Canon FD Resources - Telephoto lenses
New FD 300mm f/2.8
L, New FD 300mm f/4.0L ,
New FD 300mm f/4.0, New FD 300mm f/5.6

 

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One of the aspects responsible for the rising popularity of 35mm SLR photography is due to the rangefinder camera's limited ability to focus long lenses - 135mm is the longest focal length for any rangefinder model. The single lens reflex camera revolutionized the world of telephoto lens usage. With the SLR, there is virtually no limit to focal length usage.

The 300mm is one of the most popular focal lengths with professional and serious amateurs. It provides tremendous image magnification but is still comparatively small (other than the biggie of the f2.8 version) and lightweight, making it easy to handle. In addition, the 300mm focuses close enough to be an extremely flexible lens, With the New FD 300mm f/2.8L and f/5.6, you can focus from as close as 3 meters (10 ft.).

The 300mm has about 1/6th the angle of view of a 50mm normal lens - about 8°. It takes 1/36th of the area covered by a 50mm to fill the 35mm frame. Viewed from another angle, taking a tiny 4x6mm section of a 35mm negative made with a 50mm lens and enlarging it to full frame equals the coverage of the 300mm. Thus, at the 10 feet minimum shooting distance of the 300mm f/2.8L and f/5.6, the frame is filled with only 1/3rd the body of an average adult. For an overall view you would have to step back to about 14 meters (46 ft.).

The effect of compressed perspective and shallow depth-of-field is even greater with the 300mm compared with shorter focal length of telephoto lenses. This adds to your ability to control the appearance of the final image. The 300mm is a good choice for sports, nature, news and even fashion photography. Compared with a wide-angle lens that covers a tremendous-subject area, the 300mm lens reaches out to magnify the subject and at the same time eliminates distracting elements in the photograph.

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Things to note when using such long focal length lenses are, as the 300mm lens magnifies the image, it also magnifies camera movement which is probably responsible for ruining many potentially great images. Fortunately, camera shake can be prevented with just a little care. There's no doubt that with practice most photographers can learn to successfully hand-hold the 300mm lens.

Pix: © 1999, Vincent Thian, an AP photographer. (The Associated Press)


If you have a choice between shutter speeds and apertures, other than you want to use the optical characteristic of the long telephoto lens to compress perspective (distances between two objects seem to be closer than they really are) with smaller apertures, always select fast shutter speeds (one of the reason you need the 300mm because you want the 'reach' that most shorter ones cannot provide, right ?). The rule of thumb is to use a shutter speed about equal to or faster than the reciprocal of the focal length of the lens in use. In the case of the 300mm, this means 1/250 second or faster is recommended to avoid camera movement. Such high shutter speeds will most likely result in the use of correspondingly large apertures; depth of field, normally shallow, becomes still shallower. Thus, careful consideration should be given to focusing with telephoto lenses.

Basically, those who have vast experiences in using focal lengths above 300mm can easily tell you what the main problem could be (other than the weight), it is the working shutter speed. If you must shoot at slower shutter speeds in order to provide proper support, hold the camera with your right hand and support the lens with your left hand. If possible, brace your body against anything that can enable you in stabilizing yourself - a wall, a window frame or a tree. Also, you may find that the use of high speed color or black-and-white film is preferable with a 300mm lens. Even in moderate light levels, ISO 400 film lets you shoot at relatively small apertures and fast shutter speeds. All of Canon's 300mm lenses, taking their maximum apertures into consideration, are reasonably small and lightweight - making handheld shooting easier.

At one time it was automatically accepted by designers that there had to be 300 millimeters between the lens and the focal plane in a 300mm lens design. Part of this length is the width of the camera body itself. The lens mount also accounts for part of the overall size. The distance from the lens mount surface to the focal plane is called the flange back. On a Canon SLR this distance is 42mm. Subtracting 42mm from 300mm means that a 300mm lens normally would be 258mm long. As you can see from the table, all Canon 300mm lenses are shorter than 258mm thereby increasing handling ease. The FD 300mm f/5.6 is some 19.8 percent shorter than previously considered possible. The telephoto ratio in the table is the overall length of the lens in relation to its focal length. The smaller the ratio, the smaller the lens.

300mm F5.6.jpg 300mmf2.8.jpg
Older Version: FD 300mm f2.8 S.S.C FLUORITE (updated); FD 300mm f5.6 S.S.C FLUORITE and FD 300mm f5.6 S.C

First Canon lens that was incorporated with a fluorite glass element was the FL-F 300mm f5.6 FLUORITE in March, 1969. The early days of the FD mount only has the 300mm f5.6 S.C. lens and it was followed with both the f5.6 and high speed f2.8 Fluorite (along with the 500mm f4.5 Fluorite). These three lenses with the Fluorite elements were still 'dressed' in black with a Green Lining instead of the more familiar red lined gray exterior used in today's high performances Canon FD and EF lenses.

Click Here to the dedicated pages for some of the older versions of the FD 300mm telephoto lenses.


