December 17, 2017, 10:35:41 PM

Author Topic: Used Canon 35mm 1.4, advice needed  (Read 3218 times)

picturefan

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Used Canon 35mm 1.4, advice needed
« on: November 16, 2017, 12:50:31 PM »
Hi all!

Looking for advice or any thoughts on buying a used Canon 35 1.4 Mk I, please?

What I found out:
Mk I is a pretty good lens, that´s for sure.
Mk II should be even better in all categories, besides bokeh and flare and price!!
Both, the new Sigma and also Tammy are said to be sharper,  but the first has af-flaws, the latter is only 1.8.

Questions:
Is it true that the Mk I bokeh is the "creamiest" of them all?
Has the best build quality / best durability?

Why are there many tests out there, saying that sharpness of Mk I is only medium (or even less), while many others state that it is one of the best lenses when it comes to (center) sharpness - wide open ?
Is there a well known copy-to-copy-variation with that lens?
Are newer model years of a better quality?

Are there any well known problems with the MK I version (like the aperture flex with the 24-105)?

Would you buy one for a reasonable price?
Or stick to the newer versions (C/S/T)?

Thank you for your input.

PS: it will mainly be in hobby-use, hard to justify the pricetag for the mkII.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2017, 01:03:45 PM by picturefan »

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Used Canon 35mm 1.4, advice needed
« on: November 16, 2017, 12:50:31 PM »

leadin2

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Re: Used Canon 35mm 1.4, advice needed
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2017, 03:37:19 PM »
The 35mm mk 2 is definitely better. I am probably the only person who bought the 35mm mk1 when the 35mm Mk2 was released. I have rented both plus the sigma and Canon 35mm f/2 IS before my purchase and decided to go for the mk1 because I like how the photos turn out, lens weight, feel and price.

There are many websites mentioning flaws of the mk1, such as soft corners, high amount of CA, not truly weather sealed, focal plane issue, lower T-stop but there are other reviews saying otherwise. To me, it is a great lens which has been in the market for more than 17 years, and is now making way for the newer and better designed lens.

If possible, you might want to rent and try out those lens I mentioned.

Act444

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Re: Used Canon 35mm 1.4, advice needed
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2017, 07:45:38 PM »
I had version 1 some years ago and shot it on a 60D. Great lens, very sharp but PF was an issue wide open.

Now, I've got a version 2 lens fixed onto a 5DSR body and it is able to meet the high demands of that sensor...

Viggo

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Re: Used Canon 35mm 1.4, advice needed
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2017, 05:26:17 AM »
The reason some find it very sharp and others say it’s really soft is due to one of the worst offenders of copy variations in the Canon line up.

I’ve had at LEAST ten 35 L’s and I’ve had about 4 which were 50 f1.4 soft wide open, and 6-7 which were really sharp,
And nothing in between!

The 35 L is one of my all time favorites and one I have used a great deal over the years. What I don’t like with it’s the squeaky build quality and af/mf buttons that come off and quite a lot of purple fringing wide open. Also color and contrast could be better.

Other than that the good copies are very sharp and the bokeh is beautiful.

Compared to the 35 L II would go as far as to say it’s not even a contest. The new one is completely epic in every aspect. No distortion, no CA, extremely sharp all the way into the corners. Near flawless AF anywhere in the frame.
Super color and contrast and moderate vignetting.
1dx mkII, 35 L II, 85 L IS, Broncolor Siros 800 L.

SecureGSM

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Re: Used Canon 35mm 1.4, advice needed
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2017, 06:22:57 AM »
+1 what Viggo said and here are couple of (reputable) articles to confirm his statement in regard to Canon 35 F1.4L II lens optical and build quality:

https://wordpress.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/09/35mm-f1-4-shootout-canon-35mm-f1-4l-ii-vs-sigma-35mm-art-vs-canon-35mm-f1-4l-i/

https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/12/canon-35mm-f1-4-mk-ii-teardown/

JoFT

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Re: Used Canon 35mm 1.4, advice needed
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2017, 10:47:55 AM »
The Canon MkII us a really great lens, without any doubt. The Bokeh is great, but I did not compare with the Sigma - AF issues is a no go. And the Tamrons: I found that they do have variations between the copies.... shooting the lenses on the last Photokina...


My comparison you might find here:[size=78%]http://bit.ly/2wYqTsZ[/size]
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Arty

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Re: Used Canon 35mm 1.4, advice needed
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2017, 11:49:31 AM »
Do you really need F1.4? If so, then look at one of the Canon lenses or perhaps the Sigma. There is a lot of copy variation in the first F1.4 version, with many people reporting they needed to stop down to F2. Also, Lens Rentals had this lens on a high problem list a number of years ago. AF needed to be worked on with some of their lenses.

