Monday, November 5, 2012

New Canon Lens Spotted!

Making its rounds on the web is an image of a new Canon lens, the EF 35mm f/2 IS USM. Starting near the beginning of all Canon EOS film cameras, the older EF 35mm f/2 lens has been around. Fixed focal length lenses aren't nearly so popular since zoom lenses have gotten so good, so an update to this older lens has been long overdue and most people suspected, including me, that Canon would probably never give this lens the overhaul it deserved. But we were wrong and here is the proof.

The new lens is Image Stabilized and features Canon's Ultrasonic Focusing Motors, and has 10 elements in 8 groups with one glass-molded aspherical element. The original version used the older noisier focusing motors and you were on your own as far as reducing the shake in your pictures. So these are all good and needed improvements. But it will be bigger, the filter size goes up from 52mm to 67mm in the new version, though it will still be a smallish lens compared to most pro zoom lenses.

I have a special fondness for this lens. Of all the lenses I have owned, the older version is my favorite. The 35mm f/2 is small and light, and its resolution is simply breathtaking. I like to use it for catalog work in shooting textiles because it resolves down to the threads of the fabric. No other lens I have ever used, including Nikon, does as good. And the quality of its out of focus characteristics is nearly perfect, so you can shoot at f/2 and still have an out of focus background that hangs together and gives the illusion of greater depth of field and detail than is really there. To be fair, given sample variations in manufacturing, I realize that my particular lens may be better than other examples of the same lens. That is definitely possible, but still, my 35mm f/2 is great.

But to be honest, its not perfect. It doesn't like back-lighting and will flare and drop contrast like a rock when it encounters it. But for most other situations, it's nearly always perfect. There's nothing better than this for a walk-around lens. So I'm glad that Canon is updating this great lens. I just hope they haven't changed it too much or that they have only changed it for the better. And the other lens that is being updated to IS is the popular EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS, which I suppose was overdue as well. Thanks, Canon.