Wavy C wrote:
lol - wise decision on the debate, and I agree wholeheartedly that a 35mm is a great lens to own. If I could only have one lens I think it would be a 35mm!
Anyway, I've used both versions and, imho, the L version is probably optically slightly better in most if not all respects. Not a mile better, slightly better. In many cases it would be difficult to distinguish between them.
Mechanically, the L is definitely better - its usm motor offers silent (although not much faster) focusing, while the f2 makes a distinct rasp sound. Both seem very accurate. The f2 build quality, while not up to L quality, is still very good. It certainly does not feel a cheap lens, like, for example, the 50mm f1.8.
But, in my mind at least, the 35 f2 is the ultimate walkaround lens because of its small size and weight. If you carry your camera around your neck or over your shoulder it balances perfectly (at least on my 20D). The f2 is also nearly perfect for candid shots because out on the street it doesn't look a professional lens (the f1.4 looks more like a small zoom). The small size and weight also makes it easy to shoot one-handed if necessary, holding the camera by its handgrip. If you combine it with an 85mm f1.8, I'd say you are ready to tackle nearly any everyday situation (oh, and as an added bonus they both can use the same hood on a 1.6 crop body).
I much prefer this lens (or the f1.4 for that matter) to either of the 50mm lenses.
Highly recommended (and good value too)!
I shoot candids/street shots with my 35 more then any other lens now. I happily carry around two bodies and 4 primes all day in and around town, even when i'm in bars way past midnight. So the weight between the two lenses is a none issue for me when i'm willing to carry that around. I don't hide when it take candids, im normally part of the scene i'm shooting. As you know if you use your 35 for candids ect, it's a waiting/timing game, not a hiding game. I also have the 85, and i've got some good candids with it, but i do prefer shorter focal lengths now.