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Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
219 494625 Nov 30, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $1,192.94
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.35
8.21
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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Andrew Maier
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Registered: Oct 4, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 230
Review Date: Oct 24, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,128.83 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast Focus, Slight Bokeh, Good For both close up and far away shots; took amazing pictures of a local band playing by a table-lamp. the 1.4 Really helps out here. My frist lens ever and it's really got me excited about photography again.
Cons:
Expensive. Makes me want to check out wider lenses for taking pictures of all these skyscrapers in Atlanta and I'm eyeing the 85 L for portraits. L series is addictive.

The 35mm 1.4L is truly a pleasure to own.

Pictures speak for themselves:

www.flickr.com/photos/andrewmaier


Oct 24, 2006
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rjenson
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Registered: Apr 4, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 344
Review Date: Oct 12, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast focus, great skin tones, sharp at f1.4
Cons:
None. Buy it. Best lens I've ever used.



Oct 12, 2006
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Alistair Watson
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Registered: Mar 21, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 5871
Review Date: Sep 25, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: f1.4, build, very fast AF
Cons:
can be a little soft wide open

Since getting this lens, it has lived on the front of my 1D2D, a really great lens and the wide aperture just increases the areas where I can use this lens without flash. There are times when I feel this is a little soft at 1.4 but now that I have build up my desired lens collection of Canon L glass, I will shortly be sending everything, including the bodies, to Canon for complete calibration and exposure optimisation. Hopefully this will sharpen it up a little at wide open but careful post processing seems to fix it pretty well. Overall a great lens and in my opinion, great value.

Sep 25, 2006
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Lasse Eriksson
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Registered: Sep 13, 2006
Location: Sweden
Posts: 2773
Review Date: Sep 17, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Image quality, Build, Bokeh, Very fast
Cons:
A bit soft wide open



Sep 17, 2006
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cjac
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Registered: Dec 12, 2004
Location: Belgium
Posts: 2530
Review Date: Aug 18, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,008.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Nightshots are perfectly possible - excellent lens for night event photography, if you need wider then 85mm.
Cons:
Had to wait for the third lens to have an acceptable amount of vignetting ; softness and vignetting in corners below f/2.8

This lens is great for nighttime photography, but beware : at large apertures (between 1.4 and 2.5), the softness in the corners and vignetting can be annoying. On 2 samples, it was actually so bad that I had to return the lens and ask for another one (I never did this before, so it's not like a habit of mine ...). I'd say between f/1.4 and f/2.0, postprocessing to remove the vignetting is pretty common.

From f/2.8 onwards, it's a very good lens - but no need to buy this lens if you only shoot 2.8 and up. My third sample beats both 24-70 f/2.8 and 17-40 f/4 @ 35mm up to f/5.6. This was not true for the first two I got !

I bought it because I need it (for event photography). But whenever I can, I'd rather step back and use my 85 f/1.2 ... But sometimes, there's just no alternative (I tried the 24mm f/1.4, and that's IMO no good on a FF sensor).


Aug 18, 2006
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dikeda
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Registered: Dec 22, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 13
Review Date: Aug 17, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: AF speed, IQ, phenomenal in almost all aspects
Cons:
Body is plastic, albeit a high density plastic

This lens practically lives on one of my bodies. I use it the most often. The equivalent of 'the little black dress' for women: you are ready for both a day at the office and a night on the town. It is incredibly versatile.

I must say that @ 1.4 my copy is slightly soft, but nothing problematic. It is still much sharper than almost anything in else in this FL including the highly (over)rated 24-70, although I haven't tried the EF-S 17-55 2.8 IS yet.

While I think this is completely worth the $1200, I would have liked a metal body like many of the other Ls.




Aug 17, 2006
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Alistair1
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Registered: Jun 1, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 377
Review Date: Aug 6, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Marvellous in every respect.
Cons:
Expensive

This is a very good lens. THis and the 24L pretty well meet 70% of my shooting needs.

Aug 6, 2006
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Peter Kirk
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Registered: Sep 25, 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 309
Review Date: Jul 29, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build, balance, colour, focus speed.
Cons:
Price.

