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Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
53 196098 May 30, 2012
Recommended By Average Price
85% of reviewers $358.76
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.38
8.06
7.5
ef20mmf_28usm_1_

Specifications:
Ultra-wide-angle lens for serious applications. Easy to hold and carry at 14.3 oz. (405g). Floating rear focusing system. Sharp images are obtained at all subject distances.


 


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AbramG
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Registered: Jan 30, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 2409
Review Date: May 30, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Relatively inexpensive for an Ultra Wide, f/2.8 is useful in low light, bokeh (when the subject is definitely separated from the background) is actually really decent with the 6-blade aperture, build quality, overall size, +More!
Cons:
Wide open vignetting (easily corrected in post), extreme corners are soft until about f/8, $45 "optional" lens hood (you need it, just buy it), does flare when light sources enter the frame.

I can't help but feel that this lens has an unfortunate reputation for being a piece of junk. I think that's a completely unfair assessment!

I've owned it for a couple months now, and while I had initially set my expectations low (based on the reviews) I've been more than pleased with what I've been able to get out of it. Heck, I sold a print taken during my first week of ownership that paid for the cost of the lens. Obviously clients feel that it's adequate!

Anyways, yes it does vignette wide open, and yes it has soft corners until you stop down, but so what! The vignetting is so easily correctable in post that it shouldn't even be a negative point anymore, soft corners I can deal with because after lens correction you'd have to seriously pixel peep the extreme corners to really find anything wrong in the image.

I bought this lens because it fit into my budget as I've had to scale down my photography equipment temporarily, I've previously owned such gems as the Zeiss 21mm Distagon and even the 17mm TS-E, while they are both obviously better lenses (I should hope so for how much they cost!) the EF 20mm is definitely a GOOD lens, I am confident that it will consistently deliver good quality images that I can present to clients.

I do wish Canon would finally start including lens hoods standard on all their lenses, it's really irritating to have to always buy them for the Non-L glass, but for this lens it is definitely necessary. If you have a strong light source in your frame it will flare, the hood does help though so I highly recommend it.

I know I'm just one voice in many, but take my word for it, there are definitely good copies of this lens available and for the price of entry, you really can't go wrong!

Here's the image I mentioned that sold to cover the cost of the lens: http://www.flickr.com/photos/agphotography/7168735564/


May 30, 2012
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Michael Sanche
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Registered: Nov 24, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 14
Review Date: Aug 5, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Focus, at f2.8, required MFA = 0 on 50D, and, is reliable in low light indoors, unlike some of my other wide aperature lenses. At f2.8, this lens enables great indoor pictures without IS (not needed since you can shoot at 1/20 or 1/30). It is true that I have to use default sharpening in pShop, or a little more, to get good sharpness at f2.8, but, with that sharpening, the resultant pictures are pin sharp at f2.8. At > f4, the lens is as sharp as a tack without sharpening. After living with the focus problems of Canon zooms, and the Canon 50mm f1.8, for years, this lens is a breath of fresh air where focus is concerned (it just works). I purchased the lens, used, on this site, and consider it a fantastic purchase if I include price paid. If you need a wide angle lens, and are fatigued by the various issues focus of Canon zooms, this is a good lens to obtain.
Cons:
Colors, outdoors, in sunlight, are slightly desaturated. A lens hood or polarizer would fix this, but, I have not purchased one yet.



Aug 5, 2011
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wendra21
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Registered: Jul 12, 2011
Location: Indonesia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 12, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: i just by this lens... i love very much.. sharp.. great distort, nice bokeh, nice colour..
Cons:
none

buy this lenss!!!!! cool.

Jul 12, 2011
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thomasxie
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Registered: Sep 6, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 34
Review Date: Apr 6, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Light, price, sharpness, distortion control
Cons:
None.

My copy is very sharp.
Compared to Canon 17-40mm f4:
The distortion control is better.
The sharpness is same at f4.
It can go to f2.8 when necessary.
Light for travel.
Price is cheaper.


Apr 6, 2011
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Bruce n Philly
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Registered: Oct 17, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 155
Review Date: Oct 17, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Pretty good lens and sharp too.
Cons:
Nothing other than my neurosis regarding other's bad reviews.

I was worried about this lens given the odd mix of reviews but I wanted to try out a wide lens, so I dipped my toe in the water with this lens. I figured if I liked wide photography, I would buy a "good" lens one day. Well I have no desire to sell this lens. It turned our really nice and I am pretty picky. The evening I purchased this in NYC, I snapped these two from the RCA building. I didn't have a tripod, but held the camera a bit tilted sitting on the cement pillar. Nice colors eh?

5D MKII, f/5 ISO-100, The pic to the South was 4 sec, and the NE was 6 sec.

https://picasaweb.google.com/101334518573666809964/Scenes#slideshow/5541807724582672002


Oct 17, 2010
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xml5000
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Registered: Jun 21, 2010
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 21, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, Compact, sturdy build, USM motor.
Cons:
None that come to mind.

In my opinion, the optical design (purpose) of wide-angle lenses - such as the Canon 20mm EF are seldom understood. As a result, some people label or write off the Canon 20mm EF as a 'lemon'.

Of course wide-angle lenses can be used as all-encompassing devices -to cram in as much scenery or visual information as possible but, that is to ignore the very purpose of wide-angle optical design.

The Canon EF 20mm (as with most wide-angle lenses) is designed to render near-objects with critical sharpness inviting the viewer to explore the image further.

e.g. 1: http://tinyurl.com/33vvzcz

e.g. 2: http://tinyurl.com/2w477ck

e.g. 3: http://tinyurl.com/3xyvgo9

At f2.8, I find that the Canon 20mm EF renders wonderful bokeh with richly saturated colours and sharp foreground detail.

