Review: Canon RF 14-35mm f/4L IS USM

neuroanatomist

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This sort of correction isn't just cropping away the edges and presenting a lower res file, no. Some parts of the image are being squashed down while others are being stretched out. The final image resolution out of the camera is always the same.
Based on the RAW file out of C1, the images coming from in-camera jpgs or DPP output are cropped. Bryan used 3:2 registration marks on the QA-77 / ISO 12233 chart to frame the shot, and that’s what came out of DPP. The C1 RAW file shows that the edges were cropped away by the camera/DPP (and stretched first, of course).
 

Jethro

EOS R
CR Pro
Jul 14, 2018
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1) Good job reenforcing Canon's customer-unfriendly design practices and rewarding them for their marketing rather than their actual products. You are why we're having to have these conversations at all. Stop giving companies money until you know that they've actually delivered.
2) Tamron's 17-35mm f/2.8-4 is lighter and smaller than this, also uses a 77mm filter thread, and at least going by Bryan's results of this 14-35, the Tamron is optically better in the center and only very slightly worse in the furthest corners. The f/2.8 wide end is a bit soft but you can consider that aperture to just be a bonus, since the Canon lenses don't have it at all; stop it down to f/4 or beyond and the Tamron sharpens up significantly. (Or at least my copy did.) I've owned the Tamron, it wasn't my favourite wide-zoom by any means, but if size is important to you then it is your winner and optically it's very good. I did prefer the optics of the Canon 16-35mm f/4 and that's ultimately what I stuck with, but I appreciate not everyone wants to carry something that size around (and it is only size, not weight; the EF lens is only 80G heavier than this RF and only 150g heavier than the Tamron!) and/or pay that much.

However you spin it, however you want to try to justify it to yourself, you know that you've paid a gigantic, arbitrary premium, twice, for the sake of saving 80g (180g, if we're including the adapter), about ~1.5cm in length, and a clearly-flawed extra 2mm which is being completed via software rather than the glass you've ostensibly paid for. This is the problem—you are part of it—and this is what manufacturers (it's not Canon alone) need to not be rewarded for.
A little harsh frankly - and I'll repeat my previous comment (for much needed perspective on this thread): the actual review ends up concluding "the RF 14-35’s image quality is excellent (I’ll get over the strong barrel distortion aspect), the Nano USM AF system is silent, high-speed, and accurate, and the L-series build quality promises to hold up to the rigors of constant use."
 

tron

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What I like in this lens is its size (just like the 70-200 4L IS)

But to put it to good use I would have to get another R5 since my most useful R5 combo is with the 100-500.

Also for excursions I am used to 5DMkIV and 16-35 f/4L IS combo due to its IQ and believe it or not: size! (compared to using 5DIV with 16-35 2.8L III). There was a case in my last excursion where I did not want to carry much and wanted to also take astro pictures. In that case 5DIV and 16-35 2.8L III combo has been used both for astro and landscapes.

There are cases where the RF 2.8 lenses would be useful and that would be when visiting museums. In that case I would get R5 with 15-35 and 24-70 2.8 L IS lenses because of their superb IS and f/2.8

So it seems that although I would love 14-35 for its size I do not need it and it would complicate things as long as I keep my DSLRs.
 
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YuengLinger

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This does still take the piss quite a bit considering how much more expensive this is than the EF equivalent. They're charging £1750 for this, while the EF f/4L IS is £999 (and of course much less used) and third-party equivalents are cheaper again.
Some good insights in your post, but this assertion about price seems a bit skewed. The release price of the ef 16-35mm f/4L IS in early 2014 was about $1200, which, adjusted for inflation is about $1350 today (August, 2021). The new lens is being sold in the USA for $1600 at the time of release, higher by only $250.

Materials, labor, and distribution costs for particular industries have been affected unevenly by the pandemic. Canon might also be looking at production delays for some time, so even if they charged less to increase sales volume, they might just end up losing sales as people give up on waiting.

