OpticalLimits Reviews the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM

canonnews

EOS 7D MK II
Dec 27, 2017
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www.canonnews.com
OpticalLimits, formerly Photozone.de has completed their review of the Canon RF 35mm F1.8 IS Macro STM.  Personally I feel that this is a start of a series of lightweight small primes for the Canon RF mount.
They give it a solid review, with the breakdown of scores of;

Optical Quality – almost 4 out of 5 stars
Mechanical Quality – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Price / Performance – 4 out of 5 stars

Not exceptional scores, but it is at the lower end of the price spectrum for the Canon RF mount.
The Canon RF 35mm F1.8 has;

Wide-angle prime is designed for use with full-frame Canon RF-mount mirrorless digital cameras.
Bright f/1.8 maximum aperture suits working in difficult lighting conditions and also offers increased control over depth of field.
Super Spectra coating has been applied to individual elements to minimize ghosting and flare for greater contrast and color neutrality when working in strong lighting conditions.
An Optical Image Stabilizer helps to minimize the appearance of camera...
Continue reading...
 

brad-man

Semi-Reactive Member
Jun 6, 2012
1,488
259
S Florida
Since this time of year I have very little control over the use of my Amex card, I picked up a refurbed EOS R + RF24-105mm f/4L IS for under $2k. While I expect this combo will be quite nice for a general purpose walk around kit, I think it would be useful to have a small faster lens available should the need arise, much like bringing the 22 along when I'm out with my M5 + zoom. So looking pretty hard at this one...
 
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Optics Patent

Former Nikon (Changes to R5 upon delivery)
Nov 6, 2019
310
248
I have one of these. New to Canon, I was naive about STM operation and talked to service about the noise, which they heard on the speakerphone and suggested I send it in. Instead I did a quick exchange with the retailer and confirmed the same noisy focus sound. I’m now used to it.

I’d say that for fast, light, compact and cheap there is nothing close. 5x$ gets you faster and much heavier and fatter with the F1.2. And the 40mm f2.8 pancake on an adapter is cheaper lighter and smaller but loses speed.

This lens was my choice to go on an RP to the hospital for a new baby arrival. Fast and compact was a better choice that a big 2.8 zoom. It also pairs nicely with the f2.8 RF 70-200 that makes a great everyday family photo lens in its short 70 configuration. ~$3000 for the pair makes a very versatile setup. With those, the 24-240 never gets much use unless shooting outdoors.

My suggestion for this lens is a switch to lock out the nearer focal distances to effectively speed up and quiet down the focusing by not hunting over the whole range.
 

mb66energy

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 18, 2011
1,349
246
Germany
www.MichaelBockhorst.de
This review confirms all my non-formal observations: it does not stand out optically like a lot of new lenses but I have to say that it has not bad flaws in all categories except maybe vignetting and a little bit too high coma wide open.
And featuring 1:2 macro + a very good IS implementation + size-weight-price on the low side it is a very capable lens for taking photos. Maybe we are to much focused on super high IQ in all categories and loosing some creativity and fun taking photos.
I bought the RP with adapter and RF 35 during a super cool discount and payed just below 1100 EUR for the whole package and I am impressed how much fun the camera and the lens provide!

Attached a photograph, just 1 hr old, trying to explore close up capability and I am impressed about those wide angle close ups - up to now macro was 100mm, the EF-M 32 showed me that close up can be 50mm and now the RF35 paved the way to more wide angle macros.

I tried it too for vlogging - in motion and static - while a bit too tight for self-shooting without some extension it showed very good separation at f/1.8 and for the static case it is a great focal length with useful f/1.8 max aperture. The strong vignetting isn't that problematic in 16:9 because you cut out the extreme corners of the 3:2 format.
Noise is a bit loud for internal microphones but who uses internal microphones for good quality sound (I will add a Videomic NTG soon which might be a good addition to RP / RF35 because of moderate size and great interface (amplification potentiometer with engraved NUMBERS !!!).

About the photograph: Subjects are little cups of about 40mm max. diameter and 50mm height. So no real macro but definitely close up! The aperture was f/1.8
 

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mb66energy

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 18, 2011
1,349
246
Germany
www.MichaelBockhorst.de
[...]
This lens was my choice to go on an RP to the hospital for a new baby arrival. Fast and compact was a better choice that a big 2.8 zoom. It also pairs nicely with the f2.8 RF 70-200 that makes a great everyday family photo lens in its short 70 configuration. ~$3000 for the pair makes a very versatile setup. With those, the 24-240 never gets much use unless shooting outdoors.

My suggestion for this lens is a switch to lock out the nearer focal distances to effectively speed up and quiet down the focusing by not hunting over the whole range.
I just wanted to wait with RF a little bit but ... see my post above. And now I thought the same: RF 70-200 2.8 (and a second RP) would make a fast (aperture wise and changing lenses by changing cameras), compact and high quality setup for allround work.

The EF-M 32 has the switch and it would have been definitely a good idea to give it to the RF35. But focusing manually works very well with the highlighting of in-focus parts of the image and that helps to bring different objects into focus/adjust the focal plane so there is a workaround but ... as always: no need for workarounds makes one faster!
 

jedy

EOS 80D
Feb 14, 2014
127
52
I’ve never understood the point in making wide angle lenses macro. The distortion is usually quite pronounced and you have to get very close to the subject which often creates unwanted shadows. All this from previous experience.
 
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wockawocka

EOS 7D MK II
Sep 13, 2011
784
107
I have the RF35 and while it's good for non-professional use, I find it hunts terribly in low contrast situations when using servo and isn't much better in one shot.

