Canon FD Resources - Zoom lenses
New FD 35-105mm f/3.5; New FD 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5 & New FD 50-135mm f/3.5


The major advantage of zooms is that the same lens can cover the angles of view of several fixed focal length lenses. However, during paramount of the manual focus SLRs days, zoom lenses introduced during that era has a certain limitation to that advantage: there is no one lens that covers all the focal lengths. If you want complete flexibility to meet all situations, therefore, you will have to use several zoom lenses to cover the whole range. Unlike today's high power zoom ratio lenses of 17-35mm, 24-120mm, 28-300mm or 200-400mm with the benefit of option to select high speed from f2.8 or mid-range variable aperture zoom lenses that was made extremely compact in size and light in weight.

Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur.jpg (55k) Loading...

NOTE:- Info on the NEWER autofocus version

<<<--- The number may come up to half a million devotees performed their pilgrimage during the two days event of Thaipusam Festival at Batu Caves, Malaysia. A zoom lens of medium focal length with the advantage of great portability may be very useful for such occasion. Always try to travel light whenever there are people in numbers. In this case, I am not sure whether Vincent had climbed up the steep stairs (background, left of photo) of the few hundred steps into the main Cave.

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

Thus, unless you are very fond of investing into one of those independent-make lenses, utilizing the FD mount, you may have a problem trying to locate one of those fascinating lenses having such an amazing zoom range and ratios. Frankly, I doubt there are still FD-fit of independent-make lenses available in the market currently. Well, in order not to hurt your enthusiasm, we don't really need to have a super zoom to take good pictures or should I say, great images. Most of the time, you have to think more than you zoom even before you glance through the viewfinder eyepiece. So, your current available option of FD lenses in the used market still gives you more options to create pictures, instead of taking pictures. Depending on their focal lengths' coverage, you can safely say that most zoom lenses are classified into either the wide-angles or telephoto zooms (not all correct if you want to pick me on this..., cases like Pentax even had a Reflex Zoom in those days !). But because of their fairly wide zooming range, the 35-105 mm and 50-135 mm zoom lenses featured here can demand another classification. The 35-105 mm covers all three categories from a wide-angle focal length of 35 mm to a telephoto length of 105 mm with the standard lens' 50 mm focal length included in the middle of its range. The 50-135 mm includes the focal lengths of 50mm, 85 mm, 100mm and 135mm. Both lenses feature a maximum aperture of f/3.5 throughout their zooming range, so in addition to having optical performances that matches that of fixed focal length lenses, these zooms were instrumental in eliminating the established idea that zoom lenses are "dark" due to their relative weak joint of having smaller maximum apertures.

The 35-105 mm has a moderately high zoom ratio.Canon's interchangeable lens selection includes three other such zooms: the FD 28-85 mm f/4, the FD 35-70 mm f/2.8-3.5 or the compact FD 35-70 mm f3.5-4.5. The FD 35-105 mm f/3.5 can be considered as a stepped-up version of these standard zoom models. The zoom range is reasonably good enough to cope with most snapshots and general photography. Its zoom ring and focusing ring are independent to facilitate framing and focusing.

Around the mid '80s, Canon found a breakthrough method in lens manufacturing. The resulting lens was a aspherical 35-105mm f3.5-4.5 lens. Canon developed a low cost proprietary mass production technique for molded aspherical glass lenses to enable production of affordable lenses with high optical quality to general consumers.

It was quite popular as some of the Canon T series SLRs used it as a 'bundled' lens. It offers the same 3X zoom ratio as with the earlier f3.5 version that covers the most popular focal lengths for a variety of shooting - 35mm wide-angle, 50mm normal, 85mm portrait, and 105mm short telephoto.

It was less than 4-1/4" long, and weighing only 345g as compared with 600g of the fixed aperture version. It also features a MACRO focusing capability that allows shooting subjects as close as 2.84 ft. from the film plane. This lens was also partly introduced in response to Nikon's manual focus version of the same focal lengths, which took a swipe at the Canon's older and bulky type, featured below.

Things to note are: It carried the concept of lightweight, compactness in modern zoom design that started along with the T series SLR models with the first of such lenses in the original 35-70mm f3.5-4.5 compact standard zoom lens that came with the T-50 camera in 1982/83. Naturally, the lens was heavily in use of engineering plastic as the prime material (The lens barrel was just made of molded plastic). Anyway, the advantage to the consumers is, these lenses are very cheap but still maintain reasonably high optical performances.

