Best FD lenes for a Canon AE-1

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Nikonfan07, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. Nikonfan07

    Nikonfan07 Member

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    Hello,
    I just picked up a Canon AE-1 and it came with a Canon 50mm f1.8 and a Canon/Albinar 80-200mm f3.9. Not sure how good the 80-200mm lens is. What I am looking for are good quality, must have, Canon lenses for this camera. I prefer prime lenses but wanted your opinion on other lenses that are not prime if they are good. I am a Nikon shooter but really wanted this camera when i was in high school and never bought it. Now I was able to get one in great condition and want to know what the best FD lenses are for this camera. I will be shooting primarily landscape.

    Thanks for your help,
    Dan
     
  2. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    Off the top of my head the must-have Canon FD lenses include the 24mm f/2.0, 28mm f/2.0, 35mm f/2.0 SSC with concave front element (the radioactive lens), 100mm f/2.0, 135mm f/2.5. There are certainly others, even non-Canon lenses. I'm really not sure which 50 is best; I have the 1.2L and am very happy with it. Likewise I'm not absolutely sure of the 135 f/2.5; I have the 2.0, which is very nice, but it's also big and heavy and very expensive. Canon made several 135s and I think all of them have sterling reputations. If you don't want to pay huge dollars for the 85mm f/1.2L I hear the 1.8 is very good, and much smaller as well.

    Zooms? Well, there's the FD 80-200mm f/4L, the 35-105mm f/3.5, and (my personal favorite) the 28-85 f/4. They also made a 20-35 that's said to be very good, though I'm sure it won't be cheap.
     
  3. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    You might try a 24/2.8 and or a 100/4 macro lens.

    Jeff
     
  4. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Subscriber

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    50 f 1.4 was great, Canon claimed it the standard all were compared too.
    Stay away fromt he expensive large apature glass, it is heavy, and expensive, and many think out performed by the slower clones.

    28 2.8, 35 2.8 85 1.8
    200 f2.8 is great.
     
  5. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I wouldn't stay away from the expensive large aperture glass if I could afford them!

    FD 50mm 1.4 is the only lens I'd ever really need. The FD 85mm f/1.8 is also awesome, as is the 35mm f/2 (as mentioned above, shoot for the concave front element). 28mm f/2.8 or 35mm f/2.8 are sensible choices of good quality as well.

    I'm fond of Canon brand, non-zoom lenses.

    Another option is earlier FL lenses. These are built very nicely, and most are optically the same as the FD except that they don't have as sophisticated coatings. The FL 55mm f/1.2 is a great lens, as is the 35mm f/2.5. The only caveat is that you will need to use stop-down metering, which is very easy on the AE-1. Just keep the depth-of-field preview button pressed and as you rotate the aperture ring the needle will move up and down. I believe a reading of 5.6 in the match-needle (or LED's on the AE-1 Program) indicates a proper exposure.
     
  6. Nikonfan07

    Nikonfan07 Member

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    Thanks for all your advice. My plan is to get used to the camera using the 50mm lens that came with it. However I may look for a better 50mm than the one I have. Then once I know the camera will move to better lenses to build a quality kit.

    I cannot tell you how happy I am to find APUG. I love film and to find a group of people that love film like I do is, well, priceless!
     
  7. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I've used Canon FD lenses for over 25 years and never been disappointed. Ebay has tons of them for a fraction of what they sold for during the 80's. I picked up quite a few. It seems that nobody wants these lenses because Canon changed their mounts with the new digital bodies. But it's all good glass. However, I still can't afford the "L" apochromatic lenses. But some day.....
     
  8. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    The Canon 50mm f1.8 that you have is a very good lens, maybe not the best in the world but you might find you won't use a 50mm much so why spend the money.
     
  9. dnjl

    dnjl Member

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    Depends entirely on your budget and shooting preferences. If you go for cheap, get a 28mm f2.8 and a 135mm f3.5 to complement your 50mm.
    If you want only the best, then there's a wide range of L lenses to choose from, as well as a few excellent non-L. Must haves include the 35mm f2 (any version is good, but the ones that have a minimum aperture of f16 are radioactive and considered to be superior), 85mm f1.8 and 135mm f2.5. I can't give advice on zoom lenses as I only use primes.

    Only trade your 50mm 1.8 for a 1.4 if you need the additional half stop. Optically, the difference is very marginal.
     
  10. Nikonfan07

    Nikonfan07 Member

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    I will be shooting mostly landscape and architecture. Once in a while I might shoot portraits. Basically I am just trying to put together a nice kit of lenses for my Canon AE-1. Thanks again for your help everyone.
     
  11. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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  12. CD55

    CD55 Member

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  13. Nikonfan07

    Nikonfan07 Member

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    Well today I just picked up a Canon 28mm F2.8 at a local camera store. Nice lens. I think I will look for an 85mm next and maybe something wider? Well see...
     
