The 5 Best Canon EF Camera Lenses

Best Canon EF Lenses

´╗┐The EF is a wonderful camera.

This article will cover the top 5 lenses for the EF camera.

More information is further down, but below is the list of lenses if you are in a hurry:

  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)

Kit Lens and Standard Primes

Canon FD 50mm f/1.8

Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 Lens

If you don’t already have it, your first lens should be the original “kit lens” for the EF, the Canon FD 50mm f/1.8. The 50mm f1.8 is plentiful, has wonderful picture quality, and is low-priced.

  • The “classic” setup as it can be considered the original kit lens.
  • Unbeatable value.
  • Light and compact.
  • Widely available and easy to find in good condition.
  • Uses 55mm filter threads.

Check a variety of places to find the best condition and price. Copies of the lens can be found on eBay, Amazon, KEH, and Adorama.

For a 50mm lens of photography, a 50mm lens is a great choice. The areas of photography include everyday use, travel, landscapes, portraits, street, and architecture. This is the most frequent focal length that is combined with the EF.

The lens is well balanced, small, and light. Based on on the version of the lens, it will weigh between 170-305g. If you want the lightest lens, look for a new FD version.

You can also find 2 faster versions of the 50mm lens in a FD lens mount.

Canon FD 50mm f/1.4

Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 Lens

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

  • Excellent image quality.
  • Optical multi-coatings.
  • Fairly easy to find in good condition.
  • Larger and heavier than the f/1.8.

The 50mm f/1.4 comes in 4 copies. The “new FD” version is the newest and lightest of the bunch.

Copies of the lens can be found on eBay, Amazon, KEH, and Adorama.

This lens is bulky, heavy, and difficult to focus lens. Do not expect sharp images when shot wide open. Stopped down, you are not going to see a big difference between it and the f/1.8 or f/1.4.

The two versions of the lens are high-priced. Optical quality is not why the lens is costly. People want to have the lens stemming from rarity and collectibility.

Alternative Standard Lenses

If you have a preference for other focal lengths, here are some other alternatives. Count upon having to pay additional money than you normally would for a 50mm lens with a similar aperture.

  • Canon FD 35mm f/2 SSC
  • Canon FD 35mm f/2.8
  • Canon FD 35mm f/3.5
  • Canon FD 55mm f/1.2

Wide Angle Lens

Canon FD 28mm f/3.5

Canon FD 28mm f/3.5 Lens

A popularly accepted focal length for street photography is 28mm. However, lenses that are wider than 28mm are favored for architectural and landscape photography.

  • Great combination with a 50mm lens.
  • Optical multi-coatings.
  • Inexpensive and widely available.
  • Small and light.
Copies of the lens can be found on eBay, Amazon, KEH, and Adorama.

My recommended choice is the Canon FD 28mm f/2.8 owing to the cheaper price, ease of finding a copy, and superb optics.

Alternative Wide Angle Lenses

In terms of cost, the correlation is easy to understand. The larger the field of view, the higher priced the lens will probably be. Larger apertures also go for noticeably more.

The weight will differ based on the characteristics of the lens. You will see lenses from 170g to 500g. Faster apertures will also mean that those lenses will be bulky and will make the camera more difficult to hold.

  • Canon FD 7.5mm f/5.6 Fisheye
  • Canon FD 14mm f/2.8L
  • Canon FD 15mm f/2.8
  • Canon FD 17mm f/4
  • Canon FD 20mm f/2.8
  • Canon FD 24mm f/1.4
  • Canon FD 24mm f/2
  • Canon FD 24mm f/2.8
  • Canon FD 28mm f/2
  • Canon FD 28mm f/2.8

Portrait & Telephoto Lens

Canon FD 100mm f/2.8

The 85mm lens wasn’t as big of a deal when the EF was initially made. Rather, the 135mm focal length was more popular to use as a portrait lens.

  • Excellent portrait lens.
  • Less expensive 85mm alternative.
  • Great value.
  • Inexpensive.
Copies of the lens can be found on eBay, Amazon, KEH, and Adorama.

For taking portrait photos with the EF, there are several short telephoto lenses to select among. The 100mm f/2.8 lens is one of the most economical choices obtainable.

An 85mm lens will be the most expensive, with 135mm lenses coming in the middle of the price bracket.

Since every one of the Canon FD telephoto lenses are manual focus, they are more compact than EF versions. Clearly, professional lenses like the Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L will be heavy and big with the amount of glass in the lens.

Expect very low prices for the Canon FD 100mm f/2.8. There’s a 100mm f/4 macro version of the lens. It will will cost more and is not the ideal choice for portraits as it ought to be stopped down.

