Canon FDn 50mm F/3.5 Macro

Macro lens • Film era • Discontinued


FD The lens is designed for Canon 35mm film SLR cameras with the Canon FD mount.
n (Unofficial acronym) A new generation of FD series lenses without the breech-lock ring.
MACRO Macro lens. Designed specially for shooting close-ups of small subjects but can be also used in other genres of photography, not necessarily requiring focusing at close distances. Learn more

Production details

Announced:June 1979
Production type:Mass production
Production status: Discontinued
Original name:CANON MACRO LENS FD 50mm 1:3.5
System:Canon FD (1971)

Model history (3)

Canon FL 50mm F/3.5 Macro1:2A4 - 30.234m⌀58 1965 
Canon FD 50mm F/3.5 S.S.C. Macro1:2A6 - 40.232m⌀55 1973 
Canon FDn 50mm F/3.5 Macro1:2A6 - 40.232m⌀52 1979 

Features highlight

Macro 1:2


Optical design
Focal length:50mm
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount and Flange focal distance:Canon FD [42mm]
Diagonal angle of view:46.8°
Lens construction:6 elements - 4 groups
Diaphragm mechanism
Diaphragm type:Automatic
Aperture control:Aperture ring (Manual settings + Auto Exposure setting)
Number of blades:6 (six)
Closest focusing distance:0.232m
Closest working distance:0.105m
Maximum magnification ratio:1:2 at the closest focusing distance
Focusing modes:Manual focus only
Manual focus control:Focusing ring
Physical characteristics
Maximum diameter x Length:⌀63×57mm
Filters:Screw-type 52mm
Lens hood:Bayonet-type BW-52A (round)
Teleconverters:Canon Extender FD 2X-B → 100mm F/7

*) Sources of data: Canon FD interchangeable lenses booklet (PUB. IE01-075) ● Lens Wonderland. Canon FD lens guide book (PUB. C-IE-097AZ) ● Specifications of Canon New FD lenses (PUB. C-II-099B) ● Canon FD interchangeable lenses booklet (PUB. C-IE-075AF) ● Lens Work. The Canon guide to interchangeable lenses and Single Lens Reflex photography ● Quick reference guide ● Canon AE-1 Program booklet (PUB. C-CE-124) ● Canon AL-1 Quick focus booklet (PUB. C-CE-135A) ● The New F-1 World booklet ● Canon A-1 booklet (PUB. C-CE-0990) (September 1980) ● Canon AE-1 booklet (PUB. C-CE-1056AB) (September 1980) ● Canon FD lenses sales guide ● Canon Reflex 1981/1982 booklet.

Manufacturer description #1

FD 50mm f/3.5 Macro and FD 100mm f/4 Macro: These are multi-purpose lenses which, besides behaving as typical standard and telephoto lenses at shooting distances up to infinity, have unusually long focusing mounts for close focusing. Alone, the standard macro focuses down to 23.2cm from the film plane and the telephoto macro to 45cm for a magnification of 1/2X. While normal lenses are adjusted for best performance at relatively great shooting distances, these lenses are corrected for aberrations which occur at close distances. Ultra-high resolution and crisp edge-to-edge sharpness even at extremely close distances are guaranteed. Recommended for the best possible results in close-ups, photomacrography and copying.

The standard macro has an edge in speed and portability; the telephoto macro permits greater working distances for easier lighting control and greater distance from the subject. The telephoto macro's comparatively natural perspective also makes it most suitable for almost any form of commercial photography. Their performance at normal shooting distances is also very good. In fact, photographers who use them often find their faster normal 50mm or 100mm lenses remain in the gadget bag most of the time. For the critical photographer who has a serious interest in close-up shooting and copying.

Manufacturer description #2

Without the addition of close-up lenses, extension tubes or a bellows, the normal 50mm f/1.4 cannot be focused closer than about 45cm. At that distance you can record an object measuring 160mm x 240mm on the film's 24mm x 36mm image area at a magnification of 0.15X. Adding a bellows, extension tubes or a close-up lens allows closer focusing and greater magnification. But even with those accessories images may be less than satisfactory because the normal lens is not designed for extreme close-up work. A macrophoto 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.

The need for a 50mm lens that would work for extreme close-ups and photomacrography as well as normal photography resulted in the FD 50mm f/3.5 Macro lens. Aberrations are specially corrected for extreme close-up work. The lens focuses all the way from infinity to as close as 23.2cm without additional attachments providing 0.5X (1:2 reproduction ratio). It will fill the 35mm frame with a subject only 48mm x 72mm. By adding extension tubes or a bellows you can 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 photomacrography at 1X, this range extends up to 20X. Beyond that is photomicrography which is accomplished using a microscope and an adapter.

The world through a macro lens is exciting and for many photographers a never-ending fascination. Common objects suddenly take on form and texture that would be impossible to detect without the macro lens. The inside of a flower proves to be unbelievably intricate. Photographs of insects reveal marvelous detail, and a polished metal surface shows lustrous patterns.

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. The shorter the distance from the camera to the subject, the shallower the depth of field.

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.

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 travel and back-packing. It can image the mountains - or the wild flowers that grow on them.

Manufacturer description #3

The New FD 50mm f3.5 MACRO lens was designed especially for critical photomacrography and close-up work, as well as delivering excellent performance at all focusing distances. It features the New FD one-hand mounting system, as well as a very compact, lightweight design for ease of operation and handling. Minimum aperture is f32 for additional depth-of-field in critical macro work.

This New FD 50mm f3.5 MACRO lens is supplied with the Universal Extension Tube FD25U which doubles its magnification ratio to permit focusing to within 8 3/8 inches from the film plane. Without the tube, this lens may also be used for normal photography and focuses to infinity.

Typical application


Slow full-frame macro lens

Genres or subjects of photography (7):

Macrophotography • Product photography • Landscapes • Cityscapes • Buildings • Interiors • Travel photography

Adaptation to digital SLR cameras:

Not adaptableMore information

Not adaptable

In order to adapt the lens, the flange focal distance (FFD) of the lens mount must be equal to or greater than the FFD of the camera mount. This lens has the Canon FD mount with a FFD of 42mm. This is even shorter than the FFD of Canon EOS digital SLR cameras, which have the shortest FFD of 44mm of any modern digital SLR cameras. Therefore, this lens cannot be adapted to any digital SLR camera.

Recommended slowest shutter speed when shooting static subjects handheld:

1/50th of a second

Alternatives in the Canon FD system

///// Sorted by focal length and speed, in ascending order /////

Lenses with similar focal length

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35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm
  • Area: 864mm2


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Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.


Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),


CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.


A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance can also be different.

The flange focal distance (FFD) is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.


The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Manual diaphragm

The diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring.

Preset diaphragm

The lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value.

Semi-automatic diaphragm

The lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value.

Automatic diaphragm

The camera automatically closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.

Fixed diaphragm

The aperture setting is fixed at F/3.5 on this lens, and cannot be adjusted.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.


Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.


Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.


Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.

Lens caps

Scratched lens surfaces can spoil the definition and contrast of even the finest lenses. Lens covers are the best and most inexpensive protection available against dust, moisture and abrasion. Safeguard lens elements - both front and rear - whenever the lens is not in use.