I have the Canon 35 F2 IS. The only time I have wanted to shoot at wider than F2 was at a Zombie walk at night a number of years ago, and this was on a 60D. On a modern full frame, I don't miss F1.4. If you have the cash, the V2 of the Canon is likely worth it. If you get a used version 1, get it from a place where returns are assured.
For myself, I am happy with the 35 F2 and IS. If I wanted to spend a lot of time photographing people at night by street lights, F1.4 can help.

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Re: Used Canon 35mm 1.4, advice needed
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2017, 11:49:31 AM »

picturefan

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Re: Used Canon 35mm 1.4, advice needed
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2017, 04:06:59 PM »
Thank you all so far.

Especially Viggos words makes me wonder, if buying used from a private person will make much sense with this very lens. If about 1/3 of his lenses, as he states, were significantly less sharp than the other samples, it makes more sense buying this lens at a local store, where it is possible to try out or return the lens if you'll get a "bad" sample.
Having 35mm covered with 2.8, the 35 2.0 doesn't make much sense to me. Maybe I can live with Samyang, although it is MF and not really "bokeh king"?

I don`t wanna spend 2k for the Mk II. But a new Mk I here in Europe still costs more than half the price of the MK II. Would you dare to spend that much anyway for a new Mk I?
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 04:25:20 PM by picturefan »

JoFT

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Re: Used Canon 35mm 1.4, advice needed
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2017, 09:36:42 AM »
Do you really need F1.4? If so, then look at one of the Canon lenses or perhaps the Sigma. There is a lot of copy variation in the first F1.4 version, with many people reporting they needed to stop down to F2. Also, Lens Rentals had this lens on a high problem list a number of years ago. AF needed to be worked on with some of their lenses.

I have the Canon 35 F2 IS. The only time I have wanted to shoot at wider than F2 was at a Zombie walk at night a number of years ago, and this was on a 60D. On a modern full frame, I don't miss F1.4. If you have the cash, the V2 of the Canon is likely worth it. If you get a used version 1, get it from a place where returns are assured.
For myself, I am happy with the 35 F2 and IS. If I wanted to spend a lot of time photographing people at night by street lights, F1.4 can help.


I was happy with the 35F2 IS. Until I got the 35f1.4LII: This is a different kind of animal.. It is so much better.... in every regard...
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picturefan

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Re: Used Canon 35mm 1.4, advice needed
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2017, 03:58:16 AM »
Is the Mk I still worth half the price of the Mk II?

Would you buy a "new" Mk I for more than 1k or go for something else?

Viggo

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Re: Used Canon 35mm 1.4, advice needed
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2017, 04:17:53 AM »
Is the Mk I still worth half the price of the Mk II?

Would you buy a "new" Mk I for more than 1k or go for something else?

The reason I’ve had so many of them is that I bought used, tried it and either kept or sold it based on if it was a good or a poor copy.

You don’t loose money and get to find the best one. So I would buy a used mk1 if I couldn’t defend buying the mk2.
1dx mkII, 35 L II, 85 L IS, Broncolor Siros 800 L.

ahsanford

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Re: Used Canon 35mm 1.4, advice needed
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2017, 11:15:10 AM »
We are drunk with options at the 35mm EF mount lenses these days (*= have personally used or owned):

35 Art* = This lens was the shot heard round the world and singlehandedly got folks taking Sigma seriously -- this is the one that started their killing streak of offering unprecedently sharp optics.  It's f/1.4, sharp as razor blades (effectively a dead heat with the 35L II), but AF is a huge wildcard.  The AF whiffs randomly when shooting wider than f/2.8, but if you can chimp/reshoot for the occasional miss or if you are principally working off of a tripod, I'd recommend it whole-heartedly for the enthusiast or person on a budget.

35L I* = Solid lens (90s L lenses have this robust tank-like sort of feel), proper AF, but it's simply a step behind the sharpest optics of the past few years.  Not weather sealed to my knowledge.  Overall, a fine instrument used by professionals for a very long time.

35 f/2 IS* = My preferred 35.  It's 90% as sharp as the best optics out there but it's smaller / lighter / pack IS compared to the bigger f/1.4 lenses.  It also has quick/consistent AF, something I highly value.  (I dream of a 50 f/1.4 IS USM being made just like this one, obv a little bigger but not that much bigger.)

