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

Optics Patent

Former Nikon (Changes to R5 upon delivery)
Nov 6, 2019
310
247
The focus noise of this lens, especially as it hunts through 85% of its range closer than two feet got a dirty look from my three year old son I was taking pictures of at play.

I need this lens but don’t really like it. Weighing whether to send it back and rely on the adapter 40mm pancake.
 

Chaitanya

EOS 6D MK II
Jun 27, 2013
1,189
287
33
Pune
Or possibly via firmware? :unsure:
If you are talking about RF 70-200mm then in case of that lens which uses two separate motors for AF firmware can help in better synchronization of those two motors so they will focus correctly.
 

Optics Patent

Former Nikon (Changes to R5 upon delivery)
Nov 6, 2019
310
247
So here’s the problem with this lens: most of the focus adjustment is spent at macro distances.

In manual mode there is one full rotation of the focus ring from closest to distant. Fully one half of this rotation is used to adjust from about 3” to 5” from the front of the lens. Another quarter of a turn gets you to 12”. That leaves 1/4 of the focus range in the useful world beyond 12”.

If they had a switch to lock out closer than 12” I’d glue it down. This lens spends 75% of its efforts noisily and slowly hunting where I don’t shoot with a wide normal lens. In fact it’s not noisy or slow, it’s just that it spends so much time hunting where I’m not looking.

I will in the future consider “macro” not as an occasional added benefit but as a handicap if it can’t be locked out.

Camera-controlled focus range limit firmware update desperately desired. Or maybe just send it back as I’m within the Adorama VIP 60-day period.
 

SteveC

M50 & T6i
Sep 3, 2019
475
341
So here’s the problem with this lens: most of the focus adjustment is spent at macro distances.

In manual mode there is one full rotation of the focus ring from closest to distant. Fully one half of this rotation is used to adjust from about 3” to 5” from the front of the lens. Another quarter of a turn gets you to 12”. That leaves 1/4 of the focus range in the useful world beyond 12”.

If they had a switch to lock out closer than 12” I’d glue it down. This lens spends 75% of its efforts noisily and slowly hunting where I don’t shoot with a wide normal lens. In fact it’s not noisy or slow, it’s just that it spends so much time hunting where I’m not looking.

I will in the future consider “macro” not as an occasional added benefit but as a handicap if it can’t be locked out.

Camera-controlled focus range limit firmware update desperately desired. Or maybe just send it back as I’m within the Adorama VIP 60-day period.
I've always wondered why some lenses have a switch on them that limits their closest distance; now I know. (In particular my 100mm macro has that switch, but since I *do* use it for macro, I don't engage it. But I can see why significant numbers of customers would want such a thing, including me in other scenarios!)

Is there some place on the menus where one could put a minimum focus control, and have it fit in? As far as I know (and I've zero experience with high end models) there's no such thing. I can't imagine that being added just for this...so I suspect your best course is to send it back and get a non macro prime (if there is an R one that will work for you) or go back to your pancake + adapter.

Another option (for them, not for you--you don't have time to wait on this) would be for the autofocus, if the camera is already outside of 12 inches and finds it needs to refocus, to focus further away first, then try coming back in. That way if it IS going off in the wrong direction, at least the time spent hunting is minimized. Case one: your subject moves further away: AF-ing closer first and bouncing off the near limit and going back again is a total travel of 1.5 turns of the ring, round trip. Going out, of course immediately solves it. Case 2: your subject moves closer in. AF-ing closer first solves it instantly, AFing more distantly first makes the camera take a 0.5 (or less) turn rof the focus ring round trip. Clearly, having the autofocus try going farther first is superior when you're not shooting at macro distances. This is obvious enough to me that I infer the lens isn't just macro-capable; it's targeted for macro use.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Optics Patent

koenkooi

EOS 7D MK II
Feb 25, 2015
666
440
So here’s the problem with this lens: most of the focus adjustment is spent at macro distances.