Well, not much needs to be said about this lens,
It takes a bit of getting used to using the shallow depth of field, however the resolving power of this lens is superb.
No complaints here, whatsoever.
form 1.4 to 1.8 very very good, from 2 to 2.8 excellent it suprised me, and from 2.8 and up...WOW, real POP, just like the zeiss glass I had years ago.
LOVE this lens both on a 1.6 and 1.25 crop. havent had a chance to try it on full frame yet...thats next.
pk


Jul 29, 2006
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I Simonius
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Registered: Apr 22, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 51
Review Date: Jul 27, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Fast. Shallow DOF if needed Better than the 35mmf2 for resolution (except @5.6 where they are similar) much better than the f2 lens for colour (richer & warmer)
Cons:
ONLY Betters the 17-40f4L zoom @35mm, @ similar apertures, in the corners. NOT better otherwise unless you really need the speed or shallow DOF

After all the hype - very dissappointed with this lens, I had expected it to excel in the resolution dept. Don't get me wrong it does have good resolution but NOT excellent resolution.

I compared the 35mmf1.4 at similar apertures it to the 17-40L zoom, processed them both the same (just sharpened 300, radius 0.4). The first thing I did was test the focussing, and that was spot on.

The 17-40 gives dissapointing resolution (esp.for landscape shots) at the 35-40 range, also the 17-40 zoom has a reputation for not being very good at 35-40 range i.e. worse in all reviews at that FL than the 16-35 @35), yet the 35f1.4 does not give noticably improved resolution over the zoom at similar apertures! The colour rendition of both is IMO excellent so they are on a par there too.

In this regards I found it very dissapointing, in fact the zoom might even have the edge on apparent sharpness at the centre

The negatives out of the way what can be said for it is that unlike the zoom it is as sharp as the zoom is at the centre virtually all the way to the corners whereas the zoom falls down very badly at the corners at all focal lengths.

Compared to the 35mmf2 lens, the 35mm f1.4 also has much better (warmer) colour and quieter focussing, although on a couple of shots it was either slow or hunting, so an improvement but not flawless. It has better resolution than the f2 lens until about f4-f8 where they are similar ( I had the f2 but returned it).

The CA of some brances against a contrasty background was severe, but unless in very contrasty subjects it was not really noticable.

It seemd to handle flare better from light sources coming directly into the lens rather than those that were at an oblique angle to it.

It is of course much faster than the 17-40 zoom and if you need it for the speed then that's really what you're paying for, because it certainly isn't the resolution.

I suspect that many of the reviews that praised it's resolution must have been comparing it to the kit lens or the 35mmf2 because compared to the 17-40 it could not be said to be an improvement in terms of resolution or colour. I would say the two could not be told apart unless you look at the corners then the difference is obvious.

My final thought is that it is rather expensive for a lens whose only significant advantage over the zoom is it's speed, and it may be that we are used to paying a high price just for speed but unless you need a f1.4 35mm I suggest thinking carefully before parting with your money. Now if it was f1.2 that might be different!;-). A better option for low light shooting may be to up the ISO on the f4 zoom.

Having said that the results of some portraits I shot at f1.4 were pleasing for the way they blurred the background so that is another positive point and it may be that these small positives will add up for some to a big enough positive to justify the outlay.

For me the outlay WOULD have been justified IF it had better resolution; as it is, the sum of all the small positives should have just been the icing on the cake but there is no cake, just icing.



Jul 27, 2006
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colincarter46
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Registered: Jan 13, 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 455
Review Date: Jul 23, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build Quality, Image Quality including centre and edge sharpness, superb Bokeh, colour and contrast, feels great and very well balanced on my 5D (with Grip), 1dMK2n's and 1dsMk2's. Razor sharp at ALL apertures, very smooth and accurate focusing ring.
Cons:
Nothing except maybe price is off putting for some, but worth it, absolutely no regrets.

This lens definately belongs in Canon's group of elite lenses. It is among the very best, up there with the greats such as the 85L, 135L and the super telephoto's.

All the components that go into superb image quality, such as sharpness, bokeh, resolving power, colour and contrast are outstanding.

If you need this lens, and can justify the price then do not hesitate.

It has replaced the 24-70L in my bag for most assignments.

This lens on my 5D with a 24-105L IS or 70-200L IS on my 1Dmk2 or 1dsmk2 make up my wedding kit.



