Canon FD Resources - Macro lenses
New FD Macro 50mm f/3.5


If you have been using a macro lens of 100 or 200mm focal length, this lens may present some inconvenience because you have to work in real close to achive similar degree of magnification ratio.

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But on the other hand, this could also be a sole lens that both acts as a fine all rounder standard lens and also as a specialise lens with extreme close up capability, that should provide you with the kind of of versatility that is hard to match with any other lens within its class.

NOTE:- Info on the NEWER autofocus version

Without the addition of close-up lenses, extension tubes or a bellows, a normal FD 50mm f/1.4 lens may have problem be focused closer than about 45cm (18 in.). At that distance you can record an object measuring 160mm x 240mm (6-/2 x 9-/2 in.) on the film's 24mm x 36mm image area at a magnification of 0.15X.

Canon FDN Macro lens
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.

Adding a bellows, extension tubes or a close-up lens allows closer focusing and greater magnifications. But even with those accessories, the images may be less than satisfactory because the normal lens is not designed for extreme close-up work. A macro-photo coupler is also designed to allow you to reverse a lens for better results. However, this accessory works only with certain retrofocus lenses and lenses of symmetrical design. The standard lens is not designed to provide the flatness of field required for exact reproduction.

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The world through a macro lens is exciting and for many photographers a never-ending fascination. Common objects suddenly takes on form and texture that would be impossible to detect without the macro lens.

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The inside of a flower proves to be unbelievably intricate. Photographs of insects reveal marvelous detail, and a polished metal surface shows lustrous patterns. The need for a 50mm lens that would work for extreme close-ups and photo-macrography as well as normal photography may be solved with the Canon FD 50mm f/3.5 Macro lens. This is a lens that has aberrations specially corrected for extreme close-up work. The lens focuses all the way from infinity to as close as 23.2cm (9.1 in.) without additional attachments providing 0.5X (1:2 reproduction ratio). It will fill the 35mm frame with a subject only 48mm x 72mm (1.92 x 2.88 in.). By adding extension tubes or a bellows you can even focus close enough to shoot at 1:1 magnification or as high as 3:1. At 1:1 the image is life-size, that is, the size of the object on film is equal to the object's actual size. Entering the world of photo-macrography at 1X, this range extends up to 20X. Beyond that is photomicrography which is accomplished using a microscope and an adapter.

Canon FD 50mm f/3.5 lens Front Canon FD 50mm f/3.5 lens Rear
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.

Things to note when operating this lens or with macro photography in general are: at close focusing distances depth of field is very shallow hence careful focusing is important. Magnifying the image also means magnifying any errors in focusing or movement. The shorter the distance from the camera to the subject, the shallower the depth of field and may demand more light reaching the film and thus exposure compensation is required (The exposure reading will automatically compensate that durng the contineous metering process - but you may sense the shutter speed indicator will drop significantly the closer it goes). Finding the exact point of sharpness is essential (Depth of field is always greater infront rather than behind at the plane of sharpness). For those SLR bodies that permits interchangebility of focusing screens, experiment if possible with a variety of screens to find the one that works best for you. Recommended Canon focusing screens for close-up photography include the C and H screens, and the I screen which is designed for extremely high magnifications.( Among all Canon SLR bodies, the Canon's A-1(1978), AE-1 Program (1981), the mighty T90 (1986) and the professsional class New F-1 (1982) bodies have such provision).

One way to assure accurate focus is to stop down the lens as much as possible, taking advantage of the maximum depth of field. However, as magnification increases the effective aperture of the lens decreases. At f/5.6 and 1X magnification, for example, less light reaches the film than at normal shooting distances; how much less depends on magnification. Your SLR's through-the-lens metering system automatically compensates for this effective aperture change. But you may have to use slow shutter speeds for good exposure. A tripod and cable release are invaluable aids in general close-up shooting because hand-holding the camera at slow shutter speeds leads to undesired camera movement.

