Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Review

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens

Combine the ultra-popular 35mm focal length with an ultra-wide aperture and high-performing AF system in a professional-grade design, and photographers will say "yes!" The Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens is that lens. It is an excellent choice for general-purpose use, including full-body portraits, landscapes, and far more.

  • High utility focal length
  • Sharp image quality
  • Ultra-wide aperture
  • Fast, smooth, and quiet VCM and USM AF, with outstanding low-light performance
  • Professional grade
  • Aperture ring, lens function button
  • Compact, lightweight design, and moderately priced
  • Strong barrel distortion
  • Strong color blur at widest apertures
In-Depth Review

Ask a group of photographers what their favorite lens is, and the classic 35mm f/1.4 models will surely rise to near the top of that list. However, nearly 6 years into the Canon RF series, this model remained missing from that lineup, and certain is that I was not the only one asking for it.

To Canon's credit, the long-available Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens is an outstanding performer and easily adaptable to R-series cameras. So, technically, this need was covered.

Now, the Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens fills that glaring RF series hole. Its pent-up demand launched it to near the top, initially #2, of the best-selling mirrorless lens list at B&H.

Why such popularity?

The 35mm angle of view and ultra-wide f/1.4 aperture are tremendously useful, and the look of images captured with that combination is highly desired and much loved. This relatively compact lens's "L" nameplate assures optimal build and high performance. The VCM plus nano USM AF system offers extremely fast, smooth, and quiet operation, and great image quality is a top of the popularity reasons list factor.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Top

Focal Length

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Focal length is a primary consideration for lens selection. A specific angle of view is required to get a desired subject framing with the optimal perspective (or from within a working distance limitation).

How popular is the 35mm focal length? A look at how many 35mm prime lenses are currently available at B&H provides a clue to that answer. Hint: the number is much higher than you expected and is perhaps only exceeded by the ubiquitous 50mm models.

Why choose a 35mm lens? One reason is that this moderately wide angle of view invites a subject distance that creates a natural perspective and makes the viewer feel present in the image. This focal length is wide enough to capture the big scene but not so wide that people and other subjects are readily distorted by the close perspective invited by ultra-wide angles. It is often easy to sneaker zoom to the right distance to get the ideal 35mm subject framing.

The 35mm focal length is great for general-purpose use, making it ideal to leave on the camera for whatever needs arise. I often press the lens I'm reviewing into the around-the-house, walk-around, general-purpose lens role, and I love it when a 35mm lens is mounted. It works superbly for mounted and ready-to-use purposes.

Here is a 35mm f/1.4 sample picture captured with a different lens:

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Portrait Sample Picture

For similar reasons, the 35mm focal length has long been a first choice for photojournalists. Wedding photographers working in some of the darkest venues frequently use wide-aperture 35mm lenses. Portrait photographers like the 35mm focal length for full- to mid-body portraits and group portraits. This lens is a great choice for a walk with your friends.

The 35mm angle of view is inviting for street photography, and landscape photographers have plenty of uses for the 35mm focal length.

Sports photographers who can get close to their subjects (such as basketball shot from over or under the net) or want to capture a wider/environmental view of their events appreciate this focal length. The perspective invited by 35mm can make sports subjects large in the frame.

Parents love 35mm lenses for capturing their indoor events, and most pets will let you get close enough to capture a nice perspective with such a lens. 35mm is popular with videographers, especially for documentary work. Many medium and large products are ideally captured at 35mm.

With the ultra-wide f/1.4 aperture available, the night sky is an inviting subject for this lens, and those photographing the night sky frequently target the Milky Way.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens Night Sky Sample Picture

Again, that image was captured with a different 35mm f/1.4 lens, but it clearly illustrates the capability. Here is a backyard example.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Milky Way Sample Picture

While the 35mm angle of view is narrower than commonly chosen for this subject, the awesome result is that the heart of the Milky Way significantly fills frame. Relative to wider focal lengths, 24mm for example, 35mm requires a faster shutter speed to avoid star trails, and it provides a shallower depth of field, increasing the challenge of including in-focus foreground subjects in a starry sky image.

To visualize where 35mm fits among other common focal lengths, I'll borrow a focal length range example from a zoom lens review.

Focal Length Range Example

24mm | 35mm | 50mm | 70mm | 85mm | 105mm

The full list of 35mm uses is massive, limited only by our imaginations.

