The Canon FDn 135mm f3.5 was introduced in June 1979 with the new FD mount. It is the second lightest (only 325g) among all FDn telephoto lenses with the lightest one being the 100mm f2.8 at 270g. It was economically priced and is a great alternative to the larger and of course more expensive 135mm f2.8. Its simple 4 elements – 4 groups design gives more than satisfactory results in most situations (sometimes “the simpler, the better”) which means the largest sacrifice of getting this lens instead of the f2.8 will be just a half stop slower in terms of maximum aperture.
Recently, I took this lens with my T70 on a hike and had it tested under different lighting situations. Film used is Ilford HP5+ (ASA400) and here are the sample photos:
The 4 elements – 4 groups simple formula is still holding its sharpness and resolving power at around f5.6 as shown in the photo above. However, at larger apertures, the sharpness degrades just like the high contrast shot below which was taken wide open at f3.5. Of course, it is still pretty satisfactory compared to a consumer zoom at the same settings.
The Story of my FDn 135mm f3.5…
This lens was bought long ago used while I still owned a FD mount body and it has been kept almost new both optically and cosmetically. This is my prime motivation on buying the Canon T70 when I saw it being sold at a very good price with the FDn 50mm f1.8. As I said in earlier posts, many of the FD glasses (not just the L ones) are indeed pretty good and are available at low prices in the used market simply because the FD mount had long been obsoleted. Thus, although I am not a Canon fan myself, I would recommend the FD system to anyone who want to shoot film economically.