Lens review

Canon EF-S 35 mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM

25 September 2017
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality and image stabilization

It seems every producer of APS-C/DX photographic system strives to offer a macro 30-35 mm lens so we didn’t have any problem with compiling the following chart. Compared to its rivals the Canon sticks out with the most complex optics; still it’s a pity the producers didn’t add an aperture with nine diaphragm blades, like in the case of lenses produced by Pentax and Tokina.

In the photo below the Canon EF-S 35 mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM is positioned next to the full frame Canon EF 35 mm f/2 IS USM.

Canon EF-S 35 mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM - Build quality and image stabilization

The tested lens starts with a metal mount and a black ring going round it in which are embedded lens contacts and inscriptions “CANON INC.” and “MADE IN MALAYSIA”. The ring also surrounds a rubberized protrusion, characteristic for the EF-S mount, which makes this type of lens incompatible with any full frame body.

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Canon EF-S 35 mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM - Build quality and image stabilization

A rear element of the lens is 24 mm in diameter; it looks that it doesn’t move and is just slightly hidden inside the protrusion, described above. The area next to it is properly blackened and matted and areas near the rims don’t feature any noticeable slits or electronic parts, peeking from the outside.

Canon EF-S 35 mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM - Build quality and image stabilization

The proper body of the Canon 2.8/35 Macro is covered by plastics. A white square, making an alignment with a camera easier, is situated the closest to the mount. Further on you see a plate with the company’s logo and an inscription “MACRO EFS 35mm”. On the right side of the plate there are other inscriptions: “IMAGE STABILIZER” AND “0.13m/0.43ft–∞”. On the left side you find a whole array of switches. The first one allows you to choose the focusing mechanism mode (AF/MF), the second one is used for stabilization control (STABILIZER ON/OFF), and the third one allows you to switch the built-in LED light on and adjust it by choosing any of two possible brightness levels.

A manual focus ring is the next part of the lens. It is as wide as 9 mm and completely covered by rubber ribbing, utilizing a focus-by-wire, electrical design. It moves very smoothly but, in our opinion, its resistance should have been more pronounced. No distance or depth of field scale can be found in its proximity.

Canon EF-S 35 mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM - Build quality and image stabilization

Further on you see an immobile ring with the name and parameters of the lens and a filter diameter, amounting to 49 mm.

The front element of the lens is just 19 mm in diameter, slightly hidden in the tube, surrounded by LED lights to illuminate photographed objects better. They are very useful: if you employ the minimum focusing distance, the objects will be situated only about 2 cm away from the front rim of the lens.

Canon EF-S 35 mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM - Build quality and image stabilization

When it comes to the optical construction you deal here with 10 elements positioned in 6 groups, with one glass-moulded aspherical element among them. Inside you can also find an aperture with seven diaphragm blades which can be closed down to a value of f/32 at the maximum.

Buyers get in the box: both caps and a special hood which protects the LED lights and also has 49 mm filter threads incorporated into its surface.

Optical stabilization

The producer of the Canon EF-S 35 mm f/2.8 IS STM claims a 4-stop-rated Hybrid Image Stabilization system. Of course we had to check it. In order to do so we took several dozen photos with times of exposure ranging from 1/50 to 1 second with the stabilization switched on and off. For every set of photos we determined a percentage of blurred shots and presented it as a function of exposition time expressed in EV (0 EV being the equivalent of 1/40 of a second). An appropriate graph with results you can find below.

Canon EF-S 35 mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM - Build quality and image stabilization

The maximum distance between both curves reaches 3.3 EV and such is, in our opinion, the stabilization unit efficiency. It is a sensible result, although a bit lower than the declared one.