Canon does seem to be charging somewhat higher prices per unit to maintain profit margins. But I think using the current market value of an EF lens that might well be going out of production sooner rather than later, instead of the lens's price at the time of its release, distorts the otherwise fair observation you are making. Of course discussing used prices of a seven year old lens to compare to a lens just now being released doesn't really help--but I agree that considering a good deal on any EF lens is worthwhile--as long as the ergonomics and AF speed work for you. (And I STILL love my ef 35mm f/1.4L II on the R6!!! Adapter is not even noticed.)
 
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tron

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A little harsh frankly - and I'll repeat my previous comment (for much needed perspective on this thread): the actual review ends up concluding "the RF 14-35’s image quality is excellent (I’ll get over the strong barrel distortion aspect), the Nano USM AF system is silent, high-speed, and accurate, and the L-series build quality promises to hold up to the rigors of constant use."
A little marketing BS perhaps? I refer to "I’ll get over the strong barrel distortion aspect" I remember from a US photo magazine many years ago that it wrote good things for all the lenses tested but the charts were telling a different truth for some of these lenses.
 

APP

Long-time mostly-lurker.
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I was primed to love this lens, despite the high price. Unfortunately, I'm turned off by the coma results (which are reported to be noticeably worse than the 15-35, which has its own astro issues due to severe vignetting), and of course the distortion. For now it looks like I'll keep my Ef 16-35 f/4.
 
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Jethro

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Jul 14, 2018
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A little marketing BS perhaps? I refer to "I’ll get over the strong barrel distortion aspect" I remember from a US photo magazine many years ago that it wrote good things for all the lenses tested but the charts were telling a different truth for some of these lenses.
But what's the 'marketing' element - isn't this from a well-respected 3rd party reviewer? He's acknowledging the (pretty drastic) issues, but saying he's still seeing excellent results.
 
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Czardoom

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Jan 27, 2020
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Why do I get the feeling that people on this forum would rather have a non-corrected and very distorted image in the EVF, and a non-corrected and very distorted photo rather than a non-distorted, sharp, excellent quality photo that this lens delivers with auto corrections turned on. I have been using a similarly auto-corrected pro level 12-100 Olympus lens for years and I never give the auto-corrections a second thought. I probably have other new mirrorless lenses that have the same auto-corrections and I don't even know about it. Apparently the final image isn't as important to many forum users compared to how you get there.
 
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Czardoom

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A little harsh frankly - and I'll repeat my previous comment (for much needed perspective on this thread): the actual review ends up concluding "the RF 14-35’s image quality is excellent (I’ll get over the strong barrel distortion aspect), the Nano USM AF system is silent, high-speed, and accurate, and the L-series build quality promises to hold up to the rigors of constant use."
It will be quite easy to "get over the strong barrel distortion aspect" because when you actually use the lens, you will never know it's there unless you intentionally use software without the automatically loaded profiles. In other words, you will never know it's there unless you intentionally do something stupid.

 
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stevelee

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I’m curious what a Raw picture would look like de-Bayered but linear rather than logarithmic.

Anyhow, I am not shocked by the notion of lens corrections in ACR and in camera. I’m quite pleased with the results from the tiny lenses on my G cameras, and glad not to be carrying around the extra two pounds of glass it would take to do the corrections optically.
 

UpstateNYPhotog

EOS M50
Jun 3, 2021
48
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Canon is making very compact lenses, very good. But I think he should pay more attention to ergonomics, specially for professional customers, the three rings seem to be one, especially AF and MF, it's really easy to get confused. Same goes for the 24-105 f4 and 70-200 f4. I would like to have a large zoom ring well spaced from the others.
Yes. I've found the RF 24-70 F/2.8 hard to grip to mount and dismount. All the bumps from the switch housings on the EF version make for a much better grip.
 

neuroanatomist

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…you will never know it's there unless you intentionally use software without the automatically loaded profiles. In other words, you will never know it's there unless you intentionally do something stupid.
There are times when it is desirable to reduce or eliminate the distortion correction applied by a lens profile.
 
