Canon RF 35mm 1.8 STM | Photoshoot + Review

Are you a photography enthusiast looking for a versatile lens that can capture stunning images in various situations? Look no further than the Canon RF 35mm 1.8 STM lens. This compact and lightweight lens is perfect for both professional photographers and hobbyists alike, offering a wide range of creative possibilities. In this blog post, we will delve into a detailed review of the Canon RF 35mm 1.8 STM lens, exploring its features, performance, and real-world photoshoot examples. By the end of this article, you will have a comprehensive understanding of this lens and its potential to elevate your photography skills to new heights.

Canon RF 35mm 1.8 STM | Photoshoot + Review

It is jumper and beanie weather here in Australia now, at least for the next week until it goes back to being hottest. I think it looks a little bit better with the backlight on, what do you guys think?

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What is up guys, it’s Mitch here, welcome back to the channel! If you’re new here, congratulations, here are some golf clubs for you for finding my channel. I make photography and filmmaking videos and I also occasionally get my microphone in the shot on these videos, so we’re just going to fix that up.

Today, I’m taking a look at the RF 35mm 1.8 lens from Canon. I’m really excited about this one because it’s actually the first RF prime lens that I’ve been able to take out and test with my ESR on a real shoot. I was able to take the 35 out on a Golden Hour Portrait shoot with my friend Knopf, and we were able to get some really nice images.

I really love the 35mm focal length as a standard walk-around lens over something like a 50, which I know a lot of people will consider a standard lens. Just because it’s a little bit more versatile, you can pull in a little bit more of the background, so I really love it for fashion, portrait, and wedding photography as well.

I want to say a special thank you to Direct in Brisbane, they actually loaned me the 35mm and trusted me with it for the day, so thank you guys so much, I really appreciate it. I’ll leave their link in the description down below.

I’m going to roll some behind-the-scenes footage that I was able to get, as well as obviously showing you guys the images throughout the shoot. I also brought with me the Tamron 35mm 1.4 SP lens, which is an EF mount and that’s like my go-to 35 at the moment. So, I thought it’d be interesting to compare those two lenses and see how they compare on image quality, focus speed, usability, all that interesting stuff that we care about as photographers.

I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the lens, what it was like using it, what I liked about it, as well as who I think it’s for.

The Size and Weight

I want to talk briefly about the size and weight of this lens because I think it is notable. One thing that I thought was really interesting was the size of the front element, which is actually a lot smaller than I was expecting. Not many fast aperture prime lenses have a front element this small, and as you can see compared to the Tamron, there’s a huge difference.

The Canon is 305 grams, which is even lighter than the EF 35mm f2, and a whole lot lighter than my Tamron 35mm 1.4, which is 815 grams, almost a kilo. The lens is also a really compact design, so this is obviously a major plus, you know, given the weight. If you travel a lot or if you just like to keep a lightweight setup with your equipment.

Bright Backlight Shooting

Here’s something that I always test with a new lens, which is shooting into bright backlight. I do love the occasional lens flare as well, so here are some photos I shot with the RF 35 and the Tamron directly into the sun behind our model. And as you can see, the Tamron controls the flares really well, there is some slight flaring in some of the photos which I think looks nice.

The RF lens, on the other hand, well, it has a lot. I was actually super surprised, I like flares, but in my opinion, these are quite ugly. The flares are not subtle and really nice looking like they are in the Tamron, but this is up to your taste. Let me know what you guys think in the comments down below.

Focusing Speed

So, this is one thing that I was actually really surprised about the RF 35mm 1.8. Given that, you know, it’s a native lens, it’s new technology, it’s also got the STM motor in there, it wasn’t actually as fast as I thought it would be. And comparing it to the adapted Tamron lens, I didn’t really notice a massive advantage in terms of focus speed or accuracy. Even in video mode, I didn’t really notice a big difference between the speed or accuracy of the focus tracking with the dual pixel autofocus between the adapted lens and the RF lens.

Macro Capability

For macro shots, I prefer a focal length somewhere between 50 and 100 millimeters. Getting a close-up macro shot with a 35mm, you have to put the lens really, really close to the subject and it’s always gonna cause problems with blocking your lighting if your lighting is coming from behind you, which a lot of the time it is. It’s just not an ideal situation. Also, I think that a wide-angle lens like a 35 pulls in just a little bit too much background for a macro shot. Because when you think about a macro shot, you really want to focus in on that subject and you want the background to kind of be less relevant. I mean, it is a unique look, it is a little bit different, but to me, I just would prefer a longer focal length for that reason. I don’t really see the macro capability of the RF 35 to be a massive selling point of this lens.