On an ASP-C/1.6x sensor format body, the 35mm focal length provides an angle of view like a 56mm lens on a full-frame sensor format body. This angle of view is slightly narrower than 50mm and useful for all applications this extremely popular "normal" focal length is used for. Those uses coincide with most uses of the 35mm focal length with slightly tighter framing or a slightly more distant perspective for the same framing being the difference.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Front

Max Aperture

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This lens's f/1.4 max aperture is nearly as wide as it gets at 35mm, and this wide aperture is a huge advantage.

F/1.4 allows a significant amount of light to reach the imaging sensor. Use that light to enable action (subject and camera) stopping shutter speeds in low light levels while keeping ISO settings and noise levels low. It seems there is always enough light for handholding 35mm at f/1.4.

Another advantage of a wide aperture lens is the background blur it can create. While wide-angle lenses are not able to create the strongest blur, 35mm f/1.4 with a close subject creates a shallow DOF, drawing the viewer's eye to the in-focus subject against a smoothly blurred background. Add artistic capabilities to this lens's list of highly desired features.

The following examples show the maximum blur this 35mm f/1.4 lens can create at the respective aperture setting.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Aperture Comparison Example

Notice the background blur at f/1.4 compared to at f/2.8 and other apertures?

The background is a significant percentage of many images, and when the background is not complementary to the subject (or even distracting), blurring it away is extremely advantageous. That capability is in this lens's skill set.

If there were no disadvantages to a wide aperture, every lens would have one. A wide aperture requires an increased physical size of the lens elements, which comes with the additional penalties of heavier weight and higher cost. In this case, those downsides are modest, and this lens is compact, lightweight, and relatively affordable.

If you are shooting under a full sun at f/1.4, you will likely need a 1/8000 sec shutter speed at ISO 100 to keep the exposure dark enough. Positive is that there is little action that a 1/8000 sec shutter speed cannot stop, but if the subject has bright or reflective colors, even a 1/8000 sec shutter speed might not be fast enough to avoid blown highlights. Some cameras have an extended ISO setting as low as 50 that can optionally be used in this situation, though dynamic range is impacted. Better still is that some cameras have shutter speeds faster than 1/8000 available.

Using a neutral density filter is a good solution to retaining the use of f/1.4 under direct sunlight when the shutter limitation is exceeded, and this is an especially good option for cameras with 1/4000 sec. maximum speeds. Stopping down (narrowing) the aperture is always an option for preventing an image from getting too bright, though stopping down negates the need for the wide f/1.4 aperture, and the subject-isolating shallow depth of field is lost.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Switches

As first seen on the Canon RF 24-105mm F2.8 L IS USM Z Lens, the RF 35mm F1.4 L Lens has a smoothly integrated step-less manual aperture ring, a feature primarily desired by videographers. With the ring in the A (Auto) position, the camera controls the aperture setting, and all other settings force the aperture to the selected opening in 1/32 steps. A spring-loaded Iris Lock switch holds the aperture ring in the A setting, avoiding inadvertent changes, or, in the manual range, locking out the A option.

Note that an EOS R-series camera model introduced in 2024 or later is required to use the aperture ring for stills.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Angle

Image Stabilization

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The 35mm and f/1.4 combination is usually handholdable without resorting to ultra-high ISO settings, and the Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens does not feature optical image stabilization. Omitting the optical stabilization system reduces the lens's size, weight, complexity, and cost. However, image stabilization is a very useful feature, especially when narrow apertures are needed.

Canon addresses that omission with IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization) in some of the EOS R-series cameras, and this lens has a high 7.0-stop hand-held shake correction rating with the EOS R3. In addition to reducing camera shake, the stabilized imaging sensor provides a still viewfinder image, enabling careful composition. Furthermore, sensor-based AF takes advantage of the stabilized view for improved accuracy.

With no IS switch on the lens, the camera menu must be used to enable or disable IBIS or check the current settings. This extra step is a slight impediment to working quickly, going from tripod mounted to handholding, for example.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens on Tripod

Image Quality

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The optical quality expectation for an RF L prime lens, especially one following the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens, was super high. Initially, we had Canon's theoretical MTF charts to consult.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens MTF Comparison

The black lines indicate contrast (10 lines/mm), and the blue lines show resolution (30 lines/mm). The solid lines are sagittal, and the dashed lines are meridional. The higher, the better, and that comparison tells a story.

