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Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

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218 492533 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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Dan Doucette
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Registered: Nov 2, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 27
Review Date: Dec 17, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Useable at f/1.4 and great by f/2, solid build quality, very good image quality, great bokeh for a 35mm lens.
Cons:
A tad soft at f/1.4, expensive, extra care must be given to proper shooting technique when using wide open, should be weather sealed

For my style of photography I shoot primarily with f/2.8 L zooms. I switch to a few more specialized primes only as needed. For me, the 35L is one of those specialized lenses. I use it when I need to shoot hand-held in low-light conditions, or if extra shallow depth of field is required at this focal length.

I used to carry the 50mm f/1.4 and the 24mm f/1.4 for these occasions but found the image quality of the 50mm to be seriously lacking in the f/1.4-2 range (where I needed it to be good). This left just the 24L, which I liked, but was too wide to be a one lens solution for my low-light, hand-held shooting. The 24L was also a bit soft wide open under some conditions.

I was able to borrow a 35L to try for a few weeks and was hooked. I sold the 50 and 24, bought a used 35L and have not looked back. I can use this lens wide open and get good results, but I try to stop down to f/2 if possible to increase image quality a bit.

I did need to send this lens in for repair as the AF unit was causing every 5th shot or so to be out of focus, even under great lighting. The repair was made and I have not noticed a problem since.

I shoot with the 5D and find that for best auto-focus results in poor lighting I must use the center focus point and not the less-sensitive peripheral points. This requires using the focus-recompose technique that can sometimes result in out of focus results in shallow depth of field situations, but so far this has not been an issue for me.

Some people say this lens it tack sharp wide open. My experience has been that it provides useable results wide-open, but still sharpens up some when stopped down a bit. Overall it's a great lens, with very good color, sharpness, and contrast, smooth bokeh, and is built to last.

I would recommend this lens if you need the f/1.4 capabilities, are looking for a top quality lens, and can afford the investment. It will help you get shots that would otherwise be missed.

-Dan Doucette
www.infotography.com


Dec 17, 2007
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Per Zangenberg
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Registered: Jan 17, 2007
Location: Denmark
Posts: 11
Review Date: Dec 1, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: 1.4 aparture is sooooo sweet!, you can almost shot in total darknes!, good build
Cons:
Not really sharp until f/2, wich is very disapointing since I bought it to use wide open. At f/1.4 it is soft and "dreamy", but for smaller pictures it apears sharp.

I wanted a low-light lense and after reading so high praise I bought a used 35L. Unfortunatly it is quite soft below f2. Also on 5D the 35mm FOV is not relly that great IMO. I am looking to trade it for a 24L instead since I often want more FOV.

Dec 1, 2007
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markle
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Registered: Jan 16, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 252
Review Date: Nov 23, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: pictures
Cons:
not sharp enough @1.4 (and 1.4 only)

this lens will really make a difference. In any picture. I'm not going to repeat what others said because we all know how good this lens can be.

I use it mainly on a 1Ds but on the 40D that I just bought gives amazing results as well : different but still great (given the different "view")

now this is the first lens that made me rethink about the crop factor: on a FF camera you tend to get closer adding the "wide effect" to the amazing contrast sharpness and colors. But on a 40D I tend to step back a little. It becomes a different lens on a 40D.

The details are really "touchable". The images are never "ordinary": the color impact is impressive, the scene becomes a 3D scene. Not "fiction" but close Smile

The Autofocus needs attention. This lens is not to be used as a zoom: you really need to point, lock, evaluate the scene, lock again if needed and shoot.

I like to think that this lens really wants photographers who know what they are doing ... (and that will put me out of the category immediately) LOL

careful at 1.4. but at 1.6 the lens is already up there.. within the best.




Nov 23, 2007
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bcaslis
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Registered: Mar 10, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 738
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: 7591
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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Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
218 492533 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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