Sharpness and Image Quality

Talking about sharpness, you can probably guess that the RF lens is amazing. I don’t think Canon would have gone and created a whole-new mirrorless system with a new mount just to bring out subpar lenses. Fantastic image quality in their lenses is obviously something we’ve come to expect from Canon now, and the RF 35 definitely lives up to that expectation.

However, comparing it to the Tamron 35mm 1.4, the Tamron is a little bit better. I think that’s to be expected, being a much less compromised build. It’s larger, it’s heavier, has more glass, and obviously, it’s more expensive. It’s of a much higher caliber in terms of image quality, but that is definitely not taking away from the RF 35. Unless you’re doing any crazy pixel peeping or extreme cropping, you’re really not going to notice the difference in sharpness.

I did a shout out on my Instagram asking you guys what you wanted to know about the RF 35, and a lot of people wanted me to compare it to the Sigma 35 1.4, but sadly I don’t own that lens anymore since I replaced it with the Tamron. But what I did do was compare the Tamron and the Sigma. They were really, really similar in terms of center sharpness. If you are interested in seeing that comparison, I’ll leave it linked on the end screen, so just wait to the end of the video and you can check it out there.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations are fairly well controlled on the Canon 1.8. The purple fringing looks a little bit more noticeable to me on the Tamron lens than on the Canon, but there isn’t a huge difference between them. They both display aberrations wide open, and of course, these are fairly easy to get rid of in Lightroom or Photoshop.

For the last half of the shoot, I used the Canon and I was really happy with the photos we were able to get against this white wall with the yellow and white flowers.

You try putting both knees up. That’s wicked!

I usually show edited photos in my tests so that you can get a feel for the overall final result, but if you want to see some raw, unedited photos taken with this lens and take a look for yourself, then I’ve left a download link in the description.

I also did a video test to show off the image stabilization, so here are some comparisons with the…

Frequently Asked Questions about Canon RF 35mm 1.8 STM | Photoshoot + Review

1. What is the Canon RF 35mm 1.8 STM?

The Canon RF 35mm 1.8 STM is a prime lens designed for Canon’s full-frame mirrorless cameras with RF mounts. It offers a fast aperture of f/1.8 and a 35mm focal length, making it well-suited for various photography applications.

2. What are the key features of the Canon RF 35mm 1.8 STM?

The key features of the Canon RF 35mm 1.8 STM include:

  • Fast and bright maximum aperture of f/1.8 for excellent low-light performance and shallow depth of field.
  • Advanced STM (Stepping Motor) technology for smooth and silent autofocus.
  • Compact and lightweight design, perfect for everyday photography.
  • Optical Image Stabilization (IS) to minimize camera shake and produce sharper images.
  • Close focusing distance of 0.56 ft./0.17m for detailed macro shots.

3. Which Canon cameras are compatible with the RF 35mm 1.8 STM lens?

The Canon RF 35mm 1.8 STM lens is specifically designed for Canon’s full-frame mirrorless cameras featuring RF mounts, such as Canon EOS R6, EOS R5, EOS R, and EOS RP. It is not compatible with Canon’s DSLR cameras or other mirrorless systems.

4. What are the main advantages of using the Canon RF 35mm 1.8 STM lens?

Some advantages of using the Canon RF 35mm 1.8 STM lens are:

  • Excellent image quality with a wide aperture of f/1.8.
  • Lightweight and compact design for easy portability.
  • Smooth and quiet focusing, suitable for both photography and videography.
  • Optical Image Stabilization for sharper handheld shots.
  • Versatility in capturing various types of subjects, from landscapes to portraits.

5. Can the Canon RF 35mm 1.8 STM lens be used for videography?

Yes, the Canon RF 35mm 1.8 STM lens is suitable for videography. Its advanced STM technology ensures smooth and quiet autofocus transitions, making it ideal for capturing high-quality videos. The wide aperture also allows for beautiful bokeh and low-light video recording.

I hope you find useful my article Canon RF 35mm 1.8 STM | Photoshoot + Review, I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

If you need help with anything join the community or do not hesitate to contact me.

Best of luck! and follow your passion.

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