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Canon RF 35mm f/1.4L VCM First Look Review

A 35mm prime lens is considered essential by many (and loathed by others!). However, an f/1.4 35mm has been lacking from the Canon RF lens range, until now. This ensures that the launch of the RF 35mm f/1.4L VCM ew is without a doubt going to be received with a great deal of jubilation by many EOS R mirrorless creators.

Canon RF 35mm f/1.4 L Lens Video Review | The Ultimate Hybrid Lens?

Our Canon RF 35mm f/1.4L VCM Lens First Look Review scratches the surface of what you can expect from this compact hybrid stills and video lens, which brings a professional-level, slightly wide focal width with a wide maximum aperture to the Canon ecosystem.

Whether you’ve been waiting for this expectantly for this particular model, or are simply interested in what the latest breed of Canon mirrorless lenses offers, read more to discover all you need to know about this new lens from Canon.

Sample image Canon RF 35mm f1.4 plate of food

When did the Canon RF 35mm f/1.4L VCM Lens launch?

The Canon RF 35mm f/1.4L VCM Lens launched on 5th June 2024, alongside the Canon EOS C400 RF mount cinema camera reviewed here, and a new Speedlite EL-10. This is the first regular RF lens released since the RF 200-800mm and RF-S 10-18mm, which both arrived in 2023.

How much is the Canon RF 35mm f/1.4 Lens?

The Canon RF 35mm f/1.4L VCM Lens, featuring advanced features and an 11-blade diaphragm, is priced at £1819.00. This price aligns with similar professional 35mm f/1.4 lenses from other brands, highlighting the quality it delivers for both stills and video content.

Lifestyle shot with the RF 35mm f/1.4 lens

Key RF 35mm f/1.4 Lens Features

As a state-of-the-art RF lens, the RF 35mm f/1.4L VCM encompasses the latest advancements in technology for photography and videography, including:

  • A classic 35mm perspective
  • A wide maximum f/1.4 aperture
  • Aspherical and UD lens elements
  • A smoothly operating iris ring with an auto mode position lock
  • Fast and quiet autofocus provided by VCM and Nano USM motors
  • An 11-blade circular aperture for artistic bokeh control
  • Customisable settings via the custom button and control ring
  • 67mm filter thread for common lens filters such as a UV, circular polariser or Variable ND for filmmaking

Sturio shooting product with Canon RF 35mm f/1.4L VCM Lens

What Is the RF 35mm Lens Good For?

This lens is ideal for a variety of subjects due to its slightly wider-than-normal focal width on a full-frame camera, akin to a 50mm lens. It allows you to fit more into the frame and stand closer to your subject, making it ideal for:

  • Landscapes
  • Architecture
  • Street photography
  • Astrophotography
  • Weddings and events
  • Environmental portraits
  • Video
  • Travel
  • Everyday snapshots

This versatile focal width also suits product and food photography, lifestyle images, and documentary work.

Sample image with Canon RF 35mm f/1.4 L USM  flowers

Sample image of flowers Canon RF 35mm f/1.4L VCM

How Does the RF 35mm f/1.4 Fit into Canon’s Range?

The 35mm f/1.4 is a professional-level lens optimised for both stills and video. It complements, rather than competes with the RF 35mm f/1.8 IS STM Macro, targeting users who require a fast f/1.4 aperture for hybrid content creation and high-end video work.

Over the past five years, Canon has expanded its range of RF lenses for the mirrorless EOS R cameras, with the 35mm lens being one of the most notable. The adoption of the RF mount in the latest EOS C400 Cinema camera will likely accelerate the shift to mirrorless solutions in professional filmmaking.

Lifestyle image 2 of the newest RF lens, the bright 35mm f/1.4 prime

Features for Filmmaking

The RF 35mm f/1.4 lens is designed for cinematic filmmaking, featuring an 11-blade circular aperture, auto iris lock, and stepless operation. It provides fast and extremely quiet autofocus with VCM and Nano USM motors, and its lightweight design is suitable for use with rigs and stabilisers.

Filmmaking with RF 35mm hybrid lens

High-Speed AF

While not necessary for every subject, high-speed AF is beneficial for capturing moving subjects, including humans and animals. The Canon RF lens offers fast and smooth autofocus with VCM and Nano USM motors, ideal for use with Canon cameras that support advanced Dual Pixel CMOS AF and AF II technologies, capturing speeds as fast as 120fps, like those offered by the EOS R3. The lens's autofocus system ensures speedy and smooth operation, excellent for both stills and video, with responsive tracking performance when combined with Canon's AF technology.

Sample image 2 flowers Canon RF 35mm f/1.4 L USM

Sample image 2 flowers Canon RF 35mm f/1.4L VCM

Canon Speedlite EL-10 launch

The Canon Speedlite EL-10 Flash launched alongside the 35mm lens and cinema camera, adding an innovative addition to Canon's lighting solutions, in a design which complement the EOS-R mirrorless camera system. The Speedlite EL-10 is lightweight and portable, allowing photographers to enhance their shoots with powerful and creative lighting options.

Boasting a guide number of 40, the Speedlite ensures bright illumination over distances up to 40 meters at ISO 100, with an impressive recharge time of just 1.5 seconds. It also features a 21-pin multifunction foot, which is compatible with many of Canon’s mirrorless cameras, such as the EOS R5, EOS R7 and cinema cameras including the R5 C, where it integrates with seamless communication for optimal functionality.

Sample image 3 nature scene

Sample image 3

The Canon RF 35mm f/1.4L VCM Lens is a premium choice for advanced enthusiasts and professionals seeking the best possible performance from the EOS R system. As a versatile prime lens, it excels in delivering outstanding image quality, making it ideal for a range of photographic and video subjects.

With its wide f/1.4 aperture, photographers can achieve beautiful bokeh and superb low-light performance, enhancing portraits, street photography, and indoor scenes with a natural depth and sharpness that few lenses can match.

The lens's robust build and advanced optics make it particularly well-suited for documentary work, where reliability and optical precision are paramount. Its ability to render fine details and handle dynamic lighting conditions also makes it perfect for environmental portraits and landscapes.

Sample travel image in India

For professionals invested in the Canon EOS R series, this 35mm f/1.4 lens is not just an addition to their gear, rather this is a pivotal tool that expands creative boundaries and elevates the quality of work, making it a valuable investment for the most serious creators.

Reserve your Canon RF 35mm f/1.4L VCM Lens now and discover how it can elevate your content and streamline shooting through its combination of features and high image quality.

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By Nick Dautlich on 05/06/2024

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