This video is everything you need to know about using low-budget Canon FD lenses for video

Tips & Techniques

There was a time when it was hard to even give Canon FD lenses away. I remember picking up a Canon A-1 and 50mm f/1.8 FD lens about 12 years ago at auction for £3. Both camera and lens worked flawlessly, too. Now, though, FD lenses have become a big hit with filmmakers. Their prices have gone up a little bit in the last few years, but many can still be found for bargain prices.

In this video, Media Division spends almost an hour and a half walking us through the Canon FD lens lineup to see how they perform and compare to the rare and expensive Canon K35 cine lenses, which were used to shoot everything from Aliens and Her to Westworld and The Handmaid’s Tale. Can Canon FD match the look of K35?

The goal here is to create a set of Canon FD lenses that’s not only comparable to the Canon K35 lens set, but practically indistinguishable in the final footage – except at a much lower price point. Is that even possible? Well, while there are some visual differences in form, and the coatings aren’t always quite the same, their optics are virtually identical.

But this video isn’t just a comparison of shots between one type of lens and another. If that’s all it was, it wouldn’t be an hour and a half long. The video also discusses how to find the best deals on Canon FD lenses, how to spot the fakes, how to declick the apertures and prepare them for video use, and a host of other related topics.

It’s probably the most in-depth guide to Canon FD lenses for shooting video and cinema that I’ve ever seen, and if you’re even slightly serious about shooting video with that classic 70s and 80s cinematic look, you’ll want to have a watch.

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