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

Review Date: May 27, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 2 

Pros: Small, lightweight, 77mm filter size, internal zoom/focus, USM
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.