Canon FD Resources - FD Ultra-wideangle Zoom lenses
FD 24-35mm F/3.5
L & New FD 20-35mm f/3.5 L


New Canon FD 20-35mm f/3.5L ultrawideangle zoom lens

This appealing lens offers an aspherical element and covers an angle of view from 94° to 63°.

The incorporation of an aspherical surface at its first element contains barrel distortion at short focal lengths and effectively controls curvature of field (an error which affects image quality by fall-off of sharpness towards the edges), coma, astigmatism, and lateral chromatic aberration. The optical performance of this lens is very high rated among users and generally it was regarded as one of Canon's best specifications FD lenses.

NOTE:- Info on the NEWER autofocus version

A rare Canon FD mount 20-35mm L-Zoom lens  lens by Marco Cavina
Update:- A highly recommended article by Marco Cavina, Italy who has prepared some of the optical analysis for the zoom lens. It was written in Italian but you can make use of Google utility to translate: http://google
This lens features Canon's two-group design, the front half and rear half of the lens having separate functions. There is no shift of focus hence the lens maintains optimal performances. Close focusing to a distance of 0.5m is also possible.

Inherited from the earlier effort with the 24-35mm f3.5 L series lens, This remarkable zoom lens covers the range of the four basic wide-angles, 20mm, 24mm, 28mm and 35mm. Although its zoom ratio of 1.75 may appear small, the actual visual difference is very substantial. There are times when the need to switch lenses interferes with the process of composition and shooting. With the 20-35mm zoom you can move back and forth between focal length extremes, changing the field of view in one smooth, uninterrupted action in the search for the right framing. As a matter of fact, many of the techniques using wide-angle zooms involve exploring the possibilities of a scene or situation without having to change location. However, this lens does not make much of an impact among the photographic world becuase the number of professional users of Canon equipment was far smaller than those who shoot with Nikon cameras and lenses int hose days. It was not until Canon had launched the original EOS-1 pro model in 1989 that people began to take notice of how thoughtful Canon was in coming out with a zoom lens having these four focal lengths with the EF 20-35mm f/2.8L.

2035adoramaA.JPG 2035adoramaB.JPG Credit: Images courtesy of Adorama® Inc. "Ebay - Mathew Duren" <ebay@adorama> Webisite URL:, who also operates a popular Ebay Store. All images appeared herein are Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Moving in close with an wideangle zoom having the range of 20-35mm is the key to shooting images with great depth.To emphasize perspective, you need strong foreground detail, and the exaggerated perpsective allows you to keep the background details smaller and further from the those in the foreground.

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<<<---- During the Asian Financial Crises in 1997, poor sales in the retailing business like this was normal.

Pix: © 1999, Vincent Thian, an AP photographer. (The Associated Press)

The danger in using a 20-35mm zoom lens is thinking only in terms of subject area coverage. There is absolutely no doubt that the lens gives you the flexibility to shoot large groups of people or broad landscapes in tight spaces. But it's also a lens that can portray a more subjective point of view. Always use the zoom range to determine the composition that will provide the best effect.

Things to note: It requires some attention with focusing since the smaller image rendition makes focusing a bit tricky but as long as the aperture is not at its widest value, the depth of field should provide some 'shield' over a user's error in focusing. As the maximum aperture is only a fixed f3.5, with modern viewfinders and screens that yield a brighter image, it should not be pose any problem.

This lens stays throughout the FD line-up of lenses and SLRs until they were replaced with an electronic autofocus EF mount of similar zoom range of 20-35mm but the maximum aperture has been given a boost to f2.8 instead of the dimmer f3.5 of the FD version.


Focal length: 20-35 mm
Aperture ratio: 1:3.5
Lens construction: 11 groups, 11 elements (including 1 aspherical element)

Coating: S. S. C. (super spectra coating)
Angles of view: Diagonal: 94° - 63° Vertical: 62° - 38° Horizontal: 84° - 54°
Diatance scale: (m) 0.5 (Magnification 0.05X at 20 mm, 0.08X at 35 mm) to 3.
OO; (ft) 1.75 to 10.OO
Focusing mechanism: Rotation of front lens group
Zooming: Rotation of zooming ring
Minimum aperture: f/22. A
Diaphragm: Automatic
Filter size: 72 mm
Hood: BW-72
Cap: C-72 (CG2-0073)
Function: Auto Aperture, Full aperture metering (AE operation when used with ALL Canon automatic SLR cameras.
Length x max. diameter: 84.2 mm x 76.5 mm
Weight: 470g

FD 24-35mm f3.5 L

How it started... (
More info available)

It was the first and only zoom lens from Canon that was graced with an aspherical elements in its optical design during the late seventies and early eighties (and hence the first zoom to bear the famed 'L' designation). A Floating system also improved image quality greatly evento the extend of close focusing. Like any other short zoom lenses made by Canon, it uses two groups zooming system in which the front component functions for both focusing and zooming while the rear compensates for focusing shift from zooming.

This zoom lens doesn't sound very impressive with its zoom ratio. But in actual fact, it covers one of the most popular focal lengths range i.e. 24mm, 28mm and 35mm - where most of us would have experienced it in one way or another, regardless whether as amateurs or professionals, these are the focal lengths which we used in most of our work. Because the three fixed focal length lenses mentioned are normally of retrofocus design, making it impossible to have such a wide range of zooming. Even if it does, very often the image quality is of inferior quality compared to most fixed focal length lenses. Canon first used an aspherical lens element to solve part of the optical problem faced to reduced abberations and yet maintaining very high image sharpeness, contrast and yet achieving faithful color rendition. It was a hit when it was first introduced, mostly to users of the Canon F-1 and A-series cameras. This lens remains a modern classic, paving the way for other exotic wide-angle zoom lenses that followed such as the FD 20-35mm f3.5 L, the autofocus EF 20-35mm f2.8 L and eventually the current AF EF 17-35mm f2.8 L was also materialized.

< Autofocus EF 20-35mm f2.8 L : 15 elements in 12 groups, minimum aperture : f22, closest focusing: 0.5m; Filter: 72mm; length: 89mm weight: 540g

Quick Specification for 24-35mm f3.5L: Type: Aspherical Aideangle Zoom lens; Zoom Range: 24-35mm; Aperture: Fixed, f 3.5; Diagonal angle of View: 84° - 63°; Minimum f-stop: f22; Distance Range: 0.4-OO; Magnification at Minimum Focusing Distance: 0.08X; Filter Diameter: 72mm; Overall length: 86.6mm; Weight: 495g; Hood: BW-72; Hard Case: C13; Soft Case: B13

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