I want to buy canon 35mm f/2 and there is one with IS and the other one without it. I am wondering if It is worth paying twice as much for IS itself. Both lenses produce the same image quality. Is the IS only useful for video at this case? Im going to shoot architecture/landscapes/street and sometimes record a video.

  • \$\begingroup\$ As the lone answer demonstrates, the difference between the EF 35mm f/2 and the EF 35mm f/2 IS USM goes far beyond whether each lens has IS or not. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Mar 17, 2017 at 1:09

1 Answer 1


If you think a monopod would be useful for what you shoot, then IS would be useful. That's pretty much the easiest way to consider it. IS tends to be more useful for longer focal lengths than for shorter ones, but everyone's handholding capabilities and the lighting conditions they want to shoot in are different.

Also be aware that the two lenses are not identical to each other with just one feature difference; and the optical quality (on full frame) is not identical. The IS model is quite a bit newer and has a newer optical design. The EF 35mm f/2 is from 1990. Its design looks like this:

EF 35mm f/2 block diagram

The EF 35mm f/2 IS USM is from 2012. It has a USM motor, as well as IS. Its optical design looks like this:

EF 35mm f/2 IS USM block diagram

Note that it as additional corrective elements and different groupings for better optical performance. According to the the-digital-picture.com review, there are multiple improvements over the older lens:

Replacing the 22-year-old Canon EF 35mm f/2 Lens, the Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM Lens delivers much-improved peripheral image quality, adds image stabilization and Ring-type USM AF, and has a significantly-improved build quality - including a much better MF ring than the replaced 1990-era design. The 35 f/2 IS is modestly heavier and larger (but still small and light) than the non-IS 35 f/2. A significantly higher price tag is the big downside.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This explains my question more than expected. As this is going to be my prime lens I think It's worth spending a bit more $$. Thank you. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kamil N.
    Mar 16, 2017 at 20:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ 8 rounded vs. 5 aperture blades also gives the newer lens more pleasing bokeh. Plus full time manual focusing with the newer lens. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Mar 17, 2017 at 1:11

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.