Modern Classic SLR Series :
Canon EOS-1N Series AF SLR camera
Canon EF zoom lenses - EF 20~35mm f/2.8

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Canon EF 20~35mm f/2.8L ultra wideangle Zoom
(Marketed/Discontinued 1987~1996)

Background: - If I can recall, the first true wideangle zoom lens that arguably broke the 28mm wideangle barrier was a Zoom-Nikkor 25-50mm f/4.5 which actually was an attempt to extend the wideangle from their earlier so-so effort of the Zoom Nikkor 28-45mm f/4.5 in 1975. Those days, it was true that high quality zoom lenses were very difficult to produce, not to mention users were equally skeptical in their confidence of using zoom lenses. In 1978, Canon had a breakthrough in designing a high quality zoom with Aspherical lens element which was aimed to counter various optical aberrations prohibiting designers in delivering a wideangle zoom of true quality image delivery The FD 24-35mm f/3.5 ASPH S.S.C (updated as Canon FD 24-35mm f/3.5L a year later in 1979 with new bayonet mount & lens hood) was the first serious effort that surpassed Nikon effort (it was also the first commercial production zoom lens for 35mm photography that incorporated with an Aspherical glass element) but more importantly, it enabled Canon photographers to have an option to tab on the convenience and enjoy high quality image resolution of a zoom lense. I know probably most people would just associate Canon ultrawide Zoom with the modern classic Canon FDn 20-35mm f/3.5L that followed in 1983 because along with a few other first batch of the L-series FD lens group such as the Canon FDn 14mm f/2.8L, FDn 50mm f/1.2L FDn 85mm f/1.2L and some other renown FDn Telephotos, Canon FD lenses deservingly had the industry recognized as not just the world's largest camera/optical lens producer - but also a Company which leads and pioneering optical innovation and excellence. Amidst all these development, the L-series lenses was aimed by Canon to supplement the professional class Canon New F-1 (1981) as well as a whole new class of Canon T-Series camera models introduced during the first quarter of the eighties to enable Canon seriously taking trying to wreck Nikon dominance at the professional user market during the Nikon F3 era.

Canon FD 24-35mm f3.5L lense

Canon FD 20-35mm f3.5L lense

Minolta MD zoom 24-35mm f/3.5

Pentax SMC 24-35mm /f3.5.JPG


Canon FDn 24-35mm f/3.5L

Canon FDn 20-35mm f/3.5L

Minolta MD Rokkor 24-35mm f/3.5

Pentax SMC 24-35mm f/3.5


The design and manufacturing technique used for the Canon FD 20-35mm f/3.5L has not just created an instance Canon Classic, but it has given competitions such as Nikon, Minolta, Pentax having difficulties a nightmare in finding workable solutions answering Canon's aggression; for an instance, the first Nikkor 20-35mm was only being introduced as late as 1993 - more than a decade behind Canon ! However, Pentax and Minolta reacted better than Nikon with two pin-sized MD Rokkor and SMC 24-35mm f/3.5; however, both the lenses have not been incorporated with an Aspherical glass element within and thus, confined themselves as consumer class solution. Besides, when the 20-35mm FD zoom was introduced, there was practically no competition in its class. Technically, you can also say the FDn 20-35mm f/3.5L was an evolved upgrade version for the earlier 24-35mm and it also formed the basis for the EF 20-35mm f/2.8L which has been given a lens speed boost faster to f/2.8. For other third party lables, try the EF 20-35mm f/3.5~4.5 USM secion

Credit: Image of Malaysian Pentax SMC 24-35mm f/3.5 courtesy of The-Real-Camera® via their popular Ebay Ebay Store. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect visual property of the contributing photographer.

Petronas Souber Formula One (F1) car testing at Sepang F1 Circuit (100k) Jpeg  Loading .....

