The Canon New FD 200mm f4 Macro is a very long dedicated macro lens offering continuous focusing from infinity to life-size image magnification (1:1). The longest life-size macro lens Canon ever produced, it offers considerable working distance for insect photography.
|List Price when new||¥106,500|
|Angle of view||12°|
|Optical Construction (Groups / Elements)||6 / 9|
|Maximum Macro Magnification ratio||1:1|
Background and availability
The Canon New FD 200mm f4 Macro is – when available – good value for money, especially when you consider that it is a rare and specialist lens. The comparable lens in Canon’s modern lens line-up – 180mm f3.5L – retails for around £1,000, yet the FD 200mm gives you an extra 20mm working distance and can be found on Ebay for around £200-350 in good condition. Given that a lot of macro work is best carried out with manual focusing, the FD lens is a real option for this style of photography.
The lens is quite rare and is often listed in fixed price auctions. It does not attract the same interest as the FD ranges L series lenses, and perhaps this keeps the price of the lens reasonable in comparison.
Performance and handling
This lens has a dedicated following and many good sample images online, which is probably why it rarely comes up for sale in any great quantity. It handles very nicely, focusing well in normal distance photography, and offering very fine focusing for close-up work. My copy – like a lot of New FD lenses I have owned – does have one issue. Focusing is loose in certain focal points, which makes fine focusing trickier than it should be. This could be a result of abuse, or wear and tear through use (although cosmetically and optically the lens seems fine), either way, I’ve had more issues with Canon New FD lenses than any other brand I’ve used so far – with the exception of Vivitar.
Nonetheless, when using this lens you quickly realise the value of a 200mm lens that can focus down to 1:1 magnification with no extension tubes, add-on adaptors or any other device that adds complexity to its use, and deterioration in image quality. It is capable of producing stunning images of insects and butterflies, and works well in general macro terms for still life as well (the 200mm just wipes out backgrounds).
I have now sold all of my other dedicated macro lenses because the working distance this lens offers just gives it the edge for field use.