Best Canon FD Lenses 2023 – These 10 Might Be Worth Sampling Out
There’s no denying that the Canon FD lenses represent some of the best glasses ever made. They tend to do an outstanding job, especially if one is familiar with the manual focus lenses.
But obviously, different lenses come with different specs. And also, there’s nothing like an all-in-one lens that suits everyone’s needs.
Therefore, in the review below, we’ll break down all the facts for you, hoping to help you make an informed choice.
Canon FD Lenses – Comparison
First off, here is a quick table to help you familiarize with some of the lenses discussed in the in-depth reviews further below.
|Ranking||Product Name||Lens Type||Maximum Focal Length|
|1||Canon f/1.4 50mm Manual Focus Lenses||Standard||50 Millimeters|
|2||Canon 100-300mm FD Zoom Lens||Telephoto Zoom||300 Millimeters|
|3||Canon FD f/4.0 70-210mm Zoom Lens||Telephoto||210 Millimeters|
|4||Canon FD 35-105mm Marco Zoom Lens||Macro||105 Millimeters|
|5||Canon Lens 1:2.8 28mm||Wide Angle||28 Millimeters|
|6||Canon f/5.6 100-200mm 11150||Zoom||200 Millimeters|
|7||Canon f/4 FD 35-70mm Lens||Standard||70 Millimeters|
|8||Canon FD Telephoto Zoom Lens 80-200mm||Telephoto||200 Millimeters|
|9||Canon f/2.5 135mm Canon FD Zoom Lens||Telephoto||135.0 millimeters|
|10||Canon FD f/4 200mm Lens||35mm||200 Millimeters|
1. Canon f/1.4 50mm Manual Focus Lenses
The FD 500mm from Canon is probably one of the sharpest yet affordable lenses. You only need to familiarize with its manual focus system and you’ll be good to go.
One thing we like about this lens is that it’s quite well-balanced and compact. What’s more? When it comes to performance, this rig offers a pretty good level of flair-resistance.
The icing on the cake is that this lens’ resolution is quite high. And for that reason, you can get some pretty sharp images at f/1.4. However, as you progress toward f/2.8 you are likely to realize that the image will get a little sharper in the center.
And at f/5.6 you may start to notice the corners getting a little blurry. So, we think this is best suited for shooting at maximum aperture.
- Sharp images
- Well-balanced, compact design
- Durably built
- Reasonably priced
- Below-par performance at f5.6 and above
- A bit of distortion and vignetting
2. Canon 100-300mm FD Zoom Lens
This one here is a highly versatile zoom lens. In fact, its closest focusing distance is 2 meters which is a significant improvement from its predecessor that had a 2.5-meter minimum distance.
Yet another benefit of this powerful rig is that it provides lots of focal magnification. This is all thanks to a new compensation lens system which decreases overall length.
We also like the fact that this 100-300mm FD lens has a well-made focusing ring. It has a grippy texture providing you with even more focusing power.
And don’t let its monstrous design fool you, this is actually a lightweight lens which can be used conveniently, all day long.
- Light in weight
- Well-made focusing ring
- Ideal for long-range shorts
- Can be used for portrait photography
- Good value for money
- Huge in size hence bulky
Also read: Best Wide Angle Lenses for Canon Reviewed – Important Details For You
3. Canon FD f/4.0 70-210mm Zoom Lens
If you’re looking for a zoom lens that can still be used to capture some up-close shots, the Canon FD 70-210mm would be your best bet. It has a minimum focusing distance of 0.44 meters and still packs a 3X zoom ratio.
The first highlight of this lens comes from its sharpness. Indeed, this device delivers some awesome and sharp images. And unless you are really keen, you may not even notice some of the chromatic aberrations it leaves behind.
It’s also important to note that this lens comes with a macro feature. Indeed, at the 70mm end, this camera still captures some awesome shots. That said, the lens’ images may not look as ones captured through a lens with a purpose-built macro lens.
- Incredibly shot, closest focusing distance
- Above-average optical performance
- Great zooming power
- Chromatic aberrations
4. Canon FD 35-105mm Marco Zoom Lens f/3.5
For close to 4 decades, this lens has carved a niche for itself as a non-L zoom lens that can be relied on to do a great job. And unlike other typical zoom lenses, this one has a relatively fast shutter and awesome aperture.
Given its specs, we find it to be an awesome bet for both outdoor and indoor photography assignments.
Its build quality is quite great. Generally, the lens feels quite solid and stable. And unlike other common zoom lenses, this one comes with a two-touch system complete with zoom and focus rings
And even though it doesn’t have such an awesome macro-mode, it can be fully relied upon whenever one is out and about.
