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Keywords: Canon EF Wide Prime 35mm USM tested

Creyr Glas Lightworks

Registered: July 2009
Posts: 10
Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM review by Creyr Glas Lightworks
Review Date: 3/22/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $450.00| Rating: 8 

Pros: fast focusing even in low light, wide, great colors
Cons: I occasionally really miss shots because of focus being off.

I shoot with it on a Canon 40D. I bought this lens for shooting nightclubs and bands, in locations I did not want to risk taking my 24-105L lens. I intended this to be a cheap purchase that I could use at F4 to F5.6 combined with a bracket mounted flash to shoot clubs and events. So far, it has delivered excellent results, even moreso than I expected. I knew I was perhaps taking a risk on this lens, but I have not been let down, and I feel the lens is a perfect choice in the end for this kind of photography. Images are vibrant and crisp, with none of the flatness my competition gets with their zoom kits. I can just fire away, and the speed (at 2.8) allows me to get a bit more out of shots in low light without using the flash. The sharpness is quite acceptable for these candid photos. The IQ is hard to judge given the conditions I shoot in. I would like to give this lens a solid 8.5, but I will settle for lowering it to an 8.

Feel free to check out the images here:!/album.php?aid=204453&id=354208885860&ref=mf

Registered: January 2010
Posts: 4
Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM review by MalteR
Review Date: 1/4/2010 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 4 

Pros: good case, fast AF
Cons: very poor corner sharpness, generally unsharp when not stopped down

Those who believe primes tend to outperform zoom lenses in general, should take a closer look on that one to find out they are wrong. Sorry, folks, this is one of the worst lenses i ever had.

I must admit i tried to use it mainly for architecture and landscape photography on a full format Canon 5D/Mk II and the first thing i demand from such a lens is sharpness. Not a good idea, you may use it wide open or stopped down, you won´t get the corners sharp while only a small area around the center looks like one expect it from such a lens, tack-sharp. It also suffers from chromatic abberations.

Okay, this might not be a problem if you use it on a body with smaller sensor and only publish your photos on a 15" screen. On the other hand, the lens is fast both in terms of AF and using it at 2.8 - but that´s not what i demand from a prime lens in this category.

I found the 17-40mm Canon Zoom outperforms this one in nearly every respect. And if you are looking mainly for a sharp superwide lens, not an extremely fast one, a Zeiss 21mm or 20mm, even an old, used one from GDR production, will demonstrate how bad this Canon is.

Kind regards,


Registered: November 2007
Posts: 2
Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM review by Isaacarus
Review Date: 4/16/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $340.00| Rating: 8 

Pros: nice size on a 30D, decently fast aperture, nice fast AF, the only "reasonably" wide prime for crop
Cons: not as fast as im used too(1.4) not REALLY sharp till at least f/9.0, ok from about f/4.5, vignetting is very bad at 2.8 even on crop!

i brought this lens as i definitely prefer primes over zooms and i needed something "wide" for my 30D and going by the reviews and the size of the sigma 20mm i was a tad put off.

now compared to my other two primes(50 1.4 and 30 1.4) this lens is comparably on the slow side(2.8) which is something ill need to get used too Sad at least its about the same size as the 30mm, just a little bit longer and about the same width, though im happy its a bit lighter Smile

AF is really nice! its very fast, very accurate and of course silent Wink its definitely faster than the HSM of the sigma and the micro-USM of the 50mm. it also helps that it has a fairly short focus travel to help out the speed.

of course now to the all important image quality...
at 2.8 the image isnt the sharpest obviously, but i wouldnt hesitate to print a4's from it, maybe even bigger? of course the corners are semi soft, but the center is actually quite reasonable for a lens wide open.
as you stop down to between 3.5 and 5 the image gets a lot better, and the corners come into the same league as the center at around 5.6 but they are definitely acceptable from 4.5 onwards.

Of course the further you stop down the better it gets.
between f 9 and 11 is its "sweet" spot, with both the corners and centre about the same very good res making it ideal as a landscape or architecture lens.

i tried a few shots today of my g/f and i would definitely say; do NOT use it as a portrait Wink what they say about making things bigger is true, it is not flattering for people, especially girls ;D

so if you can handle having to stop down a little bit, which is required for DOF anyway, and not using it indoors without a tripod or for where very high res is required i would reccomend it.
if you need something to use wide open all the time and still require high levels of detail, i honestly couldnt reccomend this lens.
the main reason i got it was personally i prefer primes(even this one Wink ) and also, i got it at a GREAT price 2nd hand so i couldnt resist (430NZD/340USD 2nd hand compared to over 800NZD new! :O )

if your looking for a good wide angle with good res, id suggest the tamron 17-50 as it goes wider, is the same aperture, roughly same size/weight and has probably a higher detail res from wide open... of course its not FF compatible if thats your niche.

oh well, i guess thats the price you pay for what is essentially a super wide for the 35mm it was designed for all the way back in 92 so until someone releases a sharper wide angle prime at a similar price point, guess i wont be getting rid of this one, especially not considering it may be used FF within a year and i lok forward to the super wide FOV! :D

on a side note, it makes a great compliment as a prime kit to the aforemention 30 and 50 and soon to be 85... :D


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