Why do older camera lenses have faster F-stops?

Started Apr 14, 2013 | Discussions thread
Hugowolf Forum Pro • Posts: 12,674
Re: f1.8 equivalents...

SergioNevermind wrote:

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.

No it was not. My standard lens in the 1970s was a Canon 35-70 mm f/4. I never used AF with it because there was no AF. Manual focus was just fine.

Brian A

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