Best Lens for Canon AE 1 in 2022

The Canon AE-1 sold nearly a million units between 1976 and 1984. In this article, I have put together a shortlist of the best lenses for your Canon AE-1 camera. If you are thinking about getting a new Canon AE-1 …

The Canon AE-1 sold nearly a million units between 1976 and 1984. In this article, I have put together a shortlist of the best lenses for your Canon AE-1 camera.

If you are thinking about getting a new Canon AE-1 (Program) camera or if you already own one, you should definitely check this out.

The Canon AE-1 utilizes the Canon FD mount, which was discontinued in 1987. So all lenses will be 30-40 years old. If you want to acquire lenses, make sure they’re in good condition.

The market and what’s available change. What was true in a forum post 10 or 15 years ago may not be true now.

Lenses for the Canon AE-1 were chosen based on availability, usability, price, and photographic styles. Professional “L” series apochromatic are hard to obtain and costly.

What Types of Lens Works With Canon AE-1?

Camera Type35mm focal-plane shutter SLR
Picture Size24 x 36 mm
Normal LensCanon FD 50mm f/1.4 SSC, FD 50mm f/1.8 SC
Lens MountFD mount
Types of Lens Works With Canon AE-1

Canon’s FD mount lenses rival any optics manufactured for consumer or prosumer photographers of the era. Most of the time, people use Canon FD 50mm f/1.4, which is a reliable lens. The quick maximum aperture provides for creamy bokeh and generally clearer pictures than a 35mm negative.

Like many 50mm lenses, this lens excels at photographing mid-range subjects, whether people or objects. Aperture speed and focus plane sharpness combine to create pictures that stand out.

Aside from Canon lenses, third-party lens designers have long admired the FD mount. This implies that not only is there a great Canon lens for every scenario, but there are typically several great Canon lenses for every price. No fast glass or Canon brand lenses here, but they work.

In addition, you can have another 80-200mm f/3.9 macro zoom lens. With this lens, you can see far distant objects or desire some compression.

Two lenses span much of the ‘photographic’ spectrum. To mimic the human eye’s vision, the 50mm lens is deemed “standard”. This lens is great for group photos, landscapes, and more.

The 80-205mm ‘zoom’ lens provides you some options. It allows you to get closer to your subject ‘photographically’ but not physically. With a 50mm lens, check how close you have to stand to fill the frame with someone’s face. Reform with the zoom lens at 80mm and 205mm. Long-distance pictures use this lens (the deer in the field). Or for ‘headshot’ portraits.

Aperture influences Depth Of Field. A focal point is a region in front and behind the topic. Using manual aperture and shutter speed adjustments, you can snap a close-up of a person’s face with their eyes in focus and their nose out of focus. You may also capture landscapes with a focus from 3 feet to 5000 feet distant.

Also, consider older FL lenses. They’re made well and most are optically identical to the FD save for less complex coatings. FL 55mm 1.2 and FL 35mm 2.5 are excellent lenses. The only limitation is that stop-down metering is required, which is simple on the AE-1. Keep the depth-of-field preview button held and spin the aperture ring. A match-needle reading of 5.6 (or LEDs on the AE-1 Program) seems appropriate.

Best Lens for Canon AE 1 Recommandation

Canon is one of the largest camera-producing companies in the world. They make cameras, lenses, film, and other imaging products. Here is the list of the top lens.

Canon FD 50mm f/1.8

Your initial lens should be the AE-1’s original “kit lens,” the Canon FD 50mm f/1.8. The 50mm f1.8 is cheap, widely accessible, and produces great images. It is quite simple to find good condition copies of the lens.

Despite its antiquity and low cost, the Canon FD 50mm F1.8 produces outstanding images. This lens produces a clean, contrast-heavy appearance that I haven’t been able to reproduce (straight out of camera) with any other lens. The images are dependably crisp, especially at f2.8 and higher. However, photographs shot at f1.8 look stunning if the focus is perfect.

Why You Should Consider Canon FD 50mm f/1.8?

  • The “traditional” configuration with the original kit lens.
  • Amazing value.
  • Easy to carry.
  • In good condition.
  • 55mm threads
  • This is the greatest lens for the Canon AE-1 since it is versatile.
  • It is suitable for everyday usage and travel.
  • This is the only lens you will need if you just shoot film occasionally.
  • It is perfectly balanced on the AE-1 and light enough to carry all day.
  • The lens weighs between 170 and 305g depending on the version.
  • The latest FD variant is the lightest and most desirable.

Canon FD 50mm f/1.4

The Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 is 2/3 stop faster, but it adds weight and bulk. This, in my opinion, outweighs the price increase over the f1.8.

Some may be disappointed that this series of Canon lenses are made of mostly plastic. At least the barrel and lens mount are metal. But the FD 50mm f/1.4 still feels sturdy and has easy focusing. That my copy arrived with an authentic 52mm Canon UV filter and a Canon BW 52-A lens cover made me happy.

The lens weighs 8.3 oz (235 g). The aperture is a little sticky, but that’s standard for all Canon FD lenses. But it’s highly adaptable. With 7 components in 6 groups, 8 diaphragm blades, and a 17.7”/45 cm minimum focusing distance.

Why You Should Consider Canon FD 50mm f/1.4?

