Canon EF 35mm f/1.4
Related: Canon, Canon EF, Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L, Canon lenses, MTF and Micro Contrast, video
The Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM is a premium lens of moderate size and weight. It offers consistent high performance across the frame, fast focusing, and high build quality.
I have owned this lens for years, and I’m not planning on selling it unless a “II” version appears— it’s an excellent lens with many fine characteristics.
Bokeh tends to be very pleasing, and aberrations are well controlled. This is a a great lens for intimate portraiture.
This is a lens you can own for years, and keep using. It won’t disappoint, which is not to say it’s perfect or cannot be improved, but it’s a true “pro” workhorse.
The 35/1.4 is a large lens for a 35mm focal length. But it’s very manageable, and not particularly heavy, balancing well on a DSLR.
The supplied lens shade does protrude significantly, enlarging the apparent size of the lens.
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The Canon EF 35mm f/2 USM is far less expensive.
The Voigtlander 40mm f/2 (reviewed in DAP) is far smaller and lighter and comes with a close up lens, but is manual focus.
Note the close focusing to 1:5.5, very useful for close-ups, adding to the versatility of the lens.
|List price:||$1369 street price|
|Aperture scale:||f/1.4 - f/22|
|Image ratio at close range:||1:5.5|
|Minimum focus distance||12 inches|
|Angle of view||63° diagonally|
|Number of elements/groups:||11 elements in 9 groups|
1.28 pounds = 580g (nominal)
|Dimensions (with caps):||3.4" in diameter, 3.4" in length|
The MTF chart shows that sharpness is remarkably consistent over the frame, and rolls off gracefully to the edges/corners. This roll off is likely due to gentle field curvature.
Stopping down raises central sharpness to a high level over much of the frame, an excellent performance.
On EF-S cameras (1.6X crop), sharpness should stay high over the sensor (out to the ~11mm mark as shown on the graph), so it could be a good choice on such cameras.
While not cheap at about $1369, the Canon 35/1.4L offers excellent imaging quality, and has never disappointed me over the years. I do think that its lens coatings could be modernized and offer a bit better color and contrast, but otherwise it’s a really top performer.