The Canon RF 35mm f/1.2L USM will be announced this year [CR2]

privatebydesign

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I don’t think story/emotion and composition have any relationship at all. You can have compelling images with ‘bad’ composition (or at least little thought to it) and you can have great composition with zero emotion.

Compelling images often benefit from ‘good’ composition, conversely some great images deliberately ignore any compositional ‘rules’.
 
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I can appreciate points being made in this thread about story/emotion... but in my humble opinion composition and probably to a larger degree, perspective, have at least SOME relationship with the story and emotion in a photo. Would a portrait of an emotionally charged face convey that emotion more strongly if framed tighter with features and expression clearly visible or would a full length portrait with other distracting elements competing with the primary subject do a better job?

It is also common to use a low perspective shooting upwards at a subject to convey power amd confidence... or a high down viewpoint looking down at a subject to help convey vulnerability.

Obviously I’m highlighting perspective/ subject distance but those two things are also directly tied to composition in my eyes. I’m sure there are many more examples...
 

privatebydesign

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Jan 29, 2011
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I can appreciate points being made in this thread about story/emotion... but in my humble opinion composition and probably to a larger degree, perspective, have at least SOME relationship with the story and emotion in a photo. Would a portrait of an emotionally charged face convey that emotion more strongly if framed tighter with features and expression clearly visible or would a full length portrait with other distracting elements competing with the primary subject do a better job?

It is also common to use a low perspective shooting upwards at a subject to convey power amd confidence... or a high down viewpoint looking down at a subject to help convey vulnerability.

Obviously I’m highlighting perspective/ subject distance but those two things are also directly tied to composition in my eyes. I’m sure there are many more examples...
Perspective is a foundational element to composition, focal length comes second to perspective. Focal length dictates the relative size of the subject within the frame, but the perspective dictates the relative size of the subject in relation to the other elements within (or not) that frame.

So I try to explain zoom lens use like this, walk around the scene to get your perspective, the relationship of the subject to other elements. Once you have the perspective you want use the zoom (or focal length) to frame those elements as desired.

Over time a lot of people end up finding specific focal lengths more pleasing, or they get their most compelling shots within a small focal length range, so gravitate from zooms to primes (specific genres excepted).
 

H. Jones

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Perspective is a foundational element to composition, focal length comes second to perspective. Focal length dictates the relative size of the subject within the frame, but the perspective dictates the relative size of the subject in relation to the other elements within (or not) that frame.

So I try to explain zoom lens use like this, walk around the scene to get your perspective, the relationship of the subject to other elements. Once you have the perspective you want use the zoom (or focal length) to frame those elements as desired.

Over time a lot of people end up finding specific focal lengths more pleasing, or they get their most compelling shots within a small focal length range, so gravitate from zooms to primes (specific genres excepted).

Very true. I always find it kinda funny when people say their photos and compositions are worse when they use a zoom lens.

I think one of the best lessons I ever learned was to look at a zoom lens as if it was a set of prime lenses, and choose my focal length based off the look I'm going for, vs zooming aimlessly to fit subjects in the frame. I think a lot of people can't fight the temptation of standing in one place with a zoom lens, and that's why they struggle to use them well.

If you look at the focal lengths I use my 24-70 and 70-200 at in Lightroom, you'll see the absolute biggest groups around 24, 35, 50, 85, 135, and 200, since I'm mainly using the zooms to accomplish a specific look. That said, I love my primes for commercial marketing work, since the wide apertures give great bokeh and subject isolation. But my zooms are a must on breaking news and sports when I can't switch from a 24mm to a 50mm in a split second and need to zoom.
 

Ruined

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If you look at the focal lengths I use my 24-70 and 70-200 at in Lightroom, you'll see the absolute biggest groups around 24, 35, 50, 85, 135, and 200, since I'm mainly using the zooms to accomplish a specific look. That said, I love my primes for commercial marketing work, since the wide apertures give great bokeh and subject isolation. But my zooms are a must on breaking news and sports when I can't switch from a 24mm to a 50mm in a split second and need to zoom.
I continue to struggle with the usefulness of a super fast 35mm prime, at least to the extent where it makes the lens substantially larger/ heavier/more expensive. f/1.8-f/2.0 is ok as can still be done in a relatively compact size, low weight, low price. But comparatively f/1.2-f/1.4 are much larger and heavier, at higher price with limited use cases for me at least.

