Canon AE-1 and lenses : LUSENET : Canon FD : One Thread

What are some of Canon's lenses that will work with my current AE-1 35mm slr camera? My AE-1 came with 50mm/1.8 lense.



-- Kevin Nguyen (, December 26, 2000


Kevin, When the Canon AE-1 was introduced in 1976, the Canon FD series lenses had been in production for 5 years. Any lens marked Canon Lens FD will be fully compatible with your AE-1. Canon made 7.5mm and 15mm fisheye type wideangle lenses, conventional wideangle lenses from 14mm to 35mm, several variations on the 50 - 55mm normal lenses and telephoto lenses from 85mm to 1200mm. From the mid 1970s onwards they produced a great many zoom lenses. Independent manufacturers such as Tokina, Sigma, Tamron and Vivitar also produced lenses that will work on your AE-1. You will notice as you shop for used lenses two types of Canon FD lenses. Lenses produced from 1971 to about 1979 have a chrome plated ring at the rear of the lens which is turned counterclockwise to release it from the camera or turned clockwise to secure it to the camera. This is the traditional Canon breech lock lens mount. Starting in 1979, Canon redesigned their lenses to emulate the bayonet mount of others. A small chrome button at the rear of the lens is pushed and the entire lens is turned counterclockwise to remove it from the camera. To remount the lens, align the red dot on the lens with the red dot on the body and turn the entire lens clockwise until it locks in place with a click. This is referred to as the Canon "New FD" Lens mount. Both types of lenses are completely compatible with your AE-1. In your searches you may find some older Canon FL series lenses. These lenses will work on your AE-1 but do not offer the automatic exposure feature of the FD lenses. If you find some of the very old Canon R series lenses, please E-mail me.


-- Bill Salati (, December 26, 2000.

To add to the excellent post already here.

There is little optical performance difference between the breechlock and "bayonet" mount lenses. Most are the same design optically. The breechlock came in two forms, S.C. and S.S.C. The SC are single coated lens elements, and the SSC is multicoated. So the SSSC are prefered. All New FD lenses, except the 50mm f1.8 are multicoated, so Canon dropped the labeling.

Also the "bayonet" mount is not a true bayonet mount as the lens mount surface doesn't move against the camera mount surface as you mount or dismount the lens. The only difference is whether you turn a ring, or the outside of the lens body. There are people who prefer one mount over the other, and of those some who prefer the breechlock and some who prefer the New FD mount.

One thing to consider is that from 24mm to 135mm (for most lenses) the breechlock lenses took 55mm filters, and the New FD lenses take 52mm filters. So you might want to consider standardizing on one type.

For most other FD lenses they take 58mm or 72mm filters with some exceptions.

Also from 24mm and up there are multiple versions of each focal length with variations in the maximum aperture (f stop). The 24mm was available in a f1.4, f2.0, and f2.8 version. The larger the maximum aperture (smaller the number) the more expensive the lens, typically the harder to find, and most of the time the better optically.

-- Terry Carraway (, December 27, 2000.

Check out this website for a good overview of the Canon lens system and most FD and FL lenses, and look at Canon's official historical site for a complete listing of all Canon lenses.

-- David Goldfarb (, December 27, 2000.

You have a couple of great responses to your question. I also use old Canon AE-1's for my amateur work. I really like these old cameras and there are millions of them out there so getting repairs is generally not a problem.

Lenses are still readily available for these cameras. If you're careful, ebay is a good place to find some. Be sure that you compare prices (don't overbid) with B&H and KEH. If you're serious, opt for the faster glass.

Does anyone know what happened to the Canon Enthusiasts Classifieds web site? There has not been an update since November 2000!

Another great source for FD system information is Christian Rollinger's site, I like to refer to it. There's also a old posting of some semi-scientific testing of FD lenses at and another one at Be sure to navigate down through tree on the latter. Paul Young wrote a lot about the lenses he had available to him.


-- David Thompson (, April 20, 2001.

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