The 5 Best Canon AE-1 Program Camera Lenses

Best Canon AE-1 Program Lenses

´╗┐The AE-1 Program is an excellent analog camera.

This page will talk about the top 5 lenses to use on the AE-1 Program camera.

Additional information is further down, but here is the list if you are short on time:

  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

The Canon FD 50mm F/1.8 lens was the “kit Lens” often sold with the AE-1 Program. The 50mm f1.8 is plentiful, has terrific picture quality, and is cheap.

  • 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, the 50mm focal length is an excellent choice. The areas of photography encompass portraits, street, architecture, travel, casual use, and landscapes. This is the most common focal length that is combined with the AE-1 Program.

The lens is small, well balanced, and light. The lenses weigh anywhere from 170-305g, based on on the version of the lens. The new FD version, which was the last to be built, is the lightest.

Additionally, Canon produced two versions with bigger apertures for the Canon 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 only slightly more expensive when compared to 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 four different versions of the 50mm f/1.4. The “new FD” variant 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, hefty, and very hard to focus lens. Expect soft pictures when shot wide open. Stopped down, you’re not going to see a large difference between it and the f/1.8 or f/1.4.

There are two versions, both are costly. Optical quality is not why the lens is costly. People desire the lens due to rarity and collectibility.

Alternative Standard Lenses

If the 50mm focal length isn’t what you prefer, here are other possible choices. Count upon having to spend additional money than you normally would for a 50mm lens of comparable speed.

  • 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 sought after focal length for street photography is 28mm. However, lenses that are wider than 28mm are typically the most popular for landscape and architectural 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 pick is the Canon FD 28mm f/2.8 mainly because of the inexpensive price, wide availability, and terrific optics.

Alternative Wide Angle Lenses

In terms of price, the relationship is easy to understand. The larger the field of view, the less affordable the lens will likely be. Larger apertures also go for significantly more.

The weight will change based primarily 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 cause the camera to be 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 significant when the AE-1 Program was originally introduced. Rather, the 135mm focal length was a more popular lens for portraits.

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

If you want to capture portrait photos with the AE-1 Program, there are several short telephoto lenses to choose from. The 100mm f/2.8 lens is one of the most economical selections around.

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

As all the Canon FD telephoto lenses are manual focus, they are much more compact than autofocus versions. Keep in mind, professional lenses like the Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L will certainly be hefty and large because of the amount of glass in the lens.

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

Alternative Telephoto Lenses

An alternative, the Canon FD 135mm f/2.8 is just about the most inexpensive prime lenses you can acquire. You will be required to search through loads of results for third-party 135mm lenses that definitely are not anywhere near as good as a Canon lens.

You will find multiple 85mm lenses out there. The most desireable is the Canon FD f/1.2L lens. A cheaper choice is the Canon FD 85mm f/1.8 lens, but it is considerably higher priced than the numerous 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

AE-1 Program 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 benefits of partnering a AE-1 Program with a zoom lens is tempting. Having a range of focal lengths without having to switch a lens is nice.

Bear 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
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

Regarding cost, many vintage zoom camera lenses will probably be low priced.

  • 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 2 recommended macro camera lenses were built by Komine in Japan. The lens was also released with assorted brand names. Spiratone, Rokunar, Elicar, Quantaray, and Panagor 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 capturing pictures at macro magnification (1:1), the 90mm lens is likely to be the better pick because it has a greater working distance.

The 55mm focal length lens is ideal 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 constantly changing. For the past few years, involvement in film photography has been rising. Subsequently, prices have slowly climbed.

The smartest option is to obtain prices from a number of sites. Quickly pay for a incredible deal the moment you find one as it can be a prolonged time before another comes up.

What Lens Mount Does the Canon AE-1 Use?

The AE-1 Program takes advantage of the Canon FD lens mount. Canon used the FD mount for film cameras manufactured from 1971-1992.

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

The Canon FL mount was preceded by the FD mount, which was used from 1964 - 1971. FL mount lenses can be used on the AE-1 Program, 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 useful because you are only required to own and carry just one set of filters.

Some telephoto and zooms have bigger filter ring thread diameters as they have huge front lens elements.

FD vs FL Lens Mount

Canon AE-1 Lens Mount FD

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

What Canon FL mount lenses do not have the technology to do auto stop-down metering. As a result the an FL lens have to be stopped down by pressing the depth-of-preview switch to enable the AE-1 Program’s light meter to show the proper value.

FD vs new FD Lenses

Canon AE1 Lens Mount

The entire new FD lens rotates to lock onto the AE-1 Program. Compared to original FD lenses which have a breech-lock ring at the back of the lens that has to be rotated in order to mount a lens to the camera.

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

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

The change in the design of the breech-lock ring was attributed to complaints. A minority of users endured lenses getting stuck on a FD camera mount.

If you have not attached an FD mount lens to a camera, don’t stress out. Simply just take it slow and don’t force anything.

Telling FD and FDn Lenses Apart

It is fast and simple to tell new FD and FD lenses from one another. New FD lenses are going to have a silver button located on the barrel of the lens, where the lens mounts to the camera.

Older FD lenses have a metal ring that is required to be rotated after the lens is mounted to lock the lens into place.

More Canon AE-1 Camera Resources

There is no more additional information on best AE-1 Program lenses. Right after additional information on the camera is put onto Outside the Shot, you will be able to find links here.