help with lenses for an AL-1 : LUSENET : Canon FD : One Thread

I have recently been bitten by the shutter-bug, and at the risk of sounding very uneducated, I would very much like some advice. I have an old Canon AL-1, and would like to try some simple macro and zoom lenses, any suggestions as to a cheap solution? Also, I have heard that macros would require a separate adapter to mount on the bellows, and to be honest, I have no idea what a bellows even is! I thought it was a device used to blow air into a fireplace~~HELP!!! =)

-- Carol Halley (, March 03, 2002


A bellows (picture the accordion like arrangement that youíve seen in pictures of 100 year old cameras only smaller) attaches to the camera body and allows you to move the lens farther from the film plane . This increases the magnification and lets you take extreme close ups of very tiny objects (a single pestle on a flower for instance).

If this is all new to you, start with a macro lens and forget the bellows for now. I think the cheapest way to start is to find a 50mm Vivitar 2.8 Macro lens. This lens is overlooked by a lot of people ). You can pick them up for 60-80 dollars on Ebay. (The Canon version at 3.5 is three times the price) Itís a great lens and something you will probably keep forever. Itís very sharp will give you 1:1magnification (that means the image of what you are shooting will be itís full size on the film, even a 4x6 print will know your socks off when you see it). Iíve done 11 x 14 blowups and they are spectacular. There are some draw backs with this lens. You have to get extremely close to your subject (about 2 inches away) to get the full 1:1 and this makes it a little hard to keep your shadow off the subject. BUT Ö with just a little practice, you can get some fantastic shots and learn a lot about macro, while getting great shots! I would also recommend a book called ďClose-Up in NatureĒ. I canít remember the authors names, but Itís in print and the big bookstores have it. This book will explain everything, including bellows.

Then burn all the film you can afford. Once you get the hang of it, you may want a 90 or 100mm macro or even a bellows.

Hope this helps.

Charlie Richards

-- Charlie Richards (, March 03, 2002.

That's "Close-Ups in Nature" by John Shaw, published by Amphoto. This book is pretty much the standard bible of macro and close-up photography. It will tell you what equipment and technique is best for what magnification range, saving you from buying armloads of expensive gizmos you don't need.

You don't want to start with a bellows. Do a search on 'macro,' both here and on Philip Greenspun's site Photo.Net (read the Photo.Net macro primer, especially) and you will learn much.

-- Robert Segal (, March 04, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