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Thursday, 17 January 2013


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My personal feeling is that the biggest advantage IS gives stills shooters is increased sharpness at marginal--but still normally hand-holdable--shutter speeds, rather than the ability to really drag the shutter.

I'm still waiting to see what coma looks like on the 35 IS before deciding whether it moves into my gear-lust list. C'mon Lenstip, test this puppy!

Lest we all forget -- IS helps with camera motion, but not with subject motion. So whether IS helps you with low-light photography as much as a fast lens depends on your subject (and nearly everybody has some nice static subject, and shoots people or other moving objects other times).

Sounds like James shoots exclusively static subjects; that's unusual, but by no means unheard of.

I'm curious if you considered the sigma 35mm f1.4? Maybe too big/heavy...


James Leynse has a superb portfolio!

I saw the title.
I saw the photograph and I read the caption.

My immediate thought was "Jeez Mike! You need to rename this site to "The Phickle Photographer".

Then I read the by-line.

Sorry, Mike.
Good luck with the lens, James.

Why didn't you just by the new Canon 40mm pancake? It's getting great reviews and it's only $149.

Enjoyed the review, thanks, and enjoyed looking at your work, especially the portraits.

Thanks for the advice. I've been looking to buy a new camera. Many good candidate bodies these days, but lenses seem to complicate the issue considerably.

Did you test, or even consider, the Canon 40mm pancake? By all accounts an excellent lens and inexpensive, though w/o IS.

I was interested in this lens, but as I also own an OM-D, I'm going to wait and see the reviews on this -


Too good to be true? I've got a 50 1.8 I'd love to turn into a 35 1.2


I think one of the major reasons Canon is bringing out these prime lenses with Image stabilization is for video. This is the main reason to get this lens, if it actually works well while shooting video. No one seems to be testing that in their reviews, which is a shame as I think the ability to shoot video with a shallow DOF and have stability is the major selling point. Yes before you say it this is a Photography site.

IS is especially valuable for video which is likely the reason it is appearing on more and more of Canon's wide lenses -- EF 24mm, 28mm and 35mm.

I also have been using the wonderful Voigtlander 40mm chipped for Canon as a walkaround lens on my 5D. Or I was until Canon released its very inexpensive 40mm 2.8. My aging eyes welcome the autofocus, and the Canon is less than half the size of the already diminutive Voigtlander--very much like not having a lens on the camera at all. When I need a true 35, I grab the 1.4 which I still have in my arsenal from fatter times. I can see where an IS F2 would be a very attractive alternative to that lens if the IQ is anywhere near as good.

I use the Voigtlander 40 mm on a D3 - looks odd but works well - and have grown used to the green dot focus, which is accurate. But it works on a selected focus point. So I just turn on the centre one. Otherwise it gets confused about which point is in focus, and gives false readings.

Thanks for the fascinating review, James.
I too was tempted by this new all bells-and-whistles 35 F2 from Canon. I tried it out on a 6D body here in Tokyo and found that it made that body top heavy... It is indeed very large compared to the tiny 35 F2 of old. My own conclusion is that the old, scratchy sounding lens is a terrific bargain, unbeatable at the price, and for me, even better than the 40mm pancake whose AF I find too sluggish on the street.

That Green dot works fine on my Nikon, but having IS on a prime. Sweet.

And here I thought I was going to hold out until the 5dmkVi hits the shelves! The 35mm F2 IS is already on my most wanted list, I cannot do without IS, I just love how the IS steadies the camera, and the 40mm pancake will have to go when its faster brother arrives. What really interests me about the MKIII is things like silent shutter and build in spirit levels. I am also an interior and architecture/industrial photographer and a built in spirit level will surely make my life easier....

I must be the only Canon shooter in existence who doesn't own any IS Canon lenses. And I own and have owned over a dozen Canon EF lenses over the years. Well, actually I DO own one IS lens but it's the 18-55mm kit zoom that came with my T2i. That lens resides on a shelf in the original box--it never gets used and I don't count it.

Not that I discount the functionality of IS. I also shoot Olympus cameras, both micro 4/3 and the original 4/3 SLRs. The cameras all have in-body IS that occasionally comes in handy but has never been a necessity. Canon wants me to buy their IS design every time I buy a new lens. It's a lot extra to pay for something I don't need and only find occasionally handy.

Incidentally, I own the non-IS version of the Canon 35/2 EF lens. While the design may be old and it doesn't have the pizzazz of the new kid in town, the optical quality is excellent.

I love pancakes. With or without syrup. Can I chip in and say the Canon 40mm f2.8 is a great lens? I use it on FF bodies and have always liked the rather unfashionable focal length. I rabbit on about the 40mm Summicron C here from time to time, and the Sonnar 40mm 2.8 on the Rollei 35 is another gem (IMHO).

I quite like the old 35mm F2, but that new one looks gigantic. What's all the fuss about IS anyway?. DDB made an interesting point. It seems to me that taking pictures in total darkness has become a sort of obsession with folk

(NB Haven't used the Voigtlander, although I use V lenses on other cameras, including the beautiful Bessa III)

Argh, just when I was selling all of my canon gear.

"It seems to me that taking pictures in total darkness has become a sort of obsession with folk."

Technology has expanded our ability to photograph in lower light levels than ever before. We can photograph more with available light, and we can use less flash. This is a very welcome change.

First off, thanks everyone who read this story and to all who have clicked through to my website. I really appreciate the feedback. I consider compliments from the discerning readership of TOP to be very high praise. I am going to try to answer some of the questions raised here in the comments.

"Why didn't you just buy the new Canon 40mm pancake?"-- I thought about that lens but it seemed seemed redundant since I already have the faster Voigtländer. It's got to be the best bargain in Canon's lens lineup, however.

"I'm curious if you considered the sigma 35mm f1.4?" -- It looks good from what I have read but it is a much bigger lens and I have had some bad experiences in the past with Sigma lenses.

"I think one of the major reasons Canon is bringing out these prime lenses with Image stabilization is for video."-- I totally agree with this. I don't shoot much video yet but am starting to do some for my stock agency so this would be a bonus. I still feel that IS is not absolutely necessary in a lens of this focal length but it sure is nice to have it.

Thanks to all who have commented. James

Sounds like a great lens, but what I really want is that cool red lettuce spinner!

I hope that either the classic 35/2 is kept in the line-up, or the price of the new 35/2 drops to sane levels. A line-up replacement shouldn't cost 2.5 times the original. USM and IS aren't exactly cutting-edge technologies that require a big markup to recoup R&D costs.

I had been watching the prices for the older 35 f2 (without IS) on eBay. After this article hit, the prices took a bit of a jump upward, and the bidding has gotten a lot faster. Used and refurb lenses are selling for almost what a new one costs now.....sheesh. Thanks for all of the great photography conversations, but this site can kill a good deal in seconds, literally. :)

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