Collection: Canon FD

Canon introduced the FD system in 1971 after using the FL and R systems on their early SLRs. The physical mount of early FD lenses was very similar to earlier mounts, using a breech-lock system that some found confusing or slow. Later New FD (or FDn) lenses attach like lenses from other manufacturers.

Despite these differences, all FD lenses are compatible with all FD bodies. FL lenses can also be used on many FD bodies. One of the big improvements of the FD system, though, was automatic aperture stop-down. FL lenses required manual stop-down, like older M42 lenses or Canon’s M39 rangefinder lenses.

Another big advantage of the FD system was its capacity for automatic exposure. Cameras like the Canon AE-1 and A-1 are able to achieve advanced automatic exposure using these lenses, even if the lens was released before the camera. The technology was put into the lens mount from the very beginning.

Over its two-decade production run, Canon introduced 134 different lenses for the FD system. These range from 7.5mm fisheyes to 1200mm ultra-telephotos. One of the most popular models in the FD lineup was the Canon AE-1 Program. This camera sold well over a million units during the 1980s.

FD lenses are regaining popularity these days because they can be easily adapted to most mirrorless (and some DSLR) systems. They offer an excellent value in lenses, delivering excellent results on a lower budget than newer digital lenses. Older FD glass has become especially popular with cinematographers who claim that the lens’ construction and coatings resemble those of Canon’s famous K35 cinema lenses.

Canon K35 lenses can cost thousands to purchase, so many people are snatching up early FD lenses and rehousing them for cinema use, but they still represent great value for the stills community as well.

Canon FD

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