God send ... Some useful resources/manual prepared by Christian Rollinger:

Canon FD lens catalogue (1984)
Canon FDn Zoom lens catalogue (1982)
Canon FD 50mm f/3.5 MACRO
Canon FD 100mm MACRO (1979)
Canon FDn lenses catalogue (1981/2)
Canon FD 1,4X Extender (1982)
Canon FD 2A/2B Extender (1980)
Canon Macrophoto Adaptor Manual (1980)
Canon FD Extension Tube M Manual
Canon Auto Bellow Unit Manual
Canon Lens Works (1986)
Canon T90 Sales Catalogue
Canon FDn lens catalogue (1971)
Canon Macro Photography Guide
Canon Slide Duplicator Manual (1983)
Canon Angle Finder User's Manual
Other than its close focusing capability, the FD Macro 50mm lens is also designed for shooting at conventional focusing distances. An extra long helicoid makes the tremendous focusing range of the 50mm Macro possible. Use it as you would any normal lens, focusing from 18 inches to infinity. In addition to its close-up and copy work capabilities, the 50mm Macro is a great lens for all function and applications.

New FD 50mm f/3.5 Macro Lens

With this lens alone, focusing from 0.23m (one-half life-size) to infinity for general photography is possible. High resolution and high contrast characteristics make this an extremely useful lens. With the same angle of view as the standard 50mm lens, this lens offers the added advantage of close-up photography.

Attachment of the specially designed Extension Tube FD 25-U increases the versatility of the lens, decreasing closest focusing distance shooting down to 0.205m allowing magnification from 0.5X to life-size. Use of extension tubes, bellows and other accessories designed especially for closeup photography will permit even greater magnification.

Canon FDn 50mm f/3.5 MACRO side Canon FDn 50mm f/3.5 MACRO Rear

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.


Focal length: 50mm
Aperture ratio: 1:3.5
Construction: 4 groups, 6 elements

Coating: S.S.C. (super spectra coating)
Angle of view: Diagonal: 46° Vertical: 27° Horizontal: 40°
Diatance scale: (m) 0.23 (magnification 0.5X) to 3.
OO (ft) 0.31 to 10.OO
Focusing mechanism: Helicoid
Magnification: 0.5X for lens used alone, 0.5-1.0X with Extension Tube FD25-U (0.21m)
Minimum aperture: f/32.A
Diaphragm: Automatic
Filter size: 52mm
Hood: BW-52A
Cap: C-52 (CG2-0070)
Function: Auto Aperture, Full aperture metering (AE operation when used with ALL Canon automatic SLR cameras.
Length x max. diameter: 57mm x 63mm
Weight: 235g

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Older Version: Canon Macro Lens FD 50mm f/3.5 S.S.C. and Canon Macro Lens FD 100mm f/4 S.C.

Prior to the availableity of the FD Macro 200mm f4.0 lens, there were only two macro lenses at 50mm and 100mm (joined by two macro photo lenses at 35mm and 20mm later). Click Here to the dedicated page for more info. Up to 1976, the 50mm f3.5 was a S.S.C. while the 104mm f4.0 with only Spectral Coating. There were no further upgrades for these two lenses before the FDn versions became available

efmacro50.jpg LifeExt.jpg
Current autofocus version: EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro

Technical Highlights: A compact macro lens for close-up shots up to 0.5x (1/2 life-size) magnification. Floating element construction for both close-up photography and general shooting. With a f/2.5 maximum aperture and when couple to use with the 4-element, 3-group Life-Size Converter EF macro shooting from 0.26X to 1X (life-size) is possible

Quick data for cross reference: Focal length and maximum aperture: 50mm f/2.5; Lens construction: 8 elements in 9 groups; Angle of view: 46°; Focus adjustment: Front group linear extension system with AFD; Closest focusing distance: 0.23 m; Filter size: 52mm; Length x max. diameter, weight: 63mm x 67.6 mm, 280g; Life-Size Converter EF: For exclusive use with EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro; Lens construction: 4 elements in 3 groups; Length x max. diameter, weight: 34.9mm x 67.6 mm, 160g

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