FD Resources - Super Telephoto lenses
The World of the 1200mm
This lens used to be Canon's longest and most powerful super telephoto long before the introductions of the limited edition New FD 1200mm f/8 (w/built-in teleconverter) and the made-to-order autofocus version, the EF 1200mm f5.6L USM. It has a magnification 24 times that of a 50mm lens and can fill the 35mm frame with an area that is only 1/576th the size of the area covered by the standard lens. The 1200mm is a lens that can reach out and photograph a subject you can barely see with the unaided eye - if you can see it at all. Some spectacular images have been made with the 1200mm. One that is quite common is that of the setting sun. The sun fills an area up to 12mm in the 35mm frame, about half the width of the film. The same shot made with a 50mm lens would show the sun as a small, bright highlight.
Not only can the 1200mm lens reach out over extensive distances for its images, it can compresses perspective to an almost fantastic degree. Foreground and background are compressed into each other so that it is almost impossible to see that, in reality, they exist in separate planes. This is the lens for photographing a group of lions in their natural environment, a bird in flight, a ship far offshore or taking dramatic scenes of cities or landscapes. As a lens that records objects almost beyond one's sight, it certainly can create a startling view of the world around the photographer.
FL 1200mm f/11 Lens
This lens has the longest focal length using a refractive system. It produces an image 24X the size of that taken with a 50mm standard lens. Composed of two separate units, the focusing unit mounts directly on the camera and the lens unit attaches to the front of the focusing unit. Considering its extreme. magnification and reach, its portability and handling remain excellent.
Chromatic aberration and curvature of field are sufficiently corrected for high resolution and sharpness. A rack and pinion focusing system and a focus lock are employed.
Although the 1200mm is capable of tremendous magnification, everything else it does is also executed in a large way. For example, one tripod won't do very well with the 1200mm telephoto. It requires two for absolutely sharp images. Without that kind of support, chances are that you won't even be able to focus accurately. The slightest movement affects the viewfinder image and any shake you see in the finder is going to end up further magnified on film.
The size and magnification ratio of this lens will dictate the shooting location in most instances. With the 1200mm, depth- of-field is extremely shallow. Utilizing the tremendous compression effect is best achieved by shooting at the longest possible camera-to-subject distance for the maximum zone of sharpness. Otherwise, it will be difficult to keep objects at different distances from the lens in acceptable focus. The 1200mm is not an easy lens to use. But when it's the only way to get the shot, there is immense satisfaction in successfully putting its potential to work. The joy of having a picture turn out the way you saw it - the way you planned it - makes all the effort involved worthwhile.
Focal length: 1200mm
Aperture Ratio: 1 :11
Lens Construction: 5 groups, 7 elements (including a 1-group, 2-element in the focusing unit)
Coating: S.S.C (super spectra coating)
Angles of view: Diagonal: 2° 05'; Vertical: 1°10'; Horizontal: 1°40'
Distance scale: (m) 40 (magnification 0.04X) to 300 OO ((ft) 130 to 1000 OO)
Focusing: Rack and pinion type by focusing unit, with lock
Minimum aperture: f/64
Aperture type: Manual
Filter type: Focusing unit filter holder drop-in type, with Regular 1X filter
Hood: Built-in type
Tripod holder: Built-in type
Length x max. diameter: 567.5mm x 126mm
Focusing unit length x max. diameter: 285.5mm x 108mm
When focusing unit is attached: Length: 853mm
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