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Canon FD 35-70mm f/4

© 2009 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations

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Canon FD 35-70mm f/4

Canon FD 35-70mm f/4. enlarge. I bought this one from this direct link to it at eBay; you may also be able to get them from this link to Adorama. It helps me keep adding this site when you get yours from these links, thanks! Ken.


May 2009     More Canon FD Reviews    More Canon Digital Reviews



Introduction         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations

This lens looks like my dog dug it up in the backyard, but before I threw it away, I tried it, and the Canon FD 35-70mm f/4 FD is an unusually good performer.

The 35-70mm f/4 is unusually sharp right out to the corners, even wide-open, and has little or no distortion throughout most of the zoom range.

The Canon FD 35-70/4 is also built tough; it's almost all-metal.

It's a two-ring zoom. There are no weird macro settings; it focuses directly down to 1.6 feet (0.5 meters) at all focal lengths as part of the regular focus range.

The 35-70/4 has one weirdness: for some unknown reason, the filter threads and front element move around inside the front outer lens barrel. To put on a cap or filter, you have to zoom to 35mm and focus to 0.5m to get the front part of the lens to come forward enough to reach the threads!

When new, it shipped with a rubbery plastic Canon cap that fit fairly snugly over the outer lens barrel.


Canon 35-70/4

Canon FD 35-70/4. enlarge.


Specifications with commentary         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations

Optics: 8 elements in 8 groups.

Diaphragm: 6 blades stopping down to f/22.

Close Focus: 1.6 ft (0.5m).

Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 1:6.7.

Filter Thread: 52mm, metal. Rotates only with focus.

Hood (optional): W-62.

Size: 3.42" (86.96mm) extension from flange x 2.48" (62.97mm) diameter.

Weight: 10.750 oz. (304.7g) naked.

Value: $35, USA, May 2009.


Canon 35-70mm f/4 FD

Rear, Canon FD 35-70mm f/4. enlarge.


Performance         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations



The Canon FD 35 70 4 has strong barrel distortion at 35mm, and has no visible distortion at 50mm and 70mm.

For critical use, use these values in Photoshop's Lens Distortion FIlter:


© 2009 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

* 7 ft (2m) at 35mm, 10' (3m) at 50mm, 14' (4m) at 70mm.



It works great; jut turn the rings. I've already explained the weirdness with with the hooded filter ring above.


Filters, Use with

As covered above, you have to dick with it to attach filters. The thread is not on the front of the lens; it's back inside the lens where it says "Canon Zoom Lens..."

The inner part with the filter thread moves in and out as you zoom, and rotates as you focus. Good luck trying to use a polarizer!!

Forget step-up rings; they won't fit inside the barrel.


Lateral Color Fringes

As seen on 3,600 DPI scans of Fuji Velvia 50, there is some very, very faint lateral color in the corners wide open, which goes away a stop or two down.



Here's the crazy part: the Canon 35-70mm f/4 FD is sharp at every setting! It's sharp even to the corners wide open.

Few lenses are this good, so this simple but tough lens stands out.


Recommendations         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations

Considering that these sell used for about $35, if you want one, go for it.

I've always considered 35-70mm zooms as a product for the feeble minded; personally I prefer a smaller, faster, cheaper 50mm f/1.8 lens and I walk forward or back a few steps to zoom.


More Information: Canon Camera Museum.


PLUG         top

I support my growing family through this website.

If you find this as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to help me continue helping everyone.

If you've gotten your gear through one of my links or helped otherwise, you're family. It's great people like you who allow me to keep adding to this site full-time. Thanks!

If you haven't helped yet, please do, and consider helping me with a gift of $5.00.

The biggest help is to use these links to Adorama, Amazon, B&H, Calumet, Ritz, J&R and when you get your goodies. It costs you nothing and is a huge help to me. eBay is always a gamble, but all the other places have the best prices and service, which is why I've used them since before this website existed. I recommend them all personally.


Thanks for reading!


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