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Products >> All Products In Focus: Key Specifications of RF Lenses- Part5

RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM: The Final Piece in the RF Lens f/4 Zoom Trinity

On 29 June 2021, Canon announced the RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM, a new ultra-wide-angle lens for the RF mount. As its name suggests, the lens boasts a wide-angle end of 14mm, perfect not just for capturing grand landscapes in their full glory, but also for making use of perspective to create uniquely impactful images. Combined with the sharpness and excellent image quality characteristic of an RF lens, this is one lens that can be harnessed in an unexpectedly wide variety of scenes, and it completes the highly portable RF mount f/4 zoom lens trinity.

1) Wider, closer, lighter: An ultra-wide-angle lens that starts at 14mm
2) Unique wide-angle portraits at f/4
3) Up to 7 stops’ image stabilisation
4) Fast, seamless AF with Nano USM; wide-angle macro capabilities
5) Combining optical and digital aberration corrections for improved image quality
6) L-series durability and reliability
7) The RF mount f/4L zoom trinity: Covering 14mm to 200mm
8) Key specifications
9) Sample images

 

Wider, closer, lighter: An ultra-wide-angle lens that starts at 14mm

EOS R5/ RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 14mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/8, 1/40 sec, EV -1)/ ISO 200/ WB: Daylight

The RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM is Canon’s second ultra-wide-angle zoom lens for the RF mount, with the first being the RF15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM.


Keeping the maximum aperture at f/4 enables a smaller, lighter, and relatively more affordable lens design while maintaining the high image quality expected of an L-series lens. For this reason, the f/4 zoom trinity for the EF mount, consisting of a wide-angle zoom lens, a standard zoom lens, and a telephoto zoom lens, proved popular among professional and advanced enthusiast photographers who prioritise portability. The release of the RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM joins the existing RF24-105mm f/4L IS USM and the RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM, completing the f/4L trinity for the RF mount.

Learn more about the history of Canon’s f/4L zoom lenses here

 

Size and weight compared to the EF mount version


The RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM and EOS R6 combination is around 14% (26mm) shorter and 12% (162g) lighter compared to the EOS 6D Mark II and EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM, even while providing an angle of view that is up to 2mm wider.

An extra 2mm at the wide-angle end can mean a lot, as this illustration demonstrates. Being able to include more in the same frame not only means capturing more of grand landscapes, it also means more flexibility to frame what you need even in tight interior spaces where you can’t move any further back.

 

Unique wide-angle portraits at f/4

Most people will associate ultra-wide-angle lenses with landscape photography, but you can also use them to create unique portraits. The perspective exaggeration effect at the wide end makes elements close to the lens appear larger whereas those further away from the lens appear smaller, and this can be harnessed for portraiture by shooting low angle to make a subject’s face look smaller, or high angle to make a subject’s chin look slimmer.

 

14mm

EOS R5/ RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 14mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/4, 1/250 sec, EV +0.3)/ ISO 200/ WB: Auto

The perspective exaggeration effect at 14mm makes the model’s face look smaller, and this, together with the natural-looking bokeh at f/4, results in a unique-looking portrait.

35mm

EOS R5/ RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 35mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/4, 1/640 sec, EV +0.7)/ ISO 400/ WB: Auto

Shooting with the 35mm long end of the lens includes details of the background, providing more contextual information. At the same time, the natural-looking bokeh at f/4 provides enough separation to make the subject stand out.

 

Up to 7 stops’ image stabilisation

The RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM is equipped with an optical image stabilizer (Optical IS) that achieves up to 5.5 shutter speed stops’ equivalent image stabilisation*. When combined with a camera that features in-body image stabilisation (In-Body IS), such as the EOS R5 or EOS R6, the Optical IS and In-Body IS coordinate (Coordinated Control IS) to achieve enhanced image stabilisation of up to 7 shutter speed stops’ equivalent*.

EOS R/RP
EOS R5/R6
Optical IS
Optical IS
In-Body IS
Up to 5.5 stops
Up to 7 stops

*According to CIPA standards (yaw and pitch directions). At focal length 35mm


EOS R5 @ 4 sec (IS OFF)


EOS R5 @ 4 sec (IS ON)

 

Handheld nightscapes and slow shutter photography—no tripod needed!

EOS R5/ RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 35mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/10, 1.3 sec, EV -0.3)/ ISO 100/ WB: Daylight


A well-known rule of thumb states that to ensure sharp images, the shutter speed should be set no slower than 1/x, where x is the focal length used. Under this rule, a photographer can go as slow as 1/14 second when shooting at 14mm and still avoid camera shake, which causes many photographers to believe that image stabilisation is unnecessary on ultra-wide-angle lenses.

But can you imagine the possibilities that powerful image stabilisation capabilities would bring to ultra-wide-angle shooting? Cleaner, low ISO speed images in low light would be one; the benefits of shooting handheld slow shutter images would be another.

