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Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
33 121068 Jan 30, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
79% of reviewers $248.72
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.73
8.27
7.5
ef20_35mm_1_

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.


 


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greenmind
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Registered: Aug 30, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 40
Review Date: Jan 30, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Small, light, good build quality, ring USM, sharp at f/5.6
Cons:
Lack of contrast and sharpness wide open. Doesn't handle backlight well at all.

This lens does not offer the apex of image quality in this focal length range. What it does provide is good image quality in this focal length range, in a small and light package, for a bargain price (now $150-$200 in the used market). Don't bother using this lens with a APS-C camera - get this lens for use on a full frame camera if you want a decent 20mm and don't want to spend a lot.

My biggest complaint is the washed-out look in backlight situations. Stopping down to f/5.6 or f/8 gives the best image quality, but this isn't a major issue in the situations this lens is most likely to be used in.

It's not a perfect lens, but it's a good lens, and currently can be found at an excellent price for what you get.


Jan 30, 2013
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bauerman
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Registered: Oct 31, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 800
Review Date: Apr 21, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $180.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Build Quality USM Motor - Full Time Manual Override Internal Focusing Distance Scale Sharpness
Cons:
Huge Lens Hood Not Much Zoom Range Not Super Wide

In today's world of rotating front lens elements, plastic lens mounts, buzzy-cheap micro-motor focusing and overall kit lens quality products.....what a refreshing thing to pick this lens up and feel some actual build quality in an inexpensive lens!

USM focusing motor (which the holy L version of this lens does NOT have) is wonderful. Quiet, accurate focusing with a distance scale as needed. Internal focusing so you can use all types of filters with no problems. Sharp pics from my copy even wide open at 20mm and f/3.5...

Give me this older beauty over a kit lens any day of the week and twice on Sundays. Better build quality and better overall image quality. Full frame compatible to boot. What's not to like folks?



Apr 21, 2010
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Cadaver
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Registered: Dec 2, 2008
Location: N/A
Posts: 485
Review Date: Sep 15, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $115.00 | Rating: 3 

Pros: cheap
Cons:
very soft in the corners, not much sharper in the center.

Sometimes you get much more than you pay for, like with the 28mm 2.8 lens, but most of the time you get what I got here. This is really not a great lens. Save your $100 and put it toward something better.

Sep 15, 2009
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fusionphoto
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Registered: Apr 16, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 17
Review Date: Sep 4, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $180.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Lightweight, quick and accurate USM focusing, price.
Cons:
Images a little flat and lacking in contrast but easily trewwkable in PS

I just bought this little lens off ebay for a great price. I have noticed so poor reviews here but at the price I thought I would give it a try. Some of the observations made by others are quite correct and I found from my initial test that the images tend to lack a little contrast straight from the camera but IMO nothing that can't be easily adjust in PP. The images I have taken appear sharp, not world class, but again for the price very good.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2555/3884650936_b3a9c163b5_o.jpg

Some minor barrel distortion evident at 20mm but nothing I would worry about for my type of shooting. This will make a great little walkabout lens on my 1D accepting that it has some limitations.

Recommended....


Sep 4, 2009
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FSJ_Guy
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Registered: Jun 20, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1737
Review Date: Sep 12, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 3 

Pros: Small, lightweight and takes front filters. FTM and the USM are nice features, too.
Cons:
BARREL DISTORTION at 20mm. Don't buy it expecting to shoot things with straight lines in them.

I bought this lens to complement my 5D (full frame body). It works fine, but it has VERY noticeable barrel distortion at the 20mm end, where I would be using it most. It IS a wide angle zoom, after all.

If you are shooting buildings and/or interiors like I do, don't bother considering this lens.

I had a Sigma 12-24 (full frame) from my 10D/20D bodies (1.6X) and that lens gives me much better results at 20mm. Being able to put a polarizer on the front is nice, but not at the expense of barrel distortion.

For landscapes without buildings or other man-made objects, it might be just fine, but not for buildings.




Sep 12, 2008
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Mac Cooper
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Registered: May 14, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jun 9, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Affordable as candy on the used market; very light; compact; durable for its cost;
Cons:
Soft in corners; CA a bit esp. at 20mm; most of its results need post boosting to sharpening, color, contrast

A used version of this lens sat for a number of months at a local camera shop. I was itching for a wide and couldn't disagree with its very low price, even for a used wide zoom. Even though it's range is limited by today's new lens offerings, it does fit a niche. The keys to this lens, really, are its low used price, its size and weight.

Some CA at 20mm, softish corners even on a crop. Manageable, but something to consider.

