Overview of CANON ZOOM LENS FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF AUTOFOCUS

According provided by lens CANON ZOOM LENS FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF AUTOFOCUS many thanks to Alexander Dundanov.

Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus

Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus

Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus is Canon's first autofocus lens and one of world's first auto focus zoom lens. Canon FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF was released in May back in 1981.

Please note that this lens has a Canon NEW FD mount and cannot be mounted on Canon EOS cameras.

Before the Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus was released, autofocus cameras / lenses already existed:

  • Konica C35AF, Konica HEXANON 38mm F2.8, 1977
  • Polaroid SX-70 LAND CAMERA Sonar OneStep, 1978 with a fixed lens
  • AUTO Chinon MULTI-COATED 1: 1.7 50mm AF
Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus

Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus

Auto focus on the Canon FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF is fundamentally different from the focus system in modern SLR cameras. Modern SLR cameras for focusing use phase focus sensors, which receive light from an additional mirror, which is located under the main mirror, and decide on the accuracy of focusing. How such a principle is arranged and works, you can see here.

In contrast to the modern focusing principle, Canon FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF does not require the participation of the camera and its mirror for focusing. Lens autofocus 'autonomous'. The Canon FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF doesn't even have electronic camera interface pins. This allows the lens to be used on any Canon NEW FD mount camera while maintaining autofocus capability.

For focusing Canon FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF uses SST (Solid State Triangulation) technology - Solid State Triangulation.

How SST works

How SST works

The SST method consists in the fact that the light reflected from the photographed object enters through two special 'windows' and hits the mirrors, which direct it through a prism to the CCD sensor. A CCD sensor reads a light signal and converts it into electrical signals that are processed by a microcomputer. Depending on the readout signal, the distance to the subject is calculated, after which the computer instructs the focusing motor to set one or another focusing distance. All parts of the focusing system are stationary and can be fine-tuned for maximum precision.

Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus

Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus

I’m in a hurry to upset you, the Canon FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF was already in a dead state, its auto focus did not show any signs of life, and therefore it was not possible to verify such an unusual focusing method in combat conditions.

In theory, the Canon FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF uses a large black button to focus, which forces the lens to focus. The lens emits a distinctive sound when the focus is good. There is also a red 'BATT button on the lens barrel. CHECK 'to check the battery level. The lens is powered by two AA batteries. To turn it on, use the 'FOCUS SIGNAL ON / OFF' button. There is also a battery compartment lock button.

Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus

Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus

The main lens controls - the focus ring and the zoom ring - are also unusual. The zoom ring (zoom) is not a ring at all, but a lever. There are three markings near the focal length control lever: 35, 50 and 70 mm. During shooting, the lever is at the bottom of the lens and is inconvenient to use. And in general, when installed, the lens is rotated 45 degrees.

During a change in focal length, the front lens moves in waves. Due to the fact that the movement of the lenses occurs inside the frame of the case, we can say that the lens has a conditionally internal zoom. During focusing, the rear lens also moves inside the body.

Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus

Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus

The focus ring is very narrow and uncomfortable. The focus ring is at the same time a ring for installing light filters in its inner part. During focusing, the front lens rotates and moves. But, again, due to the fact that the front lens moves and rotates inside the barrel, it can be said that the lens does not have an extension of the barrel when focusing.

Important: the focus ring rotates very tight, maybe I just have a broken lens. But, nevertheless, the lens does not have a manual / auto focus switch, and the ring itself is really very narrow and inconvenient. I have performed few sample photos for this review just for the reason that focusing manually is very inconvenient.

The focusing ring is plastic, rotates 180 degrees. The minimum focusing distance in automatic mode is 1 meter, in manual mode - 50 cm. There is a focusing distance in meters on the lens barrel.

Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus

Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus

Although the lens has a red border around the front lens, there is no 'L' in its name. Most likely Canon was afraid to release an autofocus L-ku right away.

Canon FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF weighs 640 grams, the lens is solidly made to the touch, but the body sections near the battery pack creak. Canon FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF can use standard 52mm filters. It is not recommended to use a hood, as it may interfere with the operation of the focus sensors.

Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus has a small but constant aperture F / 4 throughout the focal length range. A small, only XNUMXx zoom was the norm for that time.

The aperture consists of only six blades and is not the best way affects the side of the lens. On cameras with the Canon NEW FD mount, automatic iris control is available.

Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus was built on the basis of CANON ZOOM LENS FD 35-70mm 1: 4 NEW FD and on the same optical scheme. The lens is sharp enough in the center of the frame at F / 4, contrasting, tolerates side and back light well. In general - a good quality lens for those times.

I used a lens on the camera Sony a7 using a Canon FD to Sony E adapter. Original files can be download from this link (19 photos in the '.ARW' format, 454 Mb).

Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus

Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus


Comments on this post do not require registration. Anyone can leave a comment. Many different photographic equipment can be found on AliExpress.

How to use FL/FD/FDn mount lenses

To use a Canon FL, Canon FD, or Canon FDn mount lens on modern mirrorless cameras, you should use the appropriate adapter:

The adapters are suitable for FL, FD and FDn mount lenses, these mounts are backwards compatible. But using lenses with a Canon FL / Canon FD / Canon FDn mount on SLR cameras is difficult due to the long working distance. In such cases, a corrective lens adapter must be used, which will degrade the image quality.


The results, as such, for the Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus will not, since I had a broken copy in the review.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval... Look for me on Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram.

