Lens review

Canon EF 35 mm f/2.0

Canon EF 35 mm f/2.0
23 September 2007
Arkadiusz Olech

1. Introduction

Originally posted 2007-07-16 on Optyczne.pl

As many our readers know, Canon is a company with a specific policy. They have, similarly to Nikon, the biggest selection of lenses on the market and their policy is that you can get anything you need for your DSLR camera from Canon but, in most cases, it will cost you a lot. A very clear example of this policy is the case of kit lens equivalents designed to work with APS-C class detectors. On one side we have an optically mediocre plastic EF-S 18-55 mm kit lens, which we receive almost at no cost with the body. On the other hand, if we want to have something very good, we need to spend almost 1000$ for the EF-S 17-55 mm f/2.8 IS USM. Across the whole range of Canon products, we see a lack of compromise between price and quality; with the possible exception of the 17-85 IS model.

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Canon’s policy is visible in another category as well. When the APS-C detectors became popular among amateurs and semi-professionals, the popular and classic 50 mm lenses – forcing a 1.6x multiplier – became a bit too long and more of a nice portrait photo lens, rather than a standard multifunctional lenses. If someone wanted to have the 50-58 mm analog lens equivalent, one needed to use lenses with a 30 to 35 mm focal length. Sigma quickly reacted to this market gap and released the 30 mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM. Honestly, I was sure that some other companies would quickly release something similar. Canon, as usual, acted in cold blood. They came to the conclusion that there is no point in releasing something that they already have in their inventory. Therefore, the Canon EF 35 mm f/1.4L USM is for those who accept no compromises and for whom price doesn’t matter.

The EF 35 mm f/2.0 is a bit more problematic as far as the classification is concerned. It costs around 230$, which places the lens on the border between something plastic - similar to EF 1.8/50 II and something similar to the more solid EF 1.4/50. Which group is the lens closer to? We made this question a priority for answering while testing the lens.