The 5 Best Canon F-1 Camera Lenses
The F-1 is an amazing 35mm film camera.
If you don’t own a lens or want a different lens, this page will discuss the top 5 lenses to use with your F-1 camera.
Additional information is further down, but below is the list if you’re limited on time:
- Kit Lens - Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 (eBay)
- Wide Angle Lens - Canon FD 28mm f/3.5 (Amazon)
- Portrait Lens - Canon FD 100mm f/2.8 (Amazon)
- Zoom Lens - Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5 (eBay)
- Macro Lens - Vivitar 90mm f/2.8 (eBay)
Kit Lens and Standard Primes
Canon FD 50mm f/1.8
If you don’t already have it, your first lens should be the original “kit lens” for the F-1, the Canon FD 50mm f/1.8. The 50mm f1.8 is budget-friendly, plentiful, and has terrific picture quality.
- 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 the 50mm focal length of photography, a 50mm lens is a great choice. The areas of photography consist of portraits, street, architecture, travel, casual use, and landscapes. This is the most frequently found focal length that is paired with the F-1.
In terms of weight and size, the lens is small, well balanced, and light. The lenses weigh anywhere from 170-305g, with older versions being heavier. If you want the lightest lens, buy a new FD version.
Additionally, Canon designed 2 versions with bigger apertures for the FD mount.
Canon FD 50mm f/1.4
At the additional cost of weight, the Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 is 2/3 of a stop faster. It is only 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.
Canon made 4 different copies of the 50mm f/1.4. The “new FD” variant is the lightest and newest of the bunch.Copies of the lens can be found on eBay, Amazon, KEH, and Adorama.
A hefty, bulky, and tricky to focus lens. Do not expect sharp pictures when shot wide open. If you stop the lens down to f/1.8 or f/1.4 you will not notice a notable difference between it and the other lenses.
The two versions of the lens are pricey. The cost of the lens is stemming from collectibility and rarity, not optical superiority.
Alternative Standard Lenses
If the 50mm focal length isn’t what you are looking for, here are some other options. Expect to spend more than you 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
A popularly accepted focal length for street photography is 28mm. However, lenses that have a larger field of view than 28mm are most commonly used for landscape and architectural photography.
- Great combination with a 50mm lens.
- Optical multi-coatings.
- Inexpensive and widely available.
- Small and light.
My recommended choice is the Canon FD 28mm f/2.8 due to the low price, wide availability, and superb optics.
Alternative Wide Angle Lenses
In terms of cost, the relationship is straightforward. The greater the field of view, the less affordable the lens will be. Larger apertures also go for noticeably more.
Weight will differ based upon on the qualities of the lens. You’ll find lenses from 170g to 500g. Faster apertures will also mean that those lenses will be bulky and will make the camera more difficult to handle.
- 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 important when the F-1 was originally made. Rather, the 135mm focal length was a more popular portrait lens.
- Excellent portrait lens.
- Less expensive 85mm alternative.
- Great value.
For shooting portrait photos with the F-1, there are several short telephoto lenses to choose from. The 100mm f/2.8 lens is one of the most cost effective possibilities readily available.
An 85mm lens will be the most expensive, with 135mm lenses sitting in the middle of the price bracket.
Seeing that all the Canon FD telephoto lenses are manual focus, they are much more compact than modern versions. Undoubtedly, a lens like like the Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L is going to be hefty and sizeable with the amount of glass in the lens.
Anticipate low prices for the Canon FD 100mm f/2.8. There is a 100mm f/4 macro version of the lens. It will certainly cost you more and is not a good choice for portraits as the lens should be stopped down.
Alternative Telephoto Lenses
Another alternative, the Canon FD 135mm f/2.8 is one of the most affordable prime lenses you can purchase. You will need to dig through many listings for thirdparty 135mm lenses that are not anywhere close to as good as a Canon lens.
You will find a few 85mm lenses to choose from out there. The most expensive is the Canon FD f/1.2L lens. A less pricey substitute is the Canon FD 85mm f/1.8 lens, but it is still appreciably higher priced as opposed to the other telephoto lenses described.
- 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
F-1 Zoom Lenses
Canon FD 35-105mm f/3.5 & Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5
The practicality of pairing a F-1 along with a zoom lens is appealing. Being able to use a range of focal lengths without having to change a lens is nice.
You need to keep in mind that all of 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
Additionally, you need to keep in mind the drawbacks the lenses have even when in excellent condition.
- Image quality will not be good when shot wide open.
- One or both ends of the focal range may suffer from a large amount of distortion.
- Zoom lenses are larger and generally heavier than primes.
Alternative Zoom Lenses
When considering costs, practically all older zoom lenses will be economical.
- Canon FD 70-210mm f/4
- Canon FD 80-200mm f/4L
- Canon FD 28-85mm f/4
Vivitar 90mm f/2.8 & Vivitar 55mm f/2.8
- My favorite vintage macro lens.
- Available in multiple lens mounts.
- Incredible value.
- Sharp corner-to-corner at f/8.
- 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.
Komine built the two suggestted macro camera lenses in Japan. The lens was also released with different brand names. Rokunar, Elicar, Quantaray, Panagor, and Spiratone are names you might 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 will most likely be the superior pick since it has a greater working distance.
The 55mm focal length lens is really 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
Lens prices are regularly changing. During the past few years, involvement in film photography has been rising. As a result, price ranges have gradually risen.
To get the lowest price, reviewdifferent online stores. Immediately get a good deal in the event that you see one as the best deals are purchased the quickest.
What Lens Mount Does the Canon AE-1 Use?
The F-1 uses the Canon FD lens mount. Canon used the FD mount for film cameras produced from 1971-1992.
Here is a list of all the cameras that have a Canon FD mount.
The FD mount replaced the Canon FL mount, which was implemented between 1964 - 1971. FL mount lenses will work with the F-1, 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.
Employing a standardized filter thread size is nice because you just need to purchase and bring just one set of filters.
A few zoom and telephoto lenses have bigger filter ring thread diameters due to the fact that they have sizeable front lens elements.
FD vs FL Lens Mount
The Canon FL lens mount was made prior to the FD lens mount. You are able to use FL mount lenses on the FD lens mount, and FD lenses can be used on the FL mount.
What Canon FL lenses do not have the feature to automatically do stop-down metering. As a result the an FL lens stopped down by using the depth-of-preview switch to ensure the F-1’s light meter to display the proper reading.
FD vs new FD Lenses
The whole new FD lens rotates to lock onto the F-1. Compared to original FD lenses which have a breech-lock ring at the rear of the lens that needs to be rotated in order to secure a lens.
FD and new FD lenses are interchangeable with one another. There will be no compatibility issues.
In some cases you will find new FD lenses referred to as FDn lenses.
The modification in the design of the breech-lock ring was mainly because of complaints. A minority of users experienced lenses getting stuck on a camera.
If you are not familiar with mounting an FD mount lens to a camera body, don’t sweat it. Simply just take the process slow and do not force anything.
Telling FD and FDn Lenses Apart
You can quickly tell FD and new FD lenses apart. New FD lenses are going to have a silver button located on the barrel of the lens, where the lens mounts to the camera.
Earlier FD lenses have a ring that needs to be rotated after the lens is attached to lock the lens into place.
More Canon AE-1 Camera Resources
That finishes the best F-1 lenses. As soon more info on the camera is published on Outside the Shot, links will be in this section.