In manual mode there is one full rotation of the focus ring from closest to distant. Fully one half of this rotation is used to adjust from about 3” to 5” from the front of the lens. Another quarter of a turn gets you to 12”. That leaves 1/4 of the focus range in the useful world beyond 12”.
[..]
Note that on RF lenses the focus ring is complete controlled by software, there are a few options in the camera to tweak it, one of which is the direction. Maybe it has a section for sensitivity as well?
DPReview TV did an item a few weeks back about software controlled focus limiting, a thing I would very much like to have.
But I want it for the reverse: lock it down from MFD to 1 meter so it stays in macro mode. It's very annoying when you try to focus on an insect and it grabs the background instead.
 

Travel_Photographer

Travel, Landscape, Architecture
Aug 30, 2019
94
125
Mine arrives Monday, AF be damned. Merry Christmas all!View attachment 187912
You're going to love it. It really is a great all around lens.

Regarding the autofocus issues some of you are having, all scenes and situations vary, so maybe yours are different enough to make a difference in AF operation, but I haven't been experiencing any of the hunting or autofocus issues described. I actually bought the RP specifically because the eye-detect AF is awesome, and my 3-year-old is so active, none of my other cameras were ever able to focus on him. I rented an RP, got nearly 100% of my photos in focus, and I was sold.

Maybe two of the settings below might help? When I have eye-detect AF locked on my 3-year-old, it stays locked perfectly, and even if he turns around temporarily, when his eyes are back in frame it instantly locks back on. I'm impressed too that the face doesn't even need to be that large in the frame. It works at a wide variety of distances.

Autofocus.jpg



AF2.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: brad-man

SwissFrank

EOS RP
Dec 9, 2018
324
136
Even f2.8 is fine.
I feel that at f/2.8 I'm getting a lens that is "useless" if I have the f/2.8 trinity. A bit more aperture, though, and I have a lens I might actually want to use even if I DO have my trinity with me. Although my main NEED is portability to the point of having to search my backpack for the camera, my main WANT is to get that portability but also have just a bit more aperture to take a "hmm, that isn't a trinity zoom" photo...
 

Optics Patent

Former Nikon (Changes to R5 upon delivery)
Nov 6, 2019
310
247
Why not the EF 35 2.0 IS?
I was looking at that, but bristle at paying $100 more for a lens requiring an adapter. To go from the $99 40mm f2.8. IS isn't a big difference because soon I'll have it on an IBIS body.

Might borrow it though CPS. Or buy from Adorama and send back if I don't love it.
 

Dantana

EOS RP
Jan 29, 2013
279
130
Los Angeles, CA
www.flickr.com
I was looking at that, but bristle at paying $100 more for a lens requiring an adapter. To go from the $99 40mm f2.8. IS isn't a big difference because soon I'll have it on an IBIS body.

Might borrow it though CPS. Or buy from Adorama and send back if I don't love it.
Right, but that was in response to NetMage who seemed to be looking for an EF lens unless I am misunderstanding their post:

"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."
 

Dantana

EOS RP
Jan 29, 2013
279
130
Los Angeles, CA
www.flickr.com
The RF focuses smoother and a lot quieter during video, and has better IS, too.
Absolutely.

But again, that was in response to NetMage who seemed to be looking for an EF lens unless I am misunderstanding their post:

"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."
 

Optics Patent

Former Nikon (Changes to R5 upon delivery)
Nov 6, 2019
310
247
I made this video to show what I hate about this lens I otherwise love. My bold claim at the end (start at 3:45 if impatient) is that the lens takes 10x as long and makes 10x the noise focusing closer than 12" than it does from 12" to infinity. The macro feature makes this an irritating lens to use for normal subjects.
 