It's particularly bad in low light servo mode, in that it tends to search the full focus range and as it's focus by wire I can't quickly pull it back to the range it should be in to help it. But that's STM for you.

If anyone is considering a lightweight 35mm the EF F2 IS is still the winner, it doesn't suffer like the RF35 does albeit you'll lose the macro function which admittedly is a nice thing to have when you don't want to carry the 100mm 2.8 IS around.
 

Chaitanya

EOS 6D MK II
Jun 27, 2013
1,214
305
34
Pune
I’ve never understood the point in making wide angle lenses macro. The distortion is usually quite pronounced and you have to get very close to the subject which often creates unwanted shadows. All this from previous experience.
Wide angle Macro lenses are fun to work with, Venus Laowa makes a 15mm Macro which is highly rated among a lot of photographers(primarily herping community) even though it is very tough lens to master. Just google some photos people(check Kurt Orion's work with that lens) have taken using that lens. In case of this RF 35mm that Macro capability is an added bonus which might be useful for photographers to get some decent close ups.

0M4A5790 by Chaitanya Shukla, on Flickr
 
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mb66energy

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 18, 2011
1,349
246
Germany
www.MichaelBockhorst.de
I have the RF35 and while it's good for non-professional use, I find it hunts terribly in low contrast situations when using servo and isn't much better in one shot.
I observed the hunting too but only if I use the small focus point and if there is no pattern which allows the horizontal (DP)AF-sensor-arrays to do their phase detect. For static subjects I rotate the camera by about 30 degree, do the focusing and rotate the camera back to the intended orientation. Not perfect but much better than using a center point and recompose.
Maybe QPAF will help where we could have cross sensor capabilities :)
 

Travel_Photographer

Travel, Landscape, Architecture
Aug 30, 2019
94
126
I have this lens and I think it's a great general purpose lens, especially given it's wide aperture and excellent image stabilization. I would venture to guess that most people see it as an all-purpose lens vs. primarily macro. Canon probably could have left the "macro" designation off and it would have sold the same amount.

For my uses, this lens really shines in low-light shooting. With the image stabilization, I can easily handhold for 1/2 second exposures and get extremely sharp photos (some people have said they can even go up to a full second). Shooting low-light video with IS at F1.8 gives awesome, smooth video at low ISO's. I recently used it to to video some elaborate Christmas light displays and the results were spectacular.

I picked it up during the holiday sales for well under $500 U.S., and at that price it's probably a great addition for anybody with an R-mount camera.
 
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NetMage

EOS M50
Aug 22, 2018
25
37
It is a little too expensive for what I have always wanted, an APS-C normal to be the equivalent of the 50mm 1.8 for full frame, in EF mount. Guess that dream is probably dead.
 

privatebydesign

Would you take advice from a cartoons stuffed toy?
Jan 29, 2011
8,233
1,589
120
So much for relegating focus-shift to the past.

Great to see Optical Limits (nee photozone) keeping up with reviews!
Why would focus shift be different for a DSLR or a MILC? It is a function of the design of the lens and the way focus changes at different apertures, the only two ways around it are to make lenses that don't do it or to focus stopped down to the actual aperture to be used. The first is too expensive for a modest priced prime lens the second would impact AF speed.
 
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Del Paso

M3 Singlestroke
Aug 9, 2018
723
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Why would focus shift be different for a DSLR or a MILC? It is a function of the design of the lens and the way focus changes at different apertures, the only two ways around it are to make lenses that don't do it or to focus stopped down to the actual aperture to be used. The first is too expensive for a modest priced prime lens the second would impact AF speed.
Or possibly via firmware? :unsure:
 

koenkooi

EOS 7D MK II
Feb 25, 2015
741
500
Why would focus shift be different for a DSLR or a MILC? It is a function of the design of the lens and the way focus changes at different apertures, the only two ways around it are to make lenses that don't do it or to focus stopped down to the actual aperture to be used. The first is too expensive for a modest priced prime lens the second would impact AF speed.
A third option would be to add a mapping in the lens profile that can work out what the shift would be for a given focus distance and aperture. Canon mentioned that some of the RF lenses automatically adjust focus while zooming to emulate being parfocal, so it isn't a stretch that they could add a mapping in the lens or camera firmware if they really wanted to.
 
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SwissFrank

EOS RP
Dec 9, 2018
339
144
> Personally I feel that this is a start of a series of lightweight small primes for the Canon RF mount.

I don't. I'd like a notch yet more portable and a half-notch less speccy. For instance a line of 24/2.4 28/2 35/2 50/1.8 non-macro non-IS would let an R get lost in your daily commute backpack, in a way the 35/1.8ISMac probably doesn't. They'd also offer just enough extra aperture that you might take them with you even when you have your trinity 2.8 zooms with you.
 
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Optics Patent

Former Nikon (Changes to R5 upon delivery)
Nov 6, 2019
310
248
> Personally I feel that this is a start of a series of lightweight small primes for the Canon RF mount.

I don't. I'd like a notch yet more portable and a half-notch less speccy. For instance a line of 24/2.4 28/2 35/2 50/1.8 non-macro non-IS would let an R get lost in your daily commute backpack, in a way the 35/1.8ISMac probably doesn't. They'd also offer just enough extra aperture that you might take them with you even when you have your trinity 2.8 zooms with you.
With IBIS the IS wont be needed anyway, and a touch more ISO noise in low light is fine. A line of “body cap “ lenses. Even f2.8 is fine.
 
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uri.raz

EOS RP
Jan 5, 2016
213
134
Almost 4 stops of vignetting at f/1.8? Dayum!

The EF 24mm f/1.4L doesn't have that much vignetting at f/1.4