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Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

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215 485225 Oct 11, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $1,194.63
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.37
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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bcaslis
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Registered: Mar 10, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 720
Review Date: Nov 22, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,199.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: very sharp, excellent color and contrast, great "almost" standard prime on 1.3x body
Cons:
price

I wanted a fast standard prime for a 1.3x body. A 50mm is a bit too long and the 35mm a bit wide, but the closest that fits this goal. I wanted this primarily for indoor dim light shots without flash and as a secondary use as a standard general purpose lens. The 35L is pretty sharp at f1.4 and very very sharp by f2.0. It makes an excellent standard lens on a 1D Mark III and produces stunning images. The images are far sharper with the 35L than either the 50 f1.4 or the 50L with equal or better contrast and color. The body is plastic but well built and the focus ring one of the best in terms of a solid but fluid feel to it. Focus speed is also fast and accurate.

Low light images are perfect for this lens with it's sharpness and great bokah. The 35L is a great lens and deserves its reputation as one of Canon's sharpest and best.



Nov 22, 2007
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Daan B
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Registered: Aug 15, 2007
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 7530
Review Date: Nov 8, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,165.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Center sharpness, contrast (3D), colors, bokeh, low light performance (1.4), build, AF
Cons:
Heavy field curvature resulting in high amounts of CA's and softness at the corners; therefore less suitable for landscapes / scenery on FF

I've bought this lens to be used on a 5D for shooting environmental portraits in available (low) light and some landscapes / scenery.

Sharpness wide open in the center is quite good (still needs a little USM though). It becomes noticebly better at f/2. At f/2.8 to f/5.6 it reaches the sweet spot in the center of the frame (which is excellent - comparable to the 50mm 1.4). From f/8 sharpness starts to decline. Corners on FF are falling behind across the whole range of apertures. Even at f/8 the far corners are still a bit soft. You really can see the effects of some rather heavy field curvature here.

Contrast is excellent (even at f/1.4). Colors and bokeh are amazing. Obviously this lens was designed for low light performance. It really shines when used wide open in low light. Distortion is minimal. Haven't tested it for flare. There is some purple fringing in the center of the frame wide open. At f/2.8 this is entirely gone. CA's are are different matter. This is definitely the weak spot of this lens (again the effects of the rather heavy field curvature). In the far corners and borders I have seen CA's of 6 pixels wide (on FF) at f/8 (when shooting tree benches or buildings against the sky).

The build quality is very good. Although there is some extensive use of (good quality) plastics. The focus ring is smooth and a little bit damped. The lens has a good size and weight and balances nicely on my 5D with grip. It looks kind of handsome too. The AF is very fast and in good lighting very accurate on a 5D. In extremely poor light it has trouble achieving focus.

For shooting environmental portraits in available (low) light the lens does really a good job. For shooting landscapes / scenery on FF it's less suitable. Mainly because of the corner softness (corner sharpness is way better on my 24-70L or 50mm 1.4) and the high amounts of CA's in the far corners (even at f/8 and smaller). Mind you, the corner softness and CA's are less of an issue on a crop body.

I had thought it to be an allround lens. Instead I must conclude it's a specialty lens. A very good specialty lens indeed, but nevertheless not as versatile as I would have liked it to be.


Nov 8, 2007
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jdryan3
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Registered: Aug 3, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 328
Review Date: Nov 7, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,199.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp even at 1.4, really sharp at f/2,great bokeh, light but solid, great on my 5D
Cons:
hunts a little in low, low light - need something for it to 'grab' onto

I shot some indoor concert pix with and without flash. All were great, but the non-flash stand out. Those are the ones folks go 'whoa' when they see. Obviously @ f/1.4 -f/2 DOF is shallow, but that is why you get a lens like this. With more practice, I'm sure I'll have even better shots.

On the focusing issue, when using AF and you have focus, it tracks very, very well. But I had a couple of instances where in admittedly very low light using center focus aiming at a stationary object, AF just couldn't get it.

Overall a great lens. I had wanted to get it several years ago when I got my 5D, but went for the 24-70 instead. The 'L' collection just keeps growing...


