Why do older camera lenses have faster F-stops?

Started Apr 14, 2013 | Discussions thread
SergioNevermind Forum Member • Posts: 76
Re: f1.8 equivalents...

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

SergioNevermind wrote:

Let's talk about good, bright oldies.

I don’t see much to talk about it considering fast and bright lenses aren’t history. The perception that leads to this thread largely stems from a switch from 50mm “normal” prime for a kit lens (typically f/1.8 to f/2.8) to kit zoom lenses (24-70, 28-80 etc). In fact, let us look at Canon lens lineup:

Ultra-wide (14mm to 20mm):

FD mount had f/2.8 and f/4

EF mount has f/2.8

Wide-angle (24mm to 40mm):

FD mount had f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8 and f/3.5

EF mount has f/1.4, f/1.8, f/2, f/2.8

Normal (50mm to 55mm):

FD mount had f/1.2, f/1.4, f/1.8, f/2 and f/3.5

EF mount has f/1, f/1.2, f/1.4, f/1.8, f/2, f/2.5

Short Telephoto (60mm to 135mm):

FD mount had f/1.2, f/1.8, f/2, f/2.5, f/2.8, f/3.5, f/4

EF mount has f/1.2, f/1.8, f/2, f/2.8

In other words, the very premise of the OP is mere perception.

Maybe my "perception" is that a Canon AE1 came with a 50 f 1.8 as NORMAL  lens, and an A1 maybe with a 50 mm f 1.4, but today any entry level DSLR will came with an f3.5-5.6 normal kit zoom.

It was unthickable to use manual focus with such a dim lens as a standard.

(Of course there are fast lenses today as they were in the past, and the oldies do not have many zooms in their lists, the zoom festival arrived later, mostly pushed by computer design and calculations.)

That is the topic, I think.

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