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Lens Review, Canon EF 35-70mm 1:3.5~4.5 A, An AF Only Lens

Canon EF 35-70mm 1:3.5~4.5 A, Lens Review
A retro look at the Canon EF 35-70mm 1:3.5~4.5 A, a standard autofocus-only zoom lens for Canon EF-mount cameras.

I just had the chance to do a lens review with the Canon EF 35-70mm !;3.5~4.5 A, a vintage Canon full-frame lens, mounted on the Canon EOS 300D, an equally vintage digital SLR camera which was the first Canon DSLR consumer market model. The kit is highly recommended for budding photographers who are looking to break into the genre from the low end of their budget spectrum. The camera and lens are easily available at auction sites or even brick-and-mortar stores.

The Canon EF 35-70mm F/3.5-4.5 A, a lightweight (230 grams) plastic-bodied full-frame standard zoom lens with 9 elements in 8 group construction, was launched even earlier in 1988. The lens is the second version of Canon's original EF 35-70mm 1:3.5-4.5 (1987) and came without the manual focus ring. The 'A' (not commonly used among Canon lenses) designation signifies the lens as an autofocus-only model. The EF 35-70mm F/3.5-4.5 A has a minimum focusing distance of 0.39 meters.

Canon 300D, Canon EF 35-70mm 1:3.5~4.5 A

The Canon EOS 300D (EOS Digital Rebel in North America, EOS Digital Kiss in Japan), announced in 2003, is a 6.3MP CMOS sensor ASP-C digital SLR camera is a very well-built polycarbonated body with an EF-S lens mount, a focal-plane shutter with a speed range from 30 - 1/4000 second (0.3 EV steps), a 1.8-inch 118,000 pixels backlit LCD screen, and a pentamirror viewfinder with 7 AF-points. The EF-S lens mount is EF-compatible.

Canon 300D, Canon EF 35-70mm 1:3.5~4.5 A

On the EOS 300D's ASP-C sensor (crop factor 1.6x), the lens will have a focal range equivalent to that of a 56-112mm zoom on 35mm full-frame cameras. The range is typically designated to that of a short telephoto lens, one of the most versatile and useful lenses that you should have. Used mainly for portraits and close-ups, the lens isolates the subject for potentially good bokeh with its shallow depth of field effect. The lens is equally adaptable for candids, street photography, and landscapes.


Early Images

Aside from the image and spec sheet on the Canon Camera Museum website, and a minor listing on EFLens.com, there was hardly any other listing or review of the EF 35-70mm 1:3.5~4.5 A on the Net. My guess is that is what it was meant to be, a very economical buy at the auction, excellent for its use as a beginner learning lens.

Canon EF 35-70mm 1:3.5~4.5 A, Lens Review 01
Canon EF 35-70mm 1:3.5~4.5 A, Lens Review 02

The lens is a perfect fit on the EOS 300D, the plastic smooth zoom ring is smooth as butter, and the AF is flawless. Not having a manual focus or aperture ring does not deter the lens from being fully usable. Skepticism aside, the two test images above, shot at the short end of the zoom, and the others posted below, mostly at the mid-point and the long end of the zoom, are captures of what the lens is capable of.

Canon EF 35-70mm 1:3.5~4.5 A, Lens Review 03
Canon EF 35-70mm 1:3.5~4.5 A, Lens Review 04
Canon EF 35-70mm 1:3.5~4.5 A, Lens Review 05
Canon EF 35-70mm 1:3.5~4.5 A, Lens Review 06
Canon EF 35-70mm 1:3.5~4.5 A, Lens Review 07
Canon EF 35-70mm 1:3.5~4.5 A, Lens Review 08
Canon EF 35-70mm 1:3.5~4.5 A, Lens Review 09
Canon EF 35-70mm 1:3.5~4.5 A, Lens Review 10
Canon EF 35-70mm 1:3.5~4.5 A, Lens Review 11
Canon EF 35-70mm 1:3.5~4.5 A, Lens Review 12

Canon 300D, Canon EF 35-70mm 1:3.5~4.5 A

I acquired both the camera (with minor physical defects) and the lens separately for a total of less than US $100 (shipping is extra) in late 2022 and early 2023. The intent was to look for a setup that could be an alternative to my staying on in film photography which, to me, is getting dearer with the increasing cost of film and its development charges. Having fun with the hobby also deters me from the latest digital ensembles that are equally high-priced.

p.s. Found another write-up on the lens @ LensDB.com.



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