Nov 7, 2007
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Peter Kotsa
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Registered: Nov 1, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 267
Review Date: Nov 1, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,890.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: brilliant at f1.4, lovely bokeh
Cons:
price..

best 35mm I have used, I compare it very closely to my zeiss 35mm.
lovely.


Nov 1, 2007
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taroen.pasman
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Registered: Nov 1, 2007
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 1, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Stunning Colours, Contrast and low-light performance, lightweight.
Cons:
- Pricy for poor amateur like me, but the results more than balance it. - 'plain' 56mm on 1.6x Sensors like my 40D

After shooting mostly with (quality) zooms, I saw some pictures with the 35mm that made me reconsider good quality primes.
I'm a typical 'lazy' amateur and was fearful of the walking back and forth with a fixed prime.

Have this lens now 5 days, so I have no hands-on experience considering build-quality.
But the pictures!! The colour and contrast of this lens make short work of my 24-105 4.0L en 70-200 IS 2.8L. They really pale in comparison.
I really really love this lens already and it has reopened my view on primes and composure in general. Very definitely a keeper!!

Only downside is the rather ordinary 56mm view on my 40D. This lens really makes me consider FF bodies just for this lens!!



Nov 1, 2007
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suzy l
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Registered: Oct 31, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 5
Review Date: Oct 31, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: my favorite lens
Cons:
none

love it have to sell it to purchase something that actually makes me money will hate to see it go

Oct 31, 2007
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Matt Kerby
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Registered: Jun 9, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 511
Review Date: Oct 26, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $950.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast 1.4 Aperture, very sharp wide open, beautiful color and contrast
Cons:
None

Traded my 17-55 for this very fine lens....I got a great deal, this lens is superb

Oct 26, 2007
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ktownsend
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Registered: Feb 8, 2006
Location: France
Posts: 87
Review Date: Oct 6, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent contrast, AF, colors
Cons:

Having seen all the glowing reviews, and missing a real wide angle prime in my collection, I bought this lens on a business trip to Japan, since there was a reasonable savings compared to prices here in France (around 400 difference).

The color and contrast on this lens is excellent (and up to my expectations of the best L lenses), but while it is quite sharp when printed and when viewing at normal sizes (say 25 or 50% in Photoshop), I expected it to be sharper at 100% looking at all the reviews, etc. Could be my copy. (I admit Canon's quality control sometimes makes me feel like I'm playing the lottery buying their high end products!)

The lens is very good, and I think deserves it's reputation, but I notice that my 85L has the same beautiful constrast and colors, but is visibly sharper (very noticable side by side at 100%) compared to the 35L. That said ... the 85L is also the standard I compare every other lens to, so it's a tough act to follow. No regrets on the purchase, and I recommmend it to anyone who wants to learn how to use it, I guess all the gushing of others just set me up for a very mild disappointment, though maybe others are coming from expectations other than the 85L.

On a positive note, I find the 35L has a lot less CA than the 85L, which is a huge problem on that otherwise divine piece of optical engineering. It exists, but is much less pronounced wide open, and I'm less afraid to use the 35 in strong back lighting, though I haven't used it as much as I would like to really knows its strength and weaknesses.

Highly recommended ... but if I had to keep only one lens between my 35L and my 85L, I'd keep the 85, but it's also a question of shooting style (portraits for me). I'm happy to have both options, though, and at the moment my day to day (light) photo bag only contains these two lens, a couple pocket wizards, a 580 EX and my 1Ds. There isn't much that I'd want to photograph that I can't address with these two beautiful lenses.


Oct 6, 2007
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MaciekP
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Registered: Sep 16, 2007
Location: Poland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 16, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,600.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: SUPERB lens on 5D! I thought that my 10MP SONY R1 with ZEISS 24-120 zoom is sharp, but at 100% R1 at 35mm equiv. regardless of the f set is as sharp as EF 35/1.4L at f=1.4! I don't have to tell you what is a difference between both systems when I set the f of 35/1.4L at 2.8 or higher. :-) Fantastic bokeh! Great color! Great contrast (above f=2.0)
Cons:
quite visable vignetting wide open on 5D.



