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Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM
Reviews Views Date of last review
1 4996 Tue March 27, 2007
Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers 175.00 8.0

Description: Highly portable lens with high optical performance and light weight of 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.


* Focal length and maximum aperture: 20-35 mm 1:3.5-4.5
* Lens construction: 12 elements in 11 groups
* Diagonal angle of view: 94-63
* Focus adjustment: Inner focusing system with USM
* Closest focusing distance: 0.34m / 1.1ft
* Filter size: 77mm
Keywords: Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

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Rob Barron
Loves the place

Registered: September 2006
Location: Poole, Dorset
Posts: 7227
Review Date: Tue March 27, 2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: 175.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Light, good price
Cons: Not L series but not L money!

It is all too easy to look at a standard USM lens after using L series lenses and dismiss them as being 'cheap' but that would be to throw out some very good lenses that are in a much more affordable price bracket, this lens is no exception.

I used this lens for about 5 months until I bought a 17-40mm f4 L series to replace it. Being 20-35mm on a camera with a 1.6x multiplication factor, this lens has the effective range of 32 - 56mm which is wide enough to be practical and takes you up to the size of a 'standard' lens. It's aperture range is decent, indeed it goes half a stop wider than the 17-40mm lens that is 3 times the price! At f3.5 for the 20mm and f4.5 at 35mm there is no problem in getting enough light, especially for the type of shot this lens is most suited to: outdoor shots, landscapes, etc.

The USM autofocus motor is quick and quiet and I had virtually no occasions where hunting was evident (lens going back and forth through the range of focus trying to get into sharp focus) so it was always reliable. On the whole sharpness was very good and colours were strong. When using the widest end there was some softening at the edges when using wide apertures but not enough to cause a problem unless making big enlargements. I did a landscape which had looked fine but I made a poster which I printed at A3+ (19" x 13") and then the softening became noticeable. Sharpness at mid-apertures was very good indeed, better than I had expected for a lens of this price.

Given a choice of this or my 17-40mm L series, I would definitely choose the latter but that is hardly surprising given the L series costs about three times the price. This USM lens however is a lot lighter than an L series lens which feels well-balanced, especially on one of the smaller Canon DSLRs like a 300/350/400D.

If looking for a versatile wide-angled lens for your landscapes, this is a very good option. I found it a little short for portraits, tended to flatten images off a bit. For me, a portrait should have 35mm equivalence of about 80mm so this doesn't get there but using it for the outdoor stuff, you are not going to complain much I promise!

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