Canon FD Resources - Wide-angle lenses
New FD 35mm f/2.0 & New FD 35mm f/2.8


The 35mm lens has a rather moderate perspective and used to be very popular, not only among some of the renowned photojournalists but also by amateur photographers until the 17mm-35mm and 20-35mm zoom lenses took over. Its relatively large aperture that starts at f2.8 and bigger image size compared to other wide-angle lenses makes precise focusing easier even under low light conditions.

Although personally, I have some reservations over this lens when compared with a better and all-rounder lens like the 28mm, but for those looking for a moderate wide angle lens to use, this focal length will provide a good solution. The best way to use this lens is to treat it as a wider "angle-of-view" standard lens.

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Many photographers used to prefer the 35mm focal length as their standard lens for much of their indoor (and outdoor) shooting over the 50mm. Its 63° angle of view provides about twice the image area of the 50mm. That can be a big help for indoor photography where you need just a touch more coverage - rather than the extreme wide angle of view of shorter lenses. It also offers slightly broader depth of field than the normal lens at the same aperture and focus setting. As I have mentioned above, it can even be considered as a standard lens that has a wider angle of view. The popularity of this focal length even has Nikon to come up with an f/1.4 version for its manual Nikkor line in those days.

The New FD 35mm f/2 and the New FD 35mm f/2.8 are good choices to cover parties, anniversaries or weddings, provided you are happy to work with only a few people in the picture or compromise for working distance when used with flash. However, if you need broader than this angle of view to cover a small group of people, like a night group photo of six or seven persons in a confined space, I would suggest you to select the 28mm version instead. Basically, the 35mm focal length is better suited to cover 3-4 persons from a normal distance when used along with flash. It has the added advantage to have a more natural perspective than lenses of 28mm or shorter.

The focal length of 35mm has somehow being diluted in its importance with the emergence of fast, maximum aperture zoom lenses. As mentioned earlier, there are now zoom lenses having this focal length within them, including the fast f/2.8 maximum aperture. With today's high zoom ratio lenses, it does not sound so logical nowadays to invest in one. The strength of such prime lenses still lies with its maximum aperture available, other than that, its optical performance usually excels that that of the equivalent in a zoom lens which may presents a valid reason to invest into one as well. However, Kai Pin, my co-maintainer for the manual focus Canon camera sites, told me that he had found the EF 20-35mm f/2.8L zoom lens to be better than both the EF 24mm f/2.8 and EF 35mm f/2.0 wide-angle lenses. Well, to be more realistic, unless the price offered is extremely attractive or for any reasons you must have one, you may skip this if you like. and If possible, always invest into the larger aperture one in 35mm f2.0. Strange, unlike the 24mm f1.4L, both the FD lenses of 28mm and 35mm focal lengths are only restrictive to f2.0.

New FD 35mm f/2.0 wideangle Lens

The fastest Canon lens in the 35mm focal length before the debut of the EF 35mm f1.4. With a new 10-element, 8-group construction, the FD 35mm f/2 is approximately 25 percent shorter and 29 percent lighter than the earlier FD design.

A rational lens composition counters spherical aberration, especially common at full aperture. Canon's Floating System was used to maintain high performance from its closest focusing distance of 0.3 meter to infinity. Its speed, portability and natural perspective make it a popular lens with virtually unlimited applications.

35mmfdf2optic.jpg 35mmfdf2.jpg

Focal length: 35mm
Aperture ratio: 1:2
Lens construction: 8 groups, 10 elements
Coating: S.S.C (super spectra coating)
Angle of view: Diagonal: 63° Vertical: 38° Horizontal: 54°
Distance Scale: (m) 0.3 (magnification 0.17X) to 3.
OO (ft) 1 to 10.oo

Focusing: Helicoid Minimum aperture: f/22 .A
Diaphragm: Automatic Filter Size. 52mmHood: BW-52A Cap: C-52
Function: Auto Aperture, Full aperture metering (AE operation when used with ALL Canon automatic SLR cameras.
Length x max. diameter: 46mm x 63mm
Weight: 245g

New FD 35mm f/2.8 Lens

The most popular lens at 35mm focal length and also the most economical. As a result of holding the lens speed at f/2.8, the overall length of this lens is only 40mm and its weight of 165 grams makes it the lightest lens in the system. As for the optical features of this lens, the concave element of the front group is of meniscus shape with a strong curvature.

Cemented convex and concave elements are positioned in the second group, and glass with a higher index of refraction is employed in the rear group to control spherical aberrations.

FDn35mmf28d.jpg FDn35mmf28b.jpg   FDn35mmf28a.jpg FDn35mmf28c.jpg
Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Claudio®. who is a collector for Canon photo gear, he also has an Ebay Section as well as maintaining a website on his own where occasionally trading some photo equipment. Image(s) copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.


Focal length: 35mm
Aperture ratio: 1:2.8
Lens construction: 5 groups, 6 elements
Coating: S.S.C (super spectra coating)
Angle of view: Diagonal: 63° Vertical: 38° Horizontal: 54°
Distance Scale: (m) 0.35 (magnification 0.13X) to 3.
OO (ft) 1.25 to 10.oo

Focusing: Helicoid
Minimum aperture: f/22 .A
Diaphragm: Automatic
Filter Size. 52mm
Hood: BW-52A
Cap: C-52
Function: Auto Aperture, Full aperture metering (AE operation when used with ALL Canon automatic SLR cameras.
Length x max. diameter: 40mm x 63mm
Weight: 165g

f2.0 f3.5
Older Version: FD 35mm f2.0 S.S.C & FD 35mm f3.5 S.C

The 35mm f2.0 remains as the fastest 35mm focal length for FD mount until the EF f/1.4 (See below) was introduced back in 1998. The next speed at the early stage was a S.C. lens at f3.5. (Up to 1975/6) I am not so sure when the f2.8 version was introduced but it should be around the stage where the FDn mount was brought to the market.

Click Here to the dedicated pages for these two older versions of the FD wide-angles. At the 35mm focal length, there is another special purpose lens for you to consider, it is a tilt and shift lens : Canon Lens TS 35mm f/2.8 S.S.C.

Technical Highlight: EF 35mm f/1.4 L USM is one of the three fastest EF wide-angle lenses, the other being the EF 24mm f/1.4L USM and the non-L series EF 28mm f/1.8 USM. With a wide angle view of 65-degree and the use of a polished Aspherical lens element, effectively corrects spherical aberration and distortion (a common problem with large aperture lenses); plus the use of Rear Focusing and Ring Type USM for silent and high speed autofocus operation. <<<<---- Current Autofocus Version: EF 35mm f/1.4 L USM; EF 35mm f2.0

EF 35mm f2.0: A fairly large-aperture, compact, wide-angle lens. With a new optical design with a minimal 7-element., 5-group construction. A simple extension type focusing system is employed with design considerations made to ensure well-corrected curvature of field. Another feature is a minimum focusing distance of 0.25m/0.8 ft - the shortest distance in its class.

Quick data for reference
: Focal length and maximum aperture: 35mm f/2.0; Lens construction: 7 elements in 5 groups; Angle of view: 63°; Focus adjustment: Overall linear extension system with AFD; Closest focusing distance: 0.25 m; Filter size: 52mm; Length x max. diameter, weight: 42.5mm x 67.4 mm, 210 g

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