I tend to use 35mm as a group portrait, street photog, or environmental lens. In none of those cases would f/1.4 or below be useful frequently as I'd want more DOF, not less, for those use cases. If I want individual portrait I'll use 50mm or higher. Yeah, you can find a specialty use for every lens and justify having it by a shot here or there. Like 24mm, I just don't find 35mm conducive to frequent f/1.4 and below usage; I'd rather have a smaller, less obtrusive prime that's slightly slower.
 

Viggo

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I continue to struggle with the usefulness of a super fast 35mm prime, at least to the extent where it makes the lens substantially larger/ heavier/more expensive. f/1.8-f/2.0 is ok as can still be done in a relatively compact size, low weight, low price. But comparatively f/1.2-f/1.4 are much larger and heavier, at higher price with limited use cases for me at least.

I tend to use 35mm as a group portrait, street photog, or environmental lens. In none of those cases would f/1.4 or below be useful frequently as I'd want more DOF, not less, for those use cases. Yeah, you can find a specialty use for every lens and justify having it by a shot here or there. Like 24mm, I just don't find 35mm to frequent f/1.4 usage.
Mine spent it’s entire life between f1.4 and f2.0. Only for studio work did it maybe occasionally see f5,6.
 

H. Jones

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Mine spent it’s entire life between f1.4 and f2.0. Only for studio work did it maybe occasionally see f5,6.

Same here. For portraits and weddings, I like the 35mm focal length to get physically closer to my subjects, or giver a little wider angle of view in certain situations, and while it's not the most bokeh you'll ever see, I'd rather have F/1.4 bokeh than have F/2.8 bokeh at that focal length. F/1.4 definitely makes images look a bit more special and magical.

F/1.4 is also a must when I'm shooting in extremely low light. I've definitely had assignments with my 35 and 85mm where they came out of the bag solely due to the light levels, since F/2.8 zooms would have me at ISO 12,800 or higher in some places.
 
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CanonFanBoy

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Same here. For portraits and weddings, I like the 35mm focal length to get physically closer to my subjects, or giver a little wider angle of view in certain situations, and while it's not the most bokeh you'll ever see, I'd rather have F/1.4 bokeh than have F/2.8 bokeh at that focal length. F/1.4 definitely makes images look a bit more special and magical.

F/1.4 is also a must when I'm shooting in extremely low light. I've definitely had assignments with my 35 and 85mm where they came out of the bag solely due to the light levels, since F/2.8 zooms would have me at ISO 12,800 or higher in some places.
One might or might not call this a specialty use. I bought the EF 35mm f/1.4L II for a specific purpose: Photographing my then just born grandson in a small and dark apartment. I didn't want flash to startle or distract him. At the time, I was using a 5D Mark III, so cranking up ISO wasn't a good option. The lens was fast, and allowed me to fill the frame with him a lot better than a 50 or 85 at close range at f/1.4 would have. Literally 20,000+ shots the first two weeks.

Could I have used an f/1.8? Probably. But Canon don't make no f/1.8 "L" in 35mm. Had f/1.2 been available, I'd have got it.

Better to have something and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
 
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Feb 15, 2020
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I have RF 1.2L lenses and rarely shoot them at 1.2. Around 1.6 is as low as I usually need to go. Shooting wide open is not the only reason to consider these premium lenses... Canon puts the most effort into these fast prime L lenses, you get things like blue spectrum refractive optics for less CA, more aperture blades, no focus shift issues (talking RF L lenses here, some EF L lenses weren’t great for this), better internal build quality and weather sealing and amazing sharpness at any aperture you choose to use.

I had an EF 85mm 1.4L IS with my 5D IV and also tested it with adapter on my R5 - the RF 85mm 1.2L was noticeably better at 1.2 than the EF lens at 1.4. Also a very noticeable improvement in CA control with the RF lens.

These premium 1.2 lenses aren’t often needed in a strict sense, but if you have the money to spare and want the best optics (and don’t care about size or weight). They are the ones to go for in my opinion.

I will either buy an EF 35mm 1.4L ii or RF 35mm 1.2L to round out my kit for more reasons than just the wide aperture. I already had an RF 35mm 1.8 and was very impressed for the price of that lens but sold it because the focus shift on my copy was not acceptable for my usage.
 

CanonFanBoy

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I have RF 1.2L lenses and rarely shoot them at 1.2. Around 1.6 is as low as I usually need to go. Shooting wide open is not the only reason to consider these premium lenses... Canon puts the most effort into these fast prime L lenses, you get things like blue spectrum refractive optics for less CA, more aperture blades, no focus shift issues (talking RF L lenses here, some EF L lenses weren’t great for this), better internal build quality and weather sealing and amazing sharpness at any aperture you choose to use.

I had an EF 85mm 1.4L IS with my 5D IV and also tested it with adapter on my R5 - the RF 85mm 1.2L was noticeably better at 1.2 than the EF lens at 1.4. Also a very noticeable improvement in CA control with the RF lens.

These premium 1.2 lenses aren’t often needed in a strict sense, but if you have the money to spare and want the best optics (and don’t care about size or weight). They are the ones to go for in my opinion.

I will either buy an EF 35mm 1.4L ii or RF 35mm 1.2L to round out my kit for more reasons than just the wide aperture. I already had an RF 35mm 1.8 and was very impressed for the price of that lens but sold it because the focus shift on my copy was not acceptable for my usage.
As far as I know, Canon has only made two lenses with the blue goo: EF 35mm f/1.4L II and the RF 85mm f/1.2L. I never understood why it is not used in the RF 50mm f/1.2L. Maybe in the next version?
 
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As far as I know, Canon has only made two lenses with the blue goo: EF 35mm f/1.4L II and the RF 85mm f/1.2L. I never understood why it is not used in the RF 50mm f/1.2L. Maybe in the next version?
You’re right! I just have a strong suspicion they will use it again in the RF 35mm 1.2L... it would be odd if the EF 35 1.4 had it but the RF 35 1.2 didn’t. But hey, who knows?

As for the RF 50mm 1.2L perhaps they felt it wasn’t needed? I only ever notice very faint CA at very wide apertures with that lens (backlit situations with black and white outlines - a true torture test)
 
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Ruined

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Same here. For portraits and weddings, I like the 35mm focal length to get physically closer to my subjects, or giver a little wider angle of view in certain situations, and while it's not the most bokeh you'll ever see, I'd rather have F/1.4 bokeh than have F/2.8 bokeh at that focal length. F/1.4 definitely makes images look a bit more special and magical.

F/1.4 is also a must when I'm shooting in extremely low light. I've definitely had assignments with my 35 and 85mm where they came out of the bag solely due to the light levels, since F/2.8 zooms would have me at ISO 12,800 or higher in some places.

Keep in mind though Canon also makes f/1.8 and f/2.0 primes at the 35mm focal length that are excellent, so f/2.8 zoom isn't the only other option.

One might or might not call this a specialty use. I bought the EF 35mm f/1.4L II for a specific purpose: Photographing my then just born grandson in a small and dark apartment. I didn't want flash to startle or distract him. At the time, I was using a 5D Mark III, so cranking up ISO wasn't a good option. The lens was fast, and allowed me to fill the frame with him a lot better than a 50 or 85 at close range at f/1.4 would have. Literally 20,000+ shots the first two weeks.

Could I have used an f/1.8? Probably. But Canon don't make no f/1.8 "L" in 35mm. Had f/1.2 been available, I'd have got it.

Better to have something and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

I have RF 1.2L lenses and rarely shoot them at 1.2. Around 1.6 is as low as I usually need to go. Shooting wide open is not the only reason to consider these premium lenses... Canon puts the most effort into these fast prime L lenses, you get things like blue spectrum refractive optics for less CA, more aperture blades, no focus shift issues (talking RF L lenses here, some EF L lenses weren’t great for this), better internal build quality and weather sealing and amazing sharpness at any aperture you choose to use.

I had an EF 85mm 1.4L IS with my 5D IV and also tested it with adapter on my R5 - the RF 85mm 1.2L was noticeably better at 1.2 than the EF lens at 1.4. Also a very noticeable improvement in CA control with the RF lens.

These premium 1.2 lenses aren’t often needed in a strict sense, but if you have the money to spare and want the best optics (and don’t care about size or weight). They are the ones to go for in my opinion.

I will either buy an EF 35mm 1.4L ii or RF 35mm 1.2L to round out my kit for more reasons than just the wide aperture. I already had an RF 35mm 1.8 and was very impressed for the price of that lens but sold it because the focus shift on my copy was not acceptable for my usage.

The thing is with me, I really try to weigh the PROs and CONs of lenses available and doubling up on primes of the same focal length is not something I like to do because it ends up just costing too much money and seems wasteful to me.

With that in mind, in my particular case I purchased both the EF 35mm f/2 IS and the EF 35mm f/1.4L II. Of the two, the one I went with long term was the f/2 IS. While it may be true the 35mm f/1.4L II can do 1.4 and has a bit better optics, it also is larger, heavier, and more obtrusive. I was not particularly impressed by the bokeh afforded by 1.4 vs 2.0 @ 35mm, and I did not find myself using either one wide open that frequently anyway. What really struck me, is that for my purposes the 35mm f/2 IS was actually *better* than the f/1.4L II. For street photography where I would mainly use this, sticking out in the crowd with a huge $2000 lens is not always the best approach and having less weight and size is definitely better. If you are just going to use the JPGs out of camera, sure the f/1.4L II has better micro contrast, less corner shading, etc, but that sort of thing can be easily rectified in post with RAWs from the f/2 IS lens. Although I haven't done extensive testing on the image stabilizer vs without, theoretically the IS in the f/2 lens should also help my motion shots of traffic come out sharper than if I didn't have IS. Yeah the L lens might have weather sealing, but I use filters to seal the front element & I am gonna do my best not to let any water touch my camera in the first place regardless, so that is of middling value to me.

When it comes to low light portrait photography at wider angles, with the desire to blow out the background, I generally use my 50mm f/1.2L . I feel this lens gives a lot more flexibility in framing people than the 35mm due to the 50mm focal length having far less perspective distortion than 35mm focal length (leading to less inadvertently awkward-looking photos), and also it does a better job of obliterating the background due to the longer focal length - and I've never found a situation indoors where 50mm was truly too long for a single person or small group. If I were to want a environmental or large group portrait, sure maybe then I'd use the 35mm- but I'd also likely be in f/8-f/11 for the environmental and f/3.5-f/4 for the group to keep things in focus. Yeah the L offers some nice specs that make it technically optically superior, but I don't find any of that as compelling as the small weight/size advantage of the 35 f/2 IS. The faster speed seems to be the true major advantage of the 35L lenses, and I just can't find a real use case for needing that speed in my photography for any focal length under 50mm.

On a similar note, after owning both the EF 24mm f/2.8 IS and the EF 24mm f/1.4L II, I also chose the f/2.8 IS as the better long term solution of those two as well for my uses at 24mm - landscape/environmental. While the L had better optics, it had worse sunbursts, unreliable autofocus, and again was much larger and heavier (important when taking landscape pics hiking) for little benefit - as again I'd be f/8+ most of the time at this focal length. So in my experience just because something is an L with technically better glass, doesn't always make it the best gear selection for everyone's use case.

Just something to keep in mind for those reading along to choose carefully as I know the L lenses can be very alluring, but very expensive! :)
 
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