Early FD Lenses?

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I have a couple of early FD lenses with chrome fronts(filter ring)and a green circle instead of the "A" setting. Are these chrome fronted lenses common,and do they appear in all focal lengths as I think they are pretty and wouldn't mind aquiring some more. Is the chrome a feature of early FD lenses only and around what sort of time were the chrome fronted lenses made? Many thanks for your time.

-- Marc Jefferies (marc.jefferies@btinternet.com), June 16, 2000


The chrome front ring lenses are very early FD lenses. I don't remember the date range off the top of my head, but figure very early 70s at the latest.

Some of those lenses do not have the performance of the later lenses. Slight difference in design and some larger differences in coatings. Also the chrome front ring makes the lens more prone to flare.

If you like them, they are out there, and they seem to be cheaper than the later lenses.

-- Terry Carraway (TCarraway@compuserve.com), June 17, 2000.

Hi, Thanks for the response.Any idea how much worse the early lenses are, as I've been using an old chrome fronted 50mm 1.4 for years and have been very happy with it. As regards flare,providing I use a hood is the risk of flare significant with the chrome fronted lenses?I've just picked up a 135mm chrome fronted lens,not because I needed it,but it looked so pretty,so maybe I should just shoot some pictures with it? I tend to be a prime lens person,but do occasionally use a Tamron 80- 210 f3.8-4. Does anyone think I will get an increase in quality by moving over to the FD 70-210 F4, or would the difference not be enough and should I wait until I can afford an Canon 80-200 or L. Were these available in the breech lock mount,as I prefer the build quality of the older FD lenses. Thank you for any help.

-- Marc Jefferies (marc.jefferies@btinternet.com), June 17, 2000.

If you like them and they work for you, go for it.

WRT the Tamron versus Canon. Both 80-200s are supposedly better than the 70-210. I have the 70-210 and have no problem with it. I do plan on getting an 80-200 L at some point, just because. But in the meantime I got a 100-300 L since it fits better with the 35-105 f3.5 for traveling.

-- Terry Carraway (TCarraway@compuserve.com), June 18, 2000.

For got to answer, the 70-210 is only in the bayonet mount, the 80-200 non-L was available in the breech mount. The L only in the bayonet mount.

While the older lenses are heavier, that doesn't always mean that they were built better. Also the new "bayonet" mount isn't really a bayonet mount. The mount design is such that the two mounting surfaces do NOT rotate against each other.

BTW another lens to look at/for is the 85-300 f4.5. It is available in breech and bayonet (seldom seen). I have heard that is as good or better than the 100-300 L. It also comes with a tripod collar.

-- Terry Carraway (TCarraway@compuserve.com), June 18, 2000.

The first FD lenses, introduced in 1971 at the same time as the F-1, had the chrome filter ring. The design was changed by March 1973, I've heard it was due to criticism about the reflections from the chrome. The FD lenses from March 1973 forward have the black filter ring.

At the same time as the change to the filter ring, there was a change to the name ring, which included the abbreviation for the coating, either S.C. (Spectra Coating) or S.S.C. (Super Spectra Coating). The S.S.C. coatings were applied to a wider range of the lenses, replacing the previous S.C. coating on a few lenses every few months. The original lenses, although not noted on the name ring, have mostly S.C. coating, but a few (I think 4) have the S.S.C. coating.

This information is from the Canon Product Guides, beginning with the earliest one I have, print date February 1971.


-- Dana McReynolds (macman1@hushmail.com), July 14, 2000.

I still have an early model 100mm with a chrome ring. It is one of the finest lenses I have for quality or I would have long ago replaced it. I bought it about new in 1972 as I recall. One thing not mentioned an of some interest I think. This early version (mine anyhow) did not have a locking pin for the auto exposure setting. For a while the aperture ring would too easily slip off the index detent and was a nuisance. Canon Repair Center tightened that for me during a cleaning many many years ago. About flare, I personally believe that in practice there was no significant flare in those lenses ( Look at older lenses from other manufacturers that had chrome front)-not in my work, which doesnt mean much in the grand scheme of course-I dont shoot into the sun.Probably was a marketing decision with some plausible basis but not to dissuade you from buying one that is clean inside. Thirty years means time for lots of dust and gunk to grow. Glad to add a bit to this knowledge base, GS

-- Gerry Siegel (veritas@aloha.net), November 29, 2000.

I have a canon T-90 camera and I would like to get 35-70 macro lens but I am confused with mount FD & L. Please clarify

-- Jose E. Rivera (quiquer@prw.net), May 15, 2001.

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