Canon Macrolite ML-1… 1970s Tech

Canon’s ultra-sophisticated and hyper-expensive ring flash from the late 1970s. Designed specifically with Canon’s new FD 80-200mm f/4 zoom lens in mind (combined with the Canon Close-Up 500T Lens) it performed well with the A-1, AE-1, AV-1, AT-1, and the AE-1 Program. The flash was also very capable on most of Canon’s SLRs of the late 1970s and 1980s including the original F-1 and the F-1 (New).

Canon macrolite

Both flashes could be used together or with a flip of the white switch, one side only.

The flash is perfect for photographing flowers and insects outside and in the studio as you get the greatest control over the depth of field and eliminate harsh shadows. The flash also works beautifully for portrait work and in documentation photography.

The lenses recommended by Canon are: New FD 80-200mm f/4,  FD 80-200mm f/4 S.S.C., FD 50mm f/3.5 S.S.C. Macro, FD 100mm f/4 S.C. Macro, and the New FD 50mm f/3.5 Macro, New FD 100mm f/4 Macro.

Canon ML1a1

When it was released, the ML-1 set retailed for around $425 or more! That’s some serious coin back in the day (and still is).

Canon ML1 A1

Here it’s fitted on my Canon New FD 50mm f/3.5 macro lens which works well for general macro photography.

Canon ML Inst

The original instruction book is complete with 39 pages. It was published in November 1979.

This gorgeous set has been an important part of my Canon collection for years but it’s time to move on with some of my gear. I tested it completely just the other day and it works just like new. It’s in mint condition overall, a solid 9 of 10 and a 10 of 10 operationally. The original box is complete and comes with its styrofoam insert. The box is solid but it does show some shelf wear. It does not have the original wide adapter inserts for the flash heads. I’ve never used them and I guess I never noticed that they went “missing”. They’re probably in another box somewhere. The set includes both of the adapter rings (52mm and 55mm)  and both of the tightening rings (52mm and 55mm).

The battery pack takes (8) AA batteries in two magazines and they recharge the capacitor very quickly.



It’s a bit hard to see but the test lamp does light and the auto exposure system is spot on.

The Canon A-1 is not included with this listing. Only the Macrolite ML-1 set.

It’s available in my online camera shop at or you can purchase it directly from here. I’ll ship it almost anywhere in the world as long as I can see tracking to your door (signature required). Please contact me for a shipping quote first.

Canon Macrolite ML-1 Electronic Ring-Flash Set

Like new Canon Macrolite ML-1 close-up flash set as described in this post.


As always, thanks for stopping by! – Chris

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