Thoughts on FD 35mm lenses

Discussion in 'Canon FD' started by ben_johnson|3, Aug 3, 2005.

  1. I'm interested to hear people's perspectives on the FD 35/2. I've
    had one (later model) for a bit over a year now and really haven't
    been very impressed. I love my 24/2.8, 50/1.4 and particularly my
    85/1.8, which are all sharp and contrasty. I've found my 35/2 to be
    a bit dull and a bit soft in comparison, even stopped down. The
    lens is well-used and does have a few very faint marks on the rear
    element (they look more like a smudge - perhaps this is the
    problem. I've recently picked up a 35/2.8 that I will shoot in
    comparison. Anyway, I'm interested to hear peoples' thoughts.
  2. I have the last version 35mm f:2. It's very sharp and contrasty at all apertures.
  3. There are probably a number of things that can cause what you describe. One that I know will cause it is lens element separation. I have that seen that before with FD wide angle lenses more than 20 years old. Look at the front of the lens and see if you spot anything that looks like bubbles or little white spots on the black paint. If that is your problem it will cost a couple hundred U.S. dollars to get fixed. Thats more than the lens is worth.
  4. I wish would allow you to edit comments. You spot mangled syntax and grammar immediately after you hit confirm and not a damn thing you can do about it. It is so damn annoying.
  5. Hi Ben,

    I love my 35mm f2. It's very sharp, and provides contrast that is accurate to my eye. It's a lens that I have no qualms about using at any time. In image quality, I think that it may be the forgotten little brother to the vaunted "L" series in many respects. I'd really like to try some B&W shots with the Thorium version of this lens to see if it's as good as I have heard for that medium.

  6. I have a concave front element FD model with the yellow cast. Eventually I might try exposing the lens to strong UV light to clear this up. With b&w film it's fine. With color print film the negatives are scanned or filtered so the prints don't show any cast. It's only an issue with slide film. If I am shooting slide film I will use a 35mm f/2.8 New FD or a Vivitar 35mm f/1.9 Fixed Mount lens instead.
  7. Jeff, I think that's the thorium version jack was just referring to (I may not be able to afford the high end lenses but at least I've picked up some of the lore).
  8. Ben,

    I've had three of the FDn 35/2.0 lenses. The first two bothered me because there appeared to be cloudiness down inside when looking into the lens from the front, with the rear capped. It was a grayish foglike look that none of my other lenses have--and I have a closetful.

    I then gave them the Maglite inspection. Every lens I have, no matter how pristine, looks frightening with the diaphragm open and a 5-cell Maglite shining through it. But, these 35's did show a grayish film on an inside surface, looked like in the front group. Looked like a foggy windowpane. It's not fungus or dust, and there are no cemented elements in the front of the lens. All I can speculate is that the coating on one surface became cloudy. I've seen 28/2.0's that did something similar, on the rear of the front element where the wide black-painted glass edge is. In those, I guessed it to be from a reaction or outgassing from the paint.

    My current 35/2.0 is clear, and I think it has good color and contrast, certainly as good as the 85/1.8.
  9. By the way, the bubbles commonly seen in the front of the 28/2.0 are bubbles in the black edge paint of the front element. I have seen the element removed from the lens and can testify that they are not caused by separation, nor are they in the optical path. I think the only problem they could cause would perhaps be a little flare in direct light.
  10. Hi Guys,
    I have recently aquired a 35mm Chrome Snout f2 lens, but have not yet developped the first films. I'm wondering if all the Chrome snouts with a yellow hue are "thorium" lenses?
    Regards Gérard
  11. Thanks for all your input, everyone. I'll look closely through my lens with a light, but it seems that I've just got a lemon. Well, they're cheap enough used these days (compared to a Canon rangefinder 35/2 or a Summicron 35) so I can pick up another and hope for the best.

  12. jtk


    Yes. I just got a near mint rangefinder 35f2. A beauty, even with a maglite. Wildly expensive by comparison to FD lenses, cheap by comparison to comparable Leicas. So it goes.
  13. See for my comments on 35's.
  14. jtk


    I read somewhere, back then, that UPI photogs in Vietnam were expected to use Nikons with long lenses and Leicas with wide, since the SLRs tended not to focus wide lenses as quickly/accurately. Of course, faster lenses would be better for than than slower.

    My only regularly-used FD wide is a 24 2.8 SSC, but I've been ignoring it since I got a CV 25 in Leica thread...nice zone-focusing click stops. I can't as quickly/reliably focus the FD 24, but the CV 25 is a champ in that respect.

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