Canon's 35mm f/1.4, 35mm f/2, and 35mm f/2.8 Lenses Compared

Canon has three strong options for the 35mm focal length. Which is the right one for you?

Last time around, David Flores showed us the differences between Canon’s lineup of portrait-friendly 85mm prime lenses. In his latest video, we take a good look at the Canon 35mm lens lineup.

With the 35mm range, there are some caveats that might make selection a little bit easier if you know what you want in a lens. For instance, the 35mm f/2 and 35mm f/2.8 have image stabilization, whereas the f/1.4 model does not. The 35mm f/2.8 is a macro lens with a maximum reproduction ratio of 1:1, and as an EF-S lens it only mounts on Canon’s crop-sensor cameras (and also therefore creating images that are more like 56mm equivalent). The 35mm f/1.4 has full-time focus manual override, and being an L-series lens, it has the highest grade of materials, optical design, and sealing compared to the other two. As you can see, each lens fits certain roles better than others, and then once price comes in to factor, the decision may be clearer than you once thought.

Check out the video above for sample images taken with each lens. What is your Canon 35mm of choice?

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Tony Tumminello's picture

If all of my Canon glass disappeared right here and now, the first lens I would buy back is my 35mm f2 IS USM due to its versatility. Huge improvement over the original 35mm f2 which sounded like it was being powered by a swarm of angry hornets every single time it focused, and the stabilization is certainly nice to have as well.

Richard Bradbury's picture

I have to agree re the angry hornets but that little 35 F2 was a belting lens. Owned two of them but have now moved the the Canon 35 F1.4 L II which is just insanely good.

Tony Tumminello's picture

I'm hoping we get a 35mm f1.4L II at work eventually, but it's not something that I need for my personal work. It's the exact same story regarding my 85mm: for me the f1.8 is perfect for personal stuff...but it's soooooo nice using the f1.4L IS at work. In fact, my 85mm f1.8 USM would be the second lens that I would replace :)

Richard Bradbury's picture

I run the 85 F1.8 USM also. Great little lens and it's my most used one for head shots and portraits. Not tried the 85 1.4 L yet and frankly don't want to.. i have spent enough over the last two months :)

Jonathan Brady's picture

Switched to Sony... REALLY miss the 35/1.4L II. Seriously. It's the only lens I TRULY miss. It was unbelievable.

Got a loner 35mm 1.4 II from CPS a few years back. That lens is disgusting beautiful