Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Canon 35mm F2

Months ago, I was debating whether to get rid of my Sigma 18-50 f2.8 ex lens and replace it with a normal prime lens. I've gotten so used to using my 70mm and my 50mm that I'm not really worried about having no zoom at all. Since my fiancée gave me a 10-20mm last christmas, my 18-50 has just been sitting in my bag all this time. I've loved that lens since I got it, though I'm looking for a higher image quality prime lens shots. I'm also trying to train myself to compose shots using prime this is the best method to do it.

So the question is...what would be the next useful lower focal length to the 50mm?

A 28mm is a good choice I think but I still have a 28-135 that I rarely use. What about a 24mm? Well, it's pretty close to the 10-20mm that I have. So I was left with one choice...and that's the 35mm.

The 35mm is a perfect, in between focal length of the 20mm and 50mm. Also, since I am using a non full frame camera the 35mm will be my 50mm equivalent for full frame...sort of. The 35mm is 56mm equivalent for full frame when you go into that 1.6 cropping factor equation thing. It's close enough, and good enough for me. I've been wanting to get into that "true" 50mm focal length for full frame for some time now. This is the closest I can get...well actually the Sigma 30mm is closer, but I'd rather go with the Canon on this one.

So I sold my 18-50mm and got this baby. It was actually around $270 refurbished. I had $30 extra from that money I got for my 18-50mm so I decided to get the hood with it. In my opinion, Canon should stop selling these separately and bundle them together.

After about 3 days I got the package. I opened it up and was delighted to see my little lens inside it's small box.
I snapped it on, and I snapped the hood on too and started taking pictures. Here are my observations:

The lens is pretty small, similar if not the same with the Canon 50mm 1.8 mk1
It's really light
The build is ok, better than the 50mm 1.8 mk2

Here are the things I like about it:

It's light, it really feels like there's no lens attached to the body
The focus ring disengages when the AF switch is set to auto, so no need to worry about stripping the gears on the focus assembly
It has slightly better AF than the 50mm 1.8 mk2,
Pretty decent sharpness at f2, gets even better stopped down
Chromatic aberrations are minimal
Focus distance is really close, it's almost like a macro lens
Price is pretty good for this lens type

Here are the things I don't like about it:

The lens hood feels flimsy, it attaches nicely but feels like it can be knocked off accidentally with a slight bump
Colors are slightly washed out, fixable in post processing
The motor is a bit loud

Overall I like it. I now use it for studio shots that need more background in it. Also perfect for portraits and half body shots. The wide aperture allows you to blur the background nicely.

Also be aware that if you are used to extremely long or extremely wide angle lenses, you'd find this focal length pretty boring for scenery shots. It usually stays in my bag when were out. It is perfect for outdoor portraits though.

All in all a pretty good performer! Buy it!

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