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privatebydesign

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Why do I get the feeling that people on this forum would rather have a non-corrected and very distorted image in the EVF, and a non-corrected and very distorted photo rather than a non-distorted, sharp, excellent quality photo that this lens delivers with auto corrections turned on. I have been using a similarly auto-corrected pro level 12-100 Olympus lens for years and I never give the auto-corrections a second thought. I probably have other new mirrorless lenses that have the same auto-corrections and I don't even know about it. Apparently the final image isn't as important to many forum users compared to how you get there.
Because that is what they are used to. People have been very quick to dump DSLR’s but you can’t do this kind of shenanigans with an optical viewfinder.

If the ‘lens improvements’ the RF mount gives amount to nothing more than clever software tricks (I wondered how Nikon and Canon had managed to make non bulbous front element ff 14mm lenses) then I’d be pretty pissed too.

When compared to stand out lenses like the EF 16-35 f4 IS and the EF 11-24 f4, let alone the TS-E 17mm some of these current RF premium lenses seem like a bit of a bad joke.
 
Aug 7, 2018
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Yes, for a camera with an OVF they would never have produced an L-lens with such a heavy distortion, because they know that people would hate that, even if that photo looks still start after correcting it in software. Now people have an EVF and Canon knows that most buyers will never know about the distortion, as the EVF gives Canon the chance to hide it.

I am still curious if the distortion will be visible in the RAW if you open it with Lightroom, as there applying lens profiles is optional. Or does Canon have an agreement with Adobe to force correction on this lens?
 
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dilbert

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Aug 12, 2010
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A little marketing BS perhaps? I refer to "I’ll get over the strong barrel distortion aspect" I remember from a US photo magazine many years ago that it wrote good things for all the lenses tested but the charts were telling a different truth for some of these lenses.

And why do they do that? Because when you write bad things about vendors equipment in reviews, vendors stop sending you things to review and thus you stop getting page views, etc.

Bryan might be calling it optically excellent but the barrel distortion can't be hidden and is nowhere near "excellent."
 

dilbert

EOS 90D
Aug 12, 2010
119
96
I am still curious if the distortion will be visible in the RAW if you open it with Lightroom, as there applying lens profiles is optional. Or does Canon have an agreement with Adobe to force correction on this lens?

Applying lens profiles is optional in Lightroom and other Adobe products. Then there's Capture One, and so on.
 

dilbert

EOS 90D
Aug 12, 2010
119
96
I’m curious what a Raw picture would look like de-Bayered but linear rather than logarithmic.

If you want to play with raw images like that, I think RawTherapp?

There's some tools around that will let you extract the R, B, G1 and G2 images separately from the .CR2 file - my understanding is that CR2 is not a 4 color channel image but a container for four images with image representing one of the 4 channels.

I think DPP and Lightroom also have a "linear" color profile option.
 
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Aug 7, 2018
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Applying lens profiles is optional in Lightroom and other Adobe products. Then there's Capture One, and so on.
Yes, that is the case so far, but that could change now or later as we enter the era where the image is even corrected in the viewfinde. What if Canon offers Lightroom the exact correction data (which Adobe otherwise would have to find on their own) in return for a correction that happens even before hitting the lens profile checkmark?

It is strange that no Youtube review I saw so far mentions that distortion. Are they not aware of it, because they use DDP or are they just ignoring it?

I am very much looking forward to third party glass for the RF mount. I am sure Sigma and Tamron will come up with great lenses. They arlready have some for the E-mount and it should be possible to make RF-mount versions. I hope they find a way that their IS works together with the IBIS and also achieves seven or eight stops. Othewise they will have a huge disadvantage compared to native Canon lenses.

Canon should make it possible to turn off the distortion correction in the EVF, because in some situations people might want that curved look and they still want to preview the image in the EVF.
 
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Aug 7, 2018
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I found Canon JPEGs unusable in both 1D series cameras I owned so far. No matter how I change the settings, there seems to be some kind of noise reduction always applied even if you turn off all noise reduction. The images look like wrapped into plastic. I decided to only use them for previews.