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Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS

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13 28018 Jul 15, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $523.00
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The EF 35mm f/2.0 IS USM Standard Prime Lens from Canon adds hybrid Image Stabilization (IS) to a rear focusing system and ring-type Ultra Sonic Motor (USM) for not only quick and quiet autofocus, but steadier shots in low-light conditions. Optimized lens coatings help ensure exceptional color balance while minimizing ghosting, and full-time access to manual focus is provided while in autofocus (AF) mode allowing you to quickly switch between the two as you need them.

• Aperture Range: f/2.0-22
• 4-stop Image Stabilization (IS)
• Glass Molded Aspherical Element (GMo)
• Rear Focusing & Ultra Sonic Motor (USM)
• Full-Time Manual Focus in AF Mode
• Minimum Focusing Distance: 9.48"
• Ring USM Low-Speed Drive for Video
• Eight Circular Aperture Blades


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Registered: Apr 17, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 2483
Review Date: Jul 15, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: IS, Lightweight, Sharp, Color rendition
Hood is expensive and hard to find

This has become my standard lens on a 5DMKIII. Fast glass that won't break the bank and combined with the ISO capability of the MKIII it makes a killer combination.
Sure the Bokeh could be better but then again you could spend $1,000 more and still be saying the same thing.
A piece of glass that's just a pure joy to use.

Jul 15, 2014
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Registered: Jul 13, 2008
Location: N/A
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 10, 2014 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Reasonably well built. Is. Good colors (better than the non-is). Quieter af and usable mf ring. Bokeh quality is a bit better for my taste, but ther΄s not a huge difference. (compared to old version)
Not huge difference in image quality overall compared to old version. Field curvature phenomenon that was not present in the older 35. Qc issues.

I passed through 4 copies from different retailers before finding one that worked fair enough, and even this one is not stellar at all.

First copy didn΄t focus at infinity (from 20 m. onwards).
Second one frontfocused at almost every focusing distance.
Third one backfocused and had notable decentering.
The last one΄s resolution was not as high as the others.

To sum up I have to firmly manifest my disappointment about canon quality control. I have owned many canon and third party lenses, and I do own the older 35 model and have to say that only a try was needed to find a copy that worked properly. That was some years ago. Nowadays it seems to be difficult to find a good one.

Jun 10, 2014
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Robin Smith
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Registered: Dec 19, 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 123
Review Date: Mar 25, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fantastic image quality, IS
None really, although as usual with the non Ls you have to buy the expensive ($50+) hood (which I found hard to find)

I sold my 35L and got this instead. The 35L is a superb lens with lots of character, but after 4 years with it I got the 35/IS because of its much smaller size and weight. The 35L is a large lens and, after a while, this becomes wearing as the number of shots I took at f1.4 are a small percentage of the total, so I was carrying the extra bulk to little advantage. To me, for a 35mm, f2 is plenty fast enough.

It has great build quality and imagery is as good as it gets - to my eyes superior to the 35L at f2 and then there is IS on top. It's not a small lens but not large either. AF is accurate all the time - probably not something you can say about the Sigma 35/1.4 (as good as it is). If you want a big, "prestige" optic you can brag about to your friends then this lens won't do it, but if you just want to take great 35mm shots with an equivalent light gathering power of an f1 lens or so, together with excellent performance, then this is the lens for you.

Mar 25, 2014
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Registered: Aug 29, 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 711
Review Date: Feb 24, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Lightweight, sharp even wide open, fast to focus, built in IS is a treat for video and static handheld shots in poor light.
Vignettes quite a bit wide open. Not F/1.4.

Great lens; don't leave home without it!

Feb 24, 2014
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Registered: Jan 4, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 362
Review Date: Dec 19, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $520.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: IS, f/2, sharpness, contrast, light weight, beautiful bokeh
strong vignetting

This is a great little lens. I settled with this over the 35L and sigma f/1.4 because of IS and the light weight. I am willing to tradeoff 1 stop at this aperture & FL (e.g. won't do it at f/2.8 or at 50mm) with IS.

The pictures are very sharp, color rendition is extremely good; comparable to my 24-70II. This is a L quality lens w/o the L build and sealing.

The bokeh is excellent with the 8-blade, better than the old (5-blade) and even the 35L IMO. The 35L has busy bokeh while the 35f/2 is smooth.

