First Impressions: Canon 35mm f/1.4L

Parking garage reflection
Parking garage reflection, Hitt Street Parking Garage, Columbia, Mo. | Canon 5D Mk. II and 35mm f/1.4L lens; exposed 1/1000 sec. @ f/1.4, ISO 100.

On Wednesday, Canon Professional Services sent me a 35mm f/1.4L lens for evaluation.  I’ve become increasingly interested in three lenses: the 135mm f/2L, the 85mm f/1.2L, and the 35mm f/1.4L.  I had the opportunity to experiment with the 85mm last fall, and plan to try out the 135mm soon.  So far, I have been enormously impressed by the smooth bokeh.  One does not look at a lens such as this and stop it down to f/8 for landscape work–my 24-70mm f/2.8 does just fine for that purpose.  No, a lens like this is meant to be used wide open–or close to it–to isolate subject from background.  I’ll post more images in the coming days from this rather promising piece of glass.

Lilly reacts at the Jay Dickman talk
Lilly reacts at the Jay Dickman talk | Canon 5D Mk. II and 35mm f/1.4L lens; exposed 1/250 sec. @ f/1.6, ISO 800.

5 thoughts

  1. I like the idea of the 35/1.4 but I’ve never actually had the chance to try one. 35mm is a great perspective to work with.

    That said, I like what you’ve used it for so far and look forward to seeing more!

  2. The 35mm f/1.4 on a full frame camera is an amazing combination. Personally, I think it should be one of a few required setups here for Fundamentals students [Nikon perhaps the 35mm, 50mm 1.4, or 28mm] – its a great lens to learn and think with, not just zooming rings around all the time.

    1. Patrick, I don’t really see how you could “require” such a combination given that the school doesn’t even have a 35mm lens for either system, but I do agree that it’s a pretty impressive piece of glass with far more versatility than I expected.

  3. The Canon EF 35mm 1.4 L is certainly an impressive piece of engineering but it struggles a bit on full format DSLRs – at least technically. The center resolution is fantastic and straight from 1.4. The 35mm lens and the TS-E 24 II are the best lenses for canon. Take care and regards from cologne. Dirk

    1. Hi, Dirk!
      I share your enthusiasm for the 24mm TSE-E Mk. II, although I’m not sure if I would agree that lens and the 35mm f/1.4L are the two best in Canon’s lineup. The 35mm f/1.4 really needs to be updated (and the rumor mill in the U.S. is that it’s on the short list of lenses to be re-designed. Plus, I’m partial to the 85mm f/1.2L II lens, as well as some of the super-telephotos, like the 800 f/5.6L 🙂


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