Alternative Telephoto Lenses

Additionally, the Canon FD 135mm f/2.8 is among the most inexpensive prime lenses you can buy. You will be required to look through many results for thirdparty 135mm lenses that are usually not anywhere close to as good as a Canon lens.

You will find a few 85mm lenses to choose from. The highest priced is the Canon FD f/1.2L lens. A lower priced option is the Canon FD 85mm f/1.8 lens, but it is considerably higher priced than the other telephoto lenses mentioned.

  • Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L
  • Canon FD 85mm f/1.8
  • Canon FD 100mm f/2
  • Canon FD 135mm f/2.5
  • Canon FD 200mm f/2.8
  • Canon FD 200mm f/4

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

The convenience of combining a EF along with a zoom lens is enticing. Having the ability to use a range of focal lengths with no need to swap a lens is great.

Don’t forget that these are older zoom lenses.

  • Haze and or Fungus
  • Large amount of dust in the lens
  • Loose or tight zoom ring
  • Loose or tight focus ring
  • Oil on the aperture blades
  • Decentered lens elements
Vivitar 70-210mm f/3.5 Zoom

Additionally, you need to keep in mind the drawbacks the lenses have even when in excellent condition.

  1. Image quality will not be good when shot wide open.
  2. One or both ends of the focal range may suffer from a large amount of distortion.
  3. Zoom lenses are larger and generally heavier than primes.

Alternative Zoom Lenses

In regards to prices, practically all vintage zooms are going to be economical.

  • Canon FD 70-210mm f/4
  • Canon FD 80-200mm f/4L
  • Canon FD 28-85mm f/4

Macro Lens

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

Vivitar 90mm f/2.8 Macro Lens made by Komine
  • My favorite vintage macro lens.
  • Available in multiple lens mounts.
  • Incredible value.
  • Sharp corner-to-corner at f/8.
Copies of the lens can be found on eBay, KEH, and Adorama.
Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro Lens manufactured by Komine
  • 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.
Copies of the lens can be found on eBay, KEH, and Adorama.

The two suggested macro lenses were manufactured by Komine in Japan. The lens was also sold under several brand names. Panagor, Spiratone, Rokunar, Elicar, and Quantaray are brands you can see 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 going to be the superior pick because it has a greater working distance.

The 55mm focal length lens is extremely good for close-up and table-top photography.

Alternative Macro Lenses

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

Used FD Camera Lens Prices

Prices are frequently changing. During the past few years, the desireability of film photography has been growing. Consequently, price ranges have gradually increased.

Your best option is to check out pricing from a lot of sites. Quickly get a fantastic deal when ever you come across one as the best deals are purchased the fastest.

What Lens Mount Does the Canon AE-1 Use?

The EF utilises the Canon FD lens mount. Canon used the FD mount for film cameras made from 1971-1992.

Here is a list of all the cameras that have a Canon FD mount.

The FD lens mount replaced the Canon FL lens mount, which was utilized between 1964-1971. FL mount lenses will work with the EF, but you will be required to use stopped down metering.

Standard Lens Cap Size

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

Having a standardized filter thread size is good due to the fact that you are only required to spend money on and carry one set of filters.

A few telephoto and zooms have larger filter ring thread diameters since they have enormous front lens elements.

FD vs FL Lens Mount

Canon AE-1 Lens Mount FD

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

What Canon FL mount lenses are unable to do auto stop-down metering. What this means is the lens need to be stopped down with the depth-of-preview switch in order for the EF’s light meter to display a correct reading.

FD vs new FD Lenses

Canon AE1 Lens Mount

The entire new FD lens rotates to lock onto the EF. As opposed to original FD lenses which have a breech-lock ring at the back of the lens that needs to be tightened in order to mount a lens to the camera.

FD and new FD lenses are interchangeable with one another. There will be no compatibility issues.

Quite often you will spot new FD lenses referred to as FDn lenses.

The switch in the design of the breech-lock ring was as a result of complaints. A minority of users had lenses getting stuck on a FD camera.

If you are not familiar with attaching an FD lens to a camera body, don’t be concerned. Simply just take the process slow and do not force anything.

Telling FD and FDn Lenses Apart

It is fast and easy to tell FD and new FD lenses apart. New FD lenses are going to have a silver button on the outside of the lens, near the mount.

Older FD lenses have a metal ring that is required to be rotated in order to lock the lens to the camera mount.

More Canon AE-1 Camera Resources

That is it for the best EF lenses. When more info on the camera is put onto this website, it will be linked to below.