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Field Testing the EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM

The EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM released in April 2017 is an EF-S series macro lens with built-in Macro Lites that is not only great for macro photography, but also as a standard lens with a focal length of 56mm equivalent. I took this lens out for a test shoot, and here is my review. (Reported by: Sayaka Suzuki)

EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM

 

A versatile macro lens that can also cover everyday scenes with a standard focal length

The EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM has a closest focusing distance of 0.13m, meaning that you can freely get up close to your subject. This expands the range of scenes around you where you can use macro photography, such as for photographing minute objects. Moreover, you can also use this lens as a 56mm equivalent standard lens, which can cover most everyday shooting scenes, such as street photography while walking around, as well as family portraits. This gives you the added advantage of having to carry less lenses around with you.

A sharp street image shot with the EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM at 35mm (56mm equivalent)

EOS 800D/ EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM/ FL: 35mm (56mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/2.8, 1/1,250 sec, EV+2.7)/ ISO 200/ WB: Auto

This lens not is only suitable for macro photography but also for standard photography. It achieves sharp depictions with no visible distortion, and properly captures horizontal lines as straight lines.

 

A baby's feet, shot with the EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM at 1/160 sec

EOS 800D/ EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM/ FL: 35mm (56mm equivalent)/ Manual exposure (f/2.8, 1/160 sec)/ ISO 1600/ WB: Auto

As it is a bright lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8, it lets you maintain a shutter speed of 1/160 sec at ISO 1600 even in a dimly-lit room. This level of shutter speed is necessary for capturing a baby, whose limbs are always moving.

The beautiful bokeh effect it produces is impressive. Both the foreground and background bokeh effects are spread beautifully, without any cause for worry about aberrations. Because Canon’s Hybrid IS system is employed in the lens body, I felt the lens was surprisingly resistant to camera shake even at slow shutter speeds in low-lit scenes. With this single macro lens, you can freely get up close to your subjects, making photography more fun than ever.

You may also be interested in: [Babies Part 2] Getting Up Close to Cute Details

 

Dandelion macro photo, shot with the EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM

EOS 800D/ EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM/ FL: 35mm (56mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/2.8, 1/1,250 sec, EV+2.3)/ ISO 200/ WB: Auto

Whenever I suddenly encounter subjects that move me while out for a walk, I often only realize the reason for that later on when I see the result of the shoot. Take for example, a dandelion being blown around by the wind. The form of its seeds wrapped up inside was just like a parent desperately trying to protect the seeds. This small world seen up close is like a tale just waiting to be discovered. There is also a beautiful bokeh effect spread out in the background.

That said, let's look at three key features of this lens.

 

Feature #1: Macro Lites that can be controlled independently

This ground-breaking attempt of mounting Macro Lites onto the lens not only gives it a distinctive appearance but is also very practical. Depending on the subject, there might be times where using the lighting on one side only produces a better result than when using lighting on both the left and right sides of the lens. The Macro Lites give you the flexibility to control the lighting to suit the image, regardless of your subject.

EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM Macro Lite control switch

 

Left light (from photographer’s POV)

EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM (Left light on)

Right light (from photographer’s POV)

EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM (Right light on)

Both lights

EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM (Both lights ond)
Shot with the EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM (right Macro Lite on)
Shot with the EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM (left Macro Lite on)
Shot with the EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM (both Macro Lites on)

 

Shot with the EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM (Macro Lites)

EOS 800D/ EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM/ FL: 35mm (56mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/2.8, 1/1,250 sec, EV+2.3)/ ISO 200/ WB: Auto

When you get up close to a plant that is green all over, the colour of the leaves tend to blend into each other, making it difficult to bring out the texture of the characteristically thick leaves. However, the lighting in this shot allows shadows to be cast on each individual leaf, so that they look more three-dimensional.

 

Feature #2: A tapered lens design

Have you ever experienced the frustration of having your lens cast a shadow on your subject the closer you get when shooting small subjects? With this lens, you no longer need to worry. The head of the lens is tapered, making it difficult for the lens itself to cast a shadow on your subject.

 

EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM (Tapered design)

 

Feature #3: A lens hood that prevents glare

If glare from the white Macro Lites stands out when photographing metal or other reflective items, I recommend attaching the screw-type ES-27 lens hood that is included with the lens. The hood not only acts as a cover for the Macro Lites, preventing glare, but the exterior is the same as that of the standard lens. When using the Macro Lites, it is necessary to remove the lens hood.

Related article: 3 Reasons Why You Should Start Using a Lens Hood

 

EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM

 

Lens Hood ES-27

Lens Hood ES-27

 

Lens construction diagram

Lens diagram for the EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM

A: Aspherical lens

 

Specifications
Lens configuration: 10 elements in 6 groups
Minimum aperture: f/32
Number of aperture blades: 7
Minimum shooting distance: 0.13m
Maximum magnification: 1x
Filter diameter: φ49mm
External dimensions: approx. φ69.2 × 55.8mm
Weight: approx. 190g

 

You can also refer to the following articles for example shots taken using a macro lens.
EF-M28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM Photo Review
Uncover a Whole New World with Macro Lenses
Macro Lens Techniques - Get Fresh, Appetising Pictures of Tarts & Pastries

 


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EOS 800D (Body)

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EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM

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A monthly magazine that believes that enjoyment of photography will increase the more one learns about camera functions. It delivers news on the latest cameras and features and regularly introduces various photography techniques.
Published by Impress Corporation

Sayaka Suzuki

After graduating from the Department of Design in the Tokyo University of Art and Design, Suzuki started work at a video production company. She also apprenticed under the producer Tan Hakata. After learning about video production and editing, she was an apprentice to the photographer Shin Yamagishi, and then went independent in February 2012. Currently, besides photo-magazines, she has expanded her range of activities to include mainly CD jackets, advertising photos, and video photography, etc.

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