photo sharing and upload picture albums photo forums search pictures popular photos photography help login
Greg Lavaty | profile | all galleries >> Gear samples >> Canon EF-s 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Canon EF-s 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM

Over the past month I have had the opportunity to use the new Canon EF-s 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM lens which I purchased to use for close-up and macro photography while I am out birding. My reason for choosing this lens was that it was the smallest and lightest macro lens in the Canon lineup. The short working distance also interested me as I often need to be able to manipulate my subjects to keep them from “escaping” the photographic process. For example, when photographing frogs and small insects I have found that I get best results if I can hold the camera/lens with one hand and use the other hand to make sure the subject stays in position. Again in this scenario a light-weight rig becomes important.

In the past I have found that I like to use a lens like the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM II for close up photography or things like dragonflies, butterflies, other insects, small flowers… However, in many of my trips I try to spend some time out at night looking for various creatures that are most active after dark. On these night walks I have found that the narrower aperture of the 100-400mm lens was problematic when it comes to achieving focus in the dark. I could use a flash-light or the focus assist light on an external flash to help achieve focus in the dark but again the substantial weight of the rig made that a bit too much of a challenge me and I found that the assist beam from my external flash wasn’t exactly reliable. The 35mm macro lens, however, has a wider aperture and a built-in light which ended up working great for photographing in the dark.

The built-in light isn’t nearly bright enough to illuminate the scene for my actual photos but it does do a good job helping with composition and focus in the dark. On a recent trip to Costa Rica I had an excellent chance to put this to the test. I used my EOS 7D mk2 camera and an old 420EX flash unit fitted with a small plastic diffuser and was very pleased with the results. Some of the images from this trip are included here.

One concern that I had before I purchased the lens was that the working distance would be too short for the critters that I am interested in photographing but so far I have found that it hasn’t been too much of a challenge to get close enough to achieve the sorts of results that I am interested in.

One thing that I wasn’t so thrilled about with the lens was that the light automatically turns off, presumably to save on battery life which is a good thing. However, so far in my use it turns off a bit too quickly for my liking. I found several times that once I got my subject rounded up and in position for a photo the light had already turned off and then I had to fumble around to get it back on so I could take the photo.

Overall I am very pleased with the lens and plan to continue using it on future trips and outings.
Red-eyed Tree Frog
Red-eyed Tree Frog
Green Anole
Green Anole
Yellow-spotted Night Lizard
Yellow-spotted Night Lizard
Red-eyed Tree Frog
Red-eyed Tree Frog
Strawberry Poison-dart Frog (Blue Jeans Frog)
Strawberry Poison-dart Frog (Blue Jeans Frog)
Speckled Kingsnake
Speckled Kingsnake
Speckled Kingsnake
Speckled Kingsnake