The EF 35 II is optically great. Thus, its performance sets the bar high. In the precise center of the frame, that lens appears to have a tiny (imperceptible) advantage over the RF lens. The RF lens takes the advantage at 5mm into the image circle and holds a considerably bigger advantage in the periphery and corners. Still, the RF's dashed (meridional) line drops slightly in the corner.

The consumer-grade Canon RF 35mm F1.8 IS STM Macro Lens lacks the ultra-wide f/1.4 aperture, but it is far less expensive and adds macro capabilities. For this discussion, it is Canon's other RF 35mm lens. The results are as expected, with the L lens showing considerably better wide-open-aperture optical performance despite the 2/3 stop wider aperture.

The lens in hand enables the reality reveal. This lens produces excellent sharp f/1.4 results across the entire full-frame imaging sensor.

Stopping down to f/2 produces a slight sharpness increase in the center of the frame, and peripheral shading decrease improves corner contrast through f/4.

As mentioned, the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens is a high-performing lens, and the image quality comparison shows the two lenses performing similarly. Discerning a difference is challenging.

The resolution chart is merciless on image quality, so let's take the testing outdoors, next looking at a series of center-of-the-frame 100% resolution crop examples. These images were captured in RAW format by a Canon EOS R5 and processed in Canon's Digital Photo Professional (DPP) using the Standard Picture Style with sharpness set to 1 on a 0-10 scale. Note that images from most cameras require some level of sharpening, but too-high sharpness settings are destructive to image details and hide the deficiencies of a lens.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Sharpness Comparison Example

These results are excellent.

Next, we'll look at a series of comparisons showing 100% resolution extreme top left corner crops captured and processed identically to the above center-of-the-frame images. The lens was manually focused in the corner of the frame to capture these images.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Corner Sharpness Comparison Example

Count on samples taken from the outer extreme of the image circle, full-frame corners, to show a lens's weakest performance. Still, the f/1.4 results are excellent, and with the peripheral shading clearing at narrower apertures, the results are especially impressive.

This lens does not exhibit focus shift, the plane of sharp focus moving forward or backward as the aperture is narrowed (residual spherical aberration or RSA).

When used on a camera that utilizes its full image circle, a lens is expected to show peripheral shading at the widest aperture settings, and the previous test results revealed that this lens is normal in that regard. Expect just over 3 stops of corner shading in f/1.4 images. Peripheral shading drops significantly to just under 2 stops at f/2 and to about 1 stop at f/2.8. About 0.8 stops of shading holds consistent from f/4 through f/16.

APS-C format cameras using lenses projecting a full-frame-sized image circle avoid most vignetting problems, and in this case, the just under 1.5 stops of corner shading showing at f/1.4 may be visible in select images, primarily those with a solid color (such as a blue sky) in the corners.

One-stop of shading is often considered the number of visibility, though subject details provide a widely varying amount of vignetting discernibility. Vignetting is correctable during post-processing, with increased noise in the brightened areas the penalty, or it can be embraced, using the effect to draw the viewer's eye to the center of the frame. Study the pattern shown in our vignetting test tool to determine how your images will be affected.

Lateral (or transverse) CA (Chromatic Aberration) refers to the unequal magnification of all colors in the spectrum. Lateral CA shows as color fringing along lines of strong contrast running tangential (meridional, right angles to radii), with the mid and especially the periphery of the image circle showing the most significant amount as this is where the most significant difference in the magnification of wavelengths typically exists.

With the right lens profile and software, lateral CA is often easily correctable (often in the camera) by radially shifting the colors to coincide. However, it is always better to avoid this aberration in the first place.

Color misalignment can be seen in the site's image quality tool, but let's also look at a worst-case example. The image below is a 100% crop from the extreme top left corner of an EOS R5 frame showing diagonal black and white lines.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Lateral Chromatic Aberration Example

This image should only contain black and white colors, with the additional colors indicating a minor lateral CA presence.

A relatively common lens aberration is axial (longitudinal, bokeh) CA, which causes non-coinciding focal planes of the various wavelengths of light. More simply, different colors of light are focused to different depths. Spherical aberration, along with spherochromatism, or a change in the amount of spherical aberration with respect to color (looks quite similar to axial chromatic aberration but is hazier) are other common lens aberrations to observe. Axial CA remains somewhat persistent when stopping down, with the color misalignment effect increasing with defocusing. The spherical aberration color halo shows little size change as the lens is defocused, and stopping down one to two stops generally removes this aberration.

