Find what you are looking for

or search by

Topics

Article
Article

Article

e-Book
e-Book

e-Book

Video
Video

Video

Campaigns
Campaigns

Campaigns

Architecture
Compact Cameras

Compact Cameras

Architecture
DSLRs

DSLRs

Architecture
Videography

Videography

Architecture
Astrophotography

Astrophotography

Architecture
Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless Cameras

Architecture
Architecture Photography

Architecture Photography

Architecture
Canon Technologies

Canon Technologies

Architecture
Low Light Photography

Low Light Photography

Architecture
Photographer Interviews

Photographer Interviews

Architecture
Landscape Photography

Landscape Photography

Architecture
Macro Photography

Macro Photography

Architecture
Sports Photography

Sports Photography

Architecture
Travel Photography

Travel Photography

Architecture
Underwater Photography

Underwater Photography

Architecture
Photography Concepts & Application

Photography Concepts & Application

Architecture
Street Photography

Street Photography

Architecture
Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras

Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras

Architecture
Lenses & Accessories

Lenses & Accessories

Architecture
Nature & Wildlife Photography

Nature & Wildlife Photography

Architecture
Portrait Photography

Portrait Photography

Architecture
Night Photography

Night Photography

Architecture
Pet Photography

Pet Photography

Architecture
Printing Solutions

Printing Solutions

Architecture
Product Reviews

Product Reviews

Architecture
Wedding Photography

Wedding Photography

Products >> All Products

RF35mm f/1.4L VCM: A Classic Recrafted for a New Era

2024-06-06
2
139

On 6 June 2024, Canon announced the RF35mm f/1.4L VCM, a new concept prime lens for hybrid shooters, following hot on the heels of the RF24-105mm f/2.8L IS USM Z. While the new lens realises optical quality on par if not better than the much-beloved EF35mm f/1.4L II USM, its operating features are designed with video shooters in mind, serving the needs of hybrid shooters who use both stills and videos as forms of expression.

In this article:

 

A lens that solidifies Canon’s commitment to hybrid shooters

As video content creation proliferates, the number of hybrid shooters who shoot both stills and videos increases every year. Canon swiftly addressed this trend by releasing a new concept zoom lens in November 2023: the hybrid extraordinaire RF24-105mm f/2.8L IS USM Z. The RF35mm f/1.4L VCM is an L-series professional-grade wide-angle prime lens that follows the same concept, delivering features that cater to demanding still photography and video production requirements and workflows.

As a still photography lens, it provides a large f/1.4 maximum aperture capable of astounding shallow focus effects (bokeh), excellent AF precision, and low light performance, together with professional-grade optical quality that caters to high-resolution still images. These are features that will endear it to still shooters, video creators, and filmmakers.

At the same time, it incorporates a clickless iris ring for seamless exposure adjustment during video shooting, smooth and quiet movie focus tracking, and optical focus breathing correction, providing excellent ease of operation on video production sets.

The RF35mm f/1.4L VCM is definitely a lens built for hybrid shooters, catering to the best of both the still and video worlds.


Feels like a cinema lens

When shooting video, the seamlessness of focus or exposure adjustments affect the final footage. The operating process matters more than a still photography shoot.

For example, panning the camera from a bright part of the scene to a darker one usually involves adjusting the aperture from narrow to wide to ensure consistent brightness throughout the entire clip. On lenses built solely for still photography, aperture adjustments are in 1/2- or 1/3-stop increments, which results in an obvious change in brightness with each adjustment.


Seamless aperture adjustments with the iris ring

The RF35mm f/1.4L VCM is equipped with an iris ring that enables clickless aperture adjustments1. When recording video, users can simply hold the iris lock switch at “unlock” position and turn the iris ring to adjust the aperture at much smoother 1/32-stop increments2.

The clickless design of the iris ring also has another benefit for video recording: quiet operations.

The iris ring will also support aperture control during still shooting on future EOS R series cameras released from June 2024.

1Aperture control on the iris ring is not possible during still shooting on EOS R series cameras released before June 2024.
2Operation of the iris ring during video shooting might affect AF subject acquisitiion. The f-stop displayed on the camera may also differ from the actual f-stop.

 

The rich expressive possibilities of 35mm and maximum aperture f/1.4

EOS R5/ RF35mm f/1.4L VCM/ FL: 35mm/ Manual exposure (f/1.4, 1/40 sec)/ ISO 100/ WB: 5500K

f/1.4: Larger aperture, greater creative possibilities

The RF35mm f/1.4L VCM's large f/1.4 maximum aperture makes it easier to create beautiful shallow focus effects/background bokeh that make subjects stand out from their surroundings, compensating for the larger depth of field inherent to all wide-angle lenses. Its 11-blade circular aperture ensures that bokeh lights remain smooth and round even when the aperture is stopped down.

The f/1.4 maximum aperture also enables you to use a shutter speed 2 stops faster than an f/2.8 lens, and 3 stops faster than an f/4 lens while achieving the same brightness, increasing flexibility in low light conditions.

These strengths also apply to video shooting, expanding your range of artistic expression.

When used with a full-frame camera, the 35mm focal length provides a wide-angle field of view that is close to effective human vision and doesn’t exaggerate perspectives aggressively. This makes it versatile for a variety of subjects ranging from landscapes, street snapshots, portraiture, and food photography, and even product photography.

When used with an APS-C camera, the effective focal length is equivalent to approximately 56mm on a full-frame camera, allowing it to be used like an f/1.4 large aperture standard prime lens.

 

Lens configuration

A: GMo Aspherical lens elements
B: UD lens elements
C: ASC

The RF35mm f/1.4L VCM consists of 14 elements in 11 groups. These include 2 aspherical lenses and 2 UD lenses that effectively correct various aberrations.

Both aspherical lens elements are GMo (glass-moulded) aspherical lens elements that can perform highly precise aberration correction, realising clear, high-quality images with minimal colour bleeding from the centre of the image to the corners.

The front and rear surfaces of the lens group are coated with anti-reflective ASC (Air Sphere Coating), which effectively prevents flaring and ghosting, keeping images clean even when strong light sources are in the frame.

 

EOS R5/ RF35mm f/1.4L VCM/ FL: 35mm/ Manual exposure (f/1.4, 1/250 sec)/ ISO 100/ WB: 5000K

From the image centre

From the image edge

 

The new VCM motor for AF: Swift, precise AF with higher image quality

The lens elements in the typical large aperture lens are large and heavy. As the cross-section shows, the glass lens elements fill the entire lens barrel. The RF35mm f/1.4L VCM uses the new VCM (Voice Coil Motor) to move these lens groups swiftly and precisely during autofocusing.

VCM is a high-thrust drive motor that converts electrical energy into kinetic energy via a magnetic field. The focusing lens unit is fixed to a coil, which is moved linearly along a magnetic field created by drive magnets.

As the RF35mm f/1.4L VCM uses an electronic floating focus control system, VCM is not the only drive mechanism it is equipped with. The floating lens group, which is comparatively lighter, is driven by the smaller, energy-saving Nano USM, whereas the high-thrust VCM moves the larger, heavier focusing lenses. Moving the floating and focusing lenses independently of each other gives more flexibility for the lenses to be moved to the optimal position, contributing to excellent resolution from the centre to the corners regardless of whether the lens is focused to infinity or close-up.


Electronic floating focus control: Meticulous attention to AF performance

Many associate high-speed AF with telephoto lenses, which are often used to photograph sports, wild birds, and other action scenes. With its new AF drive system, the RF35mm f/1.4L VCM, too, can autofocus extremely quickly. Its wide maximum aperture aids better AF precision and reliability, as is characteristic of the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system on EOS R series cameras.

The electronic floating focus control system also enables optical focus breathing correction on the RF35mm f/1.4L VCM, so the field of view stays consistent during focus transitions even if the lens is used on a camera without digital focus breathing correction. It is another signifier of Canon’s lens developers’ commitment to improving the lens’ ease of use for high-end video shooting.

In-camera focus breathing correction: OFF

The field of view stays consistent even without camera-side focus breathing correction.

In-camera focus breathing correction: ON

Framing stability is improved further when the camera’s focus breathing correction is turned on.

*As VCM generates a weak magnetic field, users with pacemakers or other implanted medical devices should move away from the lens and consult a doctor if they feel any abnormality.

 

Up to 7 stops’ image stabilisation on cameras with In-Body IS

While the RF35mm f/1.4L VCM is not equipped with in-lens image stabilisation (Optical IS), up to 7 stops’ image stabilisation* can be achieved when it is used with a camera with In-Body IS such as the EOS R3.

*According to CIPA standards (yaw and pitch directions). 

 

Other notable features

Rear filter holder (included)

In addition to 67mm screw-in filters in front, the RF35mm f/1.4L VCM can also take sheet-type filters on its rear with the bundled rear filter holder.

Lens function button

The programmable lens function button on the left side of the lens barrel can be turned into a shortcut for various functions. By default, it functions as an Af stop button.

 

Dust- and drip-proof design

With the various rings, switches, and other moving parts weather-sealed, the lens is designed to prevent dust and water droplets from entering, increasing its reliability.

Fluorine coating

Smudge-resistant fluorine coating on the frontmost element prevents dust and dirt from sticking onto the lens, and allows them to be easily wiped off with a cleaning cloth.

 

RF35mm f/1.4L VCM: Key specifications

Lens construction: 14 elements in 11 groups
Closest focusing distance: 0.28m
Maximum magnification: 0.18x 
No. of aperture blades: 11 (circular blade)
Filter diameter: 67m
Size: φ76.5 x 99.3mm
Weight: approx. 555g


Bundled accessories

Lens Hood EW-73F

 

RF35mm f/1.4L VCM: Sample images


EOS R5/ RF35mm f/1.4L VCM/ FL: 35mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/1.4, 1/60 sec, EV -0.7)/ ISO 800/ WB: 5500K


EOS R5/ RF35mm f/1.4L VCM/ FL: 35mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/1.4, 1/8000 sec)/ ISO 100/ WB: 5500K


EOS R5/ RF35mm f/1.4L VCM/ FL: 35mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/1.4, 1/200 sec)/ ISO 200/ WB: 5500K


EOS R5/ RF35mm f/1.4L VCM/ FL: 35mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/8, 1/250 sec)/ ISO 100/ WB: 5500K

Share your photos on My Canon Story & stand a chance to be featured on our social media platforms