Canon 35mm f/2 IS lens review: Almost-ancient prime lens finally gets overhauled, but is it worth the upgrade?


posted Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 9:13 AM EDT


Canon released its new EF 35mm f/2 IS USM lens near the end of 2012. A long-anticipated update to the almost-ancient EF 35mm f/2 lens, we've finally had a chance to put it through its paces in our test lab. Completely overhauled with a new design, a new look and optical image stabilization, the lens is compatible with all modern Canon DSLR bodies.

With both optical improvements and the inclusion of Canon's Ultrasonic Motor focusing circuitry, still photographers will appreciate the improved image quality and faster autofocus along with full-time manual focus, as well. HD-DSLR videographers will definitely appreciate the addition of Image Stabilization, which is typically a feature not seen on lenses with such a short focal length and as fast an aperture. (Note: Canon also updated its 24mm f/2.8 and 28mm f/2.8 lenses to USM versions that also feature IS).

The EF-series lens was designed to fit full-frame camera bodies, but will also work on APS-H and APS-C Canon DSLRs; on an APS-H sensor the lens will function like a 45mm lens; on an APS-C sensor, the lens functions like a 56mm lens.

Overall, the new 35mm f/2 IS USM lens looks to be a definite improvement over its predecessor, although seeing as the new one is bigger, heavier and almost twice the price of the still-available older version, is it enough to make you want to upgrade? Find out by reading our full review of the Canon 35mm f/2 IS USM!