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Thread started 12 Feb 2017 (Sunday) 15:11
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Canon EF 35-350mm f/3.5-5.6L USM, reviewed by xarik

TOGGLE RATINGS BETWEEN ALL AND xarik (showing now: xarik)
Overall Rating8.5
Overall Image Quality7.5
Value for Money9
Must Haven/a
not rated
Suitability to Intended Use9.5
Got What I Expected10
Ownership Status: "own"

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List all reviews of Canon EF 35-350mm f/3.5-5.6L USM
xarik's Avatar
Joined Sep 2013
Feb 12, 2017 15:11 |  #1

Used on a 5D3. Never shot on crop with it.

I write these reviews to try and help buyers choose the lens that they will use most so that they don't gather dust on the shelf. For the most part, all I can say for this lens is "wow".

I photograph my schools athletics, portraits, random stuff and just walk around things. I recently went to Italy and I'm so disappointed that I didn't pick up this lens sooner like I had intended. The price was too good to pass up in the condition of the lens, so I swiped it up and gave it a shot.

Image Quality:
It's not the best ever. My other gear is much better, in most areas, but they are also much less convenient, far more expensive and much newer. If this was the only lens in my bag, I would never complain!

Value for Money:
Again, I bought this because the price was too good to pass up. If I had the money, I'd purchase lenses across the entire range and it would have cost me easily 4 times as much. For sub $1000, this completes your lens collection while saving tons of space. For a budget photographer, this is unbeatable. For a professional, this might not be the best selection, but it's certainly better than using some of the cheaper end lenses on the market. I was surprised at just how good it was for the price. I have never shot the 28-300, but I can only imagine that this design became even better.

You shouldn't buy this lens for the bokeh. It's not an F2.8 or less and it won't act as one. That being said, the bokeh is decently creamy and along the lines of most L lenses. At F3.5 on the wide end, the fall off is very long and you won't notice much bokeh until you get above 100mm as far as I can tell. At 350mm, it's extremely pleasing bokeh for the price and F-stop. It didn't blow away my 70-200 F2.8 L and certainly wasn't as nice as my Zeiss 50mm F2, but the background wasn't distracting or ugly. Pretty typical

Again, it's not the best, but I shot this indoors at 8000ISO. I was extremely happy with its performance. I initially kept trying to change my F stop to compensate for the light and eventually gave up on that, stuck it at F5.6, bumped up the ISO to 8000 and shot at 1/250 and was still capable of getting sharp images over 300mm. The bumped us ISO did NOT help the images at all, and this was expected. I gave it a 7.5 because it wasn't quite as good as a 70-200 F2.8L or any prime lenses, but it certainly beat out any NON-L zoom lens that's I've used. I haven't used this lens outdoors much yet, but it was impressively sharp across the entire range of the lens.

This lens required quite a bump in contrast in post production and even had to drop the black in order to get a bit more contrast. I love heavy contrast though and this just didn't fit my style. If you've utilized older lenses (Canon 80-200mm F2.8L, Canon 28-70 F2.8L, 200mm F2.8L V1), then you're aware of some of the older builds having some troubles with contrast. Colors were a bit more mute, separation wasn't the best in the world, but it gave you a feel that just cannot be paralleled by new equipment and cannot be recreated in post production. I love this feel, but still enjoy contrast in my images.

Quick! Going from 35 and zooming in to 300+ and it could grab focus in less than a 3 seconds. Doesn't sound impressive if you're running and gunning, but I was very happy with it since my 70-200 will occasionally fail to focus if I'm too tight, but this lens did its very best. I used this lens for indoor sports and did not have as high of a success rate as my 70-200, but I was just getting used to the range and the push-pull mechanics. I was very pleased given how massive the range is and the F-stop. Sports are incredibly difficult to get good, sharp photos from, so I'd say I as pushing this lens to its limits and still being successful.

