Nigel Atkinson Photography

Equipment review: Canon 35mm f1.4L


Before reading this review please read my general introduction to reviews here

This is often mentioned as one of Canon's better lenses alongside the 135mm f2 yet I’ve seen very few actual reviews.

When I bought the lens my first reaction was that it is huge compared with the 35mm f2 (and even the 50mm f1.4). It is closer in size to the 20mm f2.8 though heavier. It also has a sensible-looking lens hood that comes with the lens (though you can't stand the lens on it as I've discovered the hard way).

When you pick this lens up it exudes quality. Focussing is both fast and silent, and the focus ring appears to be designed for real manual focussing. The shallow depth of field looks great through the viewfinder and makes manual focussing easy. In contrast the focussing ring on the 35mm f2 clearly isn't designed for serious use.

The superb image quality was confirmed as soon as I projected the first set of slides taken with this lens. Colour and contrast are fantastic, and the shallow depth of field is linked to a fantastic silky look in the out of focus areas. The same is true with digital - you import the files and they just glow with superb colour.

I haven't used the lens much on the 350D just because it seems too big/ heavy for it - I'd rather use the 28-70mm. However, it sits perfectly on the 5D. On the 5D I have had some problems with moiré patterns on fabric, but I haven't seen much purple fringing.

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