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Lens review

Canon EF 35 mm f/2 IS USM

20 February 2013
Szymon Starczewski

4. Image resolution

The resolution test of the Canon EF 35 mm f/2 IS USM was based on RAW files from the Canon EOS 1Ds MkIII body. In the case of that camera the decency level is situated around 30-32 lpmm and the best fixed-focal lenses can reach as high as 44-46 lpmm.

Let’s glance at the graph below to assess the lens’s performance in the frame centre, on the edge of the APS-C sensor and on the edge of full frame as well.

Canon EF 35 mm f/2 IS USM - Image resolution


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You have to admit the frame centre looks brilliant. Even at the maximum relative aperture the image is of a good quality because the MTFs reach 38 lpmm there. The lens’s performance is at its peak near f/4.0 where the results are close to a truly sensational value of almost 46 lpmm.

You can’t complain about the performance on the edge of the smaller APS-C sensor either. At the maximum relative aperture the image is already useful and on stopping down the situation improves significantly. The results on the edge of full frame are problematic, though. By f/2.0 and f/2.8 the image is simply weak; it becomes better only after stopping down to the value of f/4.0.

In order not to be overly pessimistic it is worth noticing that the new Canon 2/35 is better than the old EF 35 mm f/2 practically everywhere. Still it should be remembered that the producer achieved it for a price three times higher…

The crops below present how the lens fares in the frame centre. They were taken from JPEG files (with the lowest possible level of sharpening) saved along RAW files which were used for the analysis above.

Canon EF 35 mm f/2 IS USM - Image resolution