Canon EF 35mm f/2 USM IS - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published October 2013


In the late 80s to early 90s Canon introduced a set of moderate wide-angle lenses for the EOS system. In fact, the EF 24mm f/2.8, EF 28mm f/2.8 and EF 35mm f/2 were also among the very first EF lenses. Surprisingly Canon kept them in production for more than two decades (!) before finally releasing successors in mid 2013. Recently we tested the Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 USM IS with impressive results. This review covers the new Canon EF 35mm f/2 USM IS. Similar to its modern cousins, it adds both a ring-type USM drive as well as Canon's proven image stabilizer over the old lens - as well as a new optical design. Given its comparatively high speed, the EF 35mm f/2 USM IS is probably the most popular of the three. However, it also faces a difficult task since the predecessor was already a very sharp lens ... with a weak bokeh. It'll be interesting in how far Canon is able to make a difference with the new lens.

The build quality is on a very high level thanks to a lens barrel made of high quality plastics based on a metal mount. Officially the lens is not weather-sealed but it keeps a constant physical length at all focus settings so there aren't really many spaces where water/dust could penetrate into the body anyway. The focus ring operates smoothly.

As already hinted the AF is based on a ring-type USM which is blazingly fast as well as virtually silent. Full-time manual focusing (FTM) is, of course, supported. According to Canon the new IS stabilizer is good enough for about 4-stops. As always we suggest to take this with a little grain of salt. In the real life it is about 1 stop less in our opinion.

Optical construction10 elements in 8 groups inc. 1x aspherical element
Number of aperture blades8 (circular)
min. focus distance0.24m (max. magnification: ~1:4.2)
Filter size67mm (non-rotating)
Hoodpetal-shaped, optional
Other features-

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