An old lens in a modern age: the Canon EF 35mm f/2

Panos Voudouris
4 min readOct 4, 2023

In my recent, relatively, switch from film to finally mostly digital, I have been revisiting some of the lenses I have been using happily in the good old film days. While doing that I reliased that all the good ol’ Canon EF lenses are basically tumbling in prices as everyone wants the newer RF ones. Which is fine by me as that means I can buy them cheap!

So next in the line of old and cheap and cheerful was a 35. I have used in the past the 35/2 IS USM and, while it is a great lens, I wanted something smaller, cheaper and less complicated (no IS=no IS to break!).

This something was the ancient 35/2 AFD lens. So…the obligatory search, blah, blah, £200 ka-ching at the till and it arrived.

The 35/2 is a compact lens, here you can see it with the hood on.

The lens is nice and simple. It has that usual 80s construction of some sort of heavy duty plastic. A rubbish focus ring sits in the middle, thin, gritty, pretty horrible really. The AF/MF switch was fiddly on my copy too. But that’s irrelevant, this lens focuses in a split second. It makes a little coffee grinder noise in the process too. Mmmmm coffee. Seriously though, the lens is compact and light, so it sits really nicely on the camera and the hood is nice and compact too.

In the end, what matters are the photos. So here’s a bunch of them and we’ll talk about them a bit more in the end.