If used correctly, the Canon 20mm EF is an awesome tool in any photographers arsenal.


Jun 21, 2010
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fever104
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Registered: Sep 16, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 7
Review Date: May 11, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Center sharpness is great. Quick and fast focus
Cons:
Corner softness at 2.8, improve when stop down. Barrel distortion is there (but acceptable for a wide lens)

I want to get a fast super wide prime lens and there is not that many choices. I do have a 17-40 but want to have a faster lens.

The IQ of this lens is pretty good IMHO, esp for the center, corner is a bit soft shooting wide open but it will improve quite bit after stop down.

I use this lens for portrait and landscape. For portrait, I tend to position my subject in or around the center of the frame so the corner softness is not a problem, and f8 is fine for landscape. Fast lens is the thing you want to have coz you never know when you will need it.


May 11, 2010
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Manuel Barrera
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Registered: Sep 28, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 27
Review Date: Oct 7, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Solid quick focus on my 1D becomes a 26mm lens
Cons:
soft corners

This is a solid 8 camera, don't have any photos online presently to demonstrate but this youtube video slideshow was shot entirely with the lens on a 1D camera. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NguZe2Vwb-M hope the link works

Oct 7, 2009
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Haring
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Registered: Sep 11, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Sep 11, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 3 

 
Pros: cheap
Cons:
everything

Don't even think about it. What a disappointment.

The picture quality is just lifeless....:(:(:( It is better to keep the kit lens!

I sold it and bought a Canon 24L. What a big difference.

You can see a few pictures in the portfolio for real estate properties:
www.haringphotography.com


Sep 11, 2009
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UsaFromAbove
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Registered: Aug 11, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 11, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 3 

 
Pros: small
Cons:
lack of detail, not sharp

I used it to shoot from an elevated angle. The result were disappointing.....I paid $300 but I don't think it is even worth more than $100 to tell you the truth.
The colors are lifeless, "burnt-out". There are no details on the images. You can see the samples on my site: www.usafromabove.com Look for the huge house with the red roof. You will see what I am talking about. Normally, I use the 17-40 L on my elevated system. I thoguht the 20mm would be a good replacement even if it not as good as the 17 40. I think even the 18-55 Canon kit lens produces better images. Add a few hundred bucks and buy a decent lens.


Aug 11, 2009
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perrycas
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Registered: Jun 5, 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 5, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: not too big. reasonable speed. I dont notice too much chromatic ab.
Cons:
detail/sharpness is poor

'Not Happy Narrelle!'
I guess it depends on what you are comparing it too. I bought a low mileage 5d last year and 3 primes. To replace my Mamiya M6. The 20mm I am comparing to my 65mm Schnieder K mounted on a 612 camera. The Canon 20mm doesn't compete well. Faster, yes, but sharpness and distortion is pretty awful. Maybe i am making an unfair comparison, maybe i got a bad example. Perhaps I have been spoilt, but if it costs this much to get into 'good' digital it's a bit disapointing.


Jun 5, 2009
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seattlesteve
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Registered: Oct 1, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 247
Review Date: May 8, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast AF, USM, well built for a non-L, contrast and color, wide on a ff body, compact
Cons:
Slightly expensive

I was a little apprehensive to purchase this lens after reading so many conflicting reviews. I went ahead with the purchase and only regret not picking up this lens earlier. Shooting wide open is completely acceptable as far as sharpness, however, I think sharpness is generally over-hyped. I'd recommend this lens to a friend.

May 8, 2009
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Tom Moore
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Registered: Apr 7, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 118
Review Date: Sep 18, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Versatile, well put together, good IQ
Cons:
Only typical WA probs - sharpness wideopen in corners

A solid performer. I used this lens exclusively whilst travelling and found it to be very versatile, whether for portraits of my friends or architecture shots this lens was excellent. It's relatively small size also meant it fits in a small camera holder, perfect for travelling!

Sep 18, 2008
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HMZRHS
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Registered: Apr 10, 2007
Location: Brunei
Posts: 62
Review Date: Aug 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Its Prime,good for outdoor.and indoor(flash)
Cons:
You can see purple colour the edges

Sample by using EF20mm /f8 attached to EOS 1Ds MKIII

http://dastar.shutterchance.com/photoblog/Low_Tide_/


Aug 20, 2008
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odoland
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Registered: Jan 30, 2008
Location: Denmark
Posts: 2
Review Date: May 11, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Nice build, good for landscapes
Cons:
Well, it could have better corner performance on FF, but so could most WA lenses.

I bought this lens way back in 2003 for my 10D. Never was that impressed with it, but it served me well as my only lens below 50 mm.
Last two years it has been on my 5D. I find it way more usefull on a FF camera. I had heard all the negatives about the corner performance before getting 5D, and it will vignette a bit at f/2.8. I did a test shot at maybe 10 meters distance, and my copy is really sharp wide open in center. Corners are not that great wide open, but compared to pictures I've seen from other users, mine seems good. At f/8 the corners are still not great.
I use mine for landscapes and other close up stuff, and use it mostly at f/11-f/16. If the corners are within DOF, they will look fine on my 5D.


May 11, 2008
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MJRP
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Registered: Dec 16, 2007
Location: France
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 17, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Compact & light
Cons:
Very noisy AF

I was looking for a discret fixed focal lens for street and people photography. That was the main reason why I bought this lens, cause I already have a (big) bright zoom which covers the 24mm.
Well, as everybody said, the lens is small and build quality is OK. But the detail which really sucks is the noisy AF motor. It's really noisy !


Dec 17, 2007
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Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
53 196098 May 30, 2012
Recommended By Average Price
85% of reviewers $358.76
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.38
8.06
7.5
ef20mmf_28usm_1_


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