Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM Review

August 14, 2017 | Amy Davies | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


If you’re looking for a small and light macro lens to accompany your APS-C sensor camera, the Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM is an ideal choice.

With a 35mm focal length giving you an equivalent of 56mm, it doubles up as an every day or walk around lens, giving you extra flexibility. Those who have a keen interest in macro photography will of course be particularly drawn towards it though.

The addition of the inbuilt macro lights is great news for anybody who likes to shoot extremely closely, and certain subjects, such as jewellery really benefit from the direct source of light. Certainly, anybody who needs to regularly shoot product photography may find this lens to be particularly useful.

Image quality is excellent, producing very sharp images with a high level of detail, as you would expect from a macro lens. Out of focus areas are also rendered very nicely, with attractive bokeh which would make this lens ideal for creating shallow depth of field shots - portraits would also be a good subject to shoot with it.

As well as being small and light, the lens is very easy to use, with easy access to manual focus, switching off the image stabiliser and choosing between the different light configurations for the macro lights. The focusing ring around the front of the lens could be a little stiffer, and it would also be nice to have some hard stops - but it’s a relatively minor complaint.

At the time of writing, the Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM retails for just shy of £400. Alternatively, you could purchase the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 USM Macro lens for around £350 - while that is cheaper, it doesn’t feature image stabilisation, or the inbuilt macro lights, so you do get something for your extra cash. Additionally, the 56mm equivalent focal length is perhaps more versatile than the 96mm provided by the 60mm macro lens. Overall, £400 for this versatile and useful lens is a good price, which may drop further as the lens gets older.

In summary, if you don’t already have a macro lens and are looking to get into close-up work, the Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM is an excellent choice - especially since it can also be used as a standard lens. Definitely consider purchasing this if product, jewellery or food photography is your thing.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 4.5
Value for money 4.5