The 5 Best Canon AV-1 Lenses

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: March 27, 2020
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Best Canon AV-1 35mm Film Camera Lenses

The Canon AV-1 is a great camera. This post will talk about the top 5 lenses to use on the Canon AV-1.

More information is below, however, if you're in a hurry, below is the list:

  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)

Listed below the top Canon FD lenses, are broken down by area of photography and cost. Many exceptional camera lenses to choose from, several are popular with collectors.

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 AV-1, the Canon FD 50mm f/1.8. The 50mm f1.8 is budget-friendly, plentiful, and has excellent picture quality.

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

For a 50mm camera lens of photography, a 50mm lens is a terrific choice. The areas of photography consist of landscapes, portraits, street, architecture, casual use, and travel. This is the most frequent focal length that is paired with the Canon AV-1.

It is a light, well balanced, and small lens. 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 made, is the lightest.

You can also find Two faster versions of the 50mm lens in a Canon FD 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

The Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 is 2/3 of a stop faster, but that comes at the cost of additional weight. It is slightly more expensive when compared to the f1.8.

There are 4 different copies of the 50mm f/1.4. The "new FD" copy is the lightest and newest 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

This lens is large, heavy, and challenging to focus lens. Do not expect sharp photos 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 performance.

Alternative Standard Lenses

If the 50mm focal length isn't what you are searching for, here are additional alternatives. Count upon having to pay additional money than you 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 popular focal length for street photography is 28mm. However, lenses that are wider than 28mm are the most used for landscape and architectural photography.

My recommended pick is the Canon FD 28mm f/3.5 as a result of the inexpensive price, wide availability, and top-notch optics.

Alternative Wide Angle Lenses

In terms of cost, the relationship is easy to understand. The greater the field of view, the higher priced the lens will likely be. Lenses with larger apertures also sell for noticeably more.

The weight will differ based on the qualities of the lens. You'll find lenses from 170g to 500g. Faster apertures will also mean that those lenses will be sizeable 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 1979 when the AV-1 was first introduced. Instead, the 135mm focal length was the first choice for a lens for portraits.

For capturing portrait photos with the Canon AV-1, there are a variety of short telephoto lenses to select among. The 100mm f/2.8 lens is one of the cheapest choices obtainable.

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

Seeing that every one of the Canon FD telephoto lenses are manual focus, they are more compact than modern versions. Not surprisingly, something like the Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L will certainly be heavy and enormous with the amount of glass in the lens.

Anticipate affordable prices for the Canon FD 100mm f/2.8. There is a 100mm f/4 macro version of the lens. It will cost more 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 economical prime lenses you can find. You will have to look through a great number of results for third-party 135mm lenses that aren't anywhere close to as good as a Canon lens.

There are 85mm lenses to choose from. The highest-priced is the Canon FD f/1.2L lens. A more inexpensive pick is the Canon FD 85mm f/1.8 lens, but it is somewhat less affordable than the numerous other telephoto lenses mentioned earlier.

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 AV-1 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 advantages of partnering a Canon AV-1 along with a zoom lens is tempting. Being able to use a range of focal lengths without the need to swap a lens is great.

Remember that these are vintage zoom lenses.

  1. Image quality will likely not be sharp unless the lens is stopped down.
  2. One or both ends of the zoom range may suffer from a considerable amount of distortion.
  3. Zooms are built with more parts when compared to prime lenses, so they are more prone to problems.
  4. Zooms are bulkier and generally heavier than prime lenses.

Alternative Zoom Lenses

When considering prices, almost all older zoom lenses will be cheap.

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 built the 2 recommended macro lenses in Japan. The lens was also released with many different brand names. Spiratone, Rokunar, Elicar, Quantaray, and Panagor are brands you may 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 taking pictures at macro magnification (1:1), the 90mm lens will likely be the better pick due to the fact that it has a larger working distance.

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

Alternative Macro Lenses

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

Used FD Camera Lens Prices

Prices are frequently changing. For the past 3-4 years, interest in film photography has been increasing. As a result, prices have continuously gone up.

To end up with the best price, get a lot of sites. Promptly purchase a really good price when you find one simply because it can be a prolonged time until more comes up.

What Lens Mount Does the Canon AV-1 Use?

The Canon AV-1 takes advantage of the Canon FD lens mount. Canon used the FD mount for film cameras created between 1971 and 1992.

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

The Canon FL lens mount was preceded by the FD mount, which was utilized from 1964 to 1971. FL mount lenses will work with the AV-1, 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.

Employing a standardized filter thread size is useful since you only need to acquire and bring a single set of filters.

A handful of zoom and telephoto lenses have bigger filter ring thread diameters due to the fact that they have large front lens elements.

FD vs FL Lens Mount

Front and Rear of a Canon FL Mount Lens

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

What Canon FL lenses are unable to automatically do stop-down metering. Therefore the lens must be stopped down by using the depth-of-preview switch to allow the AV-1's light meter to show an accurate value.

FD vs new FD Lenses

Original Canon FD mount lens versus a Canon New FD mount lens.

The whole new FD lens rotates to lock onto the camera. Compared to original FD lenses which have a breech-lock ring at the rear of the lens that is required to be tightened in order to secure a lens to the camera.

New FD and 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 difference in the design of the breech-lock ring was attributed to complaints. A small group of users endured lenses getting jammed on an FD camera mount.

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

Telling FD and FDn Lenses Apart

You can without difficulty tell FD and new FD lenses apart. New FD lenses will have a silver button on the outside of the lens, where the lens mounts to the AV-1.

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

More Canon AV-1 Resources

There is no more additional information on the best Canon AV-1 lenses. Once additional information on the camera is put onto Outside the Shot, you will be able to find links below.

Best Film for the Canon AV-1

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