In the real world, lens defects do not exist in isolation, with spherical aberration and spherochromatism generally found, at least to some degree, along with axial CA. These combine to create a less sharp, hazy-appearing image quality at the widest apertures.

The examples below compare the fringing colors of the defocused specular highlights in the foreground to the background. The lens has introduced any differences from the neutrally colored subjects.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Spherical and Axial Aberration Example

While the colorful f/1.4 image may be aesthetically pretty, it is technically ugly, and the results at f/2 are only marginally improved. The color blur is decreasing noticeably by f/8, and the f/4 results are great.

Bright light reflecting off lens elements' surfaces may cause flare and ghosting, resulting in reduced contrast and sometimes interesting, usually objectionable visual artifacts. The shape, intensity, and position of the flare and ghosting effects in an image are variable, dependent on the position and nature of the light source (or sources), selected aperture, shape of the aperture blades, and quantity and quality of the lens elements and their coatings. Additionally, flare and ghosting can impact AF performance.

This lens features Canon's SSC (Super Spectra Coating), and ASC (Air Sphere Coating), an ultra-low refractive index coating consisting of air and silicon dioxide, to combat flare and ghosting, and the moderate 14-element count is helpful in this regard. This lens produced practically no flare effects at f/1.4 and only modest effects at f/16 in our standard sun in the corner of the frame flare test.

Two lens aberrations are particularly evident in images of stars, mainly because bright points of light against a dark background make them easier to see. Coma occurs when light rays from a point of light spread out from that point instead of being refocused as a point on the sensor. Coma is absent in the center of the frame, gets worse toward the edges/corners, and generally appears as a comet-like or triangular tail of light that can be oriented either away from the center of the frame (external coma) or toward the center of the frame (internal coma). The coma clears as the aperture is narrowed. Astigmatism is seen as points of light spreading into a line, either sagittal (radiating from the center of the image) or meridional (tangential, perpendicular to sagittal). This aberration can produce stars appearing to have wings. Remember that Lateral CA is another aberration apparent in the corners.

The image below is a 100% crop taken from the top-left corner of an EOS R5 image captured at f/1.4.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Coma

While the stars show some stretching, they are crisply rendered.

This lens produces strong barrel distortion. Canon forces geometric correction in the camera (EVF, LCD, JPEG & HEIF images, movies) and in DPP, regardless of the lens correction settings. Processing this lens's distortion test images using third-party software with correction disabled reveals the true image captured.

The squares in the test chart filled the viewfinder during capture. There is a lot of extra subject in the frame, and the straight line at the top of the chart is rendered as a strong curve.

Every lens is a compromise, and reasons for designing a lens with uncorrected geometric distortion include lower cost, smaller size, lighter weight, reduced complexity, and improved correction of aberrations not software correctable. Geometric distortion can be corrected, including in-camera, using software and a correction profile, and once properly corrected, it is no longer a differentiator between lenses. However, the stretching required for correction can affect the final image quality. Base your evaluation on the corrected image quality.

As seen earlier in the review, it is easy to illustrate the strongest blur a lens can create, and wide-angle lenses are inherently disadvantaged in this regard. Due to the infinite number of variables present among available scenes, assessing the blur quality, bokeh, is considerably more challenging. Here are some f/11 (for diaphragm blade interaction) examples.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Bokeh Example

f/11 | f/11 | f/11

The first two examples show defocused highlights filled rather smoothly and shaped impressively round, especially for the number of stops between f/1.4 and f/11. The third example shows a full image reduced in size and looking normal.

Except for a small number of specialty lenses, the wide aperture bokeh in the frame's corner does not show round defocused highlights, instead showing cat's eye shapes due to a form of mechanical vignetting. If you look through a tube at an angle, similar to the light reaching the frame's corner, the shape is not round. That is the shape we're looking at here.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Cat's Eye Bokeh Example

The shapes in the f/1.4 image periphery show noticeable truncation. As the aperture narrows, the entrance pupil size is reduced, and the mechanical vignetting diminishes, making the corner shapes round by f/2.8.

