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

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

The Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens features a short wide angle focal length range with decent build quality at a relatively low cost.

The 20-35 utilizes a metal mount and has decent feel to it. It is a reasonably well built lens.

Canon Wide Angle Zoom Lens Size Comparison

Pictured above from left to right are the Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens, the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L USM Lens and the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM Lens.

The Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens is rather small and light. It does have a rather large 77mm filter size though. This is good for filter sharing if you also own some of Canon's L Zoom Lenses which typically feature a 77mm filter thread.

Featuring USM (Ultrasonic Motor), the Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens focuses fast and quietly. However, I must note that I had some low-light focusing issues with this lens even on a Canon 1-Series Pro body.

The 20-35mm's aperture is medium-wide starting at f/3.5 at 20mm, quickly going to f/4 around 23mm and finally to f/4.5 at 29 or 30mm.

A 5-blade aperture produces 5-pointed OOF (Out Of Focus) highlights when the 20-35 is stopped down.

Although I don't consider it quite as good optically as the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L USM Lens or the Canon EF 17-40mm L USM Lens, the Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens performs reasonably well.

It is reasonably sharp wide open and improves slightly when stopped down (narrower aperture selected). Corners are a bit soft wide open. Vignetting is strong at wide open apertures - especially at the widest angle focal lengths.

The 20-35 shows some CA (Chromatic Aberration) but it is rather well controlled as is flare.

The 20-35's biggest problem (in my opinion) is barrel distortion on wide end even on a 1.3x FOVCF body. I found it to be very noticeable at 20mm and still noticeable at 24mm.

Who does the Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens make sense for? For those who are not interested in the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L USM Lens or the Canon EF 17-40mm L USM Lens (price or size being the likely reasons) and need a slightly wider angle than the 28-xx or 35-xx normal zoom they already own (or plan to buy). An alternative for consideration would be the Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM Lens.

The Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens is a decent value in a short focal length range wide angle zoom lens.

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Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens
Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens
Bryan Carnathan
by Bryan Carnathan
Review Date:
Manufacturer ID: 2545A003

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