The 5 Best Canon EF Lenses

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: March 26, 2020
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Best Canon EF 25mm Film Camera Lenses

The Canon EF is an incredible film camera. The top 5 lenses to use with the Canon EF are going to be covered in this post.

Additional details are further down, however, if you are short on time, here is the list of the lenses:

  1. Kit Lens - Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 (eBay)
  2. Wide Angle Lens - Canon FD 28mm f/3.5 (Amazon)
  3. Portrait Lens - Canon FD 100mm f/2.8 (Amazon)
  4. Zoom Lens - Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5 (eBay)
  5. Macro Lens - Vivitar 90mm f/2.8 (eBay)

Below the best Canon FD camera lenses, are broken down by focal length and price. Large amounts of terrific camera lenses available used, a few are popular with collectors.

Kit Lens and Standard Primes

Canon FD 50mm f/1.8

The Canon FD 50mm F/1.8 lens was the "kit Lens" often sold with the EF. The 50mm f1.8 is widely available used, has very good picture quality, and is cheap.

Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 Lens

Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 Lens

  • The "classic" setup as it can be considered the original kit lens.
  • Phenomenal value.
  • Light and compact.
  • Widely available in good condition.
  • 55mm filter threads.

Check prices at: Amazon, eBay, KEH, Adorama

A 50mm lens is a very good choice for several types of photography. The aspects of photography include architecture, casual use, travel, street, portraits, and landscapes. This is the most common focal length that is combined with the Canon EF.

In terms of size and weight, the lens is light, well balanced, and small. The lenses weigh anywhere from 170-305g, depending on the version of the lens. If you want the lightest lens, find a new FD version.

Additionally, Canon built 2 versions with larger apertures for the Canon FD camera mount.

Canon FD 50mm f/1.4

Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 Lens

Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 Lens

  • Outstanding optics.
  • Optical multi-coatings.
  • Widely available.
  • Be on the lookout for condition issues.

Check prices at: Amazon, eBay, KEH, Adorama

At the additional cost of weight, the Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 is 2/3 of a stop faster. It is more expensive than the f1.8, but the difference is minimal.

You can find four different variants of the 50mm f/1.4. The "new FD" copy is the newest and lightest of the bunch.

Canon FD 50mm f/1.2

Canon FL 55mm f/1.2 Lens
This is the closest lens I have around.

Canon FD 50mm f/1.2 Lens

  • Has a large maximum aperture.
  • Large and heavy.
  • Not a good value.
  • Hard to find in good condition.

Check prices at: Amazon, eBay, KEH, Adorama

A bulky, hefty, and tricky to focus lens. Expect soft pictures when shot wide open. Stopped down, you're not going to notice a major difference between it and the f/1.8 or f/1.4.

There are a couple of versions, both are high-priced. The cost of the lens is due to rarity and collectibility, not optical quality.

Alternative Standard Lenses

If the 50mm focal length isn't what you are looking for, here are some other possibilities. Expect to have to pay a greater amount than you normally would for a 50mm lens with a comparable aperture.

Canon FD 35mm f/2 SSCAmazoneBayKEHAdorama
Canon FD 35mm f/2.8AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
Canon FD 35mm f/3.5AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
Canon FD 55mm f/1.2AmazoneBayKEHAdorama

Wide Angle Lens

Canon FD 28mm f/3.5

Canon FD 28mm f/3.5 Lens

Canon FD 28mm f/3.5 Lens

  • Great combination with a 50mm lens.
  • Available in good condition.
  • Reasonably priced.

Check prices at: Amazon, eBay, KEH, Adorama

A 28mm focal length lens may be used to shoot street photography. However, the most popular use for wide-angle lenses are architectural and landscape photography.

My recommended pick is the Canon FD 28mm f/3.5 owing to the cheaper price, wide availability, and excellent optics.

Alternative Wide Angle Lenses

In terms of price, the correlation is easy to understand. The greater the field of view, the less affordable the lens ıs going to be. Larger apertures also sell for noticeably more.

The weight will vary based upon the characteristics of the lens. You can get lenses from 170g to 500g. Faster apertures will also mean that those lenses will physically be large and cause the camera to be more difficult to handle.

Canon 7.5mm f/5.6 FisheyeCanon 24mm f/1.4
Canon 14mm f/2.8LCanon 24mm f/2
Canon 15mm f/2.8Canon 24mm f/2.8
Canon 17mm f/4Canon 28mm f/2
Canon 20mm f/2.8Canon 28mm f/2.8

Portrait & Telephoto Lens

Canon FD 100mm f/2.8

Canon 100mm f/2.8 FD Mount Camera Lens

Canon FD 100mm f/2.8 Lens

  • 85mm alternative.
  • Great value.
  • Inexpensive and easy to find.
  • Light and compact.

Check prices at: Amazon, eBay, KEH, Adorama

The 85mm lens wasn't as significant in 1973 when the EF was first distributed. Rather, the 135mm focal length was more popular to use as a lens for portraits.

If you want to capture portrait photos with the Canon EF, there are a number of short telephoto lenses to choose from. The 100mm f/2.8 lens is one of the lowest-priced choices available.

An 85mm lens will cost the most, with 135mm lenses coming in the middle of the price range.

As all of the Canon FD telephoto lenses will be manual focus, they are more compact than autofocus versions. Needless to say, a lens like the Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L has to be enormous and hefty because of the quantity of glass in the lens.

Expect to see affordable prices for the Canon FD 100mm f/2.8. Additionally, there is a 100mm f/4 macro version of the lens. It is going to cost you more and is not ideal for portraits as the lens should be stopped down.

Alternative Telephoto Lenses

Another option, the Canon FD 135mm f/2.8 is just about the most inexpensive prime lenses you can purchase. You will need to search through a large number of results for third-party 135mm lenses that will not be anywhere close to as good as a Canon lens.