When the diaphragm is narrowed, point light sources will show a sunstar effect (diffraction spikes). Each blade is responsible, via diffraction, for creating two points of the star effect. If the blades are arranged opposite of each other (an even blade count), the points on the stars will equal the blade count as two blades share in creating a single pair of points. The blades of an odd blade count aperture are not opposing, and the result is that each blade creates its own two points. This lens's 11-blade count times two points means 22-point star effects. Generally, the more a lens diaphragm is stopped down, the larger and better shaped the sunstars tend to be, and this lens produces beautiful 22-point stars.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Sunstar Effect Example

The example above was captured at f/16.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Design

The design of this lens, illustrated above, features 2 UD (Ultra-Low Dispersion) glass elements and 2 glass-molded Aspherical elements.

This lens's optical design drawbacks include strong barrel distortion and noticeable color blur at wide apertures. However, most of us will find the sharpness of this lens's images to be the overwhelming optical characteristic.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Side with Hood


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"VCM" in the name refers to the linear Voice Coil Motor, and the RF 35mm F1.4 L is Canon's first lens to feature a linear VCM. The RF 35 F1.4's 4-element focusing group is among the heaviest in a Canon lens, and the VCM, nearly as powerful as the Ring USM driving large super telephotos, was chosen for its high torque at low speed characteristic to provide the desired starting and stopping power.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens

It is not unusual for a lens to have multiple motors driving AF, and this lens also features a nano USM motor. A dedicated USM (Ultrasonic Motor), seen at the bottom of the lens, in front of the VCM motor, powers an additional independent lens element for coordinated movement with the main focus group.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens in Lens

The floating element design provides superior close-up optical performance.

This internal-focusing lens's AF is fast and accurate. As a "hybrid" lens, video AF performance was a key design factor, and this AF system provides the smooth and virtually silent behaviors necessary for high-quality movie recording.

While dim lighting slows the focusing speed, this lens impressively focuses in extremely dark conditions.

VCM requires power to hold its position, so expect to hear a harmless rattle when this lens is not under power.

FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing is supported in AF mode with the camera in One Shot Drive Mode, but the shutter release must be half-pressed for the focus ring to become active. Note that FTM does not work if electronic manual focusing after One Shot AF is disabled in the camera's menu. The lens's switch must be in the "MF" position and the camera meter must be on/awake for conventional manual focusing to be available.

The 35 VCM has an ideally-positioned, mid-sized, fine-ribbed rubber focus ring that turns smoothly with ideal resistance.

A non-linear focus distance adjustment rate is supported. A slow 330° rotation is needed for a full extent adjustment, and a fast 110° turn does the same.

With the R-series cameras, a linear adjustment rate, my preference, can be configured, with a 290° rotation.

It is normal for the scene to change size in the frame as the focus is pulled from one extent to the other. This effect is focus breathing, a change in focal length resulting from a change in focus distance. Focus breathing impacts photographers intending to use focus stacking techniques, videographers pulling focus (without movement to camouflage the effect), and anyone critically framing while adjusting focus.

This lens produces a modest change in subject size through a full-extent (worst-case) focus distance adjustment.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Focus Breathing Example

A single customizable control button is provided. With the camera set to continuous focus mode, press the control button to lock focus at the currently selected focus distance, permitting a focus and recompose technique. Or, customize this button to one of numerous other functions using the camera's menu.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Side

The ribbed rubberized focus ring is moderately sized and optimally located just forward of the center.

This lens has a minimum focus distance of 11.0" (280mm), where it generates a modest 0.18x maximum magnification spec.

ModelMin Focus DistanceMax Magnification
Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens11.0"(280mm)0.18x
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens11.0"(280mm)0.21x
Canon RF 35mm F1.8 IS STM Macro Lens6.7"(170mm)0.50x
Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Lens11.8"(300mm)0.20x
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens11.8"(300mm)0.19x
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens11.8"(300mm)0.19x
Sony FE 35mm F1.4 GM Lens9.8"(250mm)0.26x
Sony FE 35mm F1.4 ZA Lens11.8"(300mm)0.18x
Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens11.8"(300mm)0.20x
Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Milvus Lens11.8"(300mm)0.22x

At this lens's minimum MF distance, a subject measuring approximately 6.9 x 4.6" (175 x 117mm) fills a full-frame imaging sensor.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Maximum Magnification Example

The individual USPS love stamps shared above measure 1.19 x 0.91" (30.226 x 23.114mm).