Sep 16, 2007
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IFeito
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Registered: Jan 11, 2006
Location: Mexico
Posts: 124
Review Date: Sep 15, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,069.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Really sharp even fully open, just the right focal lenght for people photography in social settings (no headshots), amazing aperture.
Cons:
None

Let me add myself to the long list of fans of this jewel of a lens.

My only extensive experience with large aperture has been about 10 years with the 50 f/1.4, I was used to have a little upredictability with large apertures and considered it the price to pay for shooting in low light.

With the 35 mm f/1.4 my view of large aperture shooting has changed completely. This lens is very sharp, focuses very fast and accurately and gives a very nice perspective if you don't get too close to your model's face.

I'm finding it a joy to use with my 1D MkIII, it's amazing where you can shoot using this lens and the high ISO capabilities of this camera.

Ignacio


Sep 15, 2007
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Xiao Z. Jia
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Registered: Jun 18, 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 23, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Razor Sharp (at least my copy is) Little to no distortion (even while used as a 56mm on a crop body!)
Cons:
A bit heavy (but a relief compared to 24-70), expensive 72mm filter? Not many lens were made in this size.

I've used a 24-70 2.8L for a few months, but it finally dawns on me that the huge zoom doesn't fit my shooting style, its too big to bring with me most of the time and its too slow for indoor shots.

So I finally gave in and traded it with another photographer for his 35mm 1.4L.

Compared to the 24-70mm 2.8L...

Having had bad experience with the 24mm 1.4L, I was skeptical when I tried the lens, but damn! Maybe its just my copy, but the lens is SHARP at 1.4 already, I could swear its sharper than the 24-70mm at 2.8.

Compared to the 24mm 1.4L...

MUCH MUCH sharper (at least 2x pixel density at 1.4 according to my guess-timate) creamy bokeh (to be expected), CA much better controlled, little to no distortion! (with the 24mm you get ppl's face messed up when shooting close)

Versus 24mm 1.4L as a main lens for crop body...

If you're deciding between 24mm 1.4L and 35mm 1.4L as the main lens for a cropped body, I would recommend 35mm, for its much better resolution befitting the heavy price tag, for its much better CA and Distortion control, and also because it converts to around 56mm, which is a nice "normal" lens for every occasion. Also when/if you upgrade to a full frame, it will show its true self as a versatile 35mm moderate wide angle, where as if you went for the 24mm, you're left with something much more radical and specialized.

The 24mm isn't BAD per se, its just that to get 1.4 for a 24mm Canon has made a lot of compromises, compromises you might not be willing to put up with (I was gravely disappointed), while the 35mm was made with much fewer compromises due to the less radical wide angle (this was what I was expecting with the 24mm).

In the end, this is a fantastic lens... in the Canon lineup. There are arguably even better lenses out there such as Pentax 31mm 1.8 LIMITED, but shooting Canon and shooting wide, it does not get better than this!


Aug 23, 2007
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joepapa
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Registered: Jun 17, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Aug 23, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $950.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp sharp sharp! lightweight, excellent focusing abilities. Very small minimum focusing distance. Build quality is L all the way
Cons:
took me too long to finally get one.

As if there aren't enough reviews already to make the plunge. Well I own some good glass. I put this lens right there with my 85 1.2L II because of its usefulness in very low light, great background blur and subject isolation. I give the 85 a better build quality because it is like a tank and the 35 has some plastic, but the image quality blows my 24-70 2.8L and my 24-105L out of the water. I can't even use these two wide open and that is at f/2.8 and f/4.0. The 35L makes a 2.8 lens seem slow. At 800iso, f/1.4 in my living room with only 1 window will the blinds half open (no lights on) I am getting between 1/100 and 1/200 second shutter speed! NO FLASH NEEDED. With the flash I can set the flash exposure compensation at -1 and the flash just opens up the shadows. I can shoot in AV inside. Between this lens and the 85 1.2 I see no other need for available light wedding photography. Stop reading. Go get yours!

Aug 23, 2007
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abqnmusa
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Registered: May 11, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 2085
Review Date: Aug 20, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: excellent sharpness even at F1.4, quick focus on the 5D, bokeh is excellent
Cons:
it was expensive, but most high quality L lenses are. I do not regret the purchase when I see the beautiful images it produces.

