"Declaring the glory of God
through photography of His created world"
copyright 2007 by Joseph LaQuiere
Canon 35-350mm f/3.5-5.6 L
A Few Brief Comments
This now out of production Canon lens has become one of my most often used lenses, because it is so versatile. In the three months since I have owned the 35-350 I find it on my camera most of the time. It's range makes it usable for almost any photographic opportunity that comes my way.
Canon has replaced the 35-350mm with a new 28-300mm IS lens which is expensive at $2100 street price. I am sure that this is a nice lens with Image Stabilization but I also think I utlize the extra 50mm at the long end more than the 7 at the wide. At any rate I don't expect to look into the new lens anytime soon when the 35-350 can be had for about $1050 on the used market. Lenses with this 10x range are by nature a do it all tool, and for that they cannot be beat.
Is this lens perfect or one of the top performers? No, but it still performs at a high level and has produced some outstanding pictures for me.
What Are The Weaknesses?
Where I find it lacking is being slightly soft wide open at 35mm. The softness is quite uniform over the entire frame and not significantly worse toward the edges or on one side. Some lenses tend to have areas near the edges that are quite severely softer than the center, an aspect that I find much worse than an overall softness. The focal lengths near the midpoint of it's range can be quite sharp, although I have not taken the time to analyze where the sweetness here lies. The situations where this lens comes to play are wide and varied and after all getting the shot is what counts. This lens can usually pick it off with quality that is well above the consumer grade zooms with this range.
At 350mm it suffers a little from softness toward the edges, however it is not drastic, with the best aperture being f/11 but still quite good at f/5.6.
The lens also vignettes quite a bit at 350mm. Vignetting at the long end however is many times not a problem because the subject is often at the center of the frame or has a background which obscures the problem.
Other Lens Considerations?
In contrast to this lens are the Sigma 50-500mm and the Tamron 28-300mm all very different lenses but all have a useful place. I will sometime put a review of the Tamaron 28-300mm zoom both the DI version and the standard version. Some would scoff at the Tamron lens having any value to a "Real" photographer but as can be demonstrated with photos this is certainly not the case. My intention will be to have a review of the Sigma as well. For now you can look through my Recent Work image's and get a feel for what lenses I am using currently.
Canon 35-350mm @ 350mm
1/320 sec, f/6.3 ISO: 320
Canon 35-350mm @ 210mm
1/13 sec, f/5 ISO: 640
Having given you the major faults I still find that this lens very useful and most of the time I find that it gives me what I am looking for. It has a 10X range with very reasonably focusing distances allowing for use in macro shots. Contrast and color are very good similar to the 24-70mm f./2.8 L. On the 1.3x crop factor sensor size, as in the 1d, the range has outstanding versatility and the lens is not terribly heavy. I have come to like the push pull design and have found no significant problem with dust as reported else-ware (I also own the 100-400mm). If I had to take only one lens with me on a photo trip the 35-350 would be the one because it can handle most everything with good results. RECOMMENDED
Canon 35-350mm @ 35mm
1/320 sec, f/11 ISO: 640
After taking many thousands of frames with this lens I have come to realize that the 35-350 is subject to chromatic aberration at the widest aperture and at the long end of the lens. The problem is most sever with white strongly lighted objects and disappears when stopped down one or two stops. This has not changed my opinion of the extraordinary usefulness of the lens but is just something for me to be aware of when I am shooting.