Data sheet: Canon FDn 35–105 mm f/3.5

Pekka Buttler, 06/2024

Pictured: Canon FDn 35-105 mm f/3.5


The table below summarises the lens’ key specifications (measurements based on pictured sample):

Brand:CanonLens nameZoom Lens FD 35-105 mm 1:3.5
Focal length(s)135-105 mmAngle-of-view224°–12°
Maximum Aperturef/3.5In Production1981–1987
Lens mountCanon FDSubfamily (if applicable)FD
Length3109,4 mmDiameter476,1 mm
Filter ring diameter72 mmWeight585 grams
Lens element count15Lens group count13
Aperture blades (S/R/C)55 SFocus throw160 °
Minimum focusing distance1,5 m
(32 cms in macro mode)
Maximum magnification1:12,5
(1:7 in macro mode)
Has manual aperture ringYESHas Manual focus ringYES

Further notes:
• This lens is Canon’s only ever 35–105/3.5 lens. There are later Canon lenses that share the 35–105 mm zoom range, but none of those have a constant maximum aperture.
• This lens is a two-ring zoom lens, with the rearmost ring controlling the zoom (focal length) and the frontmost ring controlling focusing distance.
• The lens uses an internal zooming approach, meaning that the lens’ shape stays the same while zooming.
• The entire front of the lens rotates on focusing. When focusing towards MFD, the lens also lengthens a bit.
• The lens’ minimum focusing distance is 1,5 meters, which is rather modest and might limit the lens’ usability. To compensate, the lens offers a macro mode at the wide end, that allows focusing all the way down to 32 centimetres.
• As an ace up its sleeve (and which makes this lens particularly liked by amateur videographers), the lens is as close to parfocal as you can get in this price and size class.
• With its relatively ambitious (15 element) construction, this lens was clearly intended as a prosumer offering.
• Looking at the lineup of FDn zoom lenses, one can clearly see that while Canon had already started their (Luxury) L-line of lenses, there were no L-line standard zooms. At the same time there were wide angle L-line zooms (the 24-35/3.5L and its successor the 20–35/3.5L), and tele zooms (50–300/4.5L, 150-600/5.6L and 80-200/4L. In the standard zoom segment, Canon had two lenses that can be seen as premium offerings: the 35-70/2.8-3.5 (1979), and the 35-105/3.5 (this lens)
• Alike many Canon FD/FDn lenses, this lens has a bayonet mount for use with a dedicated lens hood.

History of Canon FDn lenses

Canon is undoubtedly one of the great names in 35 mm SLR photography. Ever since the 1959 introduction of the Canonflex – Canon’s first interchangeable lens SLR – Canon has constantly focused on being at the forefront of Camera innovation. Often this has necessitated taking stock and redesigning both cameras, lenses and lens mounts. Unlike its arch-rival Nikon, Canon has not tried to integrate all novel features in the same lens mount, but has instead repeatedly launched new, modified mounts to facilitate new features, while still often (but not always) managing to maintain a decent degree of backwards compatibility.

In short (a longer version is here), the development of Canon SLR mounts can be traced as follows:
• 1959–1963: R-mount 6. Canon’s first SLR lens mount. Breech lock-type mount with aperture automation (camera is able to stop down lens for taking the shot.
• 1964–1969: FL-mount. Breech-lock type mount, physically similar mount as Canon R-mount, but camera-to-lens communication linkages somewhat different. Cannot communicate selected aperture to body (stop-down-metering only).
• 1970–1978: FD-mount. Breech-lock mount. FD lenses compatible with FL-cameras and vice versa. Manual focus lenses that communicate aperture information to camera, hence opening the door for automatic exposure (both shutter priority and aperture priority possible)
• 1979–1986: new FD-mount (a.k.a. FDn). Bayonet mount, backwards compatible with FL and FD mounts. Otherwise, as FD mount.
• 1987–today: EF-mount. Electronically controlled autofocus lenses that use an internal focusing motor. Compatible with previous mount lenses only using an adapter with optics.

The era of the Canon FD mount can be characterised by a gradual shift towards the ever-increasing use of plastics and lighter materials (see some more in the JAPB article on the Canon FL, FD and FDn mounts). In the chronology of this gradual shift:
• ‘Chrome nose’ FD lenses (1971–1973) are solid metal (often brass) and glass.
• Black nose FD lenses (1973–1979) are also metal and glass, but especially later, Mk II and III variants have shifted to using less metals and lighter metals.
• FDn lenses (1979–1987) typically make extensive use of plastics.

Another noteworthy point is related to the S.C. and S.S.C. acronyms found on some FD lens’ name rings: S.C. stands for “spectra coating”, while S.S.C. stands for “super spectra coating”. Both are proprietary marketing names for Canon’s optical coating technology. In theory S.S.C. is always a superior form of coating, but that does not mean that one should always try to get an S.S.C. lens, because:
• S.C. and S.S.C. are first and foremost marketing terms, that were not used on early Canon FD lenses, nor on most FDn lenses. Hence, a FDn lens is certain to have at least the level of coating of its direct (FD) predecessor, even though the S.S.(C.) marking is missing from the lens.
• Coating technology developed a lot during the 70s and 80s. A late S.C. coating is liable to be better optimised than an early S.S.C. coating.

Related versions

In terms of optical designs, this lens has no clear predecessors or successors.


This lens cannot be used natively on any current SLR or dSLRs. To use it in its native environment, you will need a Canon FD or FL-mount film body.

Thanks to being a fully manual lens (manual aperture, manual focus), the lens can be adapted to all mirrorless cameras using a suitable adapter. However, for the adapter to allow the lens to stop down, you will need an adapter that can be set to engage the FD lens’ aperture control lever.

Moreover, a large range of special adapters (helicoid adapters, tilt/shift adapters, speed boosters) for using Canon FD lenses on most mirrorless systems are available.

Using Canon FD lenses on dSLRs is a possibility, but is not problem free. Thanks to the relatively short flange focal distance of the Canon FD mount (at 42,0 mm, clearly shorter than that of any full-frame dSLR mount), any adapter will necessitate some corrective optics to achieve infinity focus.


  1. Focal length is (unless stated otherwise) given in absolute terms, and not in Full-frame equivalent. For an understanding of whether the lens is wide/tele, see ‘Angle-of-view’. ↩︎
  2. Picture angle is given in degrees and concerns the diagonal picture angle. Rule of thumb:
    > 90 ° ==> Ultra-wide-angle
    70–90 ° ==> Wide-angle
    50–70 ° ==> Moderate wide-angle
    40–50 ° ==> ‘Standard’ or ‘normal’ lens
    20–40 ° ==> Short tele lens
    10-20 ° ==> Tele lens
    5-10 ° ==> Long tele lens
    < 5 ° ==> Ultra-tele lens ↩︎
  3. Length is given from the mount flange to the front of lens at its shortest. ↩︎
  4. Diameter excludes protrusions such as rabbit ears or stop-down levers. ↩︎
  5. S=straight; R=rounded; C=(almost)circular at all apertures. ↩︎
  6. The Canon-R mount should possibly be renamed to (or referred to) as the Canonflex mount to avoid confusion with the modern mirrorless mount that is sometimes also referred to as the Canon R mount. ↩︎

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