I picked up a mint condition Canon 35-350 L I’ve always wanted to try out one of Canon’s L super zoom lenses, but didn’t want to fully commit to the ultra expensive 28-300 IS L.
This is my second Canon push/pull zoom lens (The first being a 100-400 IS). Some like, and some don’t like the push/pull zoom design, I personally don’t mind it, once you get use to using the push/pull zoom it’s not any slower then using a twist zoom, in fact, I find I can zoom quicker in some situations by using the push/pull zoom.
The lens is huge, especially when extended out to 350mm with the lens hood attached. It’s about the same size as the 100-400 IS and nearly as big as a 70-200 f/2.8 when zoomed down to 35mm. I think it’s slightly smaller then the 28-300 IS and not so heavy.
The lens is very versatile, being able to zoom down to 35mm (56mm on a crop camera) for a “Normal” field of view for general shooting, and then out to 350mm (560mm equivalent on a crop camera) for getting nice and close all in one lens is great!
The lens is very typical for a Canon “L” series lens, good solid build quality (Metal lens body) good colours and contrast and sharpness across the zoom range. It’s not prime sharp, but good for a zoom, especially one that covers a 10x zoom range!
The lack of IS means this lens will need good light, or a higher ISO setting to keep the shutter speed up for hand held photography, or a solid tripod or monopod. IS would be nice, but this lens was designed and released in the early 90’s before IS was introduced by Canon in the late 90’s. To have purchased the newer 28-300 IS would have cost me nearly 4x what I paid for this lens, so I can live without IS for now.
The lens does attract allot of attention, being one of Canon’s white L series lenses, and the size doesn’t help. If your looking for a discreet lens that won’t make you stand out, this is definitely not the lens for you!
The lens hood is massive, It reminds me of the lens hood I had on my Nikon 28-70 f/2.8. The hood for the 35-350 is painted half white, and black and is has a petal design.
The lens is mounted onto a tripod using a lens collar, which allows you to spin the lens into portrait position rather then having to adjust the tripod head when switching from landscape to portrait orientation.
The lens also makes a nice semi macro lens. You can achieve 1:4 magnification at 135mm which makes it ideal for flower and insect photography. I use to use my 100-400 IS for the same thing and found I never used my macro lenses unless I was doing dedicated macro work.
The lens is rather heavy, and the lack of IS means you will need to keep the shutter speeds reasonably high to avoid camera shake (which seems to be a problem due to the size and weight of this lens in anything other then good light).
I found my 100-400 was sharper then the 35-350 where I found the 35-350 to be a bit soft when shot wide open, but stopped down to f/8 and beyond resulted in sharp photos, but shooting at f/8 minimum also means you will need to be shooting in really good light, using high ISO’s, or shooting with the lens mounted on a tripod/monopod to avoid even the slightest bit of camera shake which can easily ruin your shots.
Overall, the lens makes a good telephoto zoom on a crop sensored camera, and paired up with a ultra wide angle lens, makes a good two lens setup which covers a wide zoom range.