Canon FD Lenses - Other Issues Part V


Most of these early FD lenses in chrome ring were designated with S.C. and later the majority of them were given the S.S.C. 'status- which signified multi-layer coating treatment was applied. (Canon's unique name for its Multi-layer Coating process, S.S.C. for "Super Spectra Coating" while S.C. stand for "Spectra Coating"). The 'Spectra Coating"lens process was Canon's answer in response to the needs of quality-concious users; which were requested around the middle of the '50s when the popularity of color photography had resulted in the increasing demand for high performance lenses with excellent color balances. Canon's theory of Spectra Coating, and its techniques of application, were developed. This theory is based on the fact that when the thickness of the coating of any of the lens elements varies the color balance will change. This was the basic principle out of which the outstanding color effectiveness of the lens was developed, a design that won wide acclamations throughout the world.

Although the early type of Canon's Spectra Coating was a single layer coating, it has such a stable nature that the light transmission factor is approximately the same as that of ordinary multilayer coatings.

Cyclists at work.jpg (63k) Loading...

<<< The cyclists from Australia in action during the XVI Commonwealth Games held at Kuala Lumpur in 1998.

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

But the more demanding in high performance lenses saw the new Super Spectral Coating is gradually applied to the FD lenses. Also at that time, Canon took the initiative in research concerning multilayer anti-reflection coatings for TV zoom lenses in order to increase the light transmission factor in lenses composed of many elements. This became a reality in the 1960's and Canon applied it to TV zoom lenses as well as large aperture zoom lenses for 8mm cine cameras.

All the Canon FD lenses have fully automatic diaphragms. This enables camera metering with the lens' aperture blades completely open so you can take advantage of the maximum brightness the lens provides for focusing comfort. In addition, these lenses have an AE lock pin (usually marked "A") which locks the aperture into the automatic mode for use with programmed or shutter-priority AE (automatic exposure) modes on applicable Canon SLR bodies. Depth of field preview can be easily performed on any applicable Canon SLR camera bodies when you activate the DOF preview button.
Note: With the Canon F-1 and older manual models, the lens cannot be mounted to the camera when the lens is set in the "A" position.

Despite the immense popularity of Canon cameras and lenses over the years where no one has any doubts about the quality and reliability factors, the brand and system still fell short of recognition's from the photographic world as compared with Nikon's cameras and Nikkor lenses as well as the Leicas. But in a master stroke of great tactical move, Canon, in the late '70s, when it already has been regarded as the world's largest camera manufacturer, repackaged their optical lineup with a series of launches and ad campaigns to develop users' awareness towards the quality of its FD optics. The most successful move was the redesigning of their premium lenses in a 'prestigious category known as the '
L' (Luxury) series. The exterior appearance was given a redressing with the lenses marked with a red ring around the front of the lens while the long telephoto lenses was coated in greyish white.

To just use the red line and the white dressing to summarize the efforts in the development of FD lenses was rather unfair, as these lenses really represented some truly innovative optical designs and breakthroughs in the manufacturing of optical glass. Take the trend setting original lens of the FD 24-35mm f3.5
L, for instance, where it was the first of its kind in, replacing three of the widely used wide-angle lenses in one compact design and a relatively fast aperture as well. This design went through three stages in its development, with an improved version, the New FD 20-35mm f3.5 L and later, the autofocus type for the EOS System, the EF 20-35mm f2.8 L, before it was finally replaced with the current EF 17-35mm f2.8 L USM, a zoom lens which become the favorite of the photojournalists worldwide.





FD 24-35mm f3.5 L

FD 20-35mm f3.5 L

Canon EF 20-35mm f2.8L

Canon EF 17-35mm f2.8L

400mm f4.5 SSC.jpg (9k) Loading..
In relation to the long telephoto lenses which Canon has an distinct advantage, the FD 400mm f4.5 S.S.C. was introduced in October 1975. It was Canon's first lens to feature a Rear-group focusing system. With conventional helicoid lenses, close focusing entails moving the lens barrel forward. But that original lens was incorporated with Canon's exclusive optical design 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 were employed with similar mechanisms on their optical constructions

The 'white' FDn lenses, were a special group of ultra-performance lenses designed mainly for professional photographers. This series, which has an "L" suffix following the aperture, indicates special performance capabilities or features not found on conventional Canon FD lenses, such as the use of aspherical elements UD (Ultra-Low Dispersion) and fluorite glass. The unusual greyish white coating of such lenses were, according to Canon - were intended to minimize the chances of heat accumulation and affect the 'optical behavior' of artificial fluorite or the rare earth glass of UD (Ultra-Low Dispersion) optics and offer a more consistent and stabilized performance in the extreme of weather. Canon super telephoto lenses in the later stages were truly a class of their own, with such exotic large aperture lenses like the New FD 400mm f2.8L and New FD 500mm f4.5L, New FD 600mm f4.5 and the New FD 800mm f5.6L leading the pack atop some of the more commonly used focal lengths like the New FD 300mm f2.8L or New FD 300mm f4.0L.