I actually like this lens. It fits anywhere easily and doesn't need babying or pampering.

Sample image:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/65581472@N00/2432131815


Jun 9, 2008
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Marsupilami
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Registered: Apr 9, 2004
Location: Austria
Posts: 1
Review Date: Sep 26, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 2 

Pros: Lightweight, cheap
Cons:
not sharp, not very solid construction, CA, Soft in the corners

I bought this lens via ebay cheap for the rare occasions where 24 mm is not enough for me. So for a few pictures this lens is Ok, but on my 5D this lens is certainly no winner. It does his job and with some manipulation in ACR to remove the CA it is OK, but nothing more. Also the colours often come kind of flat out of the raw converter. This is certainly no L lens, but nevertheless I expected or hoped that it would be fine at least from the tripod and at f 8-11. But it is not so. Looks like I am maybe too critical. I owned also the 17-40 L and sold it because of sharpness problems and I made some tests which the new 16-35 II and was disapointed (good lens, but performance at 28 mm was worse than that of my "backup" lens Tamron 28-75/2,8) All in all Canon seems to have problems to deliver a good wide angle lens below 24 mm.

Sep 26, 2007
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Rafi Abramov
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Registered: Feb 25, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 26, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $230.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: VERY lightweight, USM, 20-35mm, quite sharp
Cons:
Bit limiting on a 1.6 crop body- but once you learn how to combine them, not a problem.

I bought this lens second-hand off craigslist. It came with a it's dedicated Canon lens hood, a Canon EOS Rebel G 35mm body, 500 sheets of 4x6 photo paper, 400 sheets of 5x7 paper, and probably 50 rolls of various types of film. The entire bundle was $230, which I think is quite a deal.

On a 35mm (or full frame digital for that matter,) this lens is fantastic. 20mm gets a lot of picture in the frame. I can stand just a few feet away from a 15-story building and get the entire picture in the frame. The only hard thing with this lens on a full frame body is that it can be quite difficult composing the right picture- many distractions can come in the frame since the lens is so wide.

On a 1.6 crop body, this lens is quite wide as well. Testing out that 15-story building again, I simply had to take maybe 4 or 5 steps back to get the entire building in the frame. Personally, I like this lens on a 1.6 crop body better because I'd rather take a few steps back and get the entire building perfectly composed, rather than having to later edit out distractions and unwanted things that get into the frame in Photoshop due to a fullframe body.

Definitely get the lens hood for this lens (or any lens, really.)
I tried some test shots at f/8 without the lens hood where some of the sun was in the frame and there was very little, but noticeable upon further inspection flare. Throw the lens hood on and it's gone. The lens hood makes the difference of "almost perfect" and "perfect."

The USM focusing on the 20-35mm is SILENT. I put my ear up to it while it would autofocus and all I could hear was the peice from the distance scale moving back and forth. That's all.

I won't comment on distortion since I don't consider it to be a problem.

For your wide needs within a budget, definitely get this lens. I would get this lens over the 14mm and 15mm fisheye.


Jun 26, 2007
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Chefdaniel
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Registered: Mar 29, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1201
Review Date: Feb 13, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $225.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros:
Cons:

Ok so I was searching for a wide angle lens to compliment my 35L. I first purchased the 17-40 but wierd distortion showed up on both copies. Then I tried the 16-35 and I was very pleased with it colors and contast and center sharpness. All in all a good lens. But not once did i use at 2.8 and the price tag was crazy. Anyways, This lens is quite capable of producing excellent proffesional quality images. I must of recieve a excellent copy. Vingetting is easly fixable. And a bit of smart sharping and color correction and wow this lens comes to life. If you have a budget or think Canon still needs help in the ultra wide depatment save your money and but this. Because if your like me and raw for landscapes you will not be disappointed!

Feb 13, 2007
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Outdoorsman
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Registered: Oct 8, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: May 27, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 2 

Pros: Small, lightweight, 77mm filter size, internal zoom/focus, USM
Cons:
Low marks in: contrast, sharpness, build, low-light performance, zoom range, color. Bad distortion.

Like many others I bought this to go with a 1.6x digital. Do not make this mistake! 20mm is not wide enough. The f/3.5-4.5 aperture forces the use of higher ISO. Since this lens is not very sharp at all, the added noise only worsens the softness. Stopping down helps but not much. Wide open it's too soft and stopped down past f/13 or so it's also too soft. Contrast is poor, color is muddy. Edge sharpness is very poor, even with the 1.6x crop. Distortion is extremely bad. Using it for architecture, interiors or any subject with straight lines is pointless. It's a plastic lens (except for the mount) so it won't stand up to demanding use.
It does have attributes that make it easier to use, such as internal focus and zooming, a solid USM AF drive, and the popular 77mm filter size. It's also small and lightweight. The hood is adequate but could offer better coverage.
Ultimately, image quality is what matters, and this lens falls too short in that category. I would definitely not recommend this lens.


