Canon FD MF Lenses — Urbex Photography

Author sophos9 - Last updated: 01.06.2010

So, having had a few of these back in the day, thought it about time I had them serviced, cleaned and tried out on the 5DMKII.

Quick Review of each lens……(pics of my actual lenses)



Eddie Houston –

A very appealing lens blending good lens speed and a compact design. Using high refraction glass for improved optical performance. Alternating four convex and concave lenses in the front lens group serves to curb distortion, astigmatism and coma. The use of the floating system also aimed to maintain high quality pictures even at its closest focusing distance of 30cm, Compared to the earlier original FD 24mm f/2.0 lens, this lens is 24 percent shorter in overall length and 23 percent lighter. The main advantage of the 28mm lens is its ability to capture a fairly large subject area without creating undue concern over its perspective rendition. Quite compact, its overall length of 40mm and light weight of 170 grams made it the second lightest among the FD lenses. With a reasonable price and sufficient speed, it is one of the first and most practical choices for a wide-angle lens. Composed of seven air-spaced elements, the 24mm f/2.8 possesses high contrast and superior resolving power. An outstanding feature of this lens is the judicious arrangement of two convex lenses, placing one in front of and the other behind the lens diaphragm to reduce spherical aberration arising from the three lenses in the front group with the convex lens directly behind the diaphragm

Canon FD 50mm F1:1.8 S.C


Eddie Houston –

Standard lens has a focal length of 50mm, and covers a 46-degree of diagonal angle-of-view. Because it delivers natural perspectives, this lens has the widest range of applications. Ideal for snapping low light level photography, because of their large apertures. This standard FD lens includes a fast lens speed, and transmits a clear sharp image even under low light level photographic conditions. The 50mm f1:8, was one of the few standard lenses that Canon offered with their two different class of SLR bodies and quite rare. This is a large aperture standard lens using an aspherical surface, which provides highest image definition even at full-aperture opening under dim light conditions.

Additionally, this lens incorporates the Floating System which enables aberration-free shooting at close subject distance. Thus, a sharp image is obtained through the entire focusing range. Therefore, the focused image through the viewfinder can be reproduced just as it is.

I bought a FD/EOS adaptor with AF confirmation chip in it, so the process to mount is, unlock the adaptor and mount on the lens using the breechlock mechanism of the FD lens, lock the adaptor in place (important as it wont AutoFocus confirmation without this step, guess how I know), then mount straight on the camera as you would anyother EF/S mount lens.

A tripod is defo recommended but for Urbex photography and static object photography this I believe is the best method, Aperture Priority or Manual will have to be selected on the camera, focussing is best done stepped down i.e open the lens up to the smallest Aperture value, half hold the shutter button and manually focus the lens until you get the focus confirmation light/bleep, the lens is now focussed. Manually select the aperture required (on the lens) and shoot, the camera will take care of shutter speed required for the exposure. Multiple exposure etc. all as before but remember to manually focus and set the required aperture.

So a couple of quick shots in the garden all handheld, I’m sure on a tripod with timed release these could be improved on.

Straight out of camera
24mm @ f/2.8
ISO 200
1/125 sec


Straight out of camera
50mm @ f/1.8
ISO 200
1/250 sec


So IMO this opens up fantastic lens portfolio that is very modestly priced, there are some stunning “L” series FD mount lenses out there, even a 7.5mm Fisheye that I am on the lookout for


Thanks to Eddie Houston for the images and information on FD-EF adaptors, check out his website at

Many people visiting the site will know my name Eddie Houston, more synonymous with Rock Groups, and guitars, having built up a successful career in the music industry playing with many famous bands including Thin Lizzy, Creed, Pilot and many more. Previous to this I worked with Canon as a Technical Manager repairing and overseeing the running of both a photographic department, and photocopier repairs.


#1Keiren MacJune 23, 2011, 10:14 pm

Where did you acquire your FD/EOS adapter?? (Brands?)

I have been on the look out for one since I have a bunch of FD lenses, but the last one I bought did not work, and now I don’t want to rip myself of again 😛

#2Toby MadrigalOctober 21, 2013, 3:44 pm

The Canon ‘breechlock’ lenses are very well made, have superb performance and are very reasonably priced. The bodies these were designed to be used on are also very reliable. The metering systems of the FT/FTb/F1 still work 40 years down the line, unlike the Nikon F/F2/Nikkormats. Best combination is a Canon F1 or F1n and 24 f2.8/28 f2.8/35 f2/50 f1.8/35-70 f2.8-3.5. These lenses should have the chrome mounting ring and the primes should have the 55mm filter thread. The bodies take the 1.35v mercury cell, however, the 1.5v PX625 works fine and gives half a stop underexposure. Shooting E6? make no adjstment. Otherwise, just adjust the film speed slightly, and always have a spare cell and a coin the open up the battery chamber.

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