While this lens produces sharp center-of-the-frame details at minimum focus distance with a wide-open aperture, expect the image periphery to be moderately soft due to field curvature. Stopping increases the depth of field which provides significant improvement in corner image quality. The extreme corners of the f/4 image of this scene are quite sharp.

Mount an extension tube behind this lens to significantly decrease the minimum focus distance and increase the magnification. As of review time, Canon does not offer RF mount-compatible extension tubes, but third-party options are available.

This lens is not compatible with Canon extenders.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Angle with Hood

Design & Features

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The red ring and the "L" in the moniker indicate this lens's inclusion in the exclusive Canon L-Series, the company's best-available, professional-grade lens models. These lenses are strongly constructed and ready for the rigors of daily professional use.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Product Images

MFD |    w/ Hood:  MFD |    Rotated   Compare »

Canon's small and mid-sized L lenses utilize engineering plastic construction. Their exterior barrels are slightly textured, which looks and feels nice. The straight exterior diameter of this design is comfortable to use.

The control ring is configurable for fast access to camera settings, including aperture, ISO, and exposure compensation. Note that the control ring is clicked by default, and its clicks are going to be audible in camera-based audio recordings. Canon offers a click stop removal service (at a cost).

The knurled control ring has a tactile difference from the ribbed focus ring.

Canon's AF/MF switches are flush mounted with just enough raised surface area to be easily used, even with gloves. This 2-position switch snaps crisply into position.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Rear Filter Holder

As seen installed below, a detachable rear bayonet mount gel filter holder is provided.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Mount

This holder supports a single filter with a thickness of 0.008" (0.2mm) or less. To make sizing easy, Canon provides a downloadable filter template.

This lens features a dust and moisture-resistant design.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Mount

The front of the lens is sealed, so a filter is not required to complete the sealing

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Weather Sealing

The front lens element has a fluorine coating that repels fingerprints, dust, water, oil, and other contaminants and makes cleaning considerably easier.

While the RF 35 F1.4 is not the absolute lightest lens in its class, it is nearly so.

ModelWeight oz(g)Dimensions w/o Hood "(mm)FilterYear 
Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens31.8(900)3.5 x 4.9(88.5 x 125.7)822019
Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens19.4(550)3.0 x 3.9(76.5 x 99.3)672024
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens26.8(760)3.2 x 4.2(80.4 x 105.5)722015
Canon RF 35mm F1.8 IS STM Macro Lens10.8(305)2.9 x 2.5(74.4 x 62.8)522018
Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Lens38.5(1090)3.5 x 5.4(87.8 x 136.2)822019
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens22.6(640)3.0 x 4.3(75.5 x 109.5)672021
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens23.5(665)3.0 x 3.7(77.0 x 94.0)672012
Sony FE 35mm F1.4 GM Lens18.5(524)3.0 x 3.8(76.0 x 96.0)672021
Sony FE 35mm F1.4 ZA Lens22.2(630)3.1 x 4.4(78.5 x 112.0)722015
Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens28.8(815)3.2 x 4.1(80.9 x 104.8)722019
Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Milvus Lens41.3(1170)3.3 x 4.9(84.8 x 124.8)722017

View the complete Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Specifications using the site's lens specifications tool for many more comparisons.

Here is a visual comparison:

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Compared to Similar Lenses

Positioned above from left to right are the following lenses:

Sony FE 35mm F1.4 GM Lens
Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens
Canon RF 50mm F1.2 L USM Lens
Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens

The same lenses are shown below with their hoods in place.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Compared to Similar Lenses with Hoods

Use the site's product image comparison tool to visually compare the Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens to other lenses.

The RF 35 F1.4 has 67mm front filter threads. 67mm filters are modestly sized and priced and extremely common, enabling effects filter sharing with many other lenses. A standard-thickness circular polarizer filter has little effect on peripheral shading, but a slim model such as the Breakthrough Photography X4 is still recommended.

As usual for an L lens, the hood is included in the box. This time, it's the EW-73F Lens Hood.

