We’re big fans of using old lenses on modern mirrorless cameras for a variety of reasons. Not only is vintage glass far less expensive than modern counterparts build quality is often superior, and the necessary adapters are readily available for less than 20 bucks. The wide-angle prime discussed in the video below is a perfect example
We often turn to Malaysian pro Robin Wong for solid advice when considering the purchase of new (or old) gear, and in this episode he sings the merits of the vintage Canon 35mm f/2 lens for shooting on the street. It’s also a great choice for other forms of photography
Wong is using the old EF 35mm f/2 on an original 12.8MP Canon EOS 5D DSLR for this demonstration, hence a lens adapter isn’t needed. And unlike when adapting vintage lenses to a mirrorless camera, he has access to autofocus. Wong discusses why this lens is so impressive and provides examples of his results.
Surprisingly Wong says he prefers the combination of this old DSLR and even older lens to his fixed-lens Fujifilm X100F, and he provides a link to an earlier video detailing his comparison. During this behind-the-scenes photo walk in Kuala Lumpur he explains his affection for the EF 35mm f/2 wide-angle and provides several great tips for elevating your street photography skills.
One of the appeals of this lens is its “fantastic” image quality, even at maximum aperture and when shooting up close to a subject. And autofocus is fast and precise with the EOS 5D. Wong also appreciates that this budget 35mm f/2 prime is lightweight, compact and “very easy to work with.”
Other attributes worthy of note are the sharpness, contrast, and bokeh quality that this wide-angle lens consistently delivers. Wong adds that the 35mm f/2 offers good subject separation and shallow depth of field for street portraits—particularly when used on a full-frame camera.
The only drawback to this lens, according to Wong, is that build quality is a bit “plasticky.” That’s to be expected because it wasn’t intended to be a pro-grade lens when introduced way back in 1990. But if your primary concern is image quality, and your wallet is a bit thin, the old EF 35mm f/2 is well worth considering.
You can find much more of interest by paying a visit to Wong’s popular YouTube channel, and watching the earlier tutorial we posted, explaining why another accomplished pro says the superiority of full-frame digital cameras “is a myth.”