A quick specification sheet: Type: Zoom Construction: 14 elements in 11 groups; Angle of View: 63°-23°30'; Minimum Aperture: f22; Closest Focusing Distance: Normal - 1.2m (3.96ft.) macro - 0.85m (2.84ft.) from film plane; Magnification ratio: 0.11 X at 70mm; 0.16X at 105mm; Filter Size: 58mm; Lens hood: BW-58B (4-45801-01 ) Length: 83.7mm (3-5/6 in.) Weight: 345g (12 oz.) Cap: C-58 (CG2-0072) Case: Optional: LH-B12 (C47-0881) LS-B11 (C47-0954) Function: Auto aperture, full aperture metering (AE operation with all Canon automatic SLR cameras) Coating: S.S.C.(Super Spectra)

Other than the third party lens manufacturers such as Tamron. those days, I remembered Canon was considered as the most innovative (and daring) to introduced zoom lense with very practical zoom range as well as in their features. A typical example was this dual rings 35-105mm fixed aperture FD zoom with MACRO (close focusing capability). It is very well built - quite heavy but illustrate the quality feel throughout. Those days, wideangle to tele zoom was still considered scarce in numbers, among the manufacturers, Canon was the first to introduced such zoom lens type. Despite so many years, I am still keeping this zoom - courtesy of Desmond Lim, who sold me this along with the Canon New F-1 L.A. Olympic model.

As a user's point of view, those days we would very much expect these two zooms' range can be combined as one to offer as the 35mm to 135mm. The 50-135 mm f/3.5 lens, despite with a longer reach than its 35-105 counterpart, is still able to maintain compact size and lightweight, weighing only 650 grams. But it differs slightly in operation, it has a single ring for both zooming and focusing which enables quick adjustments. The lens is also equipped with a handy macro mechanism which permits close ups at its 50 mm focal length end with a minimum film-to-subject distance of only 0.6m. In short, the lens offers quick operability through a single focusing and zooming ring, a fairly broad focal length coverage capable of dealing with picture-taking requirements ranging from sports photography and portraits to macro photography.

Canon FDn
35-105mm f/3.5 zoom lense

With a moderately high zoom ratio of 3x covering a focal length range from 35mm to 105mm, the lens permits flexible selection of angle of view and perspective. Aberration fluctuations common to zoom lenses employing 4-group zoom mechanisms have been greatly corrected.

The lens maintains a relatively large maximum aperture of f/3.5 throughout the zoom range. A macro mechanism permits close-ups at its extreme 35mm focal length end with a minimum film-to-subject distance of 30cm.

Compact and lightweight, it weighs only 600 grams and it zooms over a broad range of focal lengths, from wide-angle to intermediate telephoto.


Focal length: 35-105mm
Aperture ratio: 1:3.5

Lens construction: 13 groups, 15 elements
Coating: S. S. C. (super spectra coating)
Angles of view: Diagonal 63° - 23° 20' Vertical: 38° - 13° Horizontal: 54° - 19° 20'
Distance scale: (m) 1.5 (Magnification 0.03X at 35mm, 0.08X at 105mm) to 20.
OO; (ft) 5 to 70.OO
Macro mechanism: Rotation of the zooming ring into the macro range while pushing the macro conversion button on the zooming ring.
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-72B
Length x max. diameter: 108.4mm x 76.5mm
Weight: 600g

50-135mm f/3.5

Despite it comes with a fairly high zoom ratio of 2.7x, covering the focal lengths of four fixed focal length lenses (50mm, 85mm,100mm and 135mm), the lens still features high operability with its compact size, lightweight construction.

Although it is still very much debatable among zoom lens users of whether one touch or dual rings zoom is better, this lens offers only a single ring for both push/pull zooming and rotary focusing operations.

The minimum shooting distance is 1.5 meters for general photography. However, a macro mechanism permits close-ups with a film-to-subject distance of 60 cm (and a magnification factor of 0.1 X) at the extreme 50mm focal length end.


Focal length: 50-135mm
Aperture ratio: 1:3.5

Lens construction: 12 groups, 16 elements
Coating: S. S. C. (super spectra coating)
Angles of view: Diagonal 46° - 18° Vertical: 27° - 10° Horizontal: 40° - 15°Distance scale: (m) 1.5 (Magnification 0.04X at 50mm, 0.11X at 135mm) to 20.
OO; (ft) 5 to 70.OO
Macro mechanism: Set the zoom ring at wide-angle end and rotate the ring beyond the regular close focusing distance. 0 6m (magnification 0.1X) - 1.5m

Focusing mechanism: Rotation of front lens group
Zooming: Push Pull of a single Zoom Ring
Minimum aperture: f/22. A
Diaphragm: Automatic
Filter size: 58 mm
Hood: BS-5B
Cap: C-62
Function: Auto Aperture, Full aperture metering (AE operation when used with ALL Canon automatic SLR cameras.
Length x max. diameter: 125mm x 71.4mm
Weight: 650g

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Site Maintainance Editors: Kaipin, Terry Carraway, Gerry, Winston, Tom & IRwin (Dr Strangelove); Credit: Richard Yeow, general manager of Canon Marketing for his continual support; Mr. Philip Chong, who volunteered to be a Maintainer of this site; Mr. Vincent Thian, an AP (Associated Press) photographer for contributing some of the great images appeared in this site; Mr CYLeow, photo-editor of The Star newspaper for some of his images used; my nephew EEWynFoo for helping so much of the tedious scanning works. And TO ALL THE CANON GURUS: Thank you for helping so much with the input of so much of invaluable information at the various Canon Message Boards. Site created 'unfortunately again with a PowerMac.