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  15. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    Very good lens...I also have the older 28mm f3.5 breechlock and that is a very good lens as well
     
  16. Thomas.Goehler

    Thomas.Goehler Member

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    my advice (after shooting with Canon FD gear for 25 yeras now): FD 1,4/50mm, FD2,8/24mm, 1.8/85mm, FD 2,8/135mm and FD 2,8/200mm when it comes to primes. You might want to consider a 35mm lens as well, but I'd stay away from the radioactive old 35mm. Not because of the Thorium oozing from the lens (which it won't), but because of the yellow tint you might get on color pics. if you're shooting b&w only, then that's fine for you - you can do without a yellow filter then.
    In terms of zooms, get rid of that Albinar lens, it's crap! The FD 80-200 is great and affordable. Another often overlooked lens is the small 3,5-4,5/35-105mm. It is by no means much weaker than the big 35-105 with a steady 3,5 aperture. If you like landscapes look out for the quite rare FD 3,5/28-50mm. It offers a stellar performance.
     
  17. largely

    largely Subscriber

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    Hi again Nikonfan,

    I have all of the primes which Thomas mentioned. All are excellent glass. I also have a 20mm 2.8 which is loads of fun and is also great for landscape work. Add a Canon 2x doubler and you've got it all covered.
    As far as zooms go I have the 35-105 f3.5 two touch. It lives on the camera as my everyday, use it for everything lens.
    You can't go too far wrong with any FD lens and the price is certainly right.
    enjoy,

    Larry
     
  18. Nikonfan07

    Nikonfan07 Member

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    Fantastic everyone. Well my Christmas list is made. Its time to start shopping for some lenses. Honestly I am very excited about this camera and soon to be set of lenses. Thanks again everyone for your help, Dan
     
  19. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I have loads of FD lenses, but the one I find most useful for general photographyis the 28-85 f4 zoom.
     
  20. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    Has anyone done a side-by-side comparison of the 28-85 f/4 and the 35-105 f/3.5? I had two copies of the 35-105 from KEH but sent them both back. The first made this clicking sound when zooming past 50mm and the second would not focus to infinity. But it was really a superb lens.
     
  21. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I've used Canon cameras for over 30 years. Bought my first Canon F1 n in college and shot all FD primes. Never owned or shot with a FD Zooms. I was told back then in the 80s that FD zooms are not sharp as prime FD lenses. Is that true? I find today's Canon zoom lenses are very sharp.
     
  22. EdColorado

    EdColorado Member

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    I'll take a chance here and actually suggest a non Canon zoom. Look for a Tamron 80-200 f2.8 SP LD. Ive used one for years, it was my main lens back when I hauled a couple of T90s around race tracks shooting motor sports. Tack sharp, fast, and very well built. It's an Adaptall lens so you'll need a Canon mount for it too. Another great zoom is the aforementioned Canon 35-105. I have both the older two touch 3.5 version and the newer one touch 3.5-4.5 version. The two touch is generally considered the better lens but I really have a hard time seeing any difference in the final prints. The one touch is considerably lighter and smaller plus faster to use. Your choice on wether or not you need the faster lens or not., both are fantastic. Whatever you do don't buy a Canon 100-300 f5.6 zoom. Horrid slow piece of junk.
     
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  23. mesantacruz

    mesantacruz Subscriber

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    that 50mm you have is more than enough... i do like my 50mm 1.4, and it's all i use... before you go crazy an buy a set of lenses for an fd camera, try out medium format if you have the chance... just some advice someone would have told me. but seriously when you begin you want all the options you can have, but i see now the less options you have, the more you 'shoot' the more you 'shoot' the better you get with what you have.
     
  24. blockend

    blockend Member

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    The F1.4 50mm is a great lens, but like most wide aperture glass, soft at maximum aperture. Close it a stop and it really starts to perform. People say I haven't paid £$x000 not to shoot at maximum aperture, which is a mistake IMO. Better to think of 1.4 as an emergency and keep F2 as your standby and the you'll have an unbeatable lens for the price. Unless you like soft photographs of course.
     
  25. Markster

    Markster Member

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    50mm by itself is a good lense, but I wouldn't say great. By this I mean the quality of the lense can be great, but the usefulness limited. I started with a 50mm f/1.8 -- your basic cheap-o FDn that's worth all of $10 these days. It worked great then, and works great now...

    ... but if I could only have ONE lense fixed to my camera, a good wide angle 28mm or 35mm would be most useful (considering all situations I use cameras for, indoors and out).

    I have my 50mm/1.8, and I have my 28mm/2.8, just in case, but I find I mostly use my 35-75mm zoom and my 75-200mm zooms 90% of the time. To me it's not the zoom that's useful so much as the ability to frame my subjects properly when I need to. That's where zoom is most useful: composition.

    My rambling 2 cents' worth.
     
  26. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I would just upgrade the FD50mm f1.8 for an FD 50mm f1.4 which is not only faster and quicker to focus because of it's brighter focusing screen image and shallower depth of field, but also it's multi coated(that none of the 1.8 versions are), it produces better definition and colours than the 1.8 lens. I write from experience because I've owned both of these lenses for about thirty years and I only keep the 1.8 one as a back up.