Noting the wide coverage of the background in this photo of using an ultrawide ? It keeps a good relationship of the near subject in an environment of its existence. Slight panning also causes the background to blur out a little so as to bring viewer attention back to the main subject in the racing car. The HOME of Malaysian Petronas F1 (Formula One) Racing Team - Sepang F1 Circuit. Credit: Image courtesy of another photo-journalist friend of mine, Abdul Shukor bin Md Janis ® <> where he also maintains a Portfolio Page . Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Since this section is not discussing the version history, I will just provide a quite summary of various data:-

lens type

Angle of View

Optical Design

optical system






Body length



FD 24-35mm f/3.5 S.S.C. ASPH

84° ~63°

12 elements 9 groups

floating elements

f/3.5 ~ f/22



LH B8 (hard);
LS A9 (soft)

W - 75




Canon FDn 24-35mm f/3.5L

84° ~63°

12 elements 9 groups

floating elements

f/3.5 ~ f/22



LH B8 (hard);
LS A9 (soft)

BW - 72




Canon FDn 20-35mm f/3.5L

94° ~63°

11 elements 11 groups

floating elements

f/3.5 ~ f/22



LH B8 (hard);
LS A9 (soft)

BW - 72




".... When the EOS system was announced in 1987. The EF 20-35mm f/2.8L was among the original batch* of EF lenses that went to sale in order to boost confidence of Canon photographers that Canon will commit to offer them the in both technologies in camera as well as continual development of newer optics in the EF lens group. The superwide served as a demonstration as it has significantly improved from many aspect. While the EF 50mm f/1.0L USM** and EF 85mm f/1.2L USM lenses were created to reflect the potential of the fully electronic lens mount of the EOS System, both the EF 20-35mm f/2.8L AFD and EF 80-200mm f/2.8L AFD were partly responsible for the success of the original Canon EOS-1 in capturing the lion's share in the professional 35mm SLR camera market. .... - my "Captain Canon" friend, Philip Chong -

* Introduced at the same time with the camera were four new L-series EF lenses, the EF 20-35mm f/2.8L AFD, EF 50mm f/1.0L USM*, EF 85mm f/1.2L USM and the EF 80-200mm f/2.8L AFD. ** Note Although formally introduced in 1987 with Canon EOS 650 & EOS 620, the EF 50mm f/1.0L USM was officially available for sale only from Autumn 1989 onwards.

Canon EF ultra wideangle zoom 20-35mm f/2.8L (43k) by Camhunter  Loading ..... Canon EF ultra wideangle zoom 20-35mm f/2.8L (43k) by Camhunter  Loading .....
Firstly, the autofocus version of EF ultrawide zoom has an entirely redesigned interface inside out. Optically, it comprised of a new, rather complex 15 elements in 12 group optical arrangement and its constant maximum aperture was fixed at f/2.8, brighter than the f/3.5 of the FD equivalent.

Credit: Image courtesy of 4canononly ® <> where I found a series of lovely images of this lens from his Ebay Auction Sale . Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

But basic principle remains, this 1.5:1 zoom ratio large-aperture super-wide-angle zoom lens covering all wide-angle focal lengths from ultrawide 20mm to moderate wideangle of 35mm - offers the sharpness and brightness of a single focal length lens via the use of a large-diameter ground and polished aspherical lens for the front element virtually eliminates the distortion common in wide-angle zooms. An internal focusing system with a floating effect ensures rapid autofocusing and improves image quality at close shooting distances. Moreover, the front of the lens does not rotate during focusing, facilitating use of circular polarizing filters. All these provides a very well corrected geometry, flatness of field as well as a very commendable close focus ability.

rocking boats at bay .. by Lin Chia-Yi from Taiwan
Credit: Image courtesy of Lin Chia-Yi ® Taiwan. <profile> where Lin also has his Portfolio at Pbase . Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

It used to be a high-quality zoom lens highly praised by professional photographers worldwide. However, strangely USM was not incorporated into the design and instead, it has a AFD (Arc Form Drive) actuator which in a way prohibiting the use of full time manual focusing (the followed up 17-35mm EF-L in 1996 was USM enabled). The possible theory was, since the wide angle has very narrow rotational drive from near to far and it is not necessary to incorporate into the lens. Its moderate size (for a zoom lens type such as this) and relatively light weight (510g) make this lens highly portable. In fact, I think Canon designers have done an excellent job in this area despite the fact, its 15 elements design and if you compared the previous (but mechanical) FD version of maximum aperture of f/3.5; the f/2.8 and more number in elements does not add more weight in the package.