- Great for outdoor photography
- Can be relied upon for portrait shots
- Compact is design
- Relatively light in weight
- May add a blue-haze to the pictures
- Aperture doesn’t seem to shrink further past f/5.6
5. Canon Lens 1:2.8 28mm
Truth be told, for a lens to be impeccable it doesn’t have to be gorgeous. That seems to be the clarion call as far as the Canon 1:2.8 FD lens goes.
This particular rig may seem minimalistic, but the truth of the matter is that it is made from a really strong polycarbonate. Yup, it’s made of plastic but interestingly doesn’t seem cheap at all.
Polycarbonate is one of the toughest forms of plastic. And, therefore, this lens seems perfectly suited for different kinds of tasks even in a rugged environment.
What’s more? Its built-in optical stabilization features go a long way in enhancing the quality of your shots. Indeed, distortion is almost non-existent in this particular lens.
On top of that, this is one of the few lenses that seem to have permanently dealt with the issue of spherical aberration.
- High-quality shell
- Awesome image stability
- Consistent in quality
- Awesome as a wide-angle lens
- Distortion can be detected when the subject is in close proximity
Check out: Best Flash For Canon 80D – Top 10 Tested Options & Handy Tips
6. Canon f/5.6 100-200mm 11150
If you are really on a tight budget but would still be interested in bringing a good looking lens home, the Canon 100-200mm would be your best bet. There is nothing really outstanding about it except the fact that it’s a good Canon FD lens under 50.
It may, however, struggle with low-light photography since its maximum aperture is at f/5.6. It does a relatively good job when used for outdoor photography although its images aren’t necessarily sharp.
We also find it to be a bit too large and bulky. And, therefore, we’d only recommend it to anyone who doesn’t have a lot of gear to carry around.
- Reasonably priced
- Relatively good, and satisfactory pictures
- Durably built
- Respectable zooming power
- Nothing stellar about its photo quality
7. Canon f/4 FD 35-70mm Lens
This is one of the old lenses that have remained at the very top of the market. And even though it was originally manufactured in the 1980s this 35-70mm continues to stun.
It has a maximum aperture of f/3.5 and that’s at 35mm or f/4.5 at 70mm. As such, it may not be the best choice for indoor or concert photography, especially where lighting is an issue.
On a positive note, the lens is quite light in weight. Weighing in at just over 200 grams, this one is convenient to handle and use, all day long in our view. And that’s in addition to it having a fantastic 0.5m minimum focus distance which makes it highly versatile.
- Feels well-made though mainly made up of plastic
- Light-in-weight and ideal for all-day carrying
- Focus rings made from quality grooved rubber
- Sharp images especially at f/8.0
- Distortion can be noticed at lower focal lengths
- Low contrast
8. Canon FD Telephoto Zoom Lens 80-200mm
With an incredible zoom ratio of 2.5x, this Telephoto lens stands out as a flexible lens suited for all-day use. But just how good is it when put to the test?
To begin with, although this lens may not be as fast as the prime lenses, it is extremely reliable. In fact, it has a superb optical composition of 15 elements along with a relay and compensator capability.
And, therefore, if you’ve been facing challenges related to aberration when using your other lens, you might want to settle for this one instead.
What’s more? It has a close focusing distance of 1 meter which makes it ideal for portraiture as long as the scene is well lit.
- Great depth of field
- Versatile working mechanism
- Durably built
- No issues related to aberrations
- Generally light in weight given that it’s a telephoto lens
- Large and bulky
- Slow focusing speed
9. Canon f/2.5 135mm Canon FD Zoom Lens
This is an incredibly light-weight and affordable lens which seems to excel in both landscape and portrait photography. What’s more? The camera’s build quality seems great going by modern-day standards.
But even with that said, it is worth noting that this prime lens is mainly made up of plastic. Obviously plastic is lighter than metal meaning that this lens is suitable for all-day handling.
Another thing we like about this medium-sized lens is that it is pretty well-balanced. And on top of that, its focusing ring operates smoothly providing you with awesome focus easily.
One of the major weaknesses we noted about this Canon lens is that it tends to deliver soft images at f/2.8. And if you want some really sharp shots, you’re better off stopping at f/5.6.
- Light in weight and compact
- Creates a pleasant bokeh
- Comes with 8 aperture blades for added flexibility
- Great results at f/5.6
- Notable vignetting though not excessive
10. Canon FD f/4 200mm Lens
Made in Japan, this Canon FD prime lens is a strong contender for demanding tasks such as documentary work and fast-action sports. One thing we noticed about this lens is the fact that it incorporates a glass with a high refractive index.
Indeed, this lens boasts an incredible composition of 7 airspaced-elements. What’s more? Its focusing ring is quite smooth an easy to use.
Looking through the viewfinder of this 200mm lens leaves you with nothing but an exciting experience. And to top it all up, this lens’ focus system works smoothly and fast.
