Canon FD Resources - Super Telephoto lenses
New FD 400mm f/2.8
L & New FD 400mm f/4.5

 

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The FD 400mm f4.5 S.S.C. was introduced in October 1975. It was Canon's first lens to feature the Rear-group focusing system. With conventional helicoid lenses, close focusing entails moving the lens barrel forward. But this original lens was incorporated with an exclusive optical design that came with a '"new" rear focusing method.

This internal focusing system will only make the rear group of elements moving during focusing - slowly for distant shot while swift for close ups. The rear focusing method proved to be very effective, other than making lenses with such mechanism more compact in size and lighter in weight. Many subsequent Canon lenses are employed with similar mechanisms on their optical designs.

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Up to the stage when the FD System was replaced with the autofocus EF system, there were two lenses at this focal length - a fast speed demon at f2.8 and a moderate speed of f4.5. Each came with a different optical formula, size, weight, appearance and of course, price to satisfy individual need.


Canon's Focusing System for Super Telephotos

With conventionally designed telephoto lenses, as the distance between camera and subject decreases, the length of the lens increases. If nothing else, it tends to make camera and lens decidedly front heavy.

Canon has solved this problem with its Rear-group focusing design. When you turn the focusing ring on virtually any Canon super telephoto lens, only the lens component in the rear lens group moves inside the lens barrel and there is no shifting of the whole optical system.

The lens length stays the same even at close focusing distances, and aside from the outstanding balance, the focusing ring can be turned with unusual ease. In fact, the very first Canon lens to incorporate Rear-group focusing was the FD 400mm f/4.5 mentioned above. After that, all the FD lenses having focal lengths of 200mm and above, have this feature. The New FD 400mm f/4.5, New FD 400mm f/2.8L and other telephoto lenses such as the FD 200mm f/4 and FD 500mm f/4.5 L lenses are among these lenses.



Canon FDn 40mm f/2.8L supertelephoto
Canon FDN 400mm f/2.8L Lens

The world's fastest 400mm lens. One of the many prime factors why professional photographers have considered Canon to be the ultimate sports SLR camera system. This lens features the widest aperture of any 400mm focal length lens made then.

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The use of 2 elements of UD glass to minimize secondary spectrum. Rear-group focusing eliminates any change in the overall length of the barrel during focus, and the employment of Vari-pitch cam focusing system slows down focusing motion at longer distances.

Occasions or events that may prevent a photographer from getting too close are some examples where the use of a super telephoto lens is necessary. Such situations may even prohibits the use of flash as well. High speed long telephoto lenses like the New FD 400mm f/2.8L , are indeed an advantage for those assignments.

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<<< The Crown Prince of Brunei being conferred officially.

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Features such as the one-touch revolving mechanism and a provision to facilitate prefocusing on an area where the subject may appear, combined with the lens' overall dimension and relative high speed (naturally at the expense of its weight as well - which tipped the scale at 5.3 kg!) make it a strong considerations for sports, news or nature photography. As far as this focal length is concerned, Canon has not been challenged by any other manufacturer in terms of lens speed until late 1989 when Nikon finally launched its manual focus Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 IF-ED, which to me, was a bit silly since they already have a couple of AF cameras by then, including the much-hyped Nikon F4 pro model.

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Specification:

Focal length: 400mm
Aperture ratio: 1:2.8
L
Lens construction: 8 groups 10 elements (including 2 protective glasses and 2 UD glasses - lens elements illustrated in light green color at left)

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Coating: S.S.C (super spectra coating)
Angle of view: Diagonal: 6°10' Vertical: 3°30' Horizontal: 5°10'
Distance Scale: (m) 4 (photographic magnification 0.12X) to 50 (ft) 18 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 1X)
Hood: Built-in type. Extension hood can be attached
Tripod holder: Built-in type
Cap: Bag Type (CF-2-0634)
Function: Auto Aperture, Full aperture metering (AE operation when used with ALL Canon automatic SLR cameras.
Length x max. diameter: 348.mm x 166mm
Weight: 5,395g



New FD 400mm f/4.5 Lens

For a lens with a focal length of 400mm, this lens has a fast aperture for low-light capability. Yet the lens barrel at the focusing section is narrow and this telephoto lens, designed with emphasis on operational ease and portability than the biggie f2.8 version.Ideal balance of the lens and appropriate selection of glasses, including low-dispersion glass (but it is not classified as Canon's famous 'L' series lens) to curb chromatic aberrations.
Canon 400mm telephoto FDN Mount

Smaller minimum apertures provided are convenient for depth-of-field control since this lens has a minimum aperture of f/32. It uses Canon Vari-pitch cam focusing system, focusing on distant subjects can be done with slower motion to facilitate precise focusing at longer distances. Another noticeable advantage is its close minimum focusing distance of 4m which has increased the versatility of this lens enormously.

400mmf56optic.jpg
Specification:

Focal length: 400mm
Aperture ratio: 1:4.5
Lens construction: 8 groups, 6 elements

Canon 400mm f5.6 telephoto Canon 400mm f5.6 telephoto SETUP

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Coating: S.S.C (super spectra coating)
Angle of view: Diagonal: 6°10' Vertical: 3°30' Horizontal: 5°10'Distance Scale: ((m) 4 (photographic magnification 0.11X) to 50 (ft) 18 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 1X)
Hood: Built-in type. Optional Extension Hood (EH-98) can be attached
Tripod holder: Detachable
Cap: Bag Type (CF2-0639)
Function: Auto Aperture, Full aperture metering (AE operation when used with ALL Canon automatic SLR cameras.
Length x max. diameter: 287.5mm x 102mm
Weight: 1,280g

UPDATE: - From : Greg Volan (gvolan@mac.com)

" .. Thank you for posting the helpful information about Canon FD tele-extenders. As I read the pages, I observed the statement that the FD 1.4X-A extender can be used with ALL FD lenses 300mm or greater. Unfortunately, because it would be a useful combination, the 1.4X-A will not work with the FD 400mm f4.5 lens. The lens has a masking plate at its rear which prevents the protruding lens system of the extender from being mounted. I hope this comment will be helpful to some"... . Regards, Greg

UPDATE 2: Robert Glenn Middleton (the_redd_groyne@hotmail.co.uk)

"... If you read the Canon instruction leaflet for the FD 1.4X extender, you will see that the 400/f4.5 lens is not the only FD lens that this extender will not fit, due to the rear rectangular baffle plate. However, the 400/f4.5 is the only lens that Canon state cannot be modified by removing the said baffle. They offered a modification service for the other lenses, especially the L series. I seem to recall that the baffle on the 800mm L series was easy to remove. For anybody interested, Christian Rollinger's Canon FD site contains the aforesaid instruction leaflet
...".

Click Here to the dedicated pages for older version of the 400mm FD telephoto lenses

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