Canon just announced an awesome new mirrorless RF lens – the Canon 14-35mm f/4.
This is a huge release for Canon, in my opinion, especially for us in the landscape photography realm. Why?
This lens delivers a 14mm ultra-wide perspective, a reach through 35mm, it takes 77mm threadable filters, and all of this is packed into an ultra-lightweight, compact build.
I can’t overstate how important the 14mm focal length is for landscape photography. There are even times where I wish I had wider than 14mm. The downside of 14mm and beyond is that the lens almost always comes in a package with a bulbous front-element – which means no filters without a bulky attachment system.
This is a direct answer to Nikons 14-30mm f/4. I do not think Sony has something that is comparable right now, although they do have the super-fast 14mm f/1.8. That lens features a bulbous front-element and will not take filters though.
This is an excellent release from Canon and I am excited to get my hands on this lens.
Canon RF 14-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens
Price: $1,699.00 –Available August of 2021
- RF-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
- Aperture Range: f/4 to f/22
- Three Aspherical Elements
- Super Spectra Coating
- Sub-Wavelength Structure Coating
- Air Sphere Coating
- Fluorine Coating on Front Lens Element
- Optical Image Stabilizer
- Customizable Control Ring
- Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm
This lens looks great, all-around. Beautiful design, great features, an incredibly useful range. If you’re an RF user who enjoys landscapes, I’d recommend buying this lens.
I think it is more useful over the Canon 15-35mm f/2.8. I would rather have 14mm than f/2.8. The new Canon mirrorless models have great noise performance and I would not be concerned bumping up the ISO to compensate for that drop from f/2.8 to f/4. That’s a personal decision though, and you might find opting for the 15-35mm f/2.8 (which is excellent) makes more sense.
What’s the downside?
Well, like all of the R cameras and RF lenses, Canon’s pricing has been at a premium. This lens is available now for preorder at $1,699.00. That’s almost unheard of for a ‘f/4’ lens. Especially when you can find used EF 16-35 f/4 models that you can adapt for under $1,000.
This lens should be perfect though if the price tag doesn’t deter you. I’m excited to test this lens in the field but I assume it is optically perfect, like all of the RF lenses. The wider mount and flange distance implemented by both Canon and Nikon has allowed them to make some of the best lenses we’ve ever seen.
And it just means more exciting things in store for the future – we’re getting really unique and useful zooms and primes. For instance, this is the first 14-35mm f/4 and Canon’s announcing a RF 70-400mm soon as well.
I will be stacking this lens up against the Nikon 14-30mm f/4 when the Canon 14-35mm f/4 is released late summer/early fall to test performance. I expect the new Canon 14-35mm f/4 to be better, but it is also $600 more.
Outside of the great zoom range, there are a few other things that make this lens standout.
One, it’s compact size. This lens weighs 1.2 lbs and is around 3” x 4”, so it is very small and portable. It will free up weight in your pack and make a difference if you hike or backpack.
I will say, that’s impressive for a lens hitting 14mm on the wide end and 35mm on the long end.
I highlighted it already, but it takes 77mm filters. That means you can thread on your ever-so useful polarizer or ND filter without the need for extra holders or accessories.
These next few things separate it from the Nikon 14-30mm f/4.
It has a minimum focusing of 7.9 inches at all focal lengths. Why does that make a difference? It can be super useful for more advanced landscape techniques like focus stacking. It means you can get really close to foreground elements and still have the nearest element, like a flower, be in focus. For comparison, the 14-30mm f/4 from Nikon has a minimum distance of 11 inches.
The next big thing, it features image stabilization. The lens features 5.5 stops of stabilization, AND it can be combined with EOS R cameras for a maximum 7 stops of stabilization. That’s insane and means you will be able to handhold a R5 with this lens at really slow shutter speeds – I’m excited to test.
The Nikon 14-30mm f/4 relies on in-body stabilization, so around 5-stops depending on what Z series camera you’re using.
Overall, this will be phenomenal lens. It will be a little before we see true performance tests, but I really think it will be excellent and compete as one of the best wide-angle zooms.
Personally, it is making me consider making a switch to Canon. But the price tag is high and it’s the main deter for me. At the same time, you can’t argue the quality of RF lenses and Canon’s commitment to the R system.
If you’re a landscape photographer, the EOS R5 and 14-35mm f/4 will surely be one of the best setups you can have for the trade.
Matt Meisenheimer is a photographer based in Wisconsin. His artistry revolves around finding unique compositions and exploring locations that few have seen. He strives to capture those brief moments of dramatic light and weather, which make our grand landscapes so special. Matt loves the process of photography – from planning trips and scouting locations, taking the shot in-field, to post-processing the final image. Matt is an active adventurer and wildlife enthusiast as well. He graduated with a degree in wildlife ecology and worked in Denali National Park and Mount Rainier National Park as a biologist. He also spent 6 months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many beautiful places around the world. As a former university teaching assistant, Matt is passionate about instruction. It is his goal to give his students the technical and creative knowledge they need to achieve their own photographic vision. He truly enjoys working with photographers on a personal level and helping them reach their goals. You can see Matt’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.meisphotography.com
Don’t miss the next session of BCJ Live!
Image Review: Wildlife
with Russell Graves
Tuesday, October 12th, 2021
11 am – 12 pm Mountain Time