Information on Canon EF lenses
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Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM wideangle lens
Marketed: 12.1998; Current Model
Except for the Serenar 35mm f/1.5 of 1958, Canon has never attempted in producing a 35mm wideangle lens with an aperture larger f/2.0. After 40 years of changes in the camera and lenses development, and with the current prevailing market trend which focuses development on various high performance zoom lenses; it was indeed quite unusual that Canon has quietly unveiled a few fixed focal length wideangle lenses during the late '90 - the sequence of event during that time was, as barely a year after the Company introduced a revised equivalent of the EF 24mm f/1.4L in 1997, an all new autofocus EF 35mm f/1.4L was officially announced in December, 1998. Partly, may be due to the fact the Company acknowledge it was a weak link in their EF wideangle lens group where Canon intends to strengthen their established status or simply possibly it was aimed to satisfy professional's request - whatever the reasons, Canon photographers now have an alternative to go for a fast speed, high performance wideangle lens as consideration.
When relates a fast speed 35mm f/1.4 wideangle, most people would associate it with the like of Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-M Rangefinder Lens, Contax 35mm f/1.4 Carl Zeiss Distagon T* MF and Nikon's MF-Nikkor 35mm f/1.4s. The Nikkor, was even once rated as the world top ten sharpest 35mm optical lense by an international photographic journal. But none of these rivalries have actually offered an autofocus version of their respective established trade names optic - not even when Contax N1 AF SLR system (download PDF 8.1MB) was officially debut in 2002 (till its termination of this project .. sad state) that Contax has any equivalent AF lens type other than permitting the use of an adapter as converter. So, one way or another, personally, I would think the realization of this EF wideangle was mainly aimed to take advantage of the sluggish responses of its rivalries in this highly competitive market place.
With the inclusion of this EF lens, Canon wideangles now each has a professional grade L-Series in each of the 24mm ultrawide, 35mm, standard view field of 50mm and stretching to medium tele-range of 85mm. Each category also has one or two consumer grade alternative(s) as supplementary to fit individual preferences and budget. If that is not enough, there are more than a dozen of EF wide-tele zoom lenses (as of 03.2006 14, to be exact) of various spec and price as alternate consideration for photographers to choose from.
Technically, sandwiching between all these EF zoom lenses, it really makes you wonder why would someone still prefers a fixed focal length wideangle. Well, the moderate perspective of the 35mm wideangle lens provides can be quite different from a zoom which can offer variable perspective via in and out zooming action. Although I would not like to associate or compare it with practicality nor functionality how a zoom lens can provide, but working with a prime lens has its purpose as well as can be very personal in interpreting individual perception through the use of a fixed focal length optic. I think neither it is fair to compare it with a 50mm's 63° angle of view (the 35mm provides twice the image area of the 50mm and compare it with a wider 24mm's 84° view where most often exhibits a more apparent distortion). The middle of the road field of view provides a very useful perspective while maintaining a close relation with the subject that you are shooting.
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Personally, I would think shooting (or owning, to be more precisely) with a fixed focal length lens can be of more challenging as well as more fun than a comparing zoom as it can make you move rather than like nailing your feet at the ground while zooming in and out to alter perspectives. One of the key element making it so appealing is its fast opening lens speed of f/1.4 - regardless at its closest focusing distance to infinity, it stays unchanged Its extraordinary light gathering power, indoor or outside in dimmest available ambient light, still enables you to shoot pictures without any need of any artificial illumination to retain natural, available light photography. For Digital SLR owners, when it is combining with the auto ASA/ISO - it will really bringing you go places without any necessity to carry an extra flash with you.
The EF 35mm f/1.4L is one of the three (as at 03.2006) selective Canon EF wideangles that carry with a familiar redline - where this class of Canon EF lenses are supposedly designed specifically for professional use and ensuring the best of current Canon optical innovations are within. They are made to last, delivering optical performance that can meet the high demanding standard and expectation of professional photographers. From external to internally, the qualitative aspect in its built quality is apparent even when you have it hold in your hand, it weighs 580g - a comparing EF 35mm f2.0 weighs only halved of it (210g) and it is even heavier than the Canon ultra wideangle, EF 24mm f/1.4L !. Optically, the lens construction is made up of a 11 Elements in 9 Groups formula with a ground Aspherical lens elements placed as the 9th element. The incorporation of the aspherical element helps to contain spherical aberration and distortion, common factor hindering development of fast speed wideangle lenses where ghosting and flare are minimized for extremely sharp, high contrast pictures. The optical group inside also has a floating lens element design, where the mechanism ensures its superlative image deliveries be sustained from its closest focusing distance stretching to infinity focus. The lens can close focus down to 0.3m (approx. one foot only) and delivering a Maximum Magnification ratio of 0.15X - perfect for some creative shooting potential at close focus range as its minimum aperture is a f/22 (a good feed as most fast aperture lenses usually has f/16). The filter attaching size is a fairly large 72mm, the filter mount is also a non-rotating type and provides easy operability with useful filters such as circular polarizer. Needless to highlight here, this USM also enhance the autofocusing and permits full-time manual adjustment of focus even during autofocus operation. NOTE: The optical system entirely comprised of environment friendly lead-free glass. Refer to a good lead on use of use of Thorium glass in the Nikkor early versions of the famed MF-Nikkor 35mm f/1.4.
