Canon’s latest wideangle prime lens promises to set a new standard in image quality, but does it justify what seems like an exorbitant price? Michael Topham finds out
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Review – Test results
The centre sharpness at f/1.4 improves on its predecessor, which it backs up with a superior level of sharpness in the corners. As our test results below show, optimum sharpness in the centre is found between f/2.8-f/4. Users should note the lens can be closed down as far as f/8-f/11 to create a larger depth of field, though we’d advise to stay clear of f/16 and f/22 where diffraction starts to encumber the finest details in a scene.
Vignetting is clearly obvious in real-world images shot at f/1.4, with the corners appearing approximately 1.8EV darker than the centre. As the aperture is closed down the corner shading gradually improves, with edges appearing only 0.6EV darker than the centre at f/2.8. Stop down to f/4 and the vignetting clears up almost completely. At the time of review there was no lens profile available, however we’re expecting one to be available as soon as the next update for Lightroom, Photoshop and Camera Raw is released.
A study of our distortion chart reveals the lens exhibits a negligible amount of barrel distortion, whereby straight lines towards the edge of the frame bow outwards. The level of barrel distortion is less than the original produces and is therefore an improvement. Though our distortion chart made us aware of this, it won’t drastically affect real-world images and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.