Never has a lens taken so long to grow on me. Purchased as a fast, wide-angle to compliment my 135 f/2L, three things immediately impacted my enjoyment:
First, the focus varied erratically between soft and very soft. Second, unlike the 135, this lens does not excel at its maximum aperture. And third, I discovered that I didn’t really “see” in 35mm — my eye tended to gravitate toward 24mm and 50mm focal lengths.
Fortunately, all three of these impediments to lens nirvana were easily removed. The softness problem was alleviated with a trip to Canon’s service center, where they repaired and calibrated the lens. To alleviate the “softness” at f/1.4, I simply pretend this is an f/2 lens, only resorting to a wider aperture when the softness is preferable to higher ISO noise. And finally, to eliminate the third problem, I practiced the art of patience and perseverance and, at long last, I’ve grown to love the focal length.
The 35L is now one of my three most-used lenses, delivering great environmental portraits, group shots, landscapes and low-light interiors.
©2008 grEGORy simpson
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