Canon FL 19/3.5 R : Thoughts about Optical Quality, etc.? : LUSENET : Canon FD : One Thread

The other day I picked up a FL 19/3.5 R in Osaka for around 38,000 yen. I've being trying it on my Canon F-1 and, with a Novoflex adapter, on my Voigtlander Bessa L and my Leica M6. Can anyone tell me any details about the optical quality of this lens--or anyting else you can think of? I'd love to hear anecdotes as well as info on lens tests. Thanks!

-- Alex Shishin (, March 04, 2002



I see that you haven't had an answer. I don't have experience with this lens, but would be interested in your experience with it on an F- 1. Is that the old F-1, the F-1n or the F-1N (the new one in the early 1980's? Is there any problem mounting it?

The reason I'm asking is that I'm an underwater photographer, and this may be a less expensive lens than the FD 17mm lens that I'm thinking of getting.


-- John C. Ratliff (, March 24, 2002.

Isn't that the one that has a separate viewfinder and requires a body with mirror lock-up?

-- David Goldfarb (, March 25, 2002.

No, actually it was the first 19mm that DIDNT require mirror lockup, using retrotelephoto design, hence the R. Very nice lens. I have one (user condition) that I'm thinking of eBaying soon. Have just too much stuff!

-- adam g. lang (, March 25, 2002.

Hi Everyone,

Glad I checked back! Thanks for writing! Well, on the F-1 (old style) you need to put the FL 19/3.5 R into manual. It balances very nicely.

Now for the wild stuff. With Leica adapter I have used it on my M6, Hexar RF, Bessa T and Bessa L. It is really wild on the Hexar. At 3.5 it goes from infinity to 1.5 meters. From 7 meters / 20 ft. you can get depth of field to about 4 ft. Here's a trick you can pull with an A-1, AL-1, T-90 etc. In bright light you can stop down as much as you want in M. If the lighting suddenly becomes darker, flip to Auto and you are immediately at 3.5.

I've shot a fell rolls with this lens and find it to be very good. I sense that the contrast is a bit low--doesn't have that sparkle of the later FD lenses. But that could be film / lighting / f stops / my imagination.

Question is, would you want this lens? The earlier models that come with external finders are more in demand and more expensive, though this baby is optically better. (Rangefinder freaks are the primary buyers.) I got mine at 38,000 yen (I live in Japan) which is about the same price as an FD 20/2.8 mm lens--which is operationally and optically better.

The 19/3.5's only advantage may be coverage. It covers 97 degrees. A 20mm lens covers 94 degrees, and a 21mm lens covers about 92 degrees. Thus, the 19 gives you a little more than a 20mm, but less that an ultra-ultra wide lens like an 18 (100 degrees) and a 15 (110 degrees). The advantage is that it acts as a 20 /21-plus lens. This is why I got it (fun aside). I use it on my Bessa L now when I cycle. The body is ultra light and the lens is easier to operate with cycling gloves than an ordinary RF lens.

Thanks again for writing. Sorry this is so late!



-- Alex Shishin (, April 05, 2002.

It's a fine lens, but I need to raise some cash and I also have the FD 20/2.8 SSC, so I'm eBaying mine:

ends Saturday night, NO RESERVE, so the high bid gets it, however low it might be. I'm committed to selling it. THe current bid is $89 which is a phenomenal bargain. I would be quite depressed if it sold for $89, but I'd survive....


-- adam g. lang (, April 05, 2002.


Sorry, I've somehow neglected you! The FD 17mm lens has a coverage of 104 degrees, 7 more than the 19mm. It is expensive and, I think, quite rare. Not knowing anything about diving, I am wondering how stopped down metering / viewing might affect you. To my mind, an FD 20mm lens might be a good compromise. It isn't as expensive as the 17mm and the coverage is not at all narrow at 94 degrees.



-- Alex Shishin (, April 08, 2002.

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