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Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM review: New benchmark for open-aperture performance

By Kevin Carter - Friday October 30 2015

Lens Review
Introduction | Good uniformity and low CA | Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM versus Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM versus Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM: Excellent optical quality | Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM versus Carl Zeiss Distagon T 35mm f/1.4 ZE Canon versus Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM A Canon: Excellent performance wide open | Conclusion
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM review: New benchmark for open-aperture performance

Early in the year Canon updated its high-speed 35mm f/1.4 L series prime, which is the first revamp of this model since the original was introduced in 1998.  Read on to find out how well this new lens performs.

Specifications and Features

Announced towards the end of August this year, the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM is the long-awaited update to the highly-regarded original model from 1998. Where the earlier model had just the one aspherical surface in its 11-element design (albeit with a highly desirable floating system), this second generation model has two aspheres and adds two UD glass elements. In addition, this lens debuts what Canon is calling Blue Spectrum Refractive (BR) optics. Although Canon remains tight-lipped, the company has stated that BR is a composite of organic material sandwiched between two glass elements. The new tech has been specifically introduced to counter the refractioneffects of the shorter wavelengths of light that result in the blue fringing seen in longitudinal chromatic aberration. 

The new lens has sub-wavelength and fluorine coatings, a rounded iris with 9 blades, and weatherproof construction. And as with previous models, it has a sonic-type AF motor with what Canon calls full-time manual override. It has a minimum focus distance of 11” (28cm) and large a 72mm filter diameter. The lens measures 3.17 x 4.15” (87.6 x 105.5mm) and weighs 1.67 lb (760g). It is available for pre-order at around $1799 (USD).

Good uniformity and low CA

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM versus Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM versus Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM: Excellent optical quality

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM versus Carl Zeiss Distagon T 35mm f/1.4 ZE Canon versus Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM A Canon: Excellent performance wide open

Conclusion