Canon's Fluorite and UD Lenses


Within the focal length of Canon 300mm lenses, there are two that are classified as ultra high-performance lenses, including one with a fluorite element as well as UD glass and the other with " UD " (Ultra-Low Dispersion" or called "ED" (Extra-Low Dispersion) or "SD" (Super-Low dispersions by many other optical glass manufacturers) glass. Both types provide images unusually free from chromatic aberration that often affects the performance of long focal length lenses.

To understand the difference between the fluorite and UD elements and conventional lenses, let's recall what happens when light passes through a prism and is split into seven colors. The difference in the refraction index results in dispersion of the various wavelengths as light passes through a lens. As previously discussed in this book, this is called "chromatic aberration ". In practical terms it adds up to loss of image sharpness. Designers solve this problem of chromatic aberration by using various types of glass. The glass has to be made to extremely critical refractive indexes while also having low dispersion. Using conventional optical glass, designers can correct chromatic aberration only to a certain extent. There remains a residual color error called the secondary spectrum. With optical glass, this secondary spectrum cannot be reduced beyond 0.002mm times the focal length. Thus, secondary spectrum becomes a serious problem as focal length increases.

Lens designers are constantly at work to produce raw materials and new designs resulting in optical glass with lower refractive indexes and abnormally low dispersion. "Artificially" grown fluorite crystals derived from calcium fluoride are an outgrowth of Canon research. Canon was the first lens manufacturer to eliminate secondary spectrum by employing this element in the FD 300mm f/2.8
L and FD 300mm f/4.0L lenses.

Comparative Chart

300mm

Overall Length
(A)

Flange Back
(B)

A+B

Focal Length
(C)

Telephoto Ratio (A/C)

f2.8L

245mm

42mm

287mm

300mm

0.817

f4.0 L

207mm

42mm

249mm

300mm

0.690

f4.0

204mm

42mm

246mm

300mm

0.680

f5.6

198.5mm

42mm

240.5mm

300mm

0.662

But fluorite is extremely expensive because of the technology, equipment and long production time it takes to make large art)artificial crystals.

This led to the development of UD glass. Refraction and dispersion tests show that two sheets of UD glass are capable of equaling the performance attained with one sheet of fluorite. Fluorite and UD glass are both used in the FD 300mm f/2.8L. UD glass is used for the FD 300mm f/4L.



300mmf28view.jpg (12k)
New FD 300mm f/2.8L Lens There were two versions of this FD 300mm f2.8 lens. The older type which used the chrome mount ring, utilized fluorite elements. This is the latest (left) design which used the new mounting system and utilized both UD glass and fluorite crystals, artificially grown to suitable sizes (for use in photographic lenses), to minimize secondary spectrum aberrations.

Rear-group focusing means that the overall length of the lens does not change during focusing. Closest focusing distance has also been reduced to three meters, and a one touch revolving mechanism facilitates changing to vertical format when using a tripod. An extension hood is available, in addition to a built-in hood. A Vari-pitch cam to help focusing is also included.

Specification:

Focal length: 300mm
Aperture ratio: 1:2.8
L
Lens construction: 7 groups, 9 elements (including l protective glass, 1 UD glass (Lens element illustrated in light Green) and 1 fluorite (Element illustrated in dark blue)

Coating: S.S.C (super spectra coating)
Angle of view: Diagonal: 8°15 Vertical: 4°35' Horizontal: 6°50'Distance Scale: (m) 3 (photographic magnification 0.11X) to 50 (ft) 10 to 200.oo. Preset focus mechanism
Focusing: Rear-group focusing
Minimum aperture: f/32 .A
Diaphragm: Automatic
Filter Type. Rear section filter holder drop-in type (with 48mm exclusive filter Regular 1 X)
Hood: Built-in type Extension hood can be attached
Tripod holder: Built-in type
Cap: Bag Type
Function: Auto Aperture, Full aperture metering (AE operation when used with ALL Canon automatic SLR cameras.
Length x max. diameter: 245mm x 127mm
Weight: 2,310g



FD 300mm f4.0 lens.jpg
New FD 300mm f/4L Lens

One of the best options among the few alternatives within the 300mm focal length. Two ultra low-dispersion glass elements used in this lens correct chromatic aberration and substantially reduce the secondary spectrum.

Rear group focusing and Vari-pitch cam systems are used to perfect focusing accuracy and simplify handling. The overall length of the lens does not change as you focus - attribute to the rear group focusing design. A good lens ideal for sports, news, fashion, travel and documentary work etc.

300mmf4loptic.jpg
Specification:

Focal length: 300mm
Aperture ratio: 1:4.0
L
Lens construction: 7 groups, 7 elements (including 2 ultra low-dispersion glasses - Lens element illustrated in light Green)

FD300mmf4Lbsml.jpg FD300mmf4Lasml.jpg FD300mmf4Lcsml.jpg

CLICK for a
LARGER view - NOTE the rear section of the mounting ring.