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Comments: 33, on the topic: CANON ZOOM LENS FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF AUTOFOCUS review

  • Oleg

    Devil's thing

  • Andrei

    An impressive thing, more like an engineering device than a lens. Also striking is the scientific progress that made it possible to create modern compact lenses with internal focusing from such a whopper. It was very curious to learn about the existence of such a lens!

  • Lef

    As I saw him, I thought something modern for shooting video. But no, I didn’t guess. funny such instance

  • anonym


  • vlad

    An interesting but worthless thing

  • Dmitriy

    An interesting review. I didn’t know that such happen) Thanks Arkady!

  • Sergei

    By the way, how did the autofocus work in old film soap dishes? By what principle?

    • Ivan


      • Dmitriy

        Well, no, hyperfocal is on very simple point & shoot with a shutter speed of 1/125 and f8.0. Like, Kodak Pro Star 111 and all sorts of Skina.
        But there were also quite autofocus Olympus Mju cf 2,8. I attached a photo from it taken from the site lomographi.com, you will find more examples from it on the Internet yourself. Obviously not hyperfocal. There was some kind of “Active Infrared Auto Focus System”.
        Or konica c35 af 1977, which also has f2,8, the information about it is this:
        “Designed by Honeywell for 35 mm cameras, uses a separate set of detectors and charge coupled devices along with a microprocessor to effect automatic focus. A correlation is performed between sets of detectors utilizing two different, widely separated small areas of the aperture. The technique is based, as in optical rangefinderidj s, on the angular difference between separate receivers in superimposing the same scene. This technique effectively determines not only whether the system is out of focus……….., but the amount and direction of lens movement required to achieve optimum focus”

  • anonym

    A good lens with a distinctive Canon lens bokeh (see first photo).

  • Scarecrow

    The lens is not bad, but the colors of this nex are just tears!

    • anonym

      Well, yes, the photographer was shooting with a thirty-year-old lens without a hood in the bright sun on a summer afternoon, and “the colors of this nex” are to blame, yeah;)

  • Krylov Mikhail

    A funny little thing, so to speak, an intermediate link between “not AF” and “AF” optics

  • Ivan

    very good glass. I speak as the owner of 35-105 / 4 Canon fd
    sharp, contrasting, colorful.

  • Evgeny_d60

    I confess I thought that this is a new camera with instant printing a la Polaroid. Now they are trying to sell

  • Yuriy75

    I liked the picture of this lens, despite the fact that it is broken.

    • Yuriy75

      And it’s also interesting, is it possible to pull the lens out of a scary box and use it as an ordinary manual?

      • Bogdan

        Here, not so much a lens is interesting as boxes

        • Yuriy75

          It is defective, therefore it is not interesting. If it worked, that would be another matter. For the amateur photographer, that's it. Heightened attention is guaranteed, and if you still dress like 60s dudes ...

          • Ivan

            Canon FD 35-70 4.0 - buy and see - what's the problem then?

  • Oleg R

    At first I thought that this is a lens and a monocle at the same time, like binoculars, with the possibility of using both on cameras and when observing .... Delirium, of course, but the thought slipped through.

  • Caelwyn

    But there is a red ring!

  • Eugene

    The Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus is Canon's first auto focus lens and the world's first auto focus zoom lens. Canon FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF was released in May back in 1981.
    [/ B]
    [/ QUOTE]
    The first autofocus zoom lens was the PENTAX-AF 35-70mm F2.8 smc, released in 1981 with the Pentax ME F http://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-AF-35-70mm-F2.8-Zoom-Lens.html
    Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus was available with a Canon T-80 camera from April 1985 - to June 1986 http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/canon/fdresources/SLRs/canont80/index.htm

    • Arkady Shapoval

      You got it wrong, the Canon T-80 camera was not produced by the Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus (which in this review, the correct reference to Malaysia - here), and Canon AC 35-70mm f / 3.5-4.5, in fact, which is indicated in the Malaysia photo. As for the primacy - a really controversial question.

      • Eugene

        Yes, I agree, Canon AC 35-70mm f / 3.5-4.5 is a later model.
        Then the question arises with which camera the lens was released from your review of Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus.

        • Arkady Shapoval

          Why must the lens be let out with a camera? The Canon Zoom Lens FD 35-70mm 1: 4 AF Autofocus is in itself an ordinary standalone lens for cameras with an FD mount. They released it, and on what kind of FD-shnoy camera it was necessary to stick it, everyone probably thought for himself.

  • Leisurely

    And how does this piece of iron know which point of the object I want to focus on? And what kind of object.
    So I agree with Vlad: “An interesting but worthless thing”.

    • BB

      He always focuses on the central object. It is clear that if the central object is small, then it may miss.
      And you will remember the first cameras with autofocus, because there is also one point in the center, even some modern soap dishes have an unadjustable central AF area and everything, as you want, can be reached.

      • Leisurely

        All clear. It's just that I'm used to controlling the focusing process myself, and not to trust its built-in mechanics.

  • Terromin

    The autofocus era began with the Minolta 7000 in 1985 (Bayonet A), everything that came before that can be considered proto-autofocus, since single lenses or modified carcasses were produced :)

  • Alexey

    if they would give it to me, I would fix it :)

    • Ivan

      If grandmother had eggs, then she would be grandfather.

  • Andrei

    Kai released a reviewer for such a lens with working autofocus, who cares) https://youtu.be/sEU7kVf7WrM

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