The main issue is vignetting, it is very noticeable. I usually overexpose about 2/3 stop in order to cut down the darkness around the corner and fix overall exposure in PP.

Dec 19, 2013
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Registered: Jan 29, 2013
Location: Romania
Posts: 16
Review Date: Oct 20, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: excellent sharpness, colors and contrast even at f2.0; useful IS; very good AF; very good built quality and very good close-up capabilities
strong coma

Oct 20, 2013
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Registered: Jun 25, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 9532
Review Date: Sep 30, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $549.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: • Petite • Sharp • Natural perspective • IS • Smooth MF
No hood included • Hood costs $54

I've owned several prior 35mm optics and found the semi-wide perspective (63 degrees) easy to use, perfect for low light and ideal for showing a subject in its environment. Unfortunately, the $899 debut price of this lens was silly expensive and I held off purchasing it. When the MAP dropped to $599 I clicked and the EF 35 2.0 IS USM landed on my doorstep.

The EF 35 2.0 IS USM is compact but a notch larger than the older EF 35 2.0. The slightly textured matte finish is attractive and surprisingly fingerprint resistant. The plastics in the barrel feel solid and sturdy. It features ring-type USM, yielding fast yet silent AF. If you like to manual focus you'll be in hog heaven: smooth turning, long throw for fine adjustments and no play or slop. It also has full-time manual focus override: grab the well ribbed MF ring and turn it. No need to flip a switch.

The front element does not rotate during AF operation, making polarizing filter use a breeze. Speaking of filters, the 67 mm filter threads are a less common size but shared with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM.

It has a basic DOF scale for hyperfocal shooters but markings only at F11 and 22.

On an EOS 5D MKII, this lens is balanced, nimble and a joy to use. While no pancake, it's liberating to shoot with such a petite lens after using the bulky 24-105 4L IS USM.

I sold my EF 35 2.0 prior to buying this lens so I couldn't compare them side by side. However my impression is this new lens sports vastly improved build quality, faster and more sure-footed AF and greatly improved sharpness along the edges of the frame. It's also noticeably larger than the old design. The older 35 was no slacker--very sharp in the center--but this one is better in every way save for being larger and heavier. No hesitations about shooting wide open. This lens delivers tack sharp images.

If you're used to the distortion typical of the wide side of zooms, it is refreshing to experince virually no barrel distortion: lines in doorways and artwork are rendered straight as long as you center correctly.

The IS feature sends this optic over the top. I'm not as steady as I used to be so having 3 stops of slower hand holdable shutter speeds is a Godsend. The Canon spec of 4 stops was a no-go for me. Nevertheless F2.0 with IS engaged and I can get sharp images in dim bars, restaurants, casinos or alleys until the cows come home! Yee haa!

The only gotcha is the lack of a lens hood. For $600 Canon should toss one in. And, if you want the dedicated EW-72 hood, it will cost you $54. Ouch!

The EF 35 2.0 IS USM is one of my favorite walk around lenses on my 5D MKII. It is easy to carry and take pictures with due to its natural perspective and petite size. Moreover, the EF 35 2.0 IS USM is an extremely sharp lens, sharper than the 35 mm end of Canon's best zooms and sharper than the EF 35 2.0 that came before it. There is virtually no flare or ghosting but a wee bit of light falloff wide open. With its ultra fast F2.0 aperture and IS, I can take a picture in nearly any available light situation. Finally, the fast aperture makes for bright viewfinders, a great feature if you shoot in dark interiors or twilight. Highly recommended!

Sep 30, 2013
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G. Kretschmer
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Registered: Oct 20, 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 13
Review Date: Jun 14, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: image quality, fast reliable and accurate AF, very good and near-silent IS
price, no lens-hood included

Jun 14, 2013
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Registered: Apr 30, 2013
Location: Germany
Posts: 7
Review Date: May 1, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Light, well-built, very reliable AF, high contrast and sharpness even at 2.0, great IS.
One may think it is a bit expensive.

I had first bought a Sigma 35mm 1.4 because many people said it was so great and not much more expensive, but that lens front-focused and was not well centered (looked like some kind of field curvature), and Sigma did not want to fix or replace it (blamed my camera which focuses perfectly well with my 10 other lenses). So I got a refund and then bought the canon, and was amazed by how good it is.

