Thursday September 9, 2021

Canon RF 14-35mm F4 L IS USM Lens Review


During a conversation with Canon’s engineers at the launch of the RF mount, it was promised that all RF lenses would have advantages over their EF counterparts. The RF 14-35mm F4 L IS USM Lens’s EF counterpart is the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens, and the RF’s two extra mms of focal length on the wide end are a huge and obvious advantage. In addition, even without a mount adapter factored in, the RF lens has a smaller size and a modestly lighter weight. The RF 14-35 also has a 1.5-stop higher-rated image stabilization system to its advantage. Having said this, Canon RF 14-35mm has its due share of advantages.

We consider Canon RF 14-35mm to be an ultra-wide-angle zoom lens an essential part of your kit. They rarely go anywhere without such a lens in the bag. When light weight, compact size, and moderate price are important! Those attributes frequently are for a lens in this class, the Canon RF 14-35mm F4 L IS USM Lens rises to the top of the ultra-wide-angle zoom lens shortlist.

In simple words, the remarkable focal length range, reaching from 14mm all the way to 35mm, increases the versatility of this lens. Additionally, it has excellent performing Nano USM AF and image stabilization along with this lens’s impressive optical quality. The other candidates on the list simply fall away!

Canon RF 14-35mm Features

The RF 14-35’s image quality is excellent, the Nano USM AF system is silent, very fast, and accurate, and the L-series build quality promises to hold up to the rigors of constant use. Those features, along with the versatility that this lens provides, make the Canon RF 14-35mm F4 L IS USM Lens a great ultra-wide-angle zoom lens choice.

Canon’s earliest RF mount lenses set the image quality bar very high, and the RF 14-35 does not disappoint in that regard. The EF 16-35mm f/4L IS lens is optically stellar, but, remarkably, the RF 14-35mm F4 L modestly outperforms it in most comparisons.

Canon RF 14-35mm F4 L IS USM Lens Top View

Focal Length of Canon RF 14-35mm

Note that covering the 14-35mm focal length range in a single full-frame lens is remarkable. While other full-frame zoom lenses cover 14mm or even wider, none of them reach the ultra-popular 35mm focal length on the long end. Other full-frame zoom lenses reach 35mm on the long end, but even the sibling Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens does not reach 14mm. At small number focal lengths, even one mm is a significant percentage change, making a substantial difference in the realized angle of view.

Which photography genre will you use it for?

While astro-photographers arguably have the largest subjects (this lens lacks the ultra-wide aperture ideal for that use), landscape photography is also a great answer to that question. It’s a big world, and the 14-35mm focal length range is a perfect choice for capturing the beauty of our planet. This lens gives us reason to go out and enjoy the great outdoors.

Another genre of photography with huge subjects, often including some landscape, is real estate photography, and this lens is a solid interior and exterior choice for this use. Directly related to real estate photography is architecture photography. This lens will take in massive structures even when a short working distance is available.

While a close-up wide-angle perspective can look amazing in a landscape scene, it is generally to be avoided when a person is the primary subject. We do not typically look at a person from really close distances, and if we do, that person becomes uncomfortable with us being in their personal space (and even more so when a camera is in hand). When we look at photos of people captured from very close distances, certain body parts (usually the nose) start to look humorously (to some) large. Unique portrait perspectives can be fun, but this technique should not be overused as it quickly gets old. Get the telephoto lens out for your tightly framed portraits.

Canon RF 14-35mm F4 L IS USM Lens Front View

Canon Aperture

Because the aperture is measured as a ratio of lens opening to focal length, the focal length must be taken into consideration when assessing how wide a lens’s aperture can open. At 600mm, f/4 is a massive opening. In a 14-35mm lens, f/4 is relatively narrow, and this lens was designed to take advantage of the small size, light weight, and lower cost advantages.

Especially in the ultra-wide-angle zoom focal length range, wide apertures are not always needed.

Motion blur is caused when subject details cross over imaging sensor pixels during the exposure. Although this lens can be used with a very close subject rendered large in the frame, lenses such as this one are often used at normal (or even long) subject distances. The low magnification means those subjects’ details more readily stay in their pixels, permitting the longer exposures required to compensate for the narrower aperture still deliver sharp results, free of subject or camera motion blur.

Many of the uses for this lens mandate a narrower aperture, such as f/8 or f/11, to keep everything in the frame sharp, and photographers concentrating on landscape, architecture, real estate, etc. may seldom use the f/4 option.

Still, f/4 reduces this lens’s capabilities modestly relative to the f/2.8 zoom lens options available in this class. Those photographing moving subjects, such as at sports events or under the night sky where light levels are so low that the earth’s rotation becomes a source of camera motion, may prefer a wider aperture lens to the increased ISO setting alternatively required.

Canon RF 14-35mm F4 L IS USM Lens

Image Stabilization

The image stabilization system in the RF 14-35 performs superbly. IS makes a very faint “hmmm” (even when switched off), though it is audible only from about an inch or two from the lens. Canon‘s IS systems have long been very well behaved, meaning that the viewfinder image does not jump and I do not find myself fighting against IS while recomposing or recording video. I see the image framing drifting only slightly while IS is active.

Canon RF 14-35mm F4 L IS USM Lens Side View


The combined performance of a camera and lens’s autofocus system is critical to realizing the potential image quality of the combination (unless manual focusing is in use). The Canon RF 14-35mm F4 L IS USM Lens receives a high-performing Nano USM (Ultrasonic Motor) driven AF system. This technology first arrived in the L-series with the Canon RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM Lens and is now frequently featured in other designs, including the Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens. The RF 14-35mm F4 lens’s AF system repeats the performance of these others.

Nano USM acts like an ultra-fast version of STM AF, combining the benefits of a high-speed Ring USM actuator with an STM system stepping motor’s quiet and smooth, direct, lead screw-type drive system. Like Ring USM driven AF systems, Nano USM focuses extremely fast – nearly instantly. Like STM AF systems, Nano USM focuses almost silently, with a faint clicking heard only when one’s ear is next to the lens. And, Nano USM lenses focus very smoothly, making video focus distance transitions easy on the viewer’s eyes. Even the lens’s aperture changes are quiet and smooth.

Price, Value, Wrap Up

The Canon RF 14-35mm F4 L IS USM Lens is not inexpensive. However, it is a professional-grade lens, and it is considerably less expensive than the RF 15-35 F2.8 model. For those wanting this level of quality, the RF 14-35mm F4 L is a good value. As an “RF” lens, the Canon RF 14-35mm F4 L IS USM Lens is compatible with all Canon EOS R-series cameras. Canon USA provides a 1-year limited warranty.

Canon RF 14-35mm F4 L IS USM Lens Front View on Camera

You can:

The Canon RF 14-35mm F4 L IS USM Lens is available for order at B&H | Adorama | Canon USA | Amazon USA | WEX

Rent the Canon RF 14-35mm F4 L IS USM Lens from Lensrentals.

Do give us your feedback, how you like the review.


Source: Canon Rumors, 15th Aug, 2021.

3 Responses

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