Canon EW-75 lens hoof for EF 20-35mm f/2.8L
If fast speed for low ambient light is not entirely a must, a compromise of a f/2.8 should be adequate for most situation where it carries the benefit of substituting a few prime wideangle lenses combined and the aspherical front lens element assures superlative image quality comparable to many prime optics. Personally, I think this lens is very practical for some serious thought as companion for photojournalism, travels, nature, scenic and even for portraiture as the varying angle of view presents many through the lens compositions without the hassle of interchanging lenses for immediate assessment of visual effect. As the lens has a non-rotational forward lens for internal zoom and focus control, it facilitates the use of circular polarized filters (PL-C) filter even at its widest angle of 20mm.

EF2035f28Lshutterbald_front view EF2035f28L_shutterbald_Rear.JPG Credit: Image courtesy of Laura Kornylak ® <Contact> from shutterblade*com where the Company has a website on its own. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.

Image at top left hand side above: A large, compound rubberized Canon EW-75 bayonet lens hood is supplied as standard accessory. Image courtesy of Mr. CamHunter.

Technical Specification for Canon EF 20-35mm f/2.8L: -

Type: - Autofocus lens type with manual focusing mechanism
Focal Length: 20-35mm with zoom ration of 1.5:1
Focus Adjustment:- Autofocus. Front group linear extension system with Micro motor and floating lens elements / inner and rear focus
Manual Focusing:- possible via AF/MF switch and manual focusing ring; Full time Manual focusing NOT possible
Zoom Adjustment:- Dual Rings, rotational
Closest Focusing Distance:- 0.5m (1.6 ft)
Maximum Magnification:- 0.09X at 35mm setting

Drive System/Actuator:- AFD (Arc Form Drive)
Distance Scales: Provided via window on metres/feet.
Angle of View
:- 84° -54°; 62°-38° ; 94°-63° (horizontal, vertical and diagonal)
Lens construction:- 15 Elements in 12 Groups (with Aspherical element w/ floating design)
Aperture range:- f/2.8 - f/22
Number of Diaphragm Blades: - 6 blades
Minimum Aperture: - f/22

leofoo image 2035mmf2.8L


Rear view of Canon EF 20-35mm f/2.8L
Filter Attachment Size:- 72 mm
Filter rotation: No
Diameter:- 79.2 x 89mm (3-1/8" x 3-1/2")
Weight:- 570g (20 oz)
Others: - Infrared index for 20 and 35mm; PL-C filter enabled.
System Accessories:- Extension Tube EF25 - 0.8-0.92X; Lens Hood EW-75 (supplied); lens Cap E72; Hard lens case LH-D13;


Yes. The seemingly evergreen users favorites EF 20-35mm f/2.8L was officially retired from Canon EF lens group in 1996 - it was barely few years after its nearest competition, Nikon caught up with an equivalent of an Aspherical glass AF-Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8D, Canon thus, replied positively by announcing a worthy replacement optic for this long time Canon classic with a Canon EF 17-35mm f/2.8L USM; Five years later in Dec. 2001, Canon went further ahead with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L (which is still current model) and followed by another comparing alternative of EF 17-40mm f/2.8L in 2003 - in fact, the subsequent Canon EF lens group has more options than any other manufacturers in the ultrawide zoom selection; alternatives such as Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM and the earlier mentioned Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM and EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM. However, as most of the newer Canon L-series Ultra Wides are relatively quite expensive even if it is used - as each may fetch over USD1K+, an used 20-35mm f/2.8L can roughly quoted around + - USD450-00 becomes very viable as serious consideration for many photographers.

In 1993, amidst all these development on the EF lens group, the 20-odd years in the establishment of a hugely successful 20-35mm zoom range has maintained by Canon with an inclusion of an EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM. This spherical optical ultrawide was also immensely popular as it carries with a modest entry price tag and was very well received for users who may not be able to afford the elite class of L-series EF superwide-zoom. You may consider go through some basic reading references of other options below.

