Canon A1 Lens Suggestions Needed

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by 3 Olives, May 3, 2009.

  1. 3 Olives

    3 Olives Member

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    I bought an A1 body that came with a 50mm 1.4 FD lens several years ago. I also bought a 135mm 1:25 FD that has seen little use.
    This camera is being used by my son and he really likes it. He does a lot of people/street/close range photograpy. I am considering buying him another lens as a birthday gift.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    The 50mm f1.4 is a good lens for that purpose. The 24mm or 28mm f2.8s are nice lenses (although more of a landscape application than people/street). My main lens for the A-1 was the 35-105 f3.5 - it's a nice lens - 2-touch zoom, sharp, reasonably fast, I just wished the front element didn't turn during focusing.

    Dan
     
  3. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    I had an A1 and loved using my Tamron 28mm f2.5 on it. Used to take it out and shoot like crazy when I was stuck for inspiration. Made me rethink my framing options and allowed me to take some risks with composition.

    Bresson shot some wonderful street/people images on his rangefinder - not sure if it was used with a wide (28 or 35) but I'm sure someone on the forum with more knowledge about him than me will be able to clarify.

    - Nanette
    www.nanettereid.com
     
  4. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Might look into a 85mm lens.

    Jeff
     
  5. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Yes I would say the 85mm f1.8 lens would be a great addition. It is reasonably priced used and does a great job.
    Make sure to get a hood with it.

    You mentioned the 24mm lens but did not make it clear if you had one allready.. If not I woul highly reccomend it as a 'environmental portrait' lens.. Not sure if that is a tech term or not.
    A 35mm lens would also be a good choice for the same reasons.
     
  6. gordrob

    gordrob Subscriber

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    The Canon 35-105mm f3.5 zoom is a great all around lens for the A1. It became the main lens when I used the A1 and I now see it has disappeared from my F1N kit and reappeared on the A1 that my daughter is now using. My other favorite is the Canon 24mm f2.8.

    Gord
     
  7. EdColorado

    EdColorado Member

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    I'd second (3rd?) the 35-105 suggestion. Nice general lens and is usually whats mounted on one of my FD bodies. I have both the f3.5 version and the f3.5-4.5 version. Both work well, the one is faster over the full range but its also bigger and heavier. The f3.5 is generally considered to be sharper but really its hard to call as the 3.5-4.5 is pretty good too. The 3.5-4.5 is a one touch which depending on your feelings is either better or not. The 3.5-4,5 is also easier to find and cheaper. either or really, both are nice. I usually go with the older f3.5 version just because I like how it feels, I'm used to it, and it looks nice hanging off the front of my F1.
     
  8. Tim McGraw

    Tim McGraw Member

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    I would go with the 28mm 2.8 and the 85mm1.8
    Stay with the primes if you can
     
  9. Vanishing Point Ent.

    Vanishing Point Ent. Member

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    Only 3 lenses ALL " L " sharp, from 20 mm - 200 mm all f 2.8.

    Even better, look for a Tamron 35 - 105 mm f 2.8 ASL. It's sharper than Canon's, focus closer & is a 1/2 stop faster.

    The lens has interchangeable mounts,so find the lens in any mount & then change mounts. Try eBay. Dump the 135 f 2.5. It's too old to be any good, because I think it's an FL lens, not FD. This makes a big difference.

    The Tamron 80 - 200 mm f 2.8 is also phenomenal.

    Then look for a Canon 20 - 35 mm f 2.8 L lens.

    The lens range now is 20 - 200 all f 2.8 & " L " sharp.

    One tip, if you can find an AE1 P, " D " focusing screen, get a camera repair person, to remove the screen from it's frame. Then put the brighter laser screen, in the A1. It will make focusing a lot easier & will not effect metering.
     
  10. nicefor88

    nicefor88 Member

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    Close range photo then a wide angle should do: 28mm or 35mm. Avoid bad distortion.
    So you pass on your "fever" to the next generation...
     
  11. glockman99

    glockman99 Member

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    My "vote" goes for a 28mm or even a 24mm lens. Since his 135mm gets little use, it seems like he wants to go wide. Yah, I'm thinking that a 24mm lens would be best.
     
  12. mikeTO

    mikeTO Member

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    I just recently bought a 35mm f2.8 canon lens for my A1/AE-1 and I found that it gave superb results. Very sharp and the angle was good enough to catch what I wanted to.
     
