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Best Canon "walk around lens"

Patrick Mont , Dec 28, 2009; 06:55 p.m.

Hi Guys- I have just re-entered the FD system after straying because I was not crazy about most of the cameras but have grown to like them. I have a couple of AE-1 P and AT-1 and an FTb. I was wondering what is a pretty high quality general (zoom not prime) lens. I was looking at the 35-105 F/3.5. Is this a high quality lens or am I better off going with prime lenses? Thanks, Patrick

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Zenit Zepplin , Dec 28, 2009; 07:17 p.m.

I bought an nFD 35-105/3.5 several years ago as my first fd zoom (just had primes prior to that) and what a piece of disappointment! I mostly chose it at the time because I also have (a use a lot) Pentax A 35-105/3.5 which is a spectacular lens. Of course I may just have a bad copy of Canon's product, but overall it's plasticy construction, fairy useless "macro" feature and a 5-blade diaphragmme are not particularly inspiring, it also flares a lot. So I put it away in its box and went pack to primes.

Louis Meluso , Dec 28, 2009; 07:20 p.m.

The nFD 35-105mm f/3.5 is a fine lens. Very sharp! It has a couple of issue I don't like such as a bit more distortion at the wide end than I like or the less-than-wonderful close-up function. The lens has a big front element and needs a hood. The FD hood is rather hard to find and expensive when you do. However, this mutha is SHARP! I generally prefer the Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm f/2.8 as a walk around lens, but since I picked up the Canon zoom, I've warmed up to it more. It's hard to complain when super crisp, contrasty and colorful negs show up from the lab. At today's prices there is really little reason not to grab one to knock around with. I've got mine on an old F-1 that lives in my truck full time. The nFD 80-200mm f/4 L zoom is another amazing optic and I can recommend it without reservation.

Patrick Mont , Dec 28, 2009; 07:51 p.m.

Well maybe I will go for it and throw on a hood.

Philip Wilson , Dec 28, 2009; 08:12 p.m.

The 35-105 F3.5 is probably the best general purpose FD lens. Image quality is very high, especially by the time you get to F5.6. There is a little distortion at the wide end and the lens is large and heavy. That said the performance is near L standard and makes a great walk around lens. The Macro feature is pretty useless (the Tamron AD-2 35-70 is a much better lens if you want to shoot macro) and the Bokah is not as good as several of the primes. I disagree with Zenit on the constuction as my 1984 model is well constructed and has survived a lot.

Luis G , Dec 28, 2009; 09:09 p.m.

My FD 35-105/3.5 is a great lens, and has excellent color rendition. It is on the heavy end for a walk-around lens, though.

Bob Sharpe , Dec 28, 2009; 10:06 p.m.

My definition of "walk around" photographic equipment has changed as I have aged. Spending an entire day with a heavy camera bag hanging on my shoulder makes me miserable...and therefore unable to concentrate on photography. Nowadays I would choose the AE-1p with the FD 35-70 f3.5/4.5 lens and a Canon speedlight 011A.

I'm sure many will scoff at the FD 35-70 lens (yes, I know it has plastic elements). I've also toted my FD 35-105 f/3.5 for a full day until it felt like an albatross around my neck. Finally, the 011A isn't going to illuminate a subject 40 ft away but it's smaller that a pack of smokes.

I spent an entire day with the 35-70 lens a few months ago and never once said I wished I had the 35-105 lens. Results were quite good above f5.6. The big lens weighs 1lb 7oz compared to the 35-70 at 6oz. Putting the 35-70 lens AND the 011A flash onto the AE-1p you have a neat little package weighing a hair under 2 lbs. That's something I can live with for an 8-hour stretch.

p.s. I have a digital postal meter accurate to 1/10 oz....so I'm not just guessing at these numbers.

Philip Wilson , Dec 28, 2009; 11:15 p.m.

Bob you might want to try the Tamron 35-70 F3.5 if you can find one. In my opinion it is a better lens than the Canon 35-70 but also compact and fairly light.

Paul De Ley , Dec 28, 2009; 11:21 p.m.

These last two years I've tended to avoid zooms, but if I do bring along a short zoom for my FD bodies then it's a Tamron Adaptall-2, either the 35-80 f/2.8-3.8 or 35-70 f/3.5. Both miss out on the long end of focal range compared to the FD 35-105 f/3.5, but they work better for my interests because they can get substantially closer (resp 0.4x and 0.35x max magnification) and are a lot more compact plus less weight to carry around.

Stephen Lewis , Dec 28, 2009; 11:37 p.m.

Although I've a lot to choose from in the collection I've acquired in the last 4 years, I've grown really attached to the nFD 50/3.5 macro as a walk around lens...light, sharp & contrasty, and able to capture the normal as well as minute. For nature landscape stuff I really like the 28/2.0.


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