Canon’s EF lens lineup is one of the best in the world. It has some of the best lenses a photographer can ever request. When we talk about the best 35mm lens for Canon, a bunch of Canon EF series lenses will always come up for discussion.
But some other non-Canon third-party lenses are perfect and can give EF lenses a run for the money. In this discussion, we’ll focus on a number of those lenses.
The 35mm is a versatile piece of optic and one that still shooters and cinematographers alike love. This is a great focal length for shooting various genres, including street, weddings, landscapes, astrophotography, and everyday photography. The reasons for owning a 35mm lens are many.
What are the best lenses for Canon?
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM
This is Canon’s top-of-the-line 35mm offering for this focal length and is one of the best in the business. Regarding 35mm focal length, this is also one of the most expensive 35mm lenses on the market and is easily in the ZEISS Milvus 35mm lens range.
The EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM is best for its performance though I must say not every photographer will be able to afford this expensive piece of equipment.
This lens’s most important feature is the fast wide aperture of f/1.4.
A full one-stop faster than an f/2 lens, this 35mm f/1.4L II USM lens offers outstanding advantages in low-light conditions. You can easily take this lens in dark conditions and shoot well-exposed photos without any issues.
Plus, the wide-open aperture is an excellent option for capturing cinematic footage by blurring the background and the foreground of the subject of focus. This is the sort of lens that cinematographers love to use.
The 35mm isn’t the best focal length for shooting portraits. But there are no restrictions as such, either. You can always shoot environmental portraits by keeping the subject in the middle of the frame and avoiding distortions.
Shooting small subjects like a ball, a ring, or something in that order can also capture a nice background blur.
This lens uses quite a bit of plastic components in terms of construction. Though at the end of the day, that brings down the overall weight of the lens.
There are a total of 14 elements arranged in 11 groups. This includes Blue Spectrum refractive Optics, suppressing chromatic aberrations, and color fringing. Then a pair of aspherical elements and one UD element have also been used that ensures that spherical; aberrations and distortions are suppressed, and the image quality is improved.
Finally, the lens features a Sub Wavelength coating that suppresses lens flares and ghosting improving contrast and better color fidelity.
The lens’s front element has been treated with Flourine coating to ensure easy lens cleaning. Being an L series lens, this lens is weather sealed for better protection against harsh weather conditions. Though if you want to seal your shooting rig completely, you must use this lens with a weather-sealed camera.
- The fast wide aperture of f/1.4 grabs a lot of light.
- A shallow depth of field is possible with this lens.
- Ideal for environmental portraits.
- Excellent lens for shooting cinematic footage.
- Ring-type ultrasonic motor.
- Easily one of the most expensive pieces of equipment you could lay your hands on.
- Doesn’t have image stabilization.
- Plastic-made body, yet heavier than usual lenses.
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art is a direct competitor of the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM. But the most significant advantage of the Sigma is that it’s less than half the price of the Canon offering. If you’re looking for an inexpensive alternative to the Canon lens, you can look for this one as one of the options.
This full-frame lens is designed for larger sensor full-frame camera systems, but the lens is also suitable for cameras powered by an APS-C sensor.
Albeit, you will get the advantage of the crop factor, making this an effectively 56mm on a Canon APS-C camera such as the EOS 90D and the Rebel Series cameras.
Let’s talk about the construction of the lens. There are a total of 13 elements arranged in 11 groups. These include one F low dispersion element and four Special low Dispersion elements. These are present to take care of color fringing and chromatic aberrations improving the over-contrast and color accuracy of the images.
Apart from these elements, two aspherical elements are responsible for controlling spherical aberrations and improving color contrast.
The lens barrel is made of metal and plastic and feels solid in the hands. The lens mount is made of metal which is a matter of confidence.
The focusing ring is very well-damped and is smooth to operate. Full-time manual focusing is provided in the lens, ensuring you can grab hold of it at any time and twist it to precisely correct focusing.
Just like the Canon f/1.4 lens we discussed above, this lens also comes with a fast aperture of f/1.4, which means this lens can capture a lot of light in everyday situations.
As has already been observed in the case of the Canon f/1.4 lens above, you can potentially do many things with this lens. It’s possible to capture a nice background blur with this lens. As long as you keep the subject right at the center of the frame, there is every possibility to capture environmental portraits with this lens.
In terms of optical performance, the lens is very sharp and wide open. Even corner sharpness is excellent but not as sharp as the middle of the frame. Stopping down the lens improves corner sharpness as well as brightness.
The Sigma 35mm is our choice as the best 35mm lens for Canon EF format cameras.
- Inexpensive alternative to the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM
- The fast wide aperture of f/1.4.
- Art series lens with excellent optics.
- Metal mount.
- Excellent sharp performance is wide open at f/1.4.
- Image stabilization is missing on this lens.
Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD
Still, with the f/1.4 lenses, I am obsessed with them, and I have decided to pick yet another of these lenses. And this time, it’s the Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD. This lens comes in different mounts, but the one I am discussing is the Canon version.
