The Canon EOS R series and RF lenses had been in the market since September 2018 with the announcement of the Canon EOS R full frame mirrorless camera and the RF mount lenses. Since then, Canon announced the Canon EOS RP (that eventually came into my photography setup), followed by more RF lenses announcements along the way till today. While I am still strategising and planning how I would to proceed with Canon EOS RP and RF lenses setup to complement my Canon EOS 1DX Mark II and EF lenses setup. There are a few RF lenses that caught my eye, some are not available in the market at that time, there was this lens, the RF35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM lens. I completed the Canon RF35mm f/1.8 review a few months back when the opportunity arises.
A few months back in July 2019, I published an article titled, “Telling my stories with Canon RF35mm f/1.8”, a prelude to my Canon RF35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM lens review. Due to photography business, other work commitments and content creation on my technology and business portal/blog, the review article had been delayed till now.
The Canon RF35mm f/1.8 does not belong to the Canon’s legendary L lenses family, yet this lens would not lose out to them in terms of output/photo quality. It does not have weather sealing against dust and moisture, this is something that photographers would have to take note. Yet, when you touch and feel this lens, it gives you a solid and rugged feel.
They also have image stabiliser (IS), this would be very handy and useful for photographers. This lens uses the STM drive system, not the USM drive system. Personally, I would prefer the USM drive system, faster and less noise. There are times whereby the RF35mm f/1.8 is a bit slow on focusing, it took me some time to adapt to the character of the RF35mm f/1.8 lens.
Bokeh at f/1.8, personally for me, I really like it and I would use it creatively when the opportunity arises depending on the photography genre and situations. While some may want to compare it to a f/1.4 or f/1.2 lens, it would not be fair to the RF35mm f/1.8 lens.
As for the Macro function, the maximum magnification is 0.5x, as compared to the EF100mm f/2.8 L Macro IS USM lens magnification is 1x, do take note. The RF35mm f/1.8 has a minimum focusing distance of 0.17m, a very short distance to work on for your Macro photography. During the course of my review of this lens, I brought the RF35mm f/1.8 lens as close as possible to the subjects that I am shooting, there were some pretty nice photographs that I really liked.
While I was doing some technical specifications comparisons on the RF35mm f/1.8 lens with other Canon lenses, I saw that it has 9 Diaphragm blades, same number in some of the other Canon EF and RF L lenses. From the photographs that I shot using the RF35mm f/1.8 with Canon EOS RP, I am able to view the sharpness and quality of this lens.
Thoughts and Views
A small lens, not too heavy at 305g, the classic 35mm focal length is probably one of the photographers favourite lens to work with/use, whether for street, wedding or travel. This lens is something that I like, a versatile lens for street, travel and wedding photography. Moreover, this lens has the Macro function, if and when you need to do Macro photography shoot.
I would consider getting this RF35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM lens, it’s really versatile and the bokeh at f/1.8 is pretty bokehlicious. With this lens on my Canon EOS RP, a lightweight combination for street and travel photography. At a retail price of SGD829, it’s quite a value for money lens given its versatility and sharp output quality.
There are currently more RF lenses available in the market, do follow my photography and travel portal/blog on Canon news, updates and reviews! I hope to get more opportunities to do more RF lenses review and share my photographs, views and thoughts on the lenses with my readers.
I would like to thank Canon Singapore and Ogilvy for the opportunity to review the Canon RF35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM lens.