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Canon EF 20-35mm f/2.8L

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Reviews Views Date of last review
33 157170 Sep 17, 2012
Recommended By Average Price
94% of reviewers $489.05
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.64
9.54
8.9
ef20_35mm

Specifications:
Highly portable lens with high optical performance and light weight of 12 oz. (340 g). A very practical ultra-wide-angle zoom. The large front lens group minimizes peripheral darkening, and the flare-blocking diaphragm minimizes flare. Also, with lens group 2 being the zoom group, distortion is corrected. Out-of-production.


 


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JoaoPedro
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Registered: Sep 17, 2012
Location: Portugal
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 17, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, small, metal body, quite fast focus for a non-USM lens, same filter size as several other prime L lenses
Cons:
Lens is a bit prone to flare, even with hood; minimum focus distance could be shorter (it's only 50cm, vs 28cm of the newer wide angle zooms)

My 20-35mm f2.8L is more than 20 years old but I must say I find it better than the 16-35mm f2.8L Mark II that I had and sold. It's sharper at all focal distances at f2.8 and that was the main point for me, with the 16-35 producing unacceptable soft and blurry corners.

Also the 20-35 is smaller and I find that an advantage while travelling (it's not an issue while working).

Filter size matches a few Canon L primes I use: 35L, 135L and 200L use 72mm filters.

Minimum focus distance is quite long (50cm), I wish it was shorter, but that's not a serious issue.

Focus is fast and accurate, even with an old arc form drive system, on one shot mode and on servo mode, tracking objects. Maybe a tad bit slower than the 16-35, but only a bit. Motor is noisy but it's fast, and that's what matters.

Lens is prone to flare when harsh lights are in scene, the hood doesn't solve this problem, but I'm living with it. The 16-35 was much more better dealing with flare.

I understand it's an old lens and if anything breaks Canon will not provide service nor parts. But it is such a good performer that I am willing to take the risk: the 16-35 is going away, money is going in, and photos are sharper! So it's a winner for me.

(I use it on a 5Dii and on a 40D)


Sep 17, 2012
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didierv
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Registered: Apr 30, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 316
Review Date: Dec 10, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Good quality, sharp, good colors smaller, lighter than te 16-35, fast autofocus, price
Cons:
I wish it was wider...

For a third of the price of the 16-35 mkII, you give up 4 mm on the wide end.
I would of course prefer the 16-35 because it is wider, but for the price it is a lot of lens. Very well built, fast, with great colors and contrast.
I use it both on a 5D and 50D, it is much better on the 5D.
I use this lens for travel street photography, and it works very nicely.
If you can find one and do not want to spend over $1500.00 on a new 16-35, it is a no brainer.


Dec 10, 2011
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Jim Schemel
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Registered: Oct 17, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 4822
Review Date: Nov 21, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: size, very compact.Build Quality.Sharp WO.Typical L color and contrast.Price
Cons:
MFD is a bit longer than i would like

-Focus was quick and accurate.Although being an older lens it does not have USM- so you hear it focus just a bit, not noisy just not USM
-Very sharp in the center WO
-Typical L color and contrast
-For some reason the exif for the 20mm shots says 22mm in DPP, but when i view it in ptlens it shows 20mm Not sure why this is happening
-There is some pin cushion distortion WO on the wide end not extreme but noticeable in some situations
-there is also vignetting as well when shooting WO
-All in all a definite keeper, its the widest lens that i have had on my 5D and should be plenty wide for most situations i encounter
-I think it can be used for weddings esp if i just keep it at 35mm focal length
-MFD is a little longer than i would like but definitely not a deal breaker


Nov 21, 2010
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wilco54
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Registered: Feb 21, 2009
Location: Luxembourg
Posts: 49
Review Date: Feb 27, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $320.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, IQ. fabulous
Cons:
None so far - worried about its age!

The one pictured is not the L version. I was able to pick up a 20-35 mm f2.8 L lens on ebay. Going by the code its about 20 years old. The manual focus ring is a bit loose but everythimg else is a real surprise for its age. I like 35mm focal length and have been thinking about the 35mm f1.4L for some time but, for now, the 30-35 is really good enough!

Feb 27, 2010
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chuborama
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Registered: Jun 18, 2008
Location: Japan
Posts: 73
Review Date: Oct 5, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Small, lighter than the newer versions but solid as a rock. Fast focusing despite old arc motor. 20mm is really wide! 2.8 a huge help in indoor shooting.
Cons:
No service on this lens, no USM meaning no full time manual.

I passed up on a 16-35 ver 1 in good condition and was really kicking myself, but didn't have an extra grand to drop on it. A few months later I find this little one for half the price. Sold.

It's much more solid than lenses of late. Feels much more "metal" - hard, smooth, and compact. The zoom ring turns smoothly and easily. Manual focusing is alright, but you need to flip the switch (which is really HUGE compared to recent lenses by Canon - I had a laugh about this one!).