Take the above image of a flowing stream for example. 5.5 stops of image stabilisation means that instead of spending time and effort setting up a tripod, you can now take advantage of the mobility that comes with shooting handheld to experiment with different angles and compositions. You still get sharp slow shutter images, but with an enormous expansion in possibilities for creative expression.

 

Fast, seamless AF with Nano USM; wide-angle macro capabilities

The large diameter and short back focus of the RF mount enables greater flexibility in designing the rear of the lens. Thanks to that, the RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM is able to employ a rear focus system, where rear lens elements are moved to focus. This not only enables a shorter closest focusing distance but also minimise focus breathing when shooting video.

The AF on the RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM is driven by a Nano USM, which is capable of not only fast AF acquisition when shooting stills, but also seamless subject tracking when shooting video. The Nano USM makes the entire focusing lens group lighter, thus realising an AF system that is fast and highly responsive with excellent precision control. This makes the RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM a worthy choice for both stills and video shooting.


EOS R5/ RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 35mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/4, 1/200 sec, EV -1)/ ISO 100/ WB: Daylight

The adoption of a rear focus system realises a closest focusing distance of just 20cm over the entire zoom range. The 0.38x maximum magnification, achieved at the 35mm end, provides wide-angle macro, where small subjects such as flowers and ferns fill the frame together with their background context.

 

Combining optical and digital aberration corrections for improved image quality

The RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM includes 2 aspherical lenses, 2 UD lenses, and 1 aspherical UD lens to correct lens aberrations. At the same time, the high-speed communication capabilities of the RF mount are also harnessed, allowing real-time digital aberration correction to be conducted on the camera side. These effectively compensate not just aberrations, but the distortions that occur at the 14mm ultra-wide-angle end, resulting in clear, high-quality images.

During ultra-wide-angle shooting, strong light sources such as the sun are more likely to end up in the frame, increasing the likelihood of ghosting and flaring. To combat this, the RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM is equipped with Subwavelength Structure Coating (SWC) and Air Sphere Coating (ASC), two special coatings that have higher anti-reflective capabilities than ordinary lens coatings, thus effectively reducing ghosting and flaring.

 

A: Aspherical lens elements
B: UD lens elements
C: Aspherical UD lens
D: SWC
E: ASC

Notes:
- In order to use this lens with the EOS R or EOS RP, a compatible version of firmware is required.
- Due to the specifications of this lens, multiple exposure shooting is not supported on the EOS R5 / R6 / R / Ra / RP.
- To display images show on this lens, a compatible version of your post-processing software is required.

 

L-series durability and reliability

As an L-series lens, the RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM is built for durability and reliability, catering to the needs of professional users. Moving parts such as rings and switches are weather-sealed, and the lens adopts the signature L-lens dust- and drip-resistant design. Smudge-resistant fluorine coating on the frontmost element prevents dust and dirt from sticking and allows them to be easily wiped off with a cleaning cloth.

 

Dust- and drip-resistant construction

Fluorine coating

 

The RF mount f/4L zoom trinity: Covering 14mm to 200mm

As the RF mount’s f/4 zoom trinity, the RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM, RF24-105mm f/4L IS USM, and RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM together cover a focal length range that starts from ultra-wide-angle 14mm to telephoto 200mm—up to 320mm if you count the extra reach with the 1.6x (APS-C) crop mode on the EOS R system cameras. As these are fixed aperture lenses, the maximum aperture stays at f/4 regardless of the focal length. This maximum aperture also reduces the aperture diameter just enough to enable a smaller, lighter lens body without compromising the signature L-lens image quality.


Combining versatility, image quality, and portability

From overseas shoots to shooting spots that involve tedious hikes, there are situations where gear portability is a major consideration. In such situations, with their wide focal length coverage, relatively wide constant aperture, and professional-standard build and image quality in relatively compact and lightweight bodies, the f/4 zoom lens trinity will provide an excellent balance between versatility, image quality, and portability.

The RF mount f/2.8 zoom lens trinity weighs approximately 2810g in total, whereas the f/4 zoom lens trinity weights about 30% less—approximately 1935g. The f/4L lenses are also much smaller, which means that they fit more easily into your camera bag.

Bonus detail: The three lenses in the RF mount f/4 zoom lens trinity all share the same 77mm filter diameter, so that you don’t have to buy separate filters for each lens. How’s that for maximum convenience and portability?

 

RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM

Key specifications

Lens construction: 16 elements in 12 groups
Closest focusing distance: 0.2m
Maximum magnification: 0.38x
No. of aperture blades: 9 (circular blade)
Filter diameter: 77mm
Size: φ84.1 x 99.8mm (at focal length 22mm)
Weight: approx. 540g


Lens hood: EW-83P (bundled)

 

Sample images


EOS R5/ RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 14mm/ Manual exposure (f/8, 0.8 sec)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto


EOS R5/ RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 14mm/ Manual exposure (f/11, 30 sec)/ ISO 100/ WB: Tungsten light


EOS R5/ RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 14mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/5.6, 1/80 sec, EV +0.3)/ ISO 800/ WB: Auto


Learn more about RF lenses in:
In Focus: RF Lenses

 


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