Not only is it sharp at 2.0, but esp. the contrast (which is often more important) was very impressive wide open. It is sharper than then Sigma at 2.0 (see link at bottom if you don't believe me). Mechanically, the lens is great too. And the IS is just fantastic. Within weeks it became my favorite lens.

A note: having a 1.4 is attractive because of the coolness (status symbol) aspect, but I have found that I do not need it. Of course 1.4 stops more subject motion, but with the shallow DOF at 1.4 a moving subject is very hard to get in focus. And if I need shallow DOF I just use a 85mm or longer prime. I don't really like shallow DOF on wide angle pictures that much.


May 1, 2013
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Registered: Apr 26, 2013
Location: Germany
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 26, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 


Apr 26, 2013
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Registered: Oct 23, 2009
Location: Russia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 12, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: very good IQ
relatively large, price

I've tried this lens for a few days and I really like it.
It is well built. It delivered excellent IQ: it is sharp across the frame, CA a barely noticable, it has nice bokeh. Carl Zeiss Distagon 35mm f/2.0 ZE is superior optically, but the difference is not big...
Af is very accurate and Image Stabilizations works fine. Very attractive lens.
here is my experience with this lens and sample images:

Apr 12, 2013
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Registered: Apr 2, 2013
Location: Greece
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 2, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp even wide open, mechanically stable, tight manual focusing ring (maybe too tight)
No lens hood. Strong coma aberration giving trouble with strong lights during night time photography.

I have mixed feelings with this lens. In short it was a pleasant surprise during daytime photography but not a very good performer in night photography.

During daytime, everything comes out sharp. Even the corners of the 5D MkII frame are sharp and without significant chromatic aberration.

Vignetting at f/2 is strong and up to now there is no profile for EOS Utility/DPP/Adobe Raw Converter to upload into the camera to correct this.

Sharpness is exceptional. During daytime at f/4 - f/8 it easily outperforms both the 17-40 and the 24-105. The 24-105 output seems heavily blurred compared to this lens. I really love all photos (even flower "macro" photos) I take with this lens during daytime.

During night time, you can go easily down to 1/8 seconds and still get stable photos. The IS is working fine helping you a lot. However do not put any strong lights far from the center of the image. The closer to the edge a strong light is, the more it resembles a gull-wing, typical coma pattern. This also affects dark areas close to much lighter areas, spreading a "halo" around the lighter areas. To see this you have to have some clipped values (flashing areas) inside the lights/light areas. As a result it is a great indoor lens for night-time photography but a mediocre-at-best landscape night-time photography. During the twilight even the moon in the corner of the full-frame gets gull-wing shaped.

The coma shapes are fairly symmetrical around the center so I do not believe that any element is knocked out of alignment.

It is totally useless for wide-area astrophotography (Milky way, Orion belt etc...), as its distortions and mainly the coma destroy the shape of the stars.

I had no problems with flaring with this lens, even if I cannot still find the hood here in Greece.

Finally the Image Stabilizer of this lens is clearly audible inside any video I recorded. Similar to the noise I get from the IS of the 24-105.

Apr 2, 2013
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Registered: Jan 22, 2009
Location: Germany
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 21, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: sharp, lightweight, stabilized
pricey, no hood included, not weathersealed

I ordered that lens after having tested the new Sigma 35 mm f/1,4 DG HSM. The Sigma can be a very good lens, if you get a good copy. Mine was very soft on one side of the frame and had a front focus issue, so I returned it. Also, it was quite heavy. The new Canon 35 2 IS is lighter. It feels solid, although not as solid as most L lenses. A quick test on a resolution chart proved that it is very sharp wide open, not worse than the Sigma @ f=1.4. Distortion is low, although more noticeable than on the Sigma. It lacks the 1 stop advantage of the Sigma but offers images stabilization instead. I doubt that it is as good as 4 stops, the IS on my 70-300L seems to be better, but maybe it is the weight of the latter that adds to the image stabilization. I find it disgraceful that Canon doesn't include a lens hood with this lens, especially at this price point. However, I don't know why, I like this lens more than the Sigma. I have the old EF 35 mm f2 and the 16-35L II, and the image quality of both (@35 mm) is the pits compared to this lens, so even at this price, I think I will keep the lens.

Jan 21, 2013
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Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
13 28018 Jul 15, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $523.00
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating