Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens - Review
If you are looking for a lens that is somewhere between a wide angle lens and a more narrow focal length, the Canon f/1.2 35mm lens is a perfect choice.
This is actually one of the more recent lenses we have purchased – adding it to a collection that includes a nice variety of lenses such as a 24mm, 50mm, 85mm, 70-200 zoom, and so on. It is maybe a bit strange to feel the need for this given we have done more than fine with the lenses we already had.
However, this was a lens we saw over and over being used by other photographers - some we even look up to and take inspiration from, some who are wedding and portrait photographers like ourselves – and the 35mm continuing to be recommended highly as a must have lens.
In the course of the weddings and other sessions we have had, we began to see some areas where our lives could be made a little easier by just having a little more space in our frame.
The way we normally work together is that one of us will have a wider lens, while the other uses a tighter focal length. Pretty commonly – Jes will shoot with the 35mm (now) or our 50mm, while Chris will either shoot with an 85mm, 70-200mm (if needed), or the 24mm. This enables us to get a nice variety to our shots, but especially for Jes, using just a 50mm can seem limiting artistically – and can also force her to essentially stand in the same positions over and over again from shoot-to-shoot.
The Canon f/1.2 35mm lens immediately showcased its benefit to us as it is very versatile. It can be used for landscapes if that is something you’re into (we are!), but can also be a great lens for portraiture. Usually with the 24mm, we begin to see a good deal of distortion in our images, particularly around the edges of the frame. While sometimes this is cool and we like the portraits we have taken with this, the warping is not always flattering (can make a person look bigger than they are). Additionally, you will need to stand quite close to your subject if you are looking for a tighter shot with the 24mm. With the 35mm, we get more space to work with, some “breathing room” if you will, yet we don’t have the downside of unwanted distortion in our images.
It’s worth noting, the Canon f/1.2 35mm lens also outputs beautiful quality images. This is something we have come to expect based on our track record with using Canon prime lenses. The crisp and clear images paired with beautiful bokeh resulting from shooting with a wide open aperture (we commonly shoot at f/1.2 – f/2 ourselves in general), and it is easy to see how creating dream-like photos for the clients we work for.
After talking about a variety of different lenses already, it’s hard to write a review of this Canon 35mm without sounding redundant.
This 35mm lens works exactly as we expected, and exactly as we wanted, and is taken out at virtually every session and wedding we shoot these days. It is up there with the Canon 85mm f/1.2 as one of our favorites.
Highly, highly recommended if you are considering it at all as an additional lens for your camera gear kit, or even as an effective alternative to purchasing a 50mm lens – which, being honest, is more common for photographers to get.