Sharp-focus lens that'll do snapping snobs quite nicely
Canon 35mm F2 lens
Price: €650 Rating: HHH
Photo snobs have always been attracted to 35mm lenses. It's the focal length of Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau and other classical photographers. As such, it's often used as the lens of choice for aspiring artistic photographers, or portrait-takers who want more context in their photos.
There are a few choices for both Canon and Nikon users, especially with the rise of decent rivals such as Tamron, Samyang and Sigma. However, the main offerings from both Canon and Nikon are generally still regarded as first among equals. For Canon users who can't quite stump up the €1,500 needed for its F1.4L model, Canon's F2 option is a reasonable alternative. I've been messing about with it for several weeks. It has two large attractions and one small one. Its 'fast' (F2) aperture means it lets in lots more light than any zoom lens and also allows you to create nice 'bokeh', where the background blurs to create a sharper focus on whatever you're snapping.
It also has image stabilisation, which means less of a risk of fuzzy shots.
Finally, it's considerably lighter and smaller than Canon's premium F1.4L lens, which makes a difference when you're lugging it around. I found that it rendered colours sharply with very little distortion, even when the camera's 'ISO' level was ramped up to make allowances for dim light.
While there was no specific quibble with the lens, its singular focus obviously won't suit many people. But for someone who wants to give their photos an extra lift, it's a very nice lens.