The 5 Best Canon F-1n Lenses

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: March 26, 2020
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Best Canon F-1n 35mm Film Camera Lenses

The Canon F-1n is an amazing analog camera. This post will talk about the top 5 lenses for the Canon F-1n.

More information is further down, but here is the list of lenses if you're limited 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)

Listed below the top Canon FD lenses, are split up by focal length and price. Numerous exceptional lenses readily available, a small number 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 F-1n. The 50mm f1.8 is plentiful, has superb image 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

For a 50mm camera lens of photography, a 50mm camera lens is an ideal choice. The aspects of photography encompass landscapes, portraits, street, architecture, casual use, and travel. This is the most widespread focal length that is paired with the Canon F-1n.

The lens is light, small, and well balanced. Based on the version of the lens, it will weigh between 170-305g. The new FD version, which was the last to be designed, is the lightest.

Canon also developed 2 faster 50mm lenses for the Canon FD lens 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 more expensive than the f1.8, but not by much.

There are four versions of the 50mm f/1.4. The "new FD" variant is the newest and lightest out of the choices.

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 heavy, bulky, and difficult to focus lens. Expect soft pictures when shot wide open. Stopped down, you're not going to see a huge difference between it and the f/1.8 or f/1.4.

There are a couple of versions, both are costly. Optical performance is not the driver of pricing. People want to have the lens because of its collectibility and rarity.

Alternative Standard Lenses

If the 50mm focal length isn't what you want, here are some other possibilities. You should expect to pay more than you would for a 50mm lens of equivalent speed.

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 well-liked focal length for street photography is 28mm. However, lenses that are wider than 28mm are widely used for landscape and architectural photography.

My top pick is the Canon FD 28mm f/3.5 thanks to the inexpensive price, ease of finding a copy, and impressive optics.

Alternative Wide Angle Lenses

In terms of price, the relationship is easy to understand. The greater the field of view, the higher priced the lens will probably be. Lenses with larger apertures also go for a whole lot more.

The weight will change based upon 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 challenging 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 big of a deal in 1976 when the F-1n was originally introduced. Rather, the 135mm focal length was the first choice for a lens for portraits.

If you want to shoot portrait photos with the Canon F-1n, there are a number of short telephoto lenses to select among. The 100mm f/2.8 lens is one of the lowest-priced options readily available.

An 85mm lens will have the highest price, with 135mm lenses making up the middle of the range of prices.

Seeing that every one of the Canon FD telephoto lenses will be manual focus, they are smaller sized than modern versions. As you can imagine, something like the Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L will be heavy and enormous with the quantity of glass in the lens.

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

Alternative Telephoto Lenses

In addition to that, the Canon FD 135mm f/2.8 is one of the least expensive prime lenses you can purchase. You will have to dig through a large number of listings for third party 135mm lenses that won't be anywhere close to as good as a Canon lens.

There are a handful of 85mm lenses to choose from. The hardest to get is the Canon FD f/1.2L lens. A lower-priced pick is the Canon FD 85mm f/1.8 lens, but it will be a great deal higher priced as opposed to the numerous 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 F-1n 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 flexibility of pairing a Canon F-1n along with a zoom lens is appealing. Having access to a range of focal lengths without having to change a lens is wonderful.

Don't forget that all of these are vintage zoom lenses.

  1. Photo quality will not be high-quality when shot with the largest aperture.
  2. Either or both ends of the zoom range may suffer from a considerable amount of lens distortion.
  3. Zoom lenses contain more parts than primes, so they are more susceptible to damage.
  4. Zooms will be generally heavier and bulkier than prime lenses.

Alternative Zoom Lenses

In regards to pricing, nearly all vintage zoom lenses will probably be economical.

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

The two recommended macro camera lenses were produced by Komine in Japan. The lens was also sold with several brand names. Rokunar, Elicar, Quantaray, Panagor, and Spiratone are names 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 macro magnification (1:1), the 90mm lens will be the better choice because it has a larger working distance.

The 55mm lens is great for table-top and close-up 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 regularly changing. For the past several years, interest in film photography has been increasing. Consequently, price ranges have slowly increased.

To end up with the best price, get a number of online stores. Promptly purchase a great deal whenever you find one as it can be a very long time before another is available.

What Lens Mount Does the Canon F-1n Use?

The Canon F-1n works with the Canon FD lens mount. Canon used the FD mount for film cameras manufactured between 1971 and 1992.

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

The FD lens mount superseded the Canon FL mount, which was used from 1964-1971. FL mount lenses are compatible with the F-1n, but you should be prepared 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 since you are only required to get hold of and carry just one set of filters.

A few telephoto and zooms have bigger filter ring thread diameters as they have giant front lens elements.

FD vs FL Lens Mount

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

What Canon FL lenses do not have the technology to do auto stop-down metering. Which means FL mount will need to be stopped down with the depth-of-preview switch to allow the F-1n's light meter to show a correct value.

FD vs new FD Lenses

The whole body of the new FD lens rotates to lock onto the F-1n. While original FD lenses have a breech-lock ring at the rear of the lens that needs to be rotated to be able to secure a lens.

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

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

The switch in the design of the breech-lock ring was attributed to complaints. A small group of camera owners suffered from lenses getting jammed on an FD camera.

If you are unfamiliar with putting on an FD mount lens to a camera body, don't be concerned. Just simply take the process slow and do not force anything.

Telling FD and FDn Lenses Apart

It is easy to tell new FD and FD lenses from one another. New FD lenses have a silver button on the barrel of the lens, where the lens mounts to the F-1n.

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

More Canon F-1n Resources

That is it for the best Canon F-1n lenses. Right after additional info on the camera is published on Outside the Shot, it will be linked to here.

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