Must Have:
I left this blank because I'm on the fence. If you have the money, this isn't a must have lens unless you're going on vacation and don't want to carry any other lenses. I would have killed to have a lens like this while I was in Italy since I was tired of switching lenses all the time and just kept my 24-105 on most of the time. If I had a 35-350, I'd assure you that I would have taken many more photos that I simply couldn't have otherwise. For the business side of photography...I'd lean towards no. There are better options that are more specific to needs. I don't believe this lens is geared towards the professional, but more towards the enthusiast who still wants the best that they can afford. That being said, I'd recommend this lens to some of my less fortunate friends and often times push the 70-200 F2.8L, 24-105L and other lenses to my peers who intend to make a business out of their art.

Suitibility to Intended Use:
Yes, just YES. They hit it out of the park with this lens and I cannot find a flaw besides the awkward push-pull mechanic that took a bit of getting used to. It isn't overly heavy, it is a jack of all trades and it is extremely portable (smaller than my 70-200 F2.8L). It functions well for wide shots, mid range shots and telephoto shots. Only reason I gave it a 9.5 instead of a 10 is because of the F-stop falling off quickly from 3.5-5.6, but this is hardly a worry since it makes up for it in so many other ways.

Got what I Expected:
I expected nothing and was pleasently surprised to receive everything. Being a college student making less than $10,000 a year on photography, this has my debating on selling my other lenses in order to help pay off some debt. This one lens can replace 2 of my 3 lenses comfortably and the only lens it wouldn't replace is my Zeiss because I have an emotional attachment to it. I was going to purchase either this lens or the 28-300 before Italy and now I'm regretting not doing it because of how impressive this lens really is. I got more than I expected and I'm happy!

If you're debating this lens over a non-L, go for it. It's worth every penny and is built like a brick and will last the long haul. The usage you will get out of this lens is unparalleled and will having you put away your phone and PAS cameras to get a professional photo with less work than others who have to keep swapping lenses. If I didn't own my own business, I'd sell most of my lenses and have this as a terrific all around lens. I rarely see these for sale, and now I know why.

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Bodies: Canon 5D3
Lenses: Tokina 16-28mm F2.8 - Zeiss 50mm f/2.0 Makro-Planar T* ZE - Canon 70-200mm F2.8 L
Extras: 2 Neewer TT520 Speedlites - Manfrotto 3021BPRO and ballhead

Check out my Flickr (external link)!

1,605 posts
Joined Sep 2011
Annapolis Maryland
Feb 13, 2017 19:26 |  #2

I believe this lens was introduced with great fanfare during a Winter Olympics.

EOS 7D w/BG-E7 (3), 550EX (3), 430EX II, Vivitar 285HV, Opteka 6.5mm/3.5, Canon EF-S 10-18/4.5-5.6 IS STM, Canon EF-S 24/2.8 STM, Canon EF 40/2.8 STM, Canon EF 100mm/2.0 USM, Canon EF 70-300mm/4-5.6 L IS USM, Canon 77mm 500D Macro, Tamrac 614 Bag & 787 Backpack, Crumpler 8 MDH, 7 MDH, 6 MDH​photos/johnebersole/se​ts/ (external link)

xarik's Avatar
Joined Sep 2013
Feb 15, 2017 09:10 as a reply to CanonCameraFan's post |  #3

I could see this being a VERY strong performer with more light available (Again, haven't had the chance to take it outside much). I want to compare this to some other lenses, but there isn't a good place to do this really :/. I wanted to compare it to the 70-200mm F2.8L, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, 70-200mm F4L, 70-300 F4-5.6L and the 100-400 (though I haven't had this one yet). I figure, not too many people actually gets to use ALL of these lenses, so I've been fortunate and I'd like to share my personal findings :/....I hope this review helped at least a little bit

Bodies: Canon 5D3
Lenses: Tokina 16-28mm F2.8 - Zeiss 50mm f/2.0 Makro-Planar T* ZE - Canon 70-200mm F2.8 L
Extras: 2 Neewer TT520 Speedlites - Manfrotto 3021BPRO and ballhead

Check out my Flickr (external link)!


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Canon EF 35-350mm f/3.5-5.6L USM, reviewed by xarik
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