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Photographer's Comment on Fashion Setup:- After a hiatus from shooting models for almost four months, I had a shoot with Naomi yesterday and this is the first shot I've processed from the session. She really was terrific to work with and I'm looking forward to other sessions with her in the future. Lighting was a 5' Octodome softbox as main off to the model's right with a small umbrella above the camera position as fill. I had another light with 20 degree grid pointing on the background and from behind and to the model's right was a halfdome strip light fitted with grid to act as hair and kicker light. - Eldor-
As the lens is more like an made-for-available-light wideangle, the use of 8-blades diaphragm projects a more natural blur on out of focus background, it the event of close focusing or for indoor portraiture, this is useful. Although it is also deployed with a flare-cut diaphragm, the use of a dedicated lens hood EW-78C which has a fairly deep pedal shades is also handy when shooting it with strong front projecting light which might project onto the front elements. This EF wideangle offers a natural approach to subject like a 46 standard lens and offers a wider field view for the background. The added angle of view and the brightness of its maximum aperture value of f/1.4 is the fastest autofocus wideangle you can possibly get in the market now and when the many zoom lenses loses their effectiveness in low ambient light photography, it will shines in its course. The potential applications are like indoor portraiture, snapshots, sports, candid, news/journalism, travels and even close-ups. This is the kind of lens once you have invested into one and will never dispose it later.
Technical Specification for Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM Wideangle lense: -
Type: - Autofocus lens type with manual focusing mechanism
Focal Length: Fixed focal length 35mm
Focus Adjustment:- Autofocus; ring-type USM with rear focus design
Manual Focusing:- possible via AF/M switch and electronic full-time manual focusing possible during autofocusing
Zoom Adjustment:- Nil. Fixed Focal Length Lens
Closest Focusing Distance:- 0.3m (1.0ft)
Maximum Magnification:- 0.15X
Drive System:- USM with full-time manual focusing
Distance Scales: Provided via window on metres/feet.
Angle of View:- 54° 38° 63° (horizontal, vertical and diagonal)
Aperture range:- f/1.4 - f/22
Number of Diaphragm Blades: - 8 blades
Minimum Aperture: - f/22
Depth of Filed Scale: f/4.0, f/11, f/22
Filter rotation: No
Filter Attachment Size:- 72mm front mounting
Lens construction:- 11 Elements in 9 Groups with an Aspherical lens elements (at 9th element)
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Extenders: Usable but not advisable.
Others: - Extension Tube EF12 (II) 0.54X-0.36X; Extension Tube EF25 II:- 0.97X-0.79X;
Diameter:- 79mm x 86mm (3.1" x 3.4"); Weight:- 580g (1.3 Ibs)
A mini Showcase
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Accessories:- Lens Cap/pouch E-72U (supplied ); lens hard case: LP-1214; lens Hood:- EW-78C; Soft Case:- nil. Gelatin Filter Holder (Hood) III- NC; Gelatin Filter Holder (Hood) IV:- 0; 72mm UV Haze; EF Adapter XL; Dust Cap E Rear; Gelatin Filter Holder Adapter III 72; 72mm Circular Polarizer; Macrolite Adapter 72C
Status: Current model (as at 03.2006).
Alternate Canon EF super wideangle Zoom: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM | Canon EF 17-35mm f/2.8L USM | Canon EF 17-40mm f/2.8L USM | Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L USM | Canon EF 20-35mm f/2.8L AFD | Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5~4.5 USM | Relative: - Canon FD 35mm f/2.0; 35mm f/2.8; FD-mount 20-35mm f/3.5(L) ASPH S.S.C or browse others from the Main Index Page of Canon FD lens Resources
External Link(s): -Mark Cho/Jon Huang's comparison among two Canon 35mm lenses with Sigma 30mm f/1.4; Bryan Carnathan's review at the-Digital-Picture.com; David Burren's lens hood guide; Photozone.com (with evaluative MTF analysis); William L. Castleman (www.wlcastleman.com).
<<<--- Specifically designed for APS-C Sensor Digital SLRs ONLY:
Sigma 30mm f/1.4EX HSM DC Reviews/links: Data center from Official Site; EPhotozine.com; Photozone.com
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