35L II = The finest (autofocusing) 35 on the planet.  Effectively it's got the sharpness of the 35 Art + proper reliable Canon USM AF + (from virtually everyone here and elsewhere that has reviewed it) wonderful rendering, color, bokeh, etc.  It's also weather sealed and very well built.

Tamron 35mm f/1.8 VC = I'm hard pressed why this lens was ever made.  I've not used it, and I'm sure it's nice and sharp frm what I've read, but Canon sells effectively this same lens with more reliable first-party autofocus for $50 less.  Other than the Tamron have a slightly better close focus distance and fractionally quicker max aperture, I don't know why you'd buy this lens.  I would get the Canon 35 f/2 IS over this lens 10 times out of 10 for AF reliability alone.

Zeiss sells two Milvus designs (f/1.4 and f/2) for both over $1k that I've not pursued any reviews of as they lack AF, and at this FL I demand AF.  I'm sure they are sharp as tacks and well built, though.  Others can comment on these.

As for what to get, it depends on you.  If you want to live at/near f/1.4 and are on a budget, the Sigma is likely the right call, but be prepared to return it (i.e. don't buy one used or from eBay) if it doesn't have the AF accuracy you were hoping for.  The 35L I is a fine instrument as a Plan B but isn't the sharpest tool you can get for that money.
 
- A

privatebydesign

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Re: Used Canon 35mm 1.4, advice needed
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2017, 11:55:54 AM »
My advice. Wait, save, buy the Canon MkII.

As a side note, I can't wait for the day Canon come out with a FF mirrorless EF mount camera that breaks Sigma compatibility and Sigma do what they did when Canon moved from film EOS to digital EOS and few Sigma lenses worked on the newer bodies, they said 'tough sh!t'.
Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

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Re: Used Canon 35mm 1.4, advice needed
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2017, 11:55:54 AM »

Larsskv

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Re: Used Canon 35mm 1.4, advice needed
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2017, 12:06:31 PM »
I own the 35LII and the 35L. I have owned the 35f2IS and Sigma 35 ART.

The Sigma 35 ART is really sharp, but I didnt really like the results I got. The bokeh isn’t that good, the color could be better, and it is something with it’s rendering that makes subjects look flat (bad depth perception / 3D effect). AF was ok on my former 6D (My impression is that it performs worse on 5D3 and cameras with more advanced AF than 6D).

The 35 f2 IS is nice, sharp and small, and focuses really fast and accurate. It’s color, contrast and bokeh leaves something to be desired.

The 35 L is sharp and contrasty from f2. Color and bokeh is beautiful. AF is fast and accurate. It’s small and light for an L lens. Sharpness could be a bit better at f1.4. It has some CA.

The 35LII is the best. At everything, but size, weight and price. It is the sharpest, and is remarkably sharp at f1.4. Contast is fantastic already at f1.4 and reminds me of my old Zeiss macro planar 50mm f2. (The main difference is that the 35LII is sharper.) Color, bokeh, lack of CA, build quality and AF are all really good, and better than the other lenses I have mentined. Besides size, weight and price, it has one small negative I can think of - flare resistance could be better.

If money isn’t an issue, I would wholeheartedly recommend the 35LII. My second pick would be the 35L. If size and weigth matters a lot, I would recommend the 35 F2 IS over the 35L.

Personally, I wouldn’t own the Sigma 35ART, even if it had good AF. I just didn’t like the pictures I got from it.

picturefan

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Re: Used Canon 35mm 1.4, advice needed
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2017, 01:32:47 PM »
After all of your inputs I still don't wanna spend 2K for the MarkII, nor more than half of that price for the MkI.
I probably will wait for a good opportunity for a used MkI an test it, until I will find a matching one, like Viggo said.

pbd and larsskv convinced me that in this class of lenses it is better using original class, although sigma is offering to change mounts when changing the camera-system. reliable af for 35mm is important.

Thanks ahsanford for the quite practical overview! I would have bet you like the 35 2.0. Hoping a new and similar 50 1.4 will be on the way soon. I'll have one, too.

Thank you all again for your useful advice!

Finally, here's my 50 cent regarding canon's new pricing and the reason I won't buy a new Mk II:
in the past there were two rules of thumb regarding canon pricing:
1) double the f-stop, than double the price: 35 Mk II does not follow the rule!!
2) every gramm of L-glass will cost 1 euro: all the Mk II versions do not follow here anymore!!
Although quality is high (but it has been that before as well), the new pricing is cheeky! I will not support. Maybe more customers should show that!


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Re: Used Canon 35mm 1.4, advice needed
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2017, 01:32:47 PM »