Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM - Full Format Review / Test
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published October 2012


20mm prime lenses aren't overly popular anymore these days - most people prefer ultra-wide zoom lenses or prime lenses with an even more extreme focal length. However, consider me to be a relic. I think that 20mm is actually a sweet spot in this focal length class. It is extreme enough to create a WOW effect yet not over the top thus avoiding an overly distorted view.
Anyway, the Canon lineup is the most extensive around so it doesn't come as a surprise that they also provide a prime lens here although it has not been updated for ages. The Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM has been released back in 1992 so it's one of the oldest members of the EF family by now.

The lens body is made of good quality plastics based on a metal mount. The focus ring operates smoothly and it's also tighter than on the sample that we reviewed a couple of years ago. The EF 20mm f/2.8 USM has an internal focus design so its length remains constant regardless of the focus setting. Interestingly it also features a floating system so position of the optical groups are optimized according to the chosen focus distance. The front element does not rotate so using a polarizer remains easily possible.

Despite its design age the lens features a very fast and near silent ring-type USM drive including full-time manual focusing (FTM) in one-shot AF mode.

Equiv. focal length32 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/4.5 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction11 elements in 9 groups
Number of aperture blades5
min. focus distance0.25 m (max. magnification: ~1:7)
Dimensions78 x 71 mm
Weight405 g
Filter size72 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodpetal-shaped, optional, bayonet mount
Other featuresfloating system

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