And so, if your next assignment involves capturing photos in fast-action events e.g. sports this would be a perfect bet. Also, at f/2.8, this lens has an aperture that’s large enough to be relied upon even when lighting is an issue.
- Versatile lens
- Well-built and easy to use
- Fast focus
- Stable and sharp images in quality
- Its aperture could have been larger to let in more light
- Relatively large and seemingly bulky
- List Element
How to Find the Canon FD Lenses
There’s no doubt that FD lenses are among the best ones that Canon has ever produced. But since quite a few of them exist, your best bet is to find take following recommendations into consideration.
From our perspective, wide angle lenses tend to be highly costly. So, unless you have some specific needs for wide angle lenses, you can always save by opting for an ordinary lens.
Aperture is the allowance in your lens that lets light into your image processor. The large the aperture, the better the performance of the lens is likely to be even in low light.
However, you don’t always need a super huge aperture especially if you know how to light up the scene. Also, outdoor images captured when there’s enough light may not necessitate a large aperture.
Zoom vs Prime
There’s an age-old debate about which one of the two offers the best bang for the bucks. And well, in our view, this battle boils down to your style of photography.
Prime lenses tend to do a good job when the subject is nearby. They also tend to have larger apertures. Prime lenses are ideal for portraits, fast-action sports, and weddings.
Zoom FD lenses, on the other hand, seem to be work best when the subject is far away. That’s why they come with some zooming rings that you can use to draw closer to the subject.
They, however, have smaller apertures and also tend to be a little slow. But even with that said, they work best for recording documentaries, landscape photography, and news coverage.
A long time ago, most lenses were housed in metallic cases. Therefore, no one needed to worry about them being long-lasting.
However, times have changed and with manufacturers struggling to cut on cost and make the lens lighter, plastic housings have become all too common.
In that case, you want to make sure that your lens is housed in the best quality housing. If going for plastic, be sure to confirm that it’s poly carbonate plastic which is long-lasting and also good looking.
Another factor to consider when buying Canon FD lenses is the adapter. One important part of using this type of lenses or other vintage lenses is ensuring you’ve got a quality lens adapter.
If you don’t have a good adapter, then it may not hold your Canon FD lenses firmly to the camera. Also, it may not control light bounce properly thereby leading to an aberration in your photos.
Therefore, when buying an adapter, we recommend trying it out first to confirm if it holds the lens tight. Also, look out for odd optical issues which could mean you have got a bad adapter.
Condition of the Lenses
More importantly, since these are older lenses, you need to evaluate their condition before making your purchase. But how, you may be wondering? Well, you should check for things like fungus, scratches, oil on the blades, separation or haze.
Also, you should check the zoom rings, focus, and aperture to confirm whether they are working smoothly.
Why Use Canon FD Lenses?
Before we go in-depth, let’s take a look at some of the benefits that come with using Canon FD lenses. To start with, FD lenses are quite easy to use and also fast. Not to mention, they are very inexpensive compared to newer lenses on the market.
What’s more, these lenses are perfect for shooting videos since the focus rings and aperture adjustment are completely manual. They tend to offer a great level of control by allowing you to change both the focus and aperture while you’re shooting.
Additionally, Canon FD lenses enable you to cover a very wide focal range. On top of that, they have a smaller build profile compared to most vintage lenses that are larger and heavier.
Unfortunately, despite all the benefits Canon FD lenses have to offer, they have a few downsides. First and foremost, since they are older lenses, they don’t have an autofocus feature. Therefore, you will need to manually set the aperture.
Also, they don’t have image stabilization. Luckily, most new camera models boast in-body image stabilization
Last but not least, any FD lenses you buy today will come secondhand because they are old lenses. This means that they have gone through wear and tear so they may have scuff marks, minor fungus or dust.
But overall, Canon FD lenses offer a lot of value for the money. So, if you’re looking for affordable vintage lenses to help you take great shots, you might want to consider them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a quick look at some of the questions frequently asked by photographers about Canon FD lenses.
Do I really need to invest in an adapter?
In most cases, you do. Because these are older lenses, you will need an adapter to mount them or else they won’t work on newer cameras.
Is it possible to use the Canon FD lens on a DSLR camera?
Yes, it is. But like we mentioned above, you will need an adapter to do so.
Do I go for prime or zoom FD lenses?
It entirely depends on exactly what and how you are shooting. For shooting closer subjects, you need prime lenses and zoom lenses for far off subjects.
Which One Is The Best?
So, which one of the 10 Canon FD lenses reviewed above is worth your time and money? Well, the answer to this question may vary depending on who you ask.
But in our view, the Canon f/1.4 50mm Manual Focus Lenses. It’s quite versatile and comes with a large aperture for an incredible performance in low light.
We do hope that the guidelines above will help you zoom in to a Canon FD lens for the budget. Remember, there’s always something for everyone. So, don’t hesitate to adjust your choices based on your needs and budget range.