Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM Lens review by James Leynse at The Online Photographer: I think we have a new winner for "available dark" photography.

A Lens review by Mr. Leynse :) The lens was tested on a 5D Mark III body, and this is more of a user experience report (a good one) than a technical review:

"The biggest surprise for me is how effective the image stabilization is on this lens. It's so quiet that I can't tell it's working unless I press my ear against it. Combined with the new high-ISO abilities of the 5D MKIII, I can take pictures in light almost too dim to see by. In fact, it was actually hard to find suitably dark scenes to illustrate the lens's IS ability. For the moment, this might be the best low-light lens around.

I have long appreciated image stabilization on telephoto lenses. I have Canon'sEF 70–300mm ƒ/4–5.6L IS USM lens, and the image stabilization on that lens is a game changer. After a few months of using it, I entirely abandoned my 70–200mm ƒ/2.8. However, I wan't convinced of the need for IS on a wide angle lens. I wan't against it. I just thought that it wasn't necessary. After using this new Canon lens, I have changed my mind.

Canon claims that the IS on this lens gives an extra four stops of usability. That figure might be a bit of a stretch. The effectiveness of IS is hard to quantify and probably varies depending on who is doing the holding and how much coffee or alcohol they have had to drink. Regardless, IS definitely makes a difference here. The old rule-of-thumb (pre-IS) is that a lens can be safely hand-held down to a shutter speed closest to the lens's focal length. Therefore, a 35mm lens could be safely hand-held down to 1/30th of a second. I used to feel that I could reliably shoot a 35mm lens at 1/15th of a second. Using this lens, I am now getting sharp photos at 1/5th of a second. Maybe I could even do 1/2 second if I brace myself. That's not four stops better, but it's a good two stops and maybe more. That two stops improvement in low-light shooting puts this lens ahead of Canon's very good and expensive EF 35mm ƒ/1.4L USM lens and probably on par with the also very expensive EF 24 ƒ/1.4 L USM. Both of those lenses are bigger and heavier than the 35mm IS. Its also easier to get an in-focus shot at ƒ/2 than with the narrow depth-of-field of a lens wide open at ƒ/1.4. Using that logic, I think we have a new winner for "available dark" photography."

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