I love the 35mm lens. It’s my second favorite lens (after the 50mm primes). They’re practical and versatile and come with a fast aperture that ensures that the lens is helpful in several different photography genres.
The fast wide aperture makes it a breeze to use in low-light situations. This lens’s shallow depth of field is a great way to shoot some cinematic shots.
There are 14 elements arranged in 10 groups. The construction includes four low-dispersion elements for controlling chromatic aberrations and color fringing. With that, there are three glass-molded aspherical elements as well. These ensure that the spherical aberrations are well suppressed.
The lens also features second-generation BBAR-G2 coating, ensuring that the individual elements are free of ghosting and flares. For a wide angle and wide aperture lens, this is a significant problem.
The lens is mostly of metal made in construction, with some plastic and some rubberized components used. It feels solid, mainly in the hands.
The lens mount is made of metal, and a weather-sealing gasket around the back of the lens prevents moisture from getting into the camera.
The manual focusing lens is very smooth to turn. The lens features a full-time manual focusing override that ensures you can tweak the lens at any time to adjust focus precisely.
Despite the lens being an f/1.4 aperture and ideally suitable for cinematic shots, one major drawback makes the lens not ideal for cinematographers, and that’s the central issue of focus breathing. I have noticed that the focus breathing problem is noticeable.
In terms of optical performance, the lens is very sharp in the middle of the frame. The lens is also reasonably sharp at the corners but not as sharp as the performance of the center of the frame.
Wide open, the overall performance is very good indeed. Stopping down the lens can improve corner sharpness and brightness.
- Weather-sealed lens design.
- Fast aperture of f/1.4.
- Second generation BBAR-G2
- Full-time manual focusing override.
- 9-blade aperture diaphragm.
- There is an issue of focus breathing.
- No image stabilization on the lens.
Canon RF35mm F1.8 IS Macro STM
Finally, we have the new RF mount lens on this list. At only 2.9″ in diameter and 2.5″ in length, this is an excellent lens for shooting everyday photography.
The 35mm is an excellent focal length for shooting everyday photography. It gives a strong emphasis on the subject and a decent background blur at the same time. This lens is ideally suitable for shooting beautiful cinematic shots.
The 35mm is ideally not the best focal length for shooting portrait photography. Still, if you can keep the subject towards the center of the frame and then leave some space around the issue, you can shoot excellent environmental portraits.
With a 9-blade count diaphragm, you will get nice creamy bokeh when you wide open the aperture to isolate the subject from the background.
The f/1.8 aperture is wide open, and you can capture much light in any condition. The lens is ideally suitable for shooting in low light conditions.
Let’s briefly talk about the construction of the lens. There are 11 elements arranged in 9 groups. This includes one aspherical element for suppressing chromatic aberrations and improving color contrast. The lens mount is a metal made, and the rest of the lens is made of engineered plastics.
The focusing ring in the middle of the barrel is very smooth, and it’s interesting to note that there is also a customizable control ring towards the front of the lens. This special function is so handy that you can use it as an aperture ring or Exposure Compensation.
Employed with Canon’s STM focus motor, its autofocusing performs exceptionally well, even in low-light conditions. What’s more, the closest focusing distance is 6.7in(0.17m), making it a good choice for macro photography. It can magnify subjects at 1:2 life-size.
The optical performance of the lens is excellent. Wide open sharpness is commendable. Moreover, this 35mm lens is optically stabilized. You can handhold it for half a minute and still get sharp images. This is perfect for those whose mirrorless cameras don’t have in-body stabilizations.
- Fast f/1.8 aperture.
- Decent macro capabilities
- Compact and lightweight
- Excellent image stabilizer
- No weather sealing
- Some barrel distortion
FAQs about 35mm lens for Canon
What is a 35mm lens good for?
The 35mm is a versatile lens shooting a wide variety of genres, including but not limited to weddings, landscapes, cinematography, astrophotography, environmental portraits, and much more. Your limitations to using the 35mm lens are down to your imagination.
Which lens is better, 50mm or 35mm?
It isn’t easy to point your finger at any one of these two versatile lenses and say that this one is better than the other. Both these lenses are considered standard primes. And both these lenses are very versatile when it comes to shooting different genres of photography.
The 35mm is better suited for photographers who shoot broader perspectives. The 50mm gives a tighter frame and is better suited for photographers who need a slightly longer focal length.
Can you shoot a wedding with a 35mm lens?
You can shoot with a 35mm lens and cover an entire wedding without any other lens. Though it must be mentioned that a 35mm covers a wider angle of view, it captures a lot of negative space around the subject.
This isn’t the best lens if you like to fill your frame with a tight subject composition. If you get in too close, the subject will suffer from distortion, and that’s never a great thing.
Is 35mm good for landscapes?
The 35mm is technically a wide-angle lens, which means it’s ideally suitable for shooting landscapes. You can also photograph cityscapes, seascapes, astrophotography, and anything else that requires a wide-angle perspective.