400mmf28view.jpg FD 400mm f/2.8 L was the fastest lens in its class by any manufacturer when it was first introduced and weighs a massive 5.3 kg! 150-600 Lens.jpg (11k) Loading...
New FD Zoom
150-600mm f/5.6

This was the
largest FD zoom lens available in the market. It has a maximum focal length of 600mm, a zoom ratio of 4x and was the first SLR zoom lens employing an internal focusing mechanism.


The long lenses have their own optical characteristics and you can easily distinguish the images taken by them from lenses of shorter focal length by the way they have compressed the perspectives.

Guard and Polis.jpg (55k) Loading...
<<<<---- 1997. The Malaysian Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) police dispersing an illegal public demonstration by supporters of sacked Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

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

On a more realistic note, 95% of us will not be buying such exotic optics, since the prices of such lenses will not see any justification to invest in if photography is not a full time occupation or career. There may be some needs for those who are engaging in nature, research or wildlife photography or serious hobbyists.

But when Canon announced the new electro-optical lenses for the new autofocus EOS 35mm AF SLR cameras that are not compatible with the older FD mount optics, it was like sending cold shivers down the spines of the many devoted Canon users of the old series. Fortunately, for those who had spent enormous amount of money into some of these long telephoto lenses will find a way to squeeze into the EOS bodies by an accessory known as the FD-EOS. This tiny adaptor will permit selective numbers of FD lenses (200mm and above) to be used on the autofocus EOS bodies.

Previous | Index Page 5/5

Older version of FD lenses: FD Fisheye 7.5mm f5.6 S.S.C. | FD Fisheye 15mm f2.8 S.S.C. | FD 17mm f4.0 S.S.C. | FD 20mm f2.8 S.S.C. | FD 24mm f1.4 S.S.C. ASPHERICAL | FD 24mm f2.8 S.S.C. | FD 28mm f2.0 S.S.C. | FD 28mm f2.8 S.C. | FD 35mm f2.0 S.S.C. | FD 35mm f3.5 S.C. | FD TS 35mm f2.8 S.S.C. | FD 50mm f1.2 S.S.C. ASPHERICAL | FD 50mm f1.2 S.S.C. | FD 50mm f1.4 S.S.C. | FD 50mm f1.8 S.C. | FD Macro 50mm f3.5 S.S.C. | FD 85mm f1.2 S.S.C. ASPHERICAL | FD 85mm f1.8 S.S.C. | FD 100mm f2.8 S.S.C. | FD Macro 100mm f4.0 S.C. | FD 135mm f2.5 S.C. | FD 135mm f3.5 S.C. | FD 200mm f4.0 S.S.C. | FD 200mm f2.8 S.S.C. | FD 300mm f2.8 S.S.C. FLUORITE | FD 300mm f5.6 S.C. | FL 300mm f5.6 S.S.C. FLUORITE | FD 400mm f4.5 S.S.C. | FL 400mm f5.6 | FD 500mm f5.6 S.S.C. FLUORITE | FD 600mm f4.5 S.S.C. | FL 600mm f5.6 | FD 800mm f5.6 S.S.C. | FL 800mm f8.0 | FL 1200mm f11 S.S.C. | FD Zoom 35-70mm f2.8-3.5 S.S.C. | FD Zoom 100-200mm f5.6 S.C. | FD Zoom 85-300mm f4.5 S.S.C.

Canon FD mount Camera Bodies:
A Series:
AE-1 | AT-1 | A-1 | AV-1 | AE-1 Program | AL-1
T- Series:
T50 | T60 | T70 | T80 | T90
F-1 | New F-1
Canon FL Resources
Pellix | FTQL

Lenses: Canon FL lenses | Canon FD lens resources

Canon EOS SLRs | Canon EF lens Resources

| Back | Main Index Page of Canon FD lenses
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