Travel_Photographer

Travel, Landscape, Architecture
Aug 30, 2019
94
125
I made this video to show what I hate about this lens I otherwise love. My bold claim at the end (start at 3:45 if impatient) is that the lens takes 10x as long and makes 10x the noise focusing closer than 12" than it does from 12" to infinity. The macro feature makes this an irritating lens to use for normal subjects.
I did some similar experiments after watching your video, and while I did get better results than you did, likely due either to better lighting and / or higher contrast target subjects, I was able to replicate what you described when moving between a subject around 3" from the camera to something about 12" away. I'm not familiar with the actual motors inside the lens, but it seems like the gearing is different (and slower) at close range than distances 12"+ out, in order for more precise focusing at those small distances.

Everyone's shooting style and subject matter is of course different. For me, I can't think of a particular scenario where I would be using servo AF to frequently move between something 3" away to something 12" away and back. I'm either doing "general purpose" photography (99% of the time) in which case this phenomenon doesn't have any impact or apply, or I'm shooting macro in which case I'm probably not autofocusing frequently back and forth between those two close-range distances.

Is there a situation you find yourself in where this lens behavior presents a problem?
 

Optics Patent

Former Nikon (Changes to R5 upon delivery)
Nov 6, 2019
310
247
The irritation arises any time I’m doing normal subjects and it has a little trouble focusing. It ends up hunting far from its target. Like it lost its car keys under the lamppost but searches all the way around the block before finding them.

And it’s irritating when you set down a live camera on a table and it hums and strains to focus on something next to it. Same when you pick it up and it makes point and shoot noises.
 

Travel_Photographer

Travel, Landscape, Architecture
Aug 30, 2019
94
125
The irritation arises any time I’m doing normal subjects and it has a little trouble focusing. It ends up hunting far from its target. Like it lost its car keys under the lamppost but searches all the way around the block before finding them.

And it’s irritating when you set down a live camera on a table and it hums and strains to focus on something next to it. Same when you pick it up and it makes point and shoot noises.
You don't have the setting "Continuous AF" set to "Enable", do you? That's the most annoying setting I've ever seen. I don't even know why they offer it. Is that potentially your issue? That setting can be changed on Page 7 on my RP's menu screen. Not sure where it is if you have an R (vs. RP). That settings tells the camera to *constantly* hunt, focus and re-focus all the time non-stop when the camera is powered on. With a lens capable of macro to infinity, it would pretty much hobble the camera. The reason I ask is because you say that your camera makes noise when you set it on a table and pick it up. The only way I can see it doing that is if you have Continues AF set to "Enable". I would definitely set that to "Disable" if it's not already. If it's currently on "Enable", changing it to "Disable" could very well solve your problem.
 
Last edited:

Optics Patent

Former Nikon (Changes to R5 upon delivery)
Nov 6, 2019
310
247
Ah. I believe the alternative is that the AF wakes up and operates when the shutter releases is touched. I’ll try it. Not related to servo.
 

Travel_Photographer

Travel, Landscape, Architecture
Aug 30, 2019
94
125
Ah. I believe the alternative is that the AF wakes up and operates when the shutter releases is touched. I’ll try it. Not related to servo.
Correct. When Continuous AF is set to "disable", it acts like a "normal camera" for the last several decades, i.e. half-press of the shutter button will autofocus on the subject. (Also correct, not servo). I have no idea why this feature is in the camera, AND, it comes defaulted to "Enable" I believe. I just tested on mine and turned it on to "Enable" on my RP with that lens, and the camera was useless. It just hunted non-stop everywhere I turned. If it's currently set to "Enable" on your camera, I'm hoping you will be very happy with the results when you set to Disable.
 

Optics Patent

Former Nikon (Changes to R5 upon delivery)
Nov 6, 2019
310
247
You just may have solved 80% or my irritation, which may well
Make me happily keep this lens. I’m happy to buy the 24-70 F2.8 and or the 50 1.2. But this might make both unnecessary given my love for my compact 70 f2.8 (that happens also to zoom to 200).
 
  • Like
Reactions: Travel_Photographer