the Canon FD 400mm f/2.8 L

Canon FD 400mm f/2.8 L

Purchased second-hand from the estate of the late Sal DiMarco, I began using this lens in late 2004. The lens had been converted from Canon FD mount to Leica-R mount some time before, probably by Marty Forscher of New York, now retired. By using the back portion of the Leitz 1:1 extension tube for the 60mm Macro-Elmarit-R, the conversion retains the FD lens' automatic diaphragm function and includes automatic coupling with the Leica-R metering sytems.

Compared with the far more expensive Leica 400mm f/2.8 APO-Telyt-R, the Canon FD 400mm f/2.8 L is similar in design and construction (see table below). My tests of this lens show that it is capable of delivering very high resolution with high-contrast subjects however its performance with low-contrast subjects is significantly weaker. In actual use the effect of this is more muted color rendition than if a high-contrast lens were used. The tall tripod foot, which doubles as a carrying handle, does not damp vibration as well as the short tripod mount on the comparable Leica lens, so that optimum use of the Canon FD 400mm f/2.8 L requires a sturdier tripod and more careful technique. The tall tripod foot also makes it more difficult to support the lens from below with the focussing hand.

The technical stuff:

Canon FD 400mm f/2.8 L Leica 400mm f/2.8 APO-Telyt-R
Length: 348 mm 365 mm
Max diameter: 166 mm 166 mm
Weight: 5350 grams 5500 grams
Aperture range: f/2.8~f/32 f/2.8~f/22
Angle of view: 6 degrees 6 degrees
Elements/groups: 10/8 11/9
Near focus limit: 4 meters 4.7 meters
Front cap: ????? ?????
Filter size: 48mm Series 5.5
Lens hood: ????? 12545

Photographs made with this lens:

Black-tailed Deer, buck

Leicaflex SL, Canon FD 400mm f/2.8 L

Black Phoebe

Leicaflex SL2, Canon FD 400mm f/2.8 L and Leica 1.4x APO-Extender-R

Cedar Waxwing

Leicaflex SL2, Canon FD 400mm f/2.8 L


text Copyright (C) Douglas Herr - all rights reserved
last updated 17 June 2015