  13. Pumal

    Pumal Member

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    Stick to primes. If you want wide; then 24mm or 28mm. If you want tele; then 85 1.8. 35mm gets little use in my arsenal. The zooms I have are great and sometimes are convenient. The 15mm is a lot of fun. If you can get a 50mm f/1.2; do it. Other than that; I use the 80-200mm zoom or a 100-200mm zoom. When you get the money; don't forget the Macros.
     
  14. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    The OP said the 135/2.5 is an FD. Why should he dump it? Because you say it's too old to be any good?
    Horseshit!.Please excuse me I sneezed.
     
  15. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    Well put. And why only L glass? Yes it's nice, yes, marketing hype will tell you it's better, and maybe it is. But, there are plenty of FD lenses that are more than good enough (the 135mm f2.5 included) and far less expensive. Not everyone is looking to sink a fortune into their gear. And, before you try telling me FD L lenses aren't expensive, try remembering that expensive is in the wallet of the beholder.

    Dan
     
  16. Vanishing Point Ent.

    Vanishing Point Ent. Member

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    I believe that an FD 135 mm is f 2.8.

    I believe that a 135 mm f 2.5 is FL.

    If this lens is an FL, then it can only be shot on an A1, in stopped down mode.

    This is simply not worth, the effort, after all, we're not talking about a Pentax Spotmatic.
    Open aperture metering is the norm here.

    If this lens, is an FD, by all means keep it, if it's an FL, DUMP IT.

    That's all I meant.
     
  17. Pumal

    Pumal Member

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    I have a 135mm 2.5 in my hands and it's an FD.
     
  18. camerastoomany

    camerastoomany Member

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    I definitely throw in my vote for Canon's 35-105.

    OP referred to people, street and close range so I suggest a lens I keep permanently attached to an AL-1 body. It is a Sigma 90mm f2.8 macro. More plastic than any of my FDs but seems reasonably well-made. Mine produces sharp results. I have used it for portraits, street photography where I want the short tele and macro work (real close up - it has an adapter to take it to 1:1) when bushwalking.

    It may not satisfy a pro, but then I ain't one. The results always satisfy me.
     
  19. kavandje

    kavandje Member

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    I have precisely *one* lens for my A-1, and that is a 55mm f/1.2 SSC, and I adore it. Simply stunning.
     
  20. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I bought my A-1 (in 1981) with the 50mm f1.4, a fine package as-is. My next addition was the 35 - 105 f3.5 macro zoom that several here have recommended; it is hefty to carry, but a very satisfying handful. Those are definitely my favorites. In the mid-90s I bought a 35-70 f3.5 zoom from a friend. It's definitely not the build quality of the 35-105 (much more plastic), and has more distortion at the wide end -- but, it's about the size of the 50mm 1.4 and very light, a great walking around lens for less critical stuff; I've used it and the 50mm as a combination for traveling light. I recently picked up a one touch 70-210 and have a few others obtained via inheritance, but haven't done much with them.

    DaveT
     
  21. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    My vote is still with the Tameron lens. I use my A1 with a Tameron 35-210 zoom which works quite well with the landscape pictures that I use it for. It is a little slow with a f3.5 but I don't need a fast lens for outdoor work. It is quite heavy but I just considerate a workout when I use the lens. Works well on all my FD bodies. It definitely has a place in my work day gear.
     
  22. Venchka

    Venchka Member

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    Sigma 24-70. Perfect anywhere anytime lens. Mine lives on my EF body.
     
  23. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I have a FD 35-70 f3.5-4.5 zoom too Dave, and I agree they are light and have plastic barrels, but they must all be more than twenty years old, and although they are not the best zoom lens that Canon ever made there are still millions of them around, and come to think of it, I worked in camera stores for about twenty years ,and have never seen a faulty one .
     
  24. 3 Olives,

    All very good replies and recommendations; you've got a lot of support, here. I still use my FD equipment (F-1N), regularly. I've always admired the A-1, and I'm sure your son is enjoying it, tremendously.

    If I can put in my 2 cents, the 50mm 1.4 is a fine lens. The zoom lens suggestions were all very appropriate for your son's needs, as well. I was never a zoom-person; that's just me.

    I use a 35mm f:2 as a prime moderate-wide; it's perfect for street/people. This particular lens is hard to come by, but you can check KEH, http://www.keh.com, for quality used offerings (they always have others in this focal length). For a short telephoto, I too suggest the 85mm f:1.8, or even a 100mm f:2.8.

    The plus side of the zooms suggested for your son, is that there's less glass to carry around. You can't go wrong with any of the recommendation given. Good luck.

    P.S. If he doesn't already have these, another good gift idea is a set of B+W filters.