There are 85mm lenses out there. The most lusted-after is the Canon FD f/1.2L lens. A cheaper choice is the Canon FD 85mm f/1.8 lens, but it is still vastly higher priced when compared to the various other telephoto lenses described.

Canon FD 85mm f/1.2 LCanon FD 85mm f/1.8
Canon FD 100mm f/2Canon FD 135mm f/2.5
Canon FD 200mm f/2.8Canon FD 200mm f/4
Canon FD 300mm f/2.8Canon FD 300mm f/4
Canon FD 400mm f/2.8Canon FD 400mm f/4.5
Canon FD 500mm f/4.5Canon FD Reflex 500mm f/8
Canon FD 600mm f/4.5Canon FD 800mm f/5.6

Canon EF Zoom Lenses

Canon FD 35-105mm f/3.5 & Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5

Canon 35-105mm f/3.5 Zoom Lens

Canon FD 35-105mm f/3.5 Zoom Lens

  • Ideal focal length range for most photography.
  • Excellent value.
  • Physically large.
  • Hard to find in good condition.

Check prices at: Amazon, eBay, KEH, Adorama

Vivitar 70-210mm f/3.5 Zoom Lens

Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5 Zoom Lens

  • Covers a popular focal range.
  • Great for portrait or wildlife photography.
  • A rare time when a third-party lens is the best.

Check prices at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

The usefulness of pairing a Canon EF with a zoom lens is appealing. Getting to use a range of focal lengths with no need to change a lens is great.

Don't forget that these are vintage zoom lenses.

  1. Image results will not be sharp unless stopped down.
  2. There will likely be a considerable amount of distortion at both or one ends of the zoom range.
  3. Zoom lenses contain considerably more parts than primes, so they are more prone to problems.
  4. Zoom lenses are generally heavier and bigger than primes.

Alternative Zoom Lenses

As far as price, virtually all older zoom camera lenses will be low cost.

Canon FD 70-210mm f/4 AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
Canon FD 80-200mm f/4LAmazoneBayKEHAdorama
Canon FD 28-85mm f/4AmazoneBayKEHAdorama

Macro Lens

Vivitar 90mm f/2.8 & Vivitar 55mm f/2.8

Vivitar 90mm f/2.8 Macro Lens made by Komine

Vivitar 90mm f/2.8 Macro Lens

  • My favorite vintage macro lens.
  • Available in multiple lens mounts.
  • Incredible value.

Check prices at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro Lens manufactured by Komine

Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro Lens

  • My second favorite vintage macro lens.
  • An excellent choice for close-up photography.
  • It does not need an extension tube to reach 1:1 magnification.

Check prices at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

Komine made the two suggested macro lenses in Japan. The lens was also released with several brand names. Elicar, Quantaray, Panagor, Spiratone, and Rokunar are names you might find on a copy of the lens.

There is a Vivitar 90mm f/2.8 Macro Lens Review and a Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro Lens Review.

For shooting at lifesize magnification (1:1), the 90mm lens is likely to be the superior pick due to the fact that it has a greater working distance.

The 55mm lens is great for close-up and table-top photography.

Alternative Macro Lenses

Canon FD 50mm f/3.5AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
Canon FD 100mm f/4AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
Canon FD 200mm f/4AmazoneBayKEHAdorama

Used FD Camera Lens Prices

Prices change constantly. During the past several years, the desirability of film photography has been increasing. Consequently, price ranges have slowly increased.

To end up with the lowest price, get a lot of websites. Promptly buy a great price in the event that you come across one mainly because it can be a prolonged time before more comes up.

What Lens Mount Does the Canon EF Use?

The Canon EF takes advantage of the Canon FD lens mount. Canon used the FD mount for film cameras produced from 1971 - 1992.

Here is a list of every one of the cameras that use a Canon FD mount.

The Canon FL lens mount was replaced by the FD mount, which was utilized between 1964 and 1971. FL mount lenses are compatible with the EF, but you will have to use stopped down metering.

Standard Lens Cap Size

The standard lens cap and filter ring thread diameter for Canon FD lenses is 55mm.

Utilizing a standardized filter thread size is nice due to the fact that you just need to buy and bring 1 set of filters.

Some zoom and telephoto lenses have larger filter ring thread diameters because they have sizeable front lens elements.

FD vs FL Lens Mount

The Canon FL mount was made before the FD mount. You are able to use FL lenses on the FD lens mount, and FD mount lenses can be used on the FL lens mount.

What Canon FL lenses lack is the ability to automatically do stop-down metering. As a consequence, an FL lens will have to be stopped down by pressing the depth-of-preview switch to enable the EF's light meter to display the proper reading.

FD vs new FD Lenses

The whole body of the new FD lens rotates to lock onto the EF. In contrast to original FD lenses have a breech-lock ring at the rear of the lens that is required to be tightened to be able to secure a lens to the camera.

New FD and FD lenses are interchangeable with one another. There are no compatibility issues.

Sometimes you will spot new FD lenses referred to as FDn lenses.

The improvement in the design of the breech-lock ring was attributed to complaints. A small number of camera owners suffered from lenses getting stuck on a camera.

If you have not mounted an FD mount lens to a camera body, don't get worried. Just simply take it slow and don't force anything.

Telling FD and FDn Lenses Apart

It is fast and simple to tell FD and new FD lenses apart. New FD lenses have a silver button on the barrel of the lens, where the lens mounts to the EF.

The first version of FD lenses have a metal ring that needs to be rotated after the lens is mounted to lock the lens into place.

More Canon EF Camera Resources

That is it for the best Canon EF lenses. Right after more information on the camera is published on the website, it will be linked-to in this section.

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