AF is nice and speedy, Canon's signature. Yes there is some noise, but no it has never been a problem for me outdoors, indoors, etc.

Image quality is great. Very sharp throughout on my 30D, nice warm colors and contrast. L glass - you get what you pay for. On my EOS 1-N the corners start to pull but that's normal for an ultra wide. If you've never used anything beyond 28 or 24mm you're in for a treat! 20mm is really quite wide! Don't think you NEED 16mm or 17mm, 20mm will do you well if you know how to use it. Slides look stunning, as do negatives.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chub84/3506467311/in/set-72157617771350842/

That was taken at 20mm, 2.8, must have been about 1/5 of a second on Fuji ISO 100 negative film. Love wide angles for their steadiness!

Here's an example of it at 32mm (20mm on my 30D):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chub84/3757450784/in/set-72157621709958275/

All in all for half of what the 16-35 was going for it fills in just fine. Don't abuse it as Canon won't fix it for you.


Oct 5, 2009
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Andrea Negri
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Registered: Nov 20, 2007
Location: Italy
Posts: 8
Review Date: Aug 16, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Lightweight, sharp @ f/2.8, great contrast, bokeh!!!
Cons:
My copy suffers a lot flare

I bought this old guy used at a very cheap price (300 Euro) and I think the quality/price ratio is absolutely fantastic. On a 30D (1.6 crop factor) the range is a bit odd and not-so-wide, but I like 35mm and 50mm primes, so I am satisfied with it. Bokeh is awesome, colour rendition great (for my standard of course), solid built, I couldn't ask for more at that price!
My only complain is about flare, I don't know if it's only my copy or if it's a well documented problem for this lens.
Anyway, if you want a fast and cheap zoom lens, and you would use it on cropped sensor cameras and full-frame too, go for it. 20-35mm bros (17-35, 16-35, 17-40) are surely better but at this price it's a bargain!


Aug 16, 2009
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brn68
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Registered: Sep 17, 2004
Location: Austria
Posts: 25
Review Date: Aug 9, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $740.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Color rendition, contrast, sharpness, bokeh. Lightweight but sturdy. Price I paid ( 420 Euros) is still low for what you get.
Cons:
None. Zoom range is less than 2x, but the difference btw. 20 and 35mm is huge anyway.

I got mine in near mint condition on eBay. It's a great lens, a true L. I also have the 24-105L which is fine, too, but this is a totally different tool. The colors are crisp and it is tac-sharp even at 2.8.

on my 5DII, I normally shoot primes and use zooms only when I'm lazy or leave the bag at home. This little gem not only feels like a prime, it also shoots like one.


Aug 9, 2009
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iomega
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Registered: May 11, 2009
Location: Belgium
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 11, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $700.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Size, weight, collor, sharpness, speed, build.
Cons:
No support from cannon anymore

I use the so called "mythic lens" canon 16-35L for 6 years around the world until one day at london camden market i've found one of this "rare" canon 20-35 2.8L and honestly the basic thing that called me was it's reduced sized against the younger and pricy sister 16-35L.
I MUST SAY I NEVER USED THE 16-35L ANYMORE ON MY CANON EOS CAMERAS!
This canon 20-35 2.8L lens is really the "lux" of canon lens. Some people complain about the speed of a non-usm lens and in my humble opinion ( Brussels national geographic partner for 18years ) i must say there is no difference at all for the 99% of urban or landscpe photography. Considering a portrait lens i can do anything with this old lady and guess what... i just bougth another two from ebay for my own stock considering canon lo longer support any parts for this queen. Any how i never ( for more thar 4 years ) had a problem with none of them and at least one is constantly ON with my canon 40D and another one in my canon 5D. The wide 20mm in my 40D is good enough otherwise i call my imagination and the results are amazing. The 2.8 gives me the most perfect bokeh. Higly recommended... but leave me a few 'cos i want to get another one.


May 11, 2009
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scolson1964
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Registered: Feb 18, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 18, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: quick focus in low light, great iq, lightweight
Cons:
for the price I can't think of any

I have been contemplating this lens for quite a while. I have the 17-40mm f/4L and the extra stop became more of a need as I ventured to more indoor low-light photography. I passed up several on ebay as I was worried about the age of this lens. I couldn't wait any longer and I was not going to drop almost 3 times as much for th 16-35mm f/2.8L. I picked up a used copy last week and am amazed at the quality of this lens. Given that the lens could be well over 10 years old it goes to show the quality of L lenses. It is lighter and smaller then the 17-40mm which is nice. Focusing in low light was a factor some mentioned, but I haven't seen any issues. It is not noisy as some of mentioned possible; at least not to me. The image quality of the lens is excellent. This is my 3rd 'used' L series lens for which I have saved a small fortune and am never disappointed. I have quickly sold all my other 3rd party lenses. I can't imagine any of them being around in 10+ years. So, find a good used copy. You won't be disappointed.

