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Canon 85mm f/1.2 L
FD S.S.C. Aspherical (1976-1987)
© 2012 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

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Canon 85mm f/1.2 L FD

Canon 85mm f/1.2 L (FD mount, 72mm filters, 24.1 oz./682g, 3'/0.9 m close focus, about $775 used). enlarge. My biggest source of support is when you use any of these links, especially this link directly to them at eBay (see How to Win at eBay), when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thanks! Ken.


November 2013   Canon Reviews   Canon FD   Canon Lenses   All Reviews


Introduction         top

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I use these stores. I can't vouch for ads below.

This Canon 85mm f/1.2 L Aspherical Floating-Element lens is the most advanced 85mm manual-focus lens ever sold anywhere.

It's way beyond anything ever from Nikon or LEICA. It's got more technology in it than anywhere else, and more importantly, has out-of-this world performance. This is why it's so sought-after by astronomers; it's super-sharp even wide-open at f/1.2.

It also has very little distortion.

This was one of Canon's top flagship lenses before the entire FD line was trashed in 1987 in favor or the EOS autofocus system.



The first FD mount version (breech-lock mount), came out in January 1976. That was before canon concocted the "L" brand, so instead it was branded "S. S. C." for Super-Specta Coating.

The New FD mount version came out in March, 1980.

The sample seen here is the new FD version. This sample was made in November 1987.

They all use the same optics.



Both versions work on all Canon FD-mount cameras, from early cameras like the FTb of 1971 up to the newest AE-1 Program and New F-1 and T90 of the 1980s.

There is no way to adapt this lens for use on EOS 35mm or digital cameras. The problem is that the back focus is too short, so there's no way to make an adapter that lets an FD lens focus to infinity.

Yes, there most likely are adapters to junk formats like micro 4/3, and junk adapters that use compression optics to mount on EOS, or to let you use the lens only in the closer focus ranges on EOS. Those don't count, which is why this superb lens sell for such little money today.


Specifications         top

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8 elements in 6 groups.

One aspheric element.

Floating-element design for exquisite performance at every distance.




8 blades.

Stops down to f/16.



3 feet.

0.9 meters.

(original FD mount version (1976-1980): 3.3 feet or 1.0 meters.)


Maximum Reproduction Ratio



(original FD mount version (1976-1980): 1:10 or 0.10x.)



BT-72 plastic bayonet.




3.2" (80.8mm) by 2.8" (71mm) long.

(original FD mount version (1976-1980): 3.2" (81mm) by 2.8" (71mm) long.)



24.062 oz. (682.15g).

24.915 oz. (706.4g) with caps.

26.220 oz. (743.45g) with caps and BT-72 hood.

BT-72 hood alone: 1.130 oz. (37.1g).

Canon specifies 24.0 oz. (680g).

(original FD mount version (1976-1980): 26.7 oz. (756g).)



FD Mount (breech-lock): 1976.

New FD Mount: 1980.



1987, with The Birth of EOS.



November 2013: about $775 used.

August 2012: about $650 used.

April 2009: about $500 - 900 used.

I paid only $410 for this beautiful sample, complete with hood, caps and case, because I know How to Win at eBay.


Performance         top

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Performance is flawless.

It's sharp and contrasty at every setting.

The biggest limitation is ensuring perfect focus at f/1.2. To my pleasant surprise, my Canon T90 and other cameras work quite well for this. On my T90, it's dead-on at f/1.2 at 5 ft and at 10 ft, and likewise, it's dead-on with my New F-1.


Recommendations         top

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Got and FD camera? You gotta get one of these. These exquisite FD lenses are most of the reason to shoot an FD camera.

If you've found all the time, effort and expense I put into researching and sharing all this, this free website's biggest source of support is when you use these links, especially this link directly to them at eBay (see How to Win at eBay), when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thanks! Ken.


More Information         top

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85/1.2 L at Canon Museum (original FD breech-lock mount 1976-1980).

85/1.2 L at Canon Museum (New FD mount, 1980-1987).


Help me help you         top

I support my growing family through this website, as crazy as it might seem.

The biggest help is when you use any of these links when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It costs you nothing, and is this site's, and thus my family's, biggest source of support. These places have the best prices and service, which is why I've used them since before this website existed. I recommend them all personally.

If you find this page as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to help me continue helping everyone.

If you've gotten your gear through one of my links or helped otherwise, you're family. It's great people like you who allow me to keep adding to this site full-time. Thanks!

If you haven't helped yet, please do, and consider helping me with a gift of $5.00.

As this page is copyrighted and formally registered, it is unlawful to make copies, especially in the form of printouts for personal use. If you wish to make a printout for personal use, you are granted one-time permission only if you PayPal me $5.00 per printout or part thereof. Thank you!


Thanks for reading!



Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.


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August 2012