Canon FD Lens 200mm F/4

I've received several comments and emails about how well these FD lenses actually work. For those who are chasing that DOF look, old vintage lenses can get you there on a budget. You'll often hear that these lenses aren't as sharp as digital EF mounts, but that's going about it all wrong. Sure they aren't uber sharp, but with moving pictures it can provide a more classic Cinema feel than overly sharp lenses. Many of these lenses can give you this certain artistic look starting at only $20 dollars. I think the best comment left on this blog was 'Take them for what they are'. They can really blow out a background, especially this 200mm prime lens at F/4. Sure you can find lenses at F/1.2 but you have to also factor lens distance, subject focal distance, and background distance from subject. Get the right combination, and F/4 can provide a really nice blurred look to that background. Keep in mind too that the 60D with this FD adapter turns this 200mm into a crazy focal length of 320mm+ at F/4.


There's a few things I could have done better in this. My white balance was set to Auto, and perhaps if I set it correctly it could have warmed things up. I didn't have an ND filter on so the shutter speed was a bit high. I could have thrown a reflector on the subject to get more balanced lighting under the hat, and a scrim to shade the hot spot. I was also just using the preset Picture style for Portrait on the 60D. I possibly could have shot it in a more flat style and edited in post, but I wanted to show how well the image can be straight from the camera. So hopefully this sample will give you guys an idea of some types of footage that can be achieved. You can find the adapter i'm using back at this article:

Click Image for FD Adapter

19 thoughts on “Canon FD Lens 200mm F/4

  1. Helge

    Poppycock! It’s every bit as sharp as a modern lens, of similar speck and size.
    I don’t see how you could be complaining in 2010 with a 18MP camera.

  2. So, why not get say a 70-200 or a 80-200 F4, so you have a more usable short end too with any crop factor 1.6x or 2x say with the 60d or the GH cameras? I see plenty of used ones on Ebay, Adorama, etc for $75-150.

  3. terry_mickie

    Paul, the confirmation strip helps with critical focus. If you can see it's focused with your naked eye you're good. I don't have the confirmation chip either nor do I need it.

  4. Paul

    So just picked up two great M42 screw mount lens for my 60D- a mid 70's Vivitar 200mm prime and another mid 70's Vivitar 28mm 2.5 prime. solid metal and clean as a whistle, I got to try them out on the sellers 7d and they look amazing. Nothing funky about these old lens, they just look fantastic. but now I need adapters and since I ONLY shoot video- do I really need the adapters with the "Confirmation strip" ? He didn't have it. confused.

  5. Emm

    Post author

    @Tracy - Remember that the focal length multiplies, so you wont get a super wide. Depending on the adapters used, you have to adjust F-Stop. I like long lenses because of the Bokeh it gives.

  6. tracy

    I see some FD lenses that have a range of 70mm to 200mm. Do you avoid those and try and get one without the zoom? I hope I phrased this correctly. Also is it worth going for a wide FD in the 28mm range or just buying new?

    Thanks for your advice. I have purchased a few items now all with your help and through your links. I hope that helps the site.

  7. Emm

    Post author

    @iKenj - keep in mind these are specialty lenses that lack autofocus and other fancy stuff on dslr's. That doesn't sound like a bad deal, but each lens in combination with different adapters on different cameras will yield different results. I'll do another test with a different FD lens soon.

  8. I actually just purchased that lens off eBay the other day, excited to test it out now. Haven't received it yet but I'll post footage from it once I do.

    I did pick up a 28mm 2.8f FD lens off eBay and posted a quick test clip that I shot with my 60D:

  9. Quick

    What about the Samyang/Rokinon/Vivitar lenses? There are new, manual focusing and doesn't need any adapter. There're quite cheap too.

    Could you write a post about it?

  10. john

    i wonder if you ever have the chance you can suggest and maybe compare some mount adapters, i still havent found website that compares/suggests brand name mounts to eBay adapter mounts. are some significantly thinner or thicker, thus amplifying the crop factor? are there some with quality optics that are affordable or are the empty rings the way to go? what are the advantages & disadvantages to a metal ring versus one with optics. if this info is available at another site or blog and anyone can point me in that direction i would really appreciate it. the few i got off of ebay that either wont hold the lens, wont engage the aperture or get stuck. also interested in not only FD on EOS, but nikon and other brands on EOS. thanks!

  11. Emm

    Post author

    @Chung Dha - I specifically chose the 200mm F/4, but FD to EOS is not limited to F/4. There are F/1.2 versions of the FD if you want to consider low light and there are Wide lenses available too. But yes the point of the article was to show how old lenses can be used. Other lenses would be the FL mount, M42, Nikon, and several others. All great lenses for cheap if you want that DOF look.

  12. Only bad thing with the FD to EOS is mostly if you want to do low light filming its pretty horrible also with 200mm you have to stand very far for a full body shot. Should go for m42 lenses which can also fit on full frames, I have a nice collection of lenses build up at the moment.

  13. spaceflows

    Thanks for the test, Emm! You have restored my faith in the FD to EOS saga. There are some insane lenses available, like a 500mm f/8. That's around 800mm on the 60D! "I can see my house from here!"

  14. Emm

    Post author

    @Andrew - I actually have a glass lens in mine, and that's the look I get from it. I heard it can affect certain ranges like super close up Macro won't work. I mainly go for the portrait lenses that blur out the background and the glass adapters seem to work fine with that.

  15. Andrew Wood

    Sorry, that should have read

    "Some of the inexpensive FD-EOS adapters have some cheap'n'nasty lenses in them."

  16. Andrew Wood

    How much do you think the arty look is due to the lens, and how much is due to the effects of the adapter?

    Some of the cheap FD-EOS adapters have some

    PS Thanks for the heads-up on The Lens Doctor's website.

  17. Neil

    Its a nice look. Have you tried any of the Pentax SMC Takumar lenses? I highly recommend the 50mm f/1.4 - I also have the f/3.5 135mm which is awesome (not to mention cheaply acquired!).

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