May 27, 2006
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IdeaDirect
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Registered: Feb 22, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 6
Review Date: Mar 1, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $380.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: light weight. No vignetting of built in flash, good range on crop cameras & quiet focusing. Excellent price.
Cons:
Not as sharp as I like. Dull corners at 20mm. Colors seem a bit dull.

I usually leave my 24-70 f2.8 lens on my camera. But when I want just a light "snapshot" lens, I will throw on this 20-35. It allows me to use the built in flash of my 20D and covers a nice range. For instance taking a group shot at a dinner party is possible at the table using 20mm. The 24mm was just not quite wide enough.

However, when you get used to excellent images from "L" glass, the images from this lens can seem downright bad. They are pretty soft and lack some contrast. However, comparing to L lenses is apples to oranges.

If you strictly view this lens for what it is and the price, it is an excellent lens. It still takes good pictures, focuses well, is lightweight and great price for what you get. Serves as an excellent walk-about lens.


Mar 1, 2006
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Hurtman
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Registered: Jan 7, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Review Date: Feb 24, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros:
Cons:

Update: I sold this lens as I wound up with the 17-40MM 4.0L & that lens is one sweet baby. The contrast of the 17-40L is superb! I had to let this 20-35 go so I could get enough funds(sold my 645 system as well) to purchase the New Canon 30D(on order).

Feb 24, 2006
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rosscova
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Registered: Nov 25, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 433
Review Date: Feb 5, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Cheap, light, reasonably sharp. Close enough to 'L' for me.
Cons:
AF hunts a little.

I bought this lens second hand for AUS$400 about a year ago, and have been very happy with it for the price. I use it with film, and the wide angle range is great for landscapes and creative close-ups. I find it is a great lens for carrying around on the camera because it is reasonably light, and the focal lengths can prove very reasonable for most wide shots. Just stay outdoors unless you have a flash or mono/tripod, as the f3.5 is generally a little slow (especially using ISO 100 as i usually do).

On the down side, i find myself disappointed sometimes with the sharpness, especially closer to the edges. Comparing it with the 17-40mm L lens, there is a noticeable difference in image quality. Having said that, though, for the amateur photographer, the difference seen there is not worth the cost, so i will happily stick with the 20-35mm.

All in all, i would recommend this lens to any non-professional who can't afford L-glass. It will keep 98% of people very happy, as it has done for me. Probably the only lens in my kit that will stay there until it dies.


Feb 5, 2006
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dtfromep
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Registered: Mar 23, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 85
Review Date: Dec 27, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $202.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Size, metal mount, zoom range.
Cons:
If the aperture was slightly faster, this lens would be perfect.

For the price, this lens is a nice addition to the non-professionl's arsenal. It offers wide coverage at a reasonable price. I find myself using a flash with this lens frequently while indoors, but it performs wonderfully.

Some slight distortion near the edges, but this can be countered by minimizing long lines on the outside of the frame.

Overall a great lens that I will be using for years to come.


Dec 27, 2005
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Bitty
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Registered: Apr 1, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 3
Review Date: Dec 13, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $110.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Good optically, nice contrast and colour, ring USM with FTM. It is small on contrast to my other lenses and so will travel easily.
Cons:
MF ring tiny, but usable.

I bought this used from Park Cameras, UK. It was supposed to be in 'nice condition' but is anything but. It is very marked all over, the hood has a split in it and it stops a little short of 35mm at 33mm. Do they bother to check these lenses before selling them? However, I like it. Optically, it is clean and very good even wide open (edges are a little soft there). I like the warm contrasty tones it produces - a little like my Sigma 15-30 EX DG. I like its small size too. AF is quite fast on a 20D and silent. There is some barrel distortion at the wide end but nothing too bad. I also get some CA and flare but again nothing objectionable. I paid 110 UK for it and think that's not too bad for what I got - scratches are cosmetic and 2mm is not that much. I only hope it lasts...

Dec 13, 2005
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northernlight
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Registered: Mar 19, 2005
Location: Sweden
Posts: 631
Review Date: Dec 9, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Good build, Ftm&ringUSM, compact
Cons:
the ew-83II is too big.



Dec 9, 2005
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Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
33 121068 Jan 30, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
79% of reviewers $248.72
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.73
8.27
7.5
ef20_35mm_1_


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