I've recently tried the new Canon EF
35mm f/2.0 IS USM and want to share my first
impressions and sample images here. My impressions are
very positive. I have no intention to shoot test
charts, because nobody shoots test charts, print them
and hang the pictures of test charts on the wall in
real life, and there are lots of places over the
internet, where you can check out formal lens tests. I
will supply a link or two at the bottom of this review
page where you can check all these formal test results
if desired. I want to share some real life experience
Canon EF 35mm f/2.0
IS USM was introduced to replace old trusted Canon EF
35mm f/2.0. It is packed with the new technologies
like ultrasonic focusing drive, new optical coatings
and image stabilization. The new lens is relatively
large for its characteristics, I expected 35mm f/2.0
lens to be a bit smaller. Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 IS USM
is build similar to Canon L lenses, it just lacks the
red stripe on it, and a weather sealing gasket on a
lens mount. The lens body is made of high quality
plastic with metal mount. Focus ring is wide for a
lens of this size and operates silently and smoothly,
without any wobble. The lens is equipped with a
ring-type USM for fast and silent AF operation, and
allows full time manual override. Canon EF 35mm f/2.0
IS USM auto-focus speed is fast, but it is not nearly
instant like on the best Canon L lenses. AF accuracy
is very good on both Canon 5D mark III and Canon 7D.
Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 IS
USM has internal focusing and doesn’t change its size.
Filter thread is fixed and doesn’t rotate, so it
accepts polarizing and gradient filters well. I
recommend using high quality UV or protection filter,
that doesn't degrade image quality, to protect the
front element from accidential fingerprints, dust,
waterdrips and scratches. Good examples are B+W UV MRC
filter or the new one B+W XS-Pro UV MRC filter. B+W UV
MRC filters are probably the best, as they don't
degrade image quality at all, and cleans very easily,
thanks to special coating. I fill much more
comfortable cleaning dust and fingerprints from filter
than from an expensive lens, sure one shouldn't expose
lens to these, but unfortunately it happens sometimes.
All new Canon lenses, at least pro grade ones, have a
special fluorine coating that makes cleaning easier.
Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 IS USM has 67mm filter thread.
Canon EF 35mm f/2.0
IS USM is equipped with a new generation Image
Stabilizer. Canon claims that it offers up to 4 stops
of shake reduction, and I think that it may be true in
some situations, but not always. IS on this lens works
almost insensibly, and it really helps to reduce
camera shake. It was surprising, but Canon EF 35mm
f/2.0 IS USM image stabilizer is worse than in Canon
EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM. It is less efficient and when
you shoot from tripod with Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 IS USM
you must turn IS off, as it is with old IS versions.
If you forget to turn IS off photos taken with a long
exposure would be blurry.
Bike, Canon 5D mark III, f/4, 1/200.
Bike, 100% crop, Canon 5D mark III, f/4,
Moscow university, Canon 5d mark III, f/6.3,
Moscow university, 100% crop, Canon 5d mark
III, f/6.3, 1/200s.
Optically Canon EF
35mm f/2.0 IS USM is very good. It is sharp even wide
open, especially in the center and in the middle of a
frame. Corner sharpness wide open is not perfect, but
good. Sharpness improves slightly when stopped down,
by f/4 it is sharp in the frame corners too. There is
plenty of sharpness for any real life use even wide
open. When you shoot wide open, you probably want to
isolate a subject with a shallow depth of field, and
nobody puts main subject in a frame corner. So when
you use Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 IS USM lens, you need to
adjust aperture for DoF only. Color reproduction is
very accurate; saturation and contrast are excellent.
It captures almost all the tiniest and finest details.
Image quality of Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 IS USM is so high
that it almost matches magnificent Carl
Zeiss Distagon 28mm f/2.0 ZE. Click cat images
below to compare.
Cat, Canon 5D mark III,
f/2.8, 1/50s, click image to compare.
Cat, 100% crop, Canon 5D
mark III, f/2.8, 1/50s, click image to compare.
Chromatic aberration on Canon EF
35mm f/2.0 IS USM may be noticeable only in extreme
conditions, but in real life shots there is nothing to
worry about. It has only small traces of chromatic
aberrations that can be corrected easily in software
like DPP or any other image processing software. On
the sample shots it is not corrected, so you can see
that it is negligeable.
Vignetting is visible when you shoot
with Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 IS USM wide open on a full
frame body, but quickly disappears stopped down. When
you shoot at wide apertures vignetting emphisizes
visually perceived depth, have a look at cat or
microphone samples. Distortion is not significant and
is barely visible in real life shots.
Mosque, Canon 5D mark
III, f/5.6, 1/320s.
Mosque, crop 100%, Canon
5D mark III, f/5.6, 1/320s.
Bronze relief, Canon 5D
mark III, f/2.8, 1/30s
Bronze relief, 100% crop,
Canon 5D mark III, f/2.8, 1/30s.
Microphone, bokeh sample,
Canon 6D , f/2.2, 1/60s.
Bokeh, or how
the lens renders of out of focus areas, is a very
important characteristic of any lens. It is hard to
measure, but is very easy to see. Canon
EF 35mm f/2.0 IS USM bokeh is very good, thanks to
8-blade circular aperture. Background is
rendered very smooth and nice, however highlits may
have slightly visible edges and are not round in the
corners of a frame.
Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 IS USM is flare
resistant, it doesn't loose contract with the bright
lightsource in a frame. There may be some color
artefacts, but there are not severe. Canon EF 35mm
f/2.0 IS USM turns bright light sources into a not
very beautiful 8-point stars when shooting stopped
down to a narrow apertures.
"Red October" confectionary, Canon 5D mark III, f/10, 10s.
October" confectionary, 100%
crop, Canon 5D mark III, f/10, 10s.
Conclusion. 35mm is a
very popular focal length. This is because field of
view is very similar to what we see with eyes, just a
bit wider. So it is a wonderful general purpose lens.
Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 IS USM is a great travel or street
photography lens. This lens gives you great
flexibility, it is useful for anything from landscapes
to candids and interiors. It is good for environmental
or interior portraits. On a APS-C camera body it is
equivalent to approximately 56mm lens, what may be
convenient for many people. With it's relatively fast
f/2.0 aperture it can separate subjects from a
background. Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 IS USM has a close
focus ability that can create dramatic shots from a
short distance. Optical image stabilization with a
fast f/2.0 aperture makes Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 IS USM a
low light photography gem. I can point out only two
not very significant disadvantages, as relatively
large size and the need to turn off IS when shooting
from a tripod. Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 IS USM is an
excellent lens overall, as it offers excellent image
quality, consistent AF and very efficient Image
You can buy Canon EF
35mm f/2.0 IS USM here (use these links to support
this site) :
EF 35mm f/2.0 IS USM Lens at Amazon.com
Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 IS USM Lens at
Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 IS USM Lens at