Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Lens Reviews / Canon Lenses i Not yet tested
20-35mm $342
average price
image of Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

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Buy the Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

(From Canon lens literature) A highly portable lens with high optical performance and a light weight of 12 oz. (340g). A very practical ultra-wide-angle zoom. The large front lens group minimizes peripheral darkening, and the flare-blocking diaphragm minimizes flare. Also, with lens group 2 being the zoom group, distortion is corrected.

Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM User Reviews

6.7/10 average of 7 review(s) Build Quality 7.4/10 Image Quality 6.9/10
  • 6 out of 10 points and not recommended by transiently (26 reviews)
    Nearly as good wide open as stopped down. Light, nice to use.
    Very unsharp sides even when stopped down; presumably due to field curvature.

    I enjoyed using this lens on my 6D, and it was easy to carry. Ultra-wide zooms are much harder to design and make than most other lens types, but I found it much more compromised than most other Canon lenses. I really wanted to like it, but for critical use I have to point out that you can never really get different planes of the photo covered by depth of field even when you stop it down to F11 due to field curvature. The same problem tends to give unsharp sides if you focus in the centre, or a very unsharp right side if you focus on the left, etc...even when stopped well down to F11. I gave up with it.

    For occasional or non-critical use, it's a nice thing to have as long as you don't pay too much. Most of my comments refer to its performance at or near 20mm, since that's the main purpose of this lens.

    Colour/contrast are as nice as most Canons, and it has a nice-feeling zoom and great accurate ring-USM. Distortion is about as high as you'd expect at 20mm. I can recommend it as long as you understand what you are getting and look at lots of images people have taken with it first. Otherwise the Cosina-made 19-35 actually offers better sharpness at the image sides, even if its corners are weaker than this lens.

    reviewed January 20th, 2021 (purchased for $100)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by sjp010 (3 reviews)
    Small, light, inexpensive, fast silent ring USM, good build quality
    contrast a little weak wide open, hood is huge and probably useless

    This is a very useful lens wide angle lens for a full frame camera if you're on a budget or need to pack light. If you're looking for ultimate image quality, click elsewhere. If you want a cheap 20mm lens that is reasonably well built and gives good image quality at f/5.6 or f/8, this may be what you're looking for.

    On a APS-C camera, there are plenty of better options than this. This lens is all about getting you into UWA territory on a full frame camera without breaking the bank.

    reviewed May 21st, 2012 (purchased for $175)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by TaoGuy (3 reviews)
    You get what you pay for

    I bought this lens with my EOS 10s. That makes it old and not used much anymore. Most of the lens short comings can be helped in CS2. It has served me well however the I've purchased the 16-35L recently and the comparison is drastic.
    The 16-35L is also an additional $1000, so from that point I'll keep this lens as an old standby, or just an old friend.

    reviewed January 10th, 2007 (purchased for $400)
  • 5 out of 10 points and not recommended by Wolfini (10 reviews)
    build, AF
    contrast, distortions, range

    This lens has a nice feel and build, and a fast and accurate AF.

    But the IQ never could convince me. As a wideangle I used it for landscapes and cityscapes, and found the contrast and colors to be lacking. Also straight lines in the middle of the frame got distorted.

    I also felt that the 35mm was too short for me, as quick portraits turned out strangely distorted.

    So I switched to the Sigma 18-50/2,8 which is a much better lens IMHO (apart from some AF issues).

    reviewed January 5th, 2007 (purchased for $415)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by chrcapi (8 reviews)
    usefully conceived, fast and quiet AF, low weight, good build quality
    lens hood not included, variable maximum aperture

    This is a practical lens, very well conceived: it provides a flare cutting diaphragm, both control rings operates smoothly, the front lens doesn't rotate, and the physical length remains constant while zooming. USM provides really fast and nearly silent autofocus operations.
    Despite its low weight, this lens is well built: it isn't an L class lens, but my specimen performs flawlessly after four years of intensive usage. The optical quality is quite good, but not stellar: at the wide end distortion may be visible, and in some situations borders are quite soft. Flare can sometimes be an issue, but only in rather extreme situations; lens hood is recommended, as usual. In flare and especially in ghosting performances, this zoom outperforms every competitor in its price range.
    All in all, this is an honest workhorse, recommended for full frame or 1,3x SLRs: on APS-C sensors, CA and resolution could be disappointing, and the zoom range wouldn't be so attractive.

    reviewed December 3rd, 2006 (purchased for $400)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by jeffn (6 reviews)
    Inexpensive ultra-wide zoom.

    Optical performance is very good once you stop down to f5.6-f8. Not a lot of high-contrast "pop" in the glass.

    I really liked the fact that the lens has internal zoom (the front end does not extend while zooming).

    reviewed November 25th, 2006
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by David Hay (8 reviews)
    Light, well priced, good quality images.
    Mine came apart.

    This lens has an internal flare cutting, rectangular, plate which is visible looking into the front of the lens. It does a good job for a multi-element wide-angle zoom with flare rarely being a problem. The ring type USM is fast and quiet. The (expensive) lens hood is very large, makes the lens look huge and doesn't make much difference to flare.

    There is no serrated area at the back of the lens to grip it when attaching/removing it from the body. My problem came about when I mounted it by holding the (fixed) front part of the lens. Over time the front started to come loose. After repair by Canon there was more barrel distortion than before at 20mm so I sold it.

    reviewed November 16th, 2006 (purchased for $560)