Canon FD Resources - Wide-angle Zoom lenses
AF Zoom New FD 35-70 f/4.0


New FD 35-70mm f/4 AF

This is the first autofocus interchangeable zoom lens designed for use with Canon's manual focus SLRs (But can't claimed as the world's first - I think the Pentax ME-F was the first camera that came with a similar AF zoom optic).

35-70 AF.jpg (12k) Loading....

Also check the Original FD 35-70mm f4.0 where this lens was based upon. * Credit: Philip Chong for providing the additional info

It is based on the popular New FD 35-70mm f/4 (which was later replaced by the New FD 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5) and a Canon developed SST (Solid State Triangulation) autofocus mechanism, first used in its compact point-and-shoot model, the AF35M of 1979. A simple push on the button performs automatic distance measurement of the subject over the entire shooting distance ranging from 0.94 meters, the lens' minimum focusing distance, to infinity.

Update: Mr. Henry Clark rectified this " .. I have been researching Canon autofocus technology and found that the FD 35-70 AF lens shares the technology with the AF35ML of 1981, not the AF35M of 1979 as stated on your site. The AF35M used an active infrared system...". Relative: Canon AF lenses with Canon T80.

A beep marks the completion of automatic distance measurement. The lens can be mounted on any Canon 35mm format SLRs that has a FD mount. It is well-suited for use by photographers of all levels ranging from novices to advanced amateurs or those who have developed some eyesight problem. It can never compared to today's AF system but back then, it was a much welcome feature.

<<<<--- - Olympus Zuiko 35-70mm f4.0 AF Zoom.

Although both Canon and Olympus were not the first to introduced such a 'concept' AF zoom lens (The Pentax ME-F was..). But what was interesting to note during the early days of soul searching years in trying to experiment consumers' response to such products. Manual focusing, relying on the human eye and a split-image microprism in the viewfinder, do have their limitations.

Factors affecting focusing precision includes personal eyesight and skill, subject, types, shooting situation and the viewing angle when looking through the viewfinder. The AF (autofocus) zoom lens electronically performs precision focusing, minimizing possible human focusing errors. Canon's version used the SST autofocus system that only takes a mere 0.5 sec and is performed by pushing a button.

Of cause this may be considered as 'primitive' as compared with today's high performance advance autofocus system. In later years, Canon did produce an FD-based autofocus system in an entirely new SLR cameras with the T-80 of 1985 with three dedicated lenses. However, since this FD 35-70 f4.0 AF was a stand-alone lens, it can be used with virtually any FD SLR models, and was still in production despite the introduction of the T80.

FDzoomAChrisE.JPG FDzoomBChrisE.JPG
Credit:- Image courtesy of Mr. Chris ENGELER who operates a Ebay Store. All images appeared herein are Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.

The SST autofocus mechanism uses triangulation to measure shooting distance. As shown in the illustration, measurement is performed by observing the subject from two different points. The angle made between the light rays coming from the subject and the line between the two rangefinder windows is sent to the CCD (charge-coupled device) image sensor, made up of 240 separate sensor elements, which then determines the distance. Electronic signals from the sensor are processed using a microprocessor. Since this system has no moving parts, there is no vibration or noise in the distance measurement unit. This ensures high precision measurement.
AF Illus.jpg

Note: The FD 35-70 mm f4 AF lens can be installed on all Canon SLRs. Autofocus not only helps novices, it also opens new photographic possibilities.

AF shooting techniques

You can shoot pictures without looking through the viewfinder since the FD 35-70 mm f/4 AF lens beeps when autofocusing is completed. This beep tone is a great help when you have to shoot quick shots without using the viewfinder. The beep can also be switched off if not needed. Autofocusing works all across the 35-70 mm focal length range, permitting you to use perspective effects that are common to all manual 35-70 mm zoom lenses.

However, such lenses may not be able to solve all photographic situations. With fast moving subjects, pre-focusing at a predetermined point and shooting as the subject reaches that point solves the problem. When photographing low-contrast subjects, focus on a substitute object at the same distance as the subject. Another drawback could be its relatively small maximum aperture and naturally, its size and dimension can be of a concern for ease of handling in rush situation. Other than these, a good thing to mention about is - this zoom lens also permits manual focusing. Thus, you can either select a choice of AF or manual focusing modes to suit your subject. If the price is attractive, if you are using FD-type of SLRs or have developed slight relative eyesight problem when focusing, this may present a limited solution to your needs.


Type: Zoom lens with automatic focusing
Focal length: 35 - 70mm
Aperture ratio: 1:4
Construction: 8 groups, 8 elements
Coating: S.S.C. (super spectra coating)
Angles of view
: Diagonal: 63° - 34° Vertical: 38° - 190 30' Horizontal: 54° - 29°

Distance scale: (m) 1 (Magnification 0. 08X at 35mm, 0.1 X at 70mm) to 10 - oo No calibration for 0.5m. Scale shown only in meters.
Automatic focusing range: 1m - Manual focusing range: 0.5m - oo
Focusing mechanism: Rotation of front lens group
Zooming: Rotation of zooming lever
Minimum aperture: f/22 A
Diaphragm: Automatic
Filter size: 52mm
Hood: Cannot be used (will block autofocus windows)
Cap: C-52
Function: Auto Aperture, Full aperture metering (AE operation when used with ALL Canon automatic SLR cameras.
Dimensions: 95.5(H) x 85(W)x 84.5(D)mm
Weight: 640g (including batteries)

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