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Canon EF 35mm f/2

Click to view Canon at B&H Photo

The Canon EF 35mm f/2 is a very compact prime lens. Like Canon’s other wide primes that do not have USM focusing, its modest build quality, twitchy manual focus, and noisy herky-jerky autofocus did not endear it to me. But for about $329, it’s a decent value.

Build quality.

The 35/2 is very small and light, its biggest plus. No lens hood is supplied.

Build quality is plastic yuck, with herky-jerky autofocus and twitchy manual focus. It functions, but there is no pleasure in using it, and it feels like yesterday’s stuff right out of the box.

Alternatives

The Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM is a more versatile lens offering another stop faster performance and USM focusing.

The Voigtlander 40mm f/2 (reviewed in DAP) is smaller and lighter and comes with a close up lens, but is manual focus. I’d much rather shoot the Voigtlander (available for Canon and Nikon).

Specifications

Note the very focusing to 1:4.3, very useful for close-ups.

List price: $329 street price
Specifications for Canon EF 35mm f/2
Aperture scale: f/2 - f/22
Filter size: 52mm
Image ratio at close range:            1:4.3
Minimum focus distance 10 inches
Angle of view 63° diagonally
Number of elements/groups: 7 elements in 5 groups
Weight:

0.46 pounds = 209g (nominal)

Dimensions (with caps): 2.6" in diameter, 1.7" in length

MTF

MTF for Canon EF 28mm f/2.8

The MTF chart shows that sharpness rolls off well before the frame edge is reached, with greatly increasing astigmatism. However, within the central 2/3 area, performance should be very high, stopped down to f/4 - f/8.

On EF-S cameras (1.6X crop), sharpness should stay high over the sensor (out to the ~11mm mark as shown on the graph), so it could be a good choice on such cameras.

Field comparison

Two different comparisons with extensive crops and a complete aperture series are available in DAP, in the Canon Wide Primes review.

Field comparison scene

Conclusions

At about $329, the Canon 35/2 offers very good value for the money, and with image quality on par with the 16-35/2.8L II (and maybe better), it’s a useful lens.

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