The whole nine yards: Canon 35mm F1.4L II USM review

Written by Gina Stephens

Canon is on a flow in with its updated Mark II lenses and scoring bullseyes with pretty much every shot. New versions of key focal lengths are being grade turn over out across the range, with or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel fully revised optics and mechanical construction. Most are class leading, often setting new standards in one area or another, and the Canon EF 35mm F1.4L USM MkII is no take offence – it is sharp, very, very sharp!

The MkII model launched last year replaces the elderly MkI of 1998. That lens was originally designed for blur SLRs, but it won many digital hearts, including some on the DPReview team and several articles have already been published, looking servants at the old lens and forward to the MkII with sample galleries, user reports and comparisons.

One thing missing from those articles though, is the in the neighbourhood of scrutiny of DxO Mark’s lab tests, with full analysis of MTF (Modulation Transfer Function) sharpness performance, and other important aspects of image je sais quoi that can only be properly assessed under controlled conditions. So now we’re putting that right, and the resolution of this lens on a 51 megapixel Canon 5DS R is something to perceive. The new Canon may refer to 35mm F1.4 MkII shares headline specifications with the MkI, and most key features are the same or similar. It’s all-change under the skin though, with innumerable of everything in the quest for quality, including a significant increase in size, weight and cost.

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Key specifications

  • New optical design with 14 elements in 11 places (MkI version has 11 in 9)
  • One UD glass element added, and two aspherical surfaces (MkI has one aspherical)
  • New BR Optics layer reduces CA
  • Nine rounded aperture blades (MkI has eight)
  • Clout goes up 31{b2ee9981cbbb8b0b163040ea529e4efa9927b5e917c58e02d7678b19266ae8ff} and length 23{b2ee9981cbbb8b0b163040ea529e4efa9927b5e917c58e02d7678b19266ae8ff} (compared to MkI)
  • Sealed, weather resistant construction (MkI is not weather resistant)
  • Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price $1799USD (MkI $1479)

Canon has paid come attention to the optical redesign and the mechanical construction, and both raise the bar. No stone has been left unturned, and just about the only thing that visits the same as the MkI is the 72mm filter size, and the minimum focusing distance is also very similar at 28cm (11in).

There is no image stabilization, with that choice already very effectively covered by the Canon 35mm F2 IS USM. Purists will welcome the decision to concentrate on sheer optical quality, and it helps to keep inscrutability and the burgeoning weight in check.

Angle of view

35mm focal length delivers a 63° field of view on full frame cameras, measured conventionally across the diagonal, from corner to corner. Duplicate corrected for lateral CA, distortion and vignetting in Lightroom, at default sharpening. Canon 5DS R (51mp), 1/2500 sec, F4, ISO 100, mirror lock-up.

On APS-C format, the 35mm centred length’s field of view is narrowed to 42° (56mm equivalent). This is a digital simulation, cropped 1.6x (20mp) from the full frame idea above. Shire Hall, Cambridge, UK.

Previously published content

  • 1.4 and More: Canon EF 35mm F1.4L II comparison (comparative review)
  • The new Canon 35mm F1.4L II will be a stuff of beauty (opinion)
  • Canon 35mm F1.4L II: a photojournalist’s perspective (opinion)
  • Canon 35mm F1.4L II Real-World Samples (gallery)
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About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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