Credit: Images courtesy of Mr. Claudio®. who is a collector for Canon photo gear, he also has an Ebay Section as well as maintaining a website on his own where occasionally trading some photo equipment. Image(s) copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

FD300mmf4Lh.jpg
Coating: S.S.C (super spectra coating)
Angle of view: Diagonal: 8°15 Vertical: 4°35' Horizontal: 6°50'
Distance Scale: (m) 3 (photographic magnification 0.11X) to 50 (ft) 10 to 200.oo.
Focusing: Rear-group focusing
Minimum aperture: f/32 .A
Diaphragm: Automatic
Filter Type. Rear section filter holder, drop-in type (with 34mm exclusive filter, Regular 1 X )
Hood: Built-in type
Cap: C-84

The rear section may suggest this lense is an earlier version.

Function: Auto Aperture, Full aperture metering (AE operation when used with ALL Canon automatic SLR cameras.
Tripod holder: Detachable
Length x max. diameter: 207mm x 85mm
Weight: 1,060g
FD300mmf4Lf.jpg FD300mmf4Le.jpg FD300mmf4Ld.jpg  
       
Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Claudio®. who is a collector for Canon photo gear, he also has an Ebay Section as well as maintaining a website on his own where occasionally trading some photo equipment. Image(s) copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.



New FD 300mm f/4 Lens

Yes, this is another 300mm f4 but comes without the luxury of using rare earth glass in its optical formula. It is lightweight as compared with the bigger brothers. Select glasses of low and high refractive indices, used in the rear group's convex fifth and concave sixth elements respectively, equalize to correct field curvature.
Canon FDn 300mm f/4.0 Telephoto (newer)
Canon FDn 300mm f/4.0 telephoto lens

Someone told me there is a helicod and an IF version, not sure if this is true.

This lens, too, used the Rear-group and Vari-pitch cam focusing systems enabling precise and smooth focusing. The closest shooting distance of 3 meters is the shortest among the 300mm focal length lenses. Cheaper in price was also one of its main attraction.

300mmf4optic.jpg
Specification:

Focal length: 300mm Aperture ratio: 1:4.0
Lens construction: 6 groups, 6 elements

Coating: S.S.C (super spectra coating)
Angle of view: Diagonal: 8°15 Vertical: 4°35' Horizontal: 6°50'
Distance Scale: (m) 3 (photographic magnification 0.11X) to 50 (ft) 10 to 200.oo.
Focusing: Rear-group focusing
Minimum aperture: f/32 .A Diaphragm: Automatic
Canon FDn 300mm f/4.0 Telephoto
Filter Type. Rear section filter holder, drop-in type (with 34mm exclusive filter, Regular 1 X )
Hood: Built-in type
Cap: C-84

Function: Auto Aperture, Full aperture metering (AE operation when used with ALL Canon automatic SLR cameras.
Tripod holder: Detachable Length x max. diameter: 204mm x 85mm Weight: 945g




New FD
300mm f/5.6 Lens

A small-size but also the cheapest in its class with an overall length of less than 200mm and weighing only 635 grams. The diameter of the lens barrel is narrow due to the lens' moderate f/5.6 speed making it less desirable for high speed action photography.

FDn300mmf56c.jpg
Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Claudio®. who is a collector for Canon photo gear, he also has an Ebay Section as well as maintaining a website on his own where occasionally trading some photo equipment. Image(s) copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

FDn300mmf56b.jpg FDn300mmf56e.jpg FDn300mmf56d.jpg
Positive and negative elements are arranged to minimize the various aberrations with stress placed on controlling curvature of field. The use of Rear-group focusing system, closest focusing distance is decreased to 3 meters, and focusing is smooth and light.

Canon FD 300mm f/5.6 older S.S.C. version

300mmf56optic.jpg
Specificatios:
Focal length: 300mm
Aperture ratio: 1:5.6
Lens construction: 5 groups, 6 elements

Coating: S.S.C (super spectra coating)
Angle of view: Diagonal: 8°15 Vertical: 4°35' Horizontal: 6°50'
Distance Scale: (m) 3 (photographic magnification 0.11X) to 50 (ft) 10 to 200.oo.
Focusing: Rear-group focusing
Minimum aperture: f/32 .A
Diaphragm: Automatic
Filter size. 58mm
Hood: Built-in type
Function: Auto Aperture, Full aperture metering (AE operation when used with ALL Canon automatic SLR cameras.
Length x max. diameter: 198.5mm x 65mm
Weight: 635g


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Site Maintainance Editors: Kaipin, Terry Carraway, Gerry, Winston, Tom & IRwin (Dr Strangelove); Credit: Richard Yeow, general manager of Canon Marketing for his continual support; Mr. Philip Chong, who volunteered to be a Maintainer of this site; Mr. Vincent Thian, an AP (Associated Press) photographer for contributing some of the great images appeared in this site; Mr CYLeow, photo-editor of The Star newspaper for some of his images used; my nephew EEWynFoo for helping so much of the tedious scanning works. And TO ALL THE CANON GURUS: Thank you for helping so much with the input of so much of invaluable information at the various Canon Message Boards. Site created 'unfortunately again with a PowerMac.