This petal-shaped hood adds significant front element protection from flare-inducing light and physical impact. The petal shape also looks cool, and a functional advantage of this hood shape is easier installation alignment (simply align the small petal to the top), though a round-shaped hood enables the lens to better stand on its hood. The ribbed interior avoids reflections. A release button makes installation and removal easy, and the narrow diameter keeps it compact, especially when reversed.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Case LP1219

Canon also includes a case with their L-series lenses, and the Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens comes with the Canon LP1219 Lens Pouch. While the drawstring pouch protects against scratches and dust, only the bottom is padded against impact.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Cap

Price, Value, Compatibility

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The Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens is moderately expensive. This price, compared to its predecessor's high price, sends the RF into great value territory. The RF lens's additional advantages will make it a great seller.

As an "RF" lens, the Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens is compatible with all Canon EOS R-series cameras, including full-frame and APS-C models. Full-frame imaging sensor models will automatically switch into APS-C mode when an RF-S lens is mounted. Canon USA provides a 1-year limited warranty.

The reviewed Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens was retail sourced.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Front on Camera


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While an RF 35mm f/1.4 lens was expected long before this one arrived, Canon had another high-performing option in their easily adaptable EF lineup, the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens

Differentiating these two lenses in the image quality comparison is challenging. The RF lens renders stars in the corner of the frame sharper. The EF lens has considerably less barrel distortion, and the RF lens produces less flare.

The Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM vs. EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens comparison shows the RF lens an impressive 7.4 oz (210g) lighter and modestly smaller, without a mount adapter factored in. Also smaller are the RF lens's filter threads, 67mm vs. 72mm. The RF lens has a detachable rear filter holder.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Compared to Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens

The RF lens has 11 aperture blades vs. 9, keeping stopped-down out-of-focus highlights round and maintaining overall smooth bokeh. It also has an aperture ring, control ring, and lens function button to its advantage. The RF lens has VCM and USM AF motors (far better for video) vs. Ring USM, but the EF lens has a slightly higher maximum magnification of 0.21x vs. 0.18x. Making the decision easy is the RF lens's much lower price.

The RF 35mm prime lens preceding the 35 L VCM is the 35mm F1.8 IS STM Macro. While these lenses are in different classes, professional vs. consumer and f/1.4 vs. 1.8, the comparison is still interesting. What do you get for the additional cost?

In the image quality comparison, the f/1.4 lens at f/1.4 is sharper than the f/1.8 lens at f/1.8, especially in the periphery. The f/1.8 lens has stronger peripheral shading at its narrower wide-open aperture, and the f/1.4 lens shows slightly more flare effects at f/16 and considerably stronger barrel distortion.

The Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM vs. RF 35mm F1.8 IS STM Macro Lens comparison shows the f/1.8 lens noticeably smaller and lighter. The f/1.8 lens extends with focus, uses 52mm filters vs. 72mm, has a 0.50x maximum magnification vs. 0.18x, and has image stabilization. The f/1.4 lens has 11 aperture blades (vs. 9) that create rounder out-of-focus highlights, has VCM and USM AF vs. STM, has an iris ring, and lens function button, and has better build quality, including weather sealing. The professional lens costs 3x as much.

For our next comparison, we look beyond the Canon brand to one of the highest-performing lenses available, the primary-spec-matching Sony FE 35mm F1.4 GM.

In the image quality comparison, the Sony lens is slightly sharper. It also produced less flare effect in the site's narrow aperture testing and has far less geometric distortion.

The Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM vs. Sony FE 35mm F1.4 GM Lens comparison shows the two lenses nearly identical in most regards, including size and weight. The Sony lens has 0.26x maximum magnification vs. 0.18x. The Canon lens has a control ring and a locking aperture ring. The Sony lens is modestly less expensive. Buy the lens that mounts on your camera.

Use the site's tools to create additional comparisons.

Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens Top with Hood


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The Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens brings the highly desired, high utility 35mm angle of view and ultra-wide f/1.4 aperture combination to Canon's RF mirrorless camera lens lineup. This long-desired lens brings nearly a decade of technological improvement to the EF 35mm F1.4 II, itself a high-performing lens. While the RF 35 L does not show dramatic optical supremacy over the EF II, all will welcome the RF lens's smaller size, lighter weight, and significantly lower price.

Expect this lens to remain extremely popular throughout its lifetime.

Canon indicated that this lens is the first in a series of hybrid fixed-focal-length lenses. Look for models with other favorite focal length and aperture combinations such as an RF 24mm F1.4 L and 50mm F1.4 L to arrive soon.

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Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens
Canon RF 35mm F1.4 L VCM Lens
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