DUMMY PHOTO (68K Jpeg) Loading ...
Credit: Image courtesy of XXXX from Portugal whose PORTFOLIO can be accessed at PBase. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Alternate Canon EF super wideangle Zoom: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM | Canon EF 17-35mm f/2.8L USM| Canon EF 17-40mm f/2.8L USM | Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM | Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5~4.5 USM | External Link: - Canon EF 20-35mm f/2.8L (linked to's Review with evaluative MTF analysis) | Relative: - Canon FD 20-35mm f/3.5(L) ASPH S.S.C or browse others from the Main Index Page of Canon FD lens Resources

| Back | Main Index Page Canon EF lens Resources

Canon EF 20-35mm f/2..8L Rear view of an used Canon EF 20-35mm f/2..8L
Credit: Image courtesy of "Ebay - Mathew Duren" <ebay@adorama> URL:, who also operates a popular Ebay Store. Image Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Adorama Inc. also can be contact at: Used & Collectible Ebay Department Adorama® Inc. 42 West 18th Street New York, N.Y. 10011 1-212-741-0052 1-830-223-2500 Option 55 Ext.119 FAX: 1-212-675-8715

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Background and Various Issues | The Basic Features & various Setup
Manual & Auto Focusing | Metering Systems | Exposure Control | Viewfinder Optical
Flash Photography (with Speedlite 540EZ extension & Selective info on Canon TTL Flash Models:-160E | 200E | 300EZ | 300TL | 420EZ | 430 EZ | 480EG | Macrolite | Other non-TTL Canon flash model

Reliability Issues:- Body Chassis | Shutter Unit | Electronic Circuitry | Film Transport & film handling Secondary Functions:- Custom Function Part One | Part Two | System Accessories:- Film Back Options - instruction for Command Back E1 | Macro/Close Up Part one | Part two and Part III Flash for Macro-Photography | Power Sources -BP-E1 | PDB-E1 | Focusing Screens | Remote Control with Wireless Remote Set LC-3 | System compatibility

Variants of Canon EOS-1N:- Canon EOS-1N RS | Canon/Kodak Digital DCS-1, 3 -5 & 520/560 Series | Full Technical Specification | Main Reference Map / Nomenclature | Resource Centre:- Comparative Charts between EOS-1 & EOS-1N / or with its active Competition(s) (Nikon); Quick Operational Reference Card (278k Gif File); Listings of 7-segment digital numbers/letters appeared on LCD display panel/viewfinders (HTML page); External Link:-Instruction Manual (3.3MB PDF file applicable for both Canon EOS-1N (RS). | Using EOS system for your photography | Bots & Nuts of EOS System - by Philip Chong |

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Volunteered Maintainer(s) for the Canon EOS-1N Series Message Board: Philip Chong, Editor, Digital Camera Magazine; Vincent Thian, Photo Editor, Malaysian Bureau, Associated Press "AP", CYleow, Ex-photo Editor of local daily, The Star; Gary Rowan Higgins, Australia and other nice folks on the web.

Special Credit:- :Mr. Richard Yeow & Mr. Simon Wong from camera division of Canon Malaysia Logo Marketing Malaysia, for their continual effort in supporting development of this EOS/EF website. Others: All the nice people on earth who have contributed their photos and pictures of personal works or product shots for the creation of this site. Certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets, brochures published by Nikon and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their own work for public publishing in this website, where majority of the extracted information are used basing on educational merits. The creator of this site will not be responsible for any discrepancies that may arise from any possible dispute except rectifying them after verification from respective source. Neither Nikon or its associates has granted any permission(s) in using their public information nor has any interest in the creation of this site. "Canon", "EOS", "EF" "RT", "EOS-1n RS", "Booster ", "Macrolite", "fluorite", "Image Stabilizer" & other applicable technical/business terms are registered trade name(s) of Canon Inc., Japan. Site made with an Apple G5 IMac.