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Old Mar 17, 2006, 1:54 PM   #1
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A few months ago, I posted in the What Camera Should I Buy forum about getting a new superzoom to replace a faulty Nikon 8800 (http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...22&forum_id=87). We decided on the Panasonic FZ30, but I put off getting it, perhaps subconciously influenced by fears about noise and image quality compared to an SLR. A few days ago, however, everything changed. Discussing buying the Panasonic with my Dad, he exclaimed that he'd just remembered that he used to use an SLR, and a short rummage later, he produced a bag containing a Canon T70, and two lenses, an f3.5 35-70mm and an f4 70-210mm. The sight of these triggered something, and I now feel that if I got an FZ30, no matter how good it was, I would be consistantly bothered with the nagging feeling that I could have got an SLR.

Thus, I am now considering buying a new Canon DSLR body, such as the 350D or D30. And now my main question: to what extent will these lenses be usable in a new camera? First of all, will they even physically fit? On one hand, it seems logical that the lens mount would not change, else millions of people would be left with thousands of pounds worth of lenses that would be useless. On the other, the only picture of the bottom of a modern Canon EF lens that I could find, http://www.inthehollow.com/CanonEF.htm looks considerably different to the bottom of my two lenses (e.g. mine have two small protruding latches on the end to attatch to the camera).

And even if they fit, will the electrical connections still work? Though these are limited to aperture only (no autofocus), my understanding (though please correct me if I'm wrong) is that even though f number is settable on the lens the diaphram doesn't actually close until the picture is taken; if the camera cannot communicate this to the lens, it won't work. The picture shows six (flat) contacts near the centre; my lens has three (two male, one female) near the outside.

Even assuming they will work, how useful will they be? How far has lens technology progressed since then? In other words, will these produce good pictures compared to a not *too* expensive (say, <£300) modern zoom lens?

As well as quality, another issue is bulk: whilst the 35-70 is pretty compact, the 70-210 is very long and rather unwieldy. Something like the EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM is about half the length and covers the zoom range of both the old lenses put together. One of the reasons we were originally going to get the Panasonic FZ30 was that it was reasonably compact and portable for the zoom range.

If necessary, I could probably post some pictures of the lenses here; otherwise, verdict?
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Old Mar 17, 2006, 3:33 PM   #2
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The key here seems to be whether you can make use of the light meter, and will they mount.

I am completely unfamiliar with Canon. If no one here can help you, may I suggest a visit to the Canon site. They provide a list of compatible lenses, and for that matter, degree of compatibility.

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Old Mar 17, 2006, 5:03 PM   #3
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I couldn't find anything on the Canon site, but I did find out what the lens mount is: it's an FD mount. Unfortunately, according to photonotes.org:

Canon FD lenses are manual-focus only lenses which Canon sold in the years before switching over to the autofocus EF system. Many, particularly those made in the late 70s and early 80s, offer excellent optical quality, have smoothly-operating metal barrels and are available quite inexpensively on the used market. So the obvious thought comes to mind - can such lenses be attached to EOS cameras?

Unfortunately the lens mounts used by the two systems are completely incompatible. FD lens mounts are smaller in diameter, have a different lens register from EF lenses, rely on mechanical levers to control lens aperture, are of a breech-lock design (rotating pressure ring) and never contain autofocus motors. EF lens mounts are larger in diameter, are of a bayonet mount design (put lens into camera and rotate partway to lock), support electronic control of the lens aperture and the lenses usually contain autofocus motors.
Ah well.
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Old Mar 20, 2006, 7:11 AM   #4
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The earlier "breech-lock" lenses had a ring around the outside of the lens mount (on the lens); you mated the lens to the body and turned only this ring until it was tight. Later FD lenses had a rotating inner face in the lens mount; this would remain stationary with the body while you gave the whole lens a twist to lock it in place, and it acted like a bayonet mount. Lenses with both variants of the mount would fit the A series bodies as well as the T series. The only difference was that Canon changed which part of the mount moved.

It reminded me of a Pentax bayonet mount turned inside-out, so the part with the outward-facing tabs is on the body instead of the lens.

And yes, there is a lever on the lens (actuated by a lever in the bottom of the body, inside the lens-mount circle) that stopped down the aperture just before the shutter opened. You could manually stop the aperture down by pushing a slider in toward the lens, but again, that was all mechanical.
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