  • Relyable for great photos.
  • Incredible value for money for a 50mm F1.4 lens.
  • A smooth focus ring with firm stops and various M/FT markings has been added.
  • For precise manual focusing, a focusing rotation of around 200° is used.
  • The use of 17 different click-stop aperture adjustments allows for accurate exposure and depth of field control.
  • Super Spectra Coating is a multi-layer coating that provides excellent contrast and stable color balance.
  • Closest focusing distance is 0.45cm, which allows for excellent close-ups.
  • Hoerver it is almost too big and hefty to be used on a daily basis.

Albinar 80-200mm f/3.9 Macro Zoom Lens

This 80-200mm push-pull zoom lens from Korea (Samyang) is surprisingly decent for its price. Originally purchased for my Canon AE-1 camera in 1983, this was my very first zoom lens ever purchased. I was naive at the time and didn’t know any better. To me, a zoom was simply a zoom, and I approached it with the enthusiasm of a novice. However, even after all these years, when I look at some of the photos I captured with that lens, I’m still surprised at how amazing they are.

Later on, Albinar discontinued this lens and replaced it with an f/4.5 variant that was more affordable. This one is a step up.

Interesting macro lens with optical characteristics that are virtually ideal for a zoom lens (comparable to a Zeiss single lens) and a macro extension ring. It is available in both black and silver. As a result, you do not require the following.

This is not something that is frequently encountered. It was only afterward that I realized that this ring may be engaged when the lens is pulled to around 150-200mm, which is rare. To see the word “MACRO RATIO,” you must turn the entire 5cm ring to the right side of the screen. 1:5

My own unique extra macro ring from VIA has a focus redactor. The focal range is reduced to roughly 50-125mm, however macro photography is exceptionally crisp up to approximately 1:2 – 1:15, depending on the aperture setting.

Canon FD 28mm f/3.5

Canon FD 28mm f/3.5 is the first Canon FD mounting lens. There must not be a spectacular lens with the greatest spec grade or price tag that costs you thousands of bucks. Canon FD 28mm f/3.5 is one of the moderately functioning lenses.

In contrast with other FD lenses produced in subsequent years, the metallic substance has given it a weight of 290 grams and makes you feel so robust when you hold it. It consists of 6 glass components in six groupings (yes, every element is floating alone). The minimum f/16 aperture and the shortest distance of focus is 0.4m. The filter is 52mm in size.

Optical quality is outstanding, given its very inexpensive price. Distortion occurs when people are shot in close proximity. It is prevalent in every wide-angle lens. You may purposefully utilize this feature to distort the subject and create a three-dimensional appearance.

The Spectra Coating (and later: S.S.C, Super Spectra Coating) is not known to regulate color-coating, fantasy, and flare. If you shoot Canon FD 28mm f/3.5 even without the spectra coating, solar contact with the front components should better be avoided.

You will not notice a significant difference between f/1.8 or f/1.4 if you stop. Also, because of the lens size, you never want to carry it for long periods of time.

I believe your money would be better spent on a 50mm f/1,8 or f/1,4 with a 28mm and a 135mm or 100mm lens for virtually anyone. You’ll probably also have money left for the movie.

Tamron Adaptall-2 70-210mm f/4-5.6 (58A/158A)

The last lens I recommend is Tamron Adaptall-2 70-210mm f/4-5.6 (58A/158A).

The Tamron 58A is believed to be Tamron’s lowest-cost lens. It was produced between 1988 and 1991 and might very likely be one of the final Adaptall lenses.

Constructed of 13 elements in 9 groups and plastic-made, the lens is evocative of one built with superior workmanship. It feels hard and solid in the hand and is highly flexible with a large, smooth, (and mine is) focal ring.

The push-pull zoom motion is the perfect time to stop the zoom from cracking, yet it is light enough to pull or shock. Manipulating the smooth yet clicky aperture is just as versatile with your thumb. The agility and simplicity of use of a lens manufactured in the late 80s is quite an understatement. One could tend to deride the 58A, not because of its plastics, but because they are the cheapest zooms ever produced alongside its similarly plastic brother the 28-70mm 59A.

What Lens Mount Does the Canon AE-1 Use?

The capacity of a Typical Lens

Canon FD lenses use a 55mm lens cap and filter thread diameter as the industry standard.  Because of this, you will only need to buy and carry one pair of Canon AE1 lens filters. Filter thread sizes on several Canon telephoto and zoom lenses are bigger because of the larger front lens components.

Lens Mount: FD or FL?

DSLR Camera with AE-1 Lens Attachment for Canon. It was the Canon FL mount that came first, then the Nikon FD mount. Lenses with an FL mount may be used on a camera with an FD mount, and vice versa.

Auto stop-down metering is something that Canon FL mount lenses do not have. For the light meter to give an accurate measurement, the lens must be stopped down using the depth-of-preview switch.

Mount for Canon AE-1 Lenses

To secure it to the camera, the whole new FD lens revolves around it. FD lenses, on the other hand, need that the breech-lock ring on the rear of the lens be tightened before they can be mounted.

Lenses from the FD and new FD series can be used interchangeably. There aren’t any difficulties with compatibility.

You may hear the term FDn lenses used to describe the newest FD lenses. Complaints led to a redesign of the breech-lock ring. However, lenses became caught on a camera mount for a limited number of users.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, it’s simple to do. You won’t run into any issues if you just go at your own pace and avoid putting pressure on yourself.

Final Words

For the past two decades, I’ve only utilized Canon FD lenses. There are a plethora of these available online for a fraction of their 1980s retail price. Many were in my possession when I went shopping. With the new digital bodies from Canon, they altered the mounts, thus it appears that no one wants these lenses. However, all of it is made of high-quality glass. The “L” apochromatic lenses, on the other hand, are still out of my price range. 

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