FD Telephoto - Prime or Zoom?

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I'm thinking of getting a "new" telephoto lens for my T-90 kit. The 80-200mm f/4L looks to fit the bill and I have the chance of getting one at what seems a reasonable price. Does anyone have first hand experience of this lens? Is it worth the extra money over, say, the 80-200mmf/4 2 ring/non-L lens which I know also has a good reputation? Thanks in advance, Mark.

-- MarkD (md644@hotmail.com), September 06, 2001


Yes, the L version is the one to get especially if it's less than say, US$350. It has superb color and resolution thru the entire range. The non-L doesn't have the same contrast and resistance to flare.

Caveats: the lens is quite lightweight and plasticky feeling compared to the older lenses. Mine also had to have the aperture blades freed up. I was lucky that it only needed a cleaning as I understand that some need new parts. Check all the operations out for smoothness or you may end up with a paperweight.

The correct hood for this lens is the BT-58. Get one if you can.

Good luck & Cheers,


-- Duane k (dkucheran@creo.com), September 06, 2001.

I've used a Canon FD 80-200mm/f4 (breechlock/2 ring) lens for some time now. It's a remarkably good lens, considering its age. It is a bit more prone to flair than my prime lenses over the same range, but it is very sharp. The contrast is slightly less than my primes, but not enough to notice unless you have images side by side to compare-- and even then it's hard to detect. I guess the best affirmation I can give you for this lens is to say that while I have primes in every focal length from 85 to 200, I use this lens for nearly all my "walking around" shooting.

On assignment, where things go rather slowly and where half-a-dozen people _have_ to peer through the camera, and where I have an assistant to cart the equipment, I do use the primes. I should also point out that in this situation I also use a Hassleblad compendium lens shade adapted to my camera which rests on a massive Gitzo tripod. This type of shade makes a huge difference in controlling lens flare. Were the zoom to benefit from that extra attention, it, too, would improve accordingly.

One final word, I strongly believe a stable camera (heavy tripod) is a FAR more important component of sharpness than the miniscule differences between various high quality lenses.

-- Ted Kaufman (writercrmp@aol.com), October 05, 2001.

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