Best FD lenes for a Canon AE-1
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,
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.
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You might try a 24/2.8 and or a 100/4 macro lens.
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.
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.
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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.
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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.....
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.
Originally Posted by Nikonfan07
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.
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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.