Jul 23, 2006
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Derek_S
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Registered: Sep 22, 2003
Location: N/A
Posts: 452
Review Date: Jul 12, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,224.23 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Bright aperture, feel of "rightness" on a grip-equipped SLR, excellent performer
Cons:
Price leap from f/2.0 version, lens hood-lens cap relationship

I upgraded from the f/2.0 version due to realizing that a good chunk of my photography came from dimly lit areas.

I harbor absolutely no hesitation to use this wide open. It's that good (and better be for the price). However, the tiny depth of field at f/1.4 forces me to be very judicious about focusing. And before you ask, yes, it IS somewhat difficult to get proper focus on a fast lens - even if it is a wide angle. Fortunately, autofocus is generally fast and accurate, even on a "lowly" 10d. I get a 70% keeper rate in regards to autofocus, 95% if paired with the st-e2 - good enough for me.

Stopping down, my copy gets "HOLY CRAP!" at f/1.8, "OW, MY EYES!" at f/2.8, and "Unsharp mask?! I don't need no stinkin' unsharp mask!" at f/5.6.

Now, the build - the shell definately feels like plastic, but it's friggin dense. Ergonomically, mounted on either a 10d + grip or a 1d, there's a certain feel of rightness - the zone from my palm (which tend to cradle the "lip" of the battery grip) to my focusing fingers are never cramped nor stretched too far. If I could nitpick, I would've loved it if Canon made the smooth part of the barrel similar to the 85mm f/1.2L's rubberized pseudo-crinkle finish.

A downside to this lens comes in the lens cap. I generally tend to leave my lens hood facing outward, but the lens cap has to be pinched from the edges to get it out. Like another lens I reviewed on this site, I have to deduct a point for this almost ass-backwards choice of cap. Mind you, you could easily replace it with a center pinch cap, but for 1130 retail - you'd think Canon could at least be thorough in thinking their lenses' functionality through.

Quibbles aside, it r0x0rs.


Jul 12, 2006
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cajan
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Registered: Jul 11, 2006
Location: Sweden
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 11, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great low-light lens, build quality
Cons:
After adjusting back-focus; none

Fantastic lens! Yet a warning: not all lenses are 100%.
My had a back-focus fault. (Common amongst digital lenses). Focus was constantly in front of "target".

But now itīs back again, super-sharp and super-fast!


Jul 11, 2006
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johnastovall
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Registered: Apr 7, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1332
Review Date: Jul 11, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,136.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Amazing color and image quality. Everything about this lens is true.
Cons:
The only negative is I should have gotten it sooner.

Yes, everything people say about this lens is true. The color is magical. The sharpness and bokeh are right there with the 135L.

On my 5D this lense requires nothing in photoshop to produce stunning images, not even sharpening. It's resolution is amazing, even wide open and at f/8.0 it's eye bleeding sharp.

If you were to have only one L for every day use this would be the one.


Jul 11, 2006
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sejanus
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Registered: Jan 16, 2003
Location: Australia
Posts: 1060
Review Date: Jul 6, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,099.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Unbelievable image quality, sharpness at wild apertures, great bokeh, build quality, well balanced weight wise.
Cons:
Expensive, but you get what you pay for.

This is an unbelievable lens and makes near anything you have look soft. The sharpness has to be seen to be believed, even looking at a 5D raw file at 100% the detail and sharpness is incredible.

The lens is also noteworthy due to it holding very high levels of sharpness and contrast at super wide apertures.



Jul 6, 2006
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Levendis
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Registered: May 19, 2006
Location: China
Posts: 156
Review Date: Jun 15, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Versatility, image quality
Cons:
None

This has supplanted the 24-70L as the walkaround lens on my 350D because of image quality and versatility - morning, evening, indoor gatherings, outdoor portraits, this lens does it all confidently in a foolproof way. Very happy with the purchase.

Jun 15, 2006
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jhsymington
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Registered: Oct 17, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build quality and image quality
Cons:
None

Like its wider brother the 24mm f1.4 L this lens is great. Image quality is very good wide-open and stopped down it is blemishless. It should be too for the price but I definitely got what I paid for.

Jun 7, 2006
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Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
219 494625 Nov 30, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $1,192.94
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.35
8.21
9.5
ef_35_14_1_


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