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Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
218 491689 Sep 3, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $1,192.25
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.36
8.22
9.5
ef_35_14_1_

Specifications:
L-series professional f/1.4 wide-angle lens with an aspherical lens element to correct aberrations. The floating system enables high picture quality to be obtained over the entire focusing range. Autofocusing is quick and quiet with rear focusing and ring USM. Full-time manual focusing is also possible.

Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 35mm 1:1.4
Lens Construction: 11 elements in 9 groups
Diagonal Angle of View: 63
Focus Adjustment: Rear focusing system with USM
Closest Focusing Distance: 0.3m / 1 ft.
Filter Size: 72mm
Max. Diameter x Length, Weight: 3.1" x 3.4", 20.5 oz. / 79.0 x 86.0mm, 580g


 


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dclement7
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Registered: Mar 12, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 63
Review Date: Jun 20, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,230.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: I have been reading reviews of this lens for almost two years now and finally decided to invest the money for my own lens. I have been shooting with it for a couple of weeks now and we are still getting used to one another :) Wide Open the DOF is very shallow and if you do not put your subject at the correct distance, it is easy to get a blurred subject. This just takes practice and when done correct, the subject will be very sharp with a very nice blurred background. The images have sort of a 3D look to them as if the subject could step right out of the photo. None of my other L-Series lens have this attribute. The lens is extremely sharp wide open and stepped all the way down. The lens produces a very nice bokeh when wide open which is pleasing to the eye. I just love shooting with this lens, and hate when I have to take it off the camera. I have read some reviews complaining of poor build quality, but my copy is solid. Their are no squeaks, rattles or anything that feels flimsy. Other than not being weather sealed, this lens is just about perfect.
Cons:
I have nothing bad to say about this lens.



Jun 20, 2009
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9callaway
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Registered: Apr 15, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 25
Review Date: Apr 15, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,299.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: small, light weight (compares to my zoom lenses), high contrast
Cons:
35mm FL is not fit into my style of shooting, resolution @ f/1.4 is not as high as my 24-70mm and 28-70mm f/2.8 lens.

I used Air Force 1951 resolution targets tested 3 lenses (aperture fully open~f/2.8, FL @ 35mm) on my EOS 5D at 3 meter away under room light condition.

The results show Canon 24-70mm and 28-70mm f/2.8 lenses are equally good in resolution measurement. Surprisingly, EF 35 f/1.4 prime lens is not as good as the zoom lenses in resolution.

However, EF 35 f/1.4 got the highest contrast score among the three.

I sold the EF 35 f/1.4 the next day on eBay.


Apr 15, 2009
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trajan
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Registered: Dec 3, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 133
Review Date: Apr 1, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp at all distances and apertures, good contrast and colors, high resolution, small and not intrusive, very fast focusing, flare well controlled, low distortion
Cons:
bokeh a bit too busy/harsh, build quality ok, but still plastic, and not comparable to Zeiss or others, small chromatic aberrations may appear at high aperture

I have lots of top quality lenses (such as EF 85L mk2, EF 135L, Voigtlander 125mm apo macro, Sigma 50mm 1.4, etc), and this is one of my most useful lenses. Note, I didn't say favorite, but useful. The thing is that this is a lens for reporters, because it captures more than the standard 50mm. It's very sharp, with high resolution at all apertures, with good colors and very fast focus. Where it is a bit short is at the bokeh. I like for most of my photos to have a smooth bokeh. This lens doesn't quite deliver this. However, if I had to have only 1 lens, this would be it! It's just very good for most of my photos. Also, very even light (unnoticeable vignetting). Chromatic aberrations can be seen at high aperture.

Here are some photos taken with the 35L, on full framed Canon 5d mk2 and on cropped Canon d40.

on Canon 5d mk2:
- haunted house in sepia: http://highaperture.com/h/a/haunted_house/haunted_house-0.html
- lake in central park: http://highaperture.com/l/a/lake/lake-0.html (taken at f/9)
- financial district: http://highaperture.com/f/i/financial_district/financial_district-0.html
- brooklin in HDR: http://highaperture.com/b/r/brooklyn/brooklyn-0.html

on Canon d40:
- benches in central park: http://highaperture.com/b/e/benches_in_central_park/benches_in_central_park-2009.html (the bokeh came ok in this picture, I had to control it by stopping down to f/4)
- bridge in central park: http://highaperture.com/b/r/bridge/bridge-0.html
- picture taken indoors in black&white: http://highaperture.com/m/i/mirroring/mirroring-0.html
- picture taken outside (with lots of light) http://highaperture.com/m/o/mohonk_skytop_tower/mohonk_skytop_tower-0.html (you can see how sharp this lens can be)

Bottom line: this lens is close to perfection for most use cases. I'm never selling mine. Zeiss 35mm f/2.0 macro is supposed to be slightly better in IQ, but you lose f/1.4 and AF.


