Weird lens reviews: Canon FD 35-70mm f/4 AF (Canon's first autofocus lens)
Mount cameras were not capable of autofocus, except for the specialist t 80 model, which is the key reason canon dumped that entire system back in 1987 in favor of the new ef mount, which we all know and love today, but back in 1981, they launched this interesting Fd lens with a somewhat ham, fisted workaround, it has its own battery powered autofocus system, built in using canons, solid state triangulation system to accurately focus at the push of a button. Well, most of the time anyway, you do not need this lens to even be attached to a camera in order for it to auto focus what a crazy but awesome idea. It requires two double a batteries. So if you can find a copy of this lens on ebay in good condition, it should still work fine today, its a full frame lens only on the old canon fd mount, so youll need an adapter for a modern camera and it has a very basic zoom Range, a moderately wide 35 millimeter to a short telephoto, 70 millimeter, not very impressive, but its maximum aperture of f4 throughout the zoom range is a little brighter than the cheapest zoom lenses available. This lenss rather bulky and unusual figure will certainly turn the eyes of any photographer close to you and its also a little heavy, especially with batteries inside its quite tough too. It very much looks and feels like one of canons, bigger l lenses from the era at the rear.
You can see the old fd mount with its mechanical controls. Youll need a canon, fd adapter, to get this lens to mount on your modern camera of choice. It includes the aperture control ring. You wont be able to control this lens aperture from your camera, unless youre using an original fd film camera on the bottom theres the zoom control, it works with a little rubberized lever which doesnt turn very smoothly and heres. The auto focus at work that confirmation beep can be turned off by means of a big switch at the rear, where theres also a battery check light. The motor works a little slowly with a clear whirring noise and theres no option for continuous, auto focus. I found the autofocus system to work about 75 of the time with this lens. Sometimes you need to keep pushing the button again and again, especially when shooting indoors or in low light. It didnt like that at all its also, not very accurate, really, but it gets you there in the end. If you want to manually focus, you need to force the focus ring around which makes you anxious about damaging the focus motor, not good. The lens has a 62 millimeter filter thread and it does not come with a hood as that would block the autofocus windows. It wont report exif information to your camera and obviously it does not have its own image stabilization overall, its a very quirky, antiquated design and honestly, its kind of annoying to use out in the field.
The autofocus system does work, but just barely anyway lets. Look at the image quality now ill be testing it adapted onto a 45 megapixel canon eos, r5 at 35, millimeter and f4. The lens is a little soft in the middle of your images with low contrast over in the corners. We can still see some detail being captured, but we are also catching a lot of chromatic aberration here, stop down to f 5.6 and the corners sharpen up a little and the middle of the image looks nice and sharp now, albeit with slightly low contrast, still heres. F: 8 in the middle and the corners and at f 11 image quality is still decent, but nothing special well lets zoom all the way into 70 millimeter now at f4. Image quality in the middle is very soft and ghostly. Yes, the lens was correctly focused here, and this was the best image quality i could get over in the corners image. Quality is still soft, although most of that ghosting has now gone, stop down to f, 5.6 and corner image. Quality is about the same, but the image is clearing up back in the middle looking acceptably sharp now, but still with low contrast at f, 8 theres, another marginal improvement and the corners dont. Look quite so bad now, heres f11 and at f 16 softness from diffraction begins to creep in. So if you stop this lens down, then you are able to get acceptable results out of it, but at brighter apertures.
Not that f4 is a particularly bright aperture picture. Quality is really quite weak. Lets look at distortion and vignetting. Now your camera wont be able to correct these. At 35 millimeter we see some moderate barrel distortion and pretty dark corners at f4 at f5.6 and f 8. They do brighten up zoom into 70 millimeter and that distortion flips into a slight pin cushion pattern again. Corners are a little dark at f4, but begin to brighten up at f, 5.6 and f 8.. Now this lenss autofocus motor will only focus as closely as about 1 meter, but if you force the focus ring around, you can get as close as 50 centimeters at f4. Close up image quality is softer than ever at f5.6 and f8. We get some minuscule improvements, but the close up image quality, never really sharpens up lets see how the lens works against bright light, not normally a strong point for legacy lenses, whether youre zoomed in or zoomed out. We see a lot of purple flaring here when shooting against bright lights and finally, bokker autofocus backgrounds are not easy to get with this f4 lens, but when you do get them theyre, just averagely smooth, nothing, especially beautiful, but also nothing distracting. So there you have it a certain photography, youtuber tested this lens out a few months ago and got really over excited about it. Well, i found the lens a bit of a pain to use actually and its image.
Quality is basically what youd expect from a 40 year old design, not good. This thing really is more of a museum piece than an enjoyable lens, although ill never get tired of making it autofocus without being attached to a camera.