Feb 18, 2009
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spxxxx
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Registered: Jul 26, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 534
Review Date: Feb 13, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great build quality, sharp edge to edge, great colours
Cons:
None

Looking for a cheap quality wide angle as I don't use one that much ... saw the reviews - found a mint boxed one - couldn't be happier

Feb 13, 2009
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irispatch
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Registered: Feb 3, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 111
Review Date: Oct 7, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build quality, sharpness, and color all are excellent. Light weight and compact.
Cons:
For me None really. No longer in production The Photo quality is what is important. Focus speed is not an issue nor is sound.

Very Sharp and more than wide enough for my use. I was looking for a decent wide that would not break my bank account and still would give me the sharpness I wanted. This little gem fills that requirement to a "T". I was amazed at the color and sharpness. As far as color it beats my 70-200F4 IS L . It is a lens that will see some use.
Focus is fast enough for my use, landscapes do not move and since I am hard of hearing motor sound is not an issue either.
Build, construction, size all make it a very handy lens and the quality you come to expect from an L" ( and sometimes do not get in an "L" )


Oct 7, 2008
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tomas fernande
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Registered: Mar 1, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 80
Review Date: Apr 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: sharp, built like a tank, solid image quality, fast af (not si fast like usm, but faster than others)
Cons:
some hood issues

I bought on ebay in a really mint condition.
i was surprise about the sharpness and saturated colors, works flawessly.
I used a sigma 17-35 before and cant compare both... in af, sharpness, iQ, the "oldy" 20-35L beat the sigma.
I think that for $350 -400, is the better choice in wide angle lens today.


Apr 20, 2008
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TR3B
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Registered: Jan 13, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 645
Review Date: Dec 21, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $535.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: I bought mine second hand in mint condition. It looked like it was going to spend its entire life in a box until I came along and rescued it.This lens is one of my favorites. I had the 17-40 but the crispness and colors produced from this lens sent the 17-40 packing. 20mm is plenty wide for my use. It loves the 1D and is no slouch on my 5D as well. Great buy for the coin. I match this with my mint 28-70mm and 70-200L and I have a kit that suits all my needs. I couldn't ask for more!
Cons:
A tad noisy but not enough to outweigh its strengths



Dec 21, 2007
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Joseph Hill
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Registered: Aug 28, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 28, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp at wide apertures, beautiful color
Cons:

A great lens at a great price. Built like a tank. Better color than my Tamron 17-50/2.8 (though less useful because of focal range). Be careful that the copy you buy has fully functioning autofocus -- the first one I bought did not.

Aug 28, 2007
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tinke
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Registered: May 18, 2007
Location: N/A
Posts: 371
Review Date: Jun 20, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Wonderfully sharp corner to corner. Don't hesitate if you can find a copy in excellent condition.
Cons:
Paid less than half the price of a 16-35 (non Mk II), but still would have liked to have gotten it for less (who doesn't like a good deal).

Run, don't walk if you can find a copy in excellent condition for a fair price! Mine was near new - nearly abandoned by its former owner and forgotten on a shelf for several years no less.

You should be able to get one for less than half what you would pay for a 16-35, or maybe one third the price of a Mk II.
Crisp and sharp with minimum distortion corner to corner - you won't be sorry you made this purchase.


Jun 20, 2007
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Aberdeen Photo
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Registered: Mar 9, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 3812
Review Date: Mar 19, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $425.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very well built, excellent IQ, quick AF and low cost for a lens this good.
Cons:
No USM not a huge range for an L zoom, but still great for the money.

Great lens for the money. I had nearly given up on WA lenses from Canon. The 14mm fixed focal is just OK and for the money should be better, the 17-35 was a bit soft for me and the 16-35 while overall quite good was not as sharp on the 5D as I would like for a 1K plus product. The 17-40 is good for the money, but f4 just was not cutting it for me.

Before I gave up on Canon, I tried this on a whim. Price was right and I could sell it for little or no loss. I have been pleasently suprised. I find it to be quite sharp corner to corner on a ff body and a great on a 1.3 and 1.6 bodies. I love this little lens, a true jewel and sharp and contrasty images. The AF is pretty quick, but a bit noisy. For the money, tough to beat. Sure I would love it if it was a 16 or 17 wide, however, 20 is much wider than my 24-70 and just a good little piece of glass. Build is great also. I am nuts about mine.


Mar 19, 2007
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Canon EF 20-35mm f/2.8L

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
33 157170 Sep 17, 2012
Recommended By Average Price
94% of reviewers $489.05
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.64
9.54
8.9
ef20_35mm


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