Apr 1, 2009
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Jman13
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Registered: May 1, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 10635
Review Date: Feb 21, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,206.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp at all apertures, very nice bokeh, fast and accurate AF, beautiful colors and skin tones, high build quality.
Cons:
Umm...slightly larger than you'd expect from a 35mm?

I've had this lens for about two weeks now, and it has quickly become my favorite lens (other lenses include the 85 f/1.2L, 70-200 f/4L IS, 17-40 f/4L and Sigma 150 f/2.8). Mine is sharp straight from f/1.4, and blisteringly sharp by f/1.8. Colors are beautiful and skin tones are perhaps the best and smoothest of any lens I own. The contrast curve is near perfect...good darks, nice lights, but not too steep a curve between them, allowing for beautiful gradation of middle tones.

AF is fast and accurate (as to be expected), and the build is very solid. The outer plastic shell may look a bit odd to those first picking it up, but the tolerances are VERY tight, and the lens is very, very solid.

Bokeh is very even, providing evenly illuminated specular highlights and smooth blurring in most situations. It can get somewhat busy if you're not super close to something, but I think it's more the larger background captured vs most large aperture lenses due to the FL. Looking at the specular highlights, it's excellent.

Honestly, there's really nothing to complain about. Wide open performance is excellent, though if you're up close, the DOF is extremely thin, but we all know that. The lens is quite pricey, but it does its job extremely well.


Feb 21, 2009
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ulfee
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Registered: Feb 3, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 40
Review Date: Feb 19, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp wide open, fast AF, amazing color and contrast, extremely versatile
Cons:
None for me

On a FF camera this lens is as close to perfect as possible for a general purpose lens.

Feb 19, 2009
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stargazer78
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Registered: Jan 18, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 382
Review Date: Jan 19, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros:
Cons:

Negatives:

-- This is an old design where lens barrel is only plastic
-- One of the few remaining "L" lenses that is not weather sealed
-- Lens is heavier (580g) and bigger than a prime lens should be
-- Bokeh quality is decent, but severely overrated by reputation



Positives:

-- Not many lens sharper than this @ f/1.4
-- Autofocus is quick and responsive
-- At $1100 USD, it's relatively cheap compared to its peers
-- Arguably the most versatile low light lens available in EF mount
-- Contrast and color rendition are just about perfect


Jan 19, 2009
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Perry Ge
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Registered: Jul 29, 2007
Location: N/A
Posts: 9
Review Date: Jan 15, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Fast AF, nice bokeh, sharp.
Cons:
Relatively poor build, focal length, price, inconsistent optics and bad CA.

I thought I would love this lens. I wanted to love this lens. I didn't like it much at all. Optically it was very good - sharp wide open, with good bokeh, though CA was pretty bad and mine didn't seem sharp at longer focusing distances. Reports of copy variation make it seem like this is an inconsistent lens.

Build quality is a bit dated since this is a 1993 lens design. Focus ring has some play, and it feels cheaper than other Ls I have (17-40, 85L, 200L, 400L).

At the end of the day I didn't like the focal length on my 5D. That was the deciding factor for my getting rid of it. If you like the focal length, it's still a great lens.


Jan 15, 2009
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karol lasia
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Registered: Dec 18, 2006
Location: N/A
Posts: 29
Review Date: Jan 10, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: amazing colors, crisp, perfect focal length on a FF body
Cons:
none so far

a bit pricey perhaps, but well worth it in the end. i use this lens 95% of the time and doubt i'll ever need anything else between the 20 and 50mm range. best lens i've ever used.

Jan 10, 2009
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Antony
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Registered: Jun 5, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 666
Review Date: Jan 8, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great images, good build quality.
Cons:
No weather seal

Great lens, I am shooting more and more of my weddings with this lens. Well worth the price.