This lens lives up to the reviews I have read.

Using a 5D I am very happy with the lens and the beautiful images it produces.

I find it is sharp wide open at F1.4. The sharpness at F2 is superb. The ability to isolate the subject with fine creamy bokeh is what this lens is all about.

Focus is quick on a 5D, and the images just have to be seen to be believed. You cannot produce those images with a 24-70 F2.8L or 24-105 F4L lens. There is a big advantage in isolating the subject at F1.4, 1.8, 2, 2.2 that just cannot be done with the zoom.

I only use 24-105 F4L zoom now for some sports photography where I need multiple focal lengths quickly.



Aug 20, 2007
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recordproducti
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Registered: Jul 11, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 215
Review Date: Jul 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent colour and contrast giving superb images. Fast to focus, sharp, actually very sharp and crisp even wide open at f/1.4 which is good, that's why I bought it!
Cons:
Maybe I have an odd one but I get super accurate focus on my 5D except when I use it in the servo focus mode. I nearly took it back because of this.

This is a lens that I have wanted for years and finally got one due to a Canon promotion that saved a lot. I was so looking forward to it but after my first day's shooting I loaded up the images to revel in the OOF brilliance and was devestated to find that I had only a 10% keeper rate. I use a 50mm f/1.4 so understand the issues with wide apperture so knew that something must be wrong somewhere.

After a bit of experimentation I discovered that when used on my 5D in servo focus (as on the first day) it is hit or miss, not just wide open but even at f/5.6 etc. My 24-70L is bang on in servo. When used in one shot mode wide open it's perfect, 90% keepers - and what keepers they are too!

Aside from my focus issues this lens produces rich and well balanced tones. It is very sharp, has excellent contrast and is the lens that I tend to keep in the small bag for taking everywhere. I've hardly used my 50mm lens since getting this.

I've waited some time to review this lens here and have taken well over 1,000 pictures with it, and based on the results, have given this lens a 10/10 as it is so good and in my opinion is good value for the money.


Jul 29, 2007
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Santoso
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Registered: Apr 23, 2007
Location: Indonesia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 22, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, Wide, Bokeh
Cons:
Price

The only thing that hesitate be from getting this lens is the price. However one day when I 'accidentally' tried this masterpiece, it really poison my system. Even an ugly subject can look good with its contrast and bokeh. Whats more? its even sharp at 1.4. Simply stunning. You havent got one? try and see for yourself.

Jul 22, 2007
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jirok12944
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Registered: Nov 22, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 17, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: The most artistic lens I've seen! Unmatched wide open performance
Cons:
Cost

Canon 35mm f1/.4 was upgrade for 50mm f/1.4. 50mm was already excellent lens, and price/performance factor is perfect.
I was dreaming about 35mm for quite some time, but hesitated due to the price. Also 50mm needed more space to get better shot, maybe I'm lazy or that's my style, but often did not use it due to that problem. 50mm at f/1.4 and f/2 had very low keeper rate, in my practice 1 out of 5, the lens was calibrated and successfully tested in lab... but in real life focus was often off at wide open aperture. That was some issues and reasons for upgrade...

Now about 35mm... It is perfect!!! Besides it's measurable parameters, like resolution wide open, it gives magical feel and look. This is the lens to use wider than f/2.8, and I think not many other lenses can much the result (have not tried f/1.2 monsters). I have very decent keeper rate of f/1.4 and the results at this aperture are absolutely stunning. It does make photo 3D... nothing like it I've seen from 50 or 85mm... This is the most artistic lens I've seen!!! I use it on 5D, some times on 1D, but 5D gives more `magic` Smile

This is not a simple-to-use lens at wide open aperture. Practice, practice and practice. Test it in lab to make sure AF is precise. At wide open focus-and-recompose technique does not work...

Built is robust and durable like other high-price L lenses.

72mm filter is something to complain about... Smile




Jul 17, 2007
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Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
215 485225 Oct 11, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $1,194.63
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.37
8.22
9.5
ef_35_14_1_


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