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CANON LENS WORK RETROSPECTIVE

The Eye Sees Reality.
The Lens See Beyond Reality to Capture the Truth.

— Canon Lens Work III

Most of my childhood memories in colour and B/W were captured on film on my dad’s Canon AE-1 SLR. He had been an avid photographer with an extensive darkroom experience and although he had completely given up photography and the darkroom, I swear if I looked hard enough, I might actually find a couple of the developing trays if they hadn’t been thrown out in the two occassions that we’d moved house.


© Jan Shim Photography

The Canon brand is perhaps the only connection my dad and I have to the art. He was 100% film and I’m 100% digital, he had Canon FD lenses while and I shoot with EF lenses exclusively. I think our similarities end there and the gap must have easily been 10-15 years from the time he gave up the hobby to the time I picked it up by accident.


© Jan Shim Photography

In that time, my dad had three books which he had kept and later handed to me in Q3 of 2004 when I supposedly took over the baton with my very first SLR, the EOS 300D. In the USA and I suspect other parts of the world, this model carried the name Digital Rebel and I guess the timing couldn’t have been more appropriately ironic considering I left the IT industry somewhat against my better judgement! I swore never to look back at the dismal past and look forward to a colourful future.

So today, I have three generations of LENS WORK published by Canon. Spanning 27 years, the lens transition from FD to EF had been a significant step forward. I’ll admit, I’ve had these books for years and been caught up with work and life that until now, I hadn’t really paid much attention to how technology has shaped (not in the literal sense, of course) what we use today.

LENS WORK (FD Lenses) 1981
LENS WORK II (EF Lenses) 1996
LENS WORK III (EF Lenses)
First Edition March 2003
Fourth Edition February 2004
Ten Edition March 2008

Looking at the pull-out section of the first publication of Lens Work, white L lenses already appeared as early as that inthe guise of FD 300mm f/2.8 L, FD 35-70mm f/4, FD 400mm f/2.8 L, FD 500mm f/4.5 L, 600mm f/4.5 and FD 800mm f/5.6 (only recently replaced with the EF 800mm f/5.6 IS L). The longest super telephoto lens at the time had been the FL 1200mm f/11.

Film SLRs such as the A-1 had so many Focusing Screens to choose from. (Microprism, Split-image, All-Matte, Matte Surface with Grid, Split-Image/Microprism, Microprism/Slow Lenses, Microprism/Slow Lenses, Double Cross Hair Reticle and 8 types on the AE-1. Thank goodness, I only had two choices on my EOS 5D and that hadn’t been a straightforward decision either! [Photo of a Canon Focusing Screen kit]

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14 thoughts on “CANON LENS WORK RETROSPECTIVE

  1. very informative, well i can see now that your skilled works has to do with genetics. and i wouldn’t say that you picking up photography is an accident, because i believe in life, achievements as great as the ones you hold are not accidental its was destined to happen.

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  2. GENETICS. DESTINY. Dunno man .. I prefer the mystery of being ACCIDENTAL. Of not knowing.

    Addict59,
    Whether art and photography is in my blood or not, I’m exhasuted (see what I mean when I meant to say ‘exhausted’).

    I recently came across these wise words from a seasoned pro who who this to say when asked what advice if he had any for a photographer starting out … from personal experience, there’s a lot of truth in this.

    Once again I advise you to shoot what you love and AVOID THE REST – it will turn you off photography, take my word for it. Pick your assignments! Turn down clients and projects you don’t want. Don’t stop taking photos for your own personal use and don’t get caught in the GOTTA HAVE IT equipment trap – it won’t make you a better photographer. Practice and experimentation will. SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT! —Danny Steyn

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  3. Hope one day I can do outings with you and learn more from a ‘sifu’. I notice the Canon Red Strap are available in Japan only and I’ve been searching for it in KL recently even the Canon Distributor don’t have it. And they don’t sell the Canon Camera miniature.

    Now thinking to go to Singapore but the price hike of the hotel rooms make me thinking twice to go there.

    I think you been adapted by your childhood since your father also a photographer of the film version, & you on digital.

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  4. Hi. I don’t know about the red strap being available in Japan only though I did see them in Japan and regretfully not bought some on impulse. I guess some items are harder to find although not impossible.

    As a kid, I hated being photographed. My dad was always getting me to pose whenever we were holidaying abroad and today I see that in my kids unless of course they were in a good mood.

    So becareful what you hate as you may well end up loving it—so wrong it’s right!

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  5. I also don’t like being photographed, even now. I always use my niece and nephew to pose for me as they like being taken photographed. I ordered the canon red strap, but not yet arrived, but the one I ordered is different from yours.

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  6. I don’t know if there are different versions of the red strap but something like this it’s hardly surprising there are many copies. I imagine they are not difficult to mass produce. Hope yours is also a bright red piece instead of the dull near maroon red that Canon uses elsewhere.

    The downside of the strap I have is that the underside isn’t rubberised so it tends to slip off the shoulder every now and then.

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  7. I got my Canon Professional Strap last Monday. It ships directly from Japan. I haven’t updated my blog yet, but once I upload the pic, feel free to check it out. The Canon wordings are in Gold Colour.

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  8. Red and Gold colour combo! Not sure how the two dominant colours look together on a shoulder strap. If anything, the Canon word has predominantly been white (or black when used in some printed materials). Your strap could be right at home inside the royal palace perhaps an automatic ‘media pass’ 🙂

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  9. Congratulations. I wonder if that’s the standard strap from a 1Ds MkIII. I’m unable to confirm that as I’ve not seen one in person and a pro wedding photog in Singapore who shoots with one said “dunno, I’ve never opened mine.”

    As you noted, your strap has the same width as the standard straps that come with non-pro bodies. I suspect even pro bodies aren’t bundled with “Professional” straps but I could be wrong.

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  10. Thanks Jan. So far, I love the new strap. Let see whether I can get the same strap like yours for my collection. Another red Canon goodies include in my collection are my new Red Canon EOS DIGITAL Shoulder Bag. Will post it up later.

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  11. For what it’s worth, there was a first-edition “EF Lens Work” (lacking any Roman numeral) that covered the first EF lenses. Mine was printed in 1992, and came only in softcover — though it is the same physical dimensions as the later hardcover editions. There were no image-stabilized lenses at the time, and the only white lens that was also a zoom was the EF 35-350L.

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