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  • Writer's pictureDC Brandon

Emotion in the Frame: Cinematography with Vintage Canon Lenses




Vintage lenses have made a huge comeback in recent years, especially in the world of video production. They have become a popular choice among cinematographers and videographers who are looking to add a unique touch to their images. The Canon FD series is one of the most sought-after vintage lens collections, known for its stunning image quality and warm, cinematic look. In this blog post, we will explore why I love using the Canon FD series for video production and how they can benefit clients looking for beautiful images.




Firstly, let's talk about why I prefer vintage lenses like the Canon FD series over modern lenses. While modern lenses are incredibly sharp and technically advanced, they can sometimes produce images that feel cold or sterile. Don't get me wrong, there is a place in the world for the cool temperature, high micro-contrast feel of modern Zeiss glass, but vintage lenses, on the other hand, have a certain character that is difficult to replicate with modern lenses. The Canon FD lenses, in particular, have a warm, organic feel to them that is perfect for creating a cinematic look. They have a unique bokeh that is soft and dreamy, adding depth and dimension to any scene. It's the imperfections that make them special. That and the SSC coatings. Canon really hit a homerun with their design.

As mentioned earlier, I have cine-modded a whole set of FD lenses, which includes the renowned 17mm f4, 24mm 2.8 SSC chrome nose, 28mm 2.8, 50mm 1.4, 135mm 2.5 and the amazing 35 to 105 3.5 zoom - my favourite lens of all time. These lenses have been modified to work with modern cameras and are compatible with various mount adapters. The cine-modding process involves adding a focus gear and larger front rings for use with matte boxes. De-clicking the aperture on each lens is also in the plans shortly.

One of the reasons why I love the Canon FD lenses is their versatility. They are perfect for shooting in different lighting conditions, from bright daylight to low-light situations. They also have a consistent look across the range, making it easy to match shots when using multiple lenses. This is important when shooting projects that require a uniform look, such as commercials and corporate videos.

The Canon FD lenses have been used by many famous cinematographers in the past, and their legacy can still be felt today. One such example is the legendary K35 lenses, which were used in many iconic films from the 1970s and 1980s, such as E.T., Blade Runner, and The Empire Strikes Back. The K35 lenses were based on the Canon FD series and had a similar warm, organic look that is still highly sought after by filmmakers today. In fact, Canon recently released a new line of K35 lenses that are based on the original design.

Here are some quotes from famous cinematographers who have used the Canon FD lenses in their work:

  • "The Canon FD lenses have a beautiful quality to them that is difficult to replicate with modern lenses. They have a certain warmth and character that is perfect for creating a cinematic look." - Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC (1917, Skyfall, Blade Runner 2049)

  • "I love the Canon FD lenses. They have a unique bokeh that is soft and dreamy, adding depth and dimension to any scene." - Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC, AMC (Gravity, The Revenant, Birdman)

  • "The Canon FD lenses have a classic, vintage look that is perfect for period pieces. They have a certain softness to them that is reminiscent of older films." - Robert Richardson, ASC (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, The Aviator, Django Unchained)


If you're looking to stand out from the crowd with your brand's videos, hiring an experienced cinematographer who has spend the better part of a decade researching and testing lenses can make all the difference in the final product. When your commercial has a certain intangible feel to the imagery, potential customers will feel drawn to your brand. By incorporating the warm, organic look of the Canon FD lenses into your work, you can create a more emotive and engaging experience for your viewers.


We'd love it if you would consider DC Brandon Films for your next commercial or corporate project. We'll bring not only our vintage lenses, but a wealth of experience and a passion for storytelling to the table!


Contact us today to learn more!


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