Jan 8, 2009
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Zalllon
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Registered: Jun 5, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 375
Review Date: Jan 7, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,299.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp wide open, fast focus, great contrast
Cons:
Price, maybe weight

I had been admiring photos taken with this lens on FF bodies, and was eager to add it to my collection. I was able to try it out before purchasing just be sure about focus accuracy concerns that have been mentioned ... but no issues.

This lens is now my fave lens to use, I just wish I had more things to use it for or even a body dedicated to use with it. Really fun lens to use, once you get over the pinch in the wallet.


Jan 7, 2009
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2bruce
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Registered: May 18, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 280
Review Date: Jan 3, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,098.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Superb! well built beautiful colors and contrast dof fantastic
Cons:
expensive

Love this bought 50mm 1.2 sent i t back just love the 35 mm on full frame 5DMK2 the and 1.3/1.6 cameras

http://www.pbase.com/2bruce/5dmk2__35_mm_14_l


Jan 3, 2009
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berkant
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Registered: Mar 30, 2005
Location: Turkey
Posts: 41
Review Date: Nov 29, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: VERY SHARP PICTURES nice built
Cons:
f1.4 pictures not so sharp expensive.



Nov 29, 2008
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Breitling65
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Registered: May 31, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 5231
Review Date: Nov 21, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Greate colors/contrast as any L's, pretty sharp wide open, quick AF, small size.
Cons:
Focus is of on MKIII, requared max micro adjustment, same lens OK on older bodies.

This lens somehow doesn't give me consistant IQ on different bodies. It happened only with this lens out of other 11 L's I own and only on mk III. However lens been superb on 20D/XTi/40D/5D I owned before, not sure what happened but it is really upsetting. Someone said on FM that this is known issue of this lens and bodies with MA and 35L might be replaced with mk II in 2009. Also I tried MA on mk III and still can't get what I like even with max settings.

Nov 21, 2008
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pauelv
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Registered: Sep 11, 2008
Location: Norway
Posts: 110
Review Date: Oct 15, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sweet bookeh, f1.4, nice color/contrast and sharpness!
Cons:
Build quality isn't as good as other L's but still solid. Paid pretty much for a used one (but I live in Norway). So the lens is quite expensive.

The build quality could be better for this price. Therefor It doesn't score 10 in my book.

However, there are no complaints in regards to the images it produces and the possibilities you get with a fast prime.


Oct 15, 2008
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terminator
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Registered: Jan 28, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 273
Review Date: Oct 11, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $750.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp from f/1.4, amazing bokeh, color, and everything about image quality
Cons:
build quality not as good as other L such as 85, no weather seal, focus can be tricky

Get this lens second hand. Everything positive about the image quality of this lens is proven true. My copy is sharp from f/1.4 - if I focus correctly of course. Bokeh is amazingly smooth. I used to expect such bokeh from only telephoto lens.

I find that focusing of this lens is very tricky. Of course, thin DOF contribute to this issue. But there's something unusual about this lens. Often it focuses at somewhere that I never understand, and produces complete blur images.


Oct 11, 2008
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Michael Watt
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Registered: Jan 21, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 7, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: 1.4 Aperture, Sharp, bokeh (circle of confusion)
Cons:
Quality control : one should not expect focusing problems with a band new L lens, price

In light of all the positive reviews this lens has received I was disappointed to discover my copy had focusing errors. After paying top dollar one should not encounter focusing problems with an L lens. Sadly this was my experience.

However after this lens was calibrated and returned from Canon I can now join the chorus of praise for this optic. What you pay for is 1.4 to 2.8 apertures as this focal length is covered repeatedly by other canon zooms i.e. 24-70 F2,8, 24-105 L F4,ect. This lens offers the unique feature of combining a wide angle lens (on a 1:1 sensor) with a fast aperture. This enables the photographer to capture subject matter against a wide bokeh (circle of confusion) background. The ability of this moderate wide angle lens to separate a foreground subject from the background is a feature of this lens. Bokeh is not normally a strong characteristic of a wide angle lens. Although the bokeh is not as prominent as using a longer focal length, it is still pleasing and adds, if desired, a separation with the background (or foreground) without confusing the background recognition.

After calibration I was able fully appreciate the sharpness of this lens. Even wide open at 1.4 this lens is sharp although care has to be taken when focusing especially in low light. This is a highly recommended optic for low light work and environmental portrait studies.


Sep 7, 2008
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Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
218 491689 Sep 3, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $1,192.25
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.36
8.22
9.5
ef_35_14_1_


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