f1.4 S.S.C. They are both good lenses and from what I can see from when I used one, the 1.4 S.S.C, and other people who use the Canon 50mm FD series, most agree the 50mm 1.4 S.S.C. is a better 50mm lens. Why? It seems to be sharper throughout all the apertures, has that extra stop for low light, has, in my opinion, a better build quality, renders more a little more vivid colors and contrast in a photograph. If I were to purchase a used A1 or an F1, I would definitely get a 50mm f1.4 S.S.C. lens. They are affordable used for a really nice one.
My opinion, for what it is worth; purchase a good,, clean, 50mm f1.4 S.S.C. lens and use it to compare the two lenses using a tripod.
 
Would help to know what type of scanner was used. The files on here are small but I agree with others that they do not look to unsharp.
Hi there,
I used the Epson V600 to scan them in.
I also got a roll from the lab and they were similar though.

I just seem to have seen many sharper and crisper images from the Canon A1 and this lens.
If you zoom in nothing truly seems to be sharp
 
The sharpness issue isn't really apparent from what is posted here but if it doesn't look sharp to you, I suggest taking off the lens and shining a flashlight through it while looking at the glass from the other side. If there is fungus or haze present this test will make it visible.

A lens can have fungus, haze, excessive dust, etc on the glass that isn't visible until you do this test.
 
The sharpness issue isn't really apparent from what is posted here but if it doesn't look sharp to you, I suggest taking off the lens and shining a flashlight through it while looking at the glass from the other side. If there is fungus or haze present this test will make it visible.

A lens can have fungus, haze, excessive dust, etc on the glass that isn't visible until you do this test.

Hi Compur,
I appreciated your post very much. It is a good reminder, for me, anyway, to do first things first. Your suggestion is probably the best answer so far. After that lens check, then other factors can be examined.
Thanks,

Don
 
Just two quick items. I think your digital files could stand just a bit more sharpening which would probably make you more satisfied with the resulst. The second item is that, although it's been thirty years since I've shot any color film what you have is about as sharp as I remember color negative film. If you want really sharp color film shoots do what National Geographic did and shoot the slowest color transparency film your shooting conditions will handle.
 

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