Sometime back in the 1980s I bought a second hand Canon AE-1 from a long departed photo store on 43rd and second avenue in New York city – I don’t remember the name of the store. I also bought a couple of lenses to go with it: a Canon FD Zoom 70-210 mm f4 and this lens: a Canon FD Zoom 35-70mm f3.5-4.5 macro zoom. I hadn’t used for decades but I’d acquired a Canon FD-Sony NEX adapter to use with some other FD lenses I had so I thought I’d give it a try – at least partly to check if, after all this time, it was still working. I tried it on the closest things to hand: flowers in our garden. The good news is that it’s working. The bad news is that it’s a somewhat mediocre lens.
I don’t remember much about why I bought it. I know I didn’t have much money so it must have been cheap. It’s slow and feels quite ‘plasticky’. Because of the crop factor it has an awkward 52-105mm zoom range. It also seems to be a bit soft (particularly around the edges) and contrast seems to be low. Most of this can be easily fixed in post processing though. It may also be that I need to use the lens more to understand its full capabilities.
It does have a couple of advantages though. It’s very small and light. As I get older I incline more and more to small, lightweight gear. Even though the adapter makes it a bit longer, and a bit heavier the combination of the NEX 5N body and this lens makes for a very easy to carry around package. It also has a macro (or at least close focusing) capability throughout it’s entire focal length range. Apparently the lens also has some historical significance: it had with world’s first three group zooming system, which allowed it to be smaller and lighter which still maintaining fairly decent optical performance.