I was thinking of using LF356N as an alternative to the general purpose op-amp UA741. Can someone outline the major differences between the two op-amps?
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The 741 op-amp is an extremely old design based on bipolar transistors, dating back to 1968 (nearly 50 years ago!!). Due to its simplicity, it is commonly used for teaching purposes, but it has no place in modern circuits. Its characteristics are generally much worse than any modern op-amp.
The LF356 is a rather old part as well (from around 1978), but it's still newer than the 741. It uses a JFET input stage, and performs considerably better: