Archive for November, 2021

My latest modern lens is the new Canon RF 14-35/4 L IS. As a real estate agent and photographer this lens was calling my name when Canon announced it. Actually it was calling me as soon as the rumor sites starting mentioning it. I used to have the Irix 11/4.0 and Canon’s excellent EF 16-35/4 L IS for my real estate photos and landscapes. The Irix 11 is a solid lens but has a hard time controlling flare and the 16 was sometimes just a tad too long for the shot. It wasn’t too often I needed all of that 11mm lens’ 126º of coverage but 14mm is definitely good in a pinch.

I was expecting to give up a little quality from my EF 16-35/4 L because up until recently that was widely regarded as Canon’s best ultra wide zoom. In fact many test sites said it was Canon’s best ultra-wide, period. Yes better than the prime 14mm L. I was absolutely blown away by the optical sharpness in this lens. The only gripe has been distortion and vignetting but both of those are correctible in post. The EF lens was well corrected and really didn’t need correction post although there was a little barrel distortion, this lens bends like a tree in hurricane, so post correction is a thing. But the corrected images remain crisp right out to the corners! What kind of interstellar lens magic is this? The new RF mount is incompatible with any film cameras so having distortion and vignetting that requires software correction is fine.

This lens is not cheap, Canon gets $1699 for them but it is a lot less expensive than the RF 15-35/2.8 L IS that sells for $2299. I was so happy with my combination of the Irix 11mm and the EF 16-35/4 L that the RF 15-35 didn’t really call me. The f/2.8 speed is not a big deal for me at this focal range. But when you get down at this ultra wide focal lengths 1mm makes a very big difference in field of view. 2mm is HUGE when comparing 16mm and 14mm. It doesn’t make much difference when comparing 85mm and 87mm but down in the wide end it is huge.

I was worried about the post corrections because Lightroom and Photoshop hadn’t added profiles for this lens yet, but one of our YouTube viewers mentioned in a comment on the video I did on this lens for PhotoFair, that using the RF 24-105/4-7.1 lens profile does a good job of correcting in one click. He was right, it isn’t perfect but worked in a pinch until Adobe got the profiles added in a recent software patch.

This lens is super small and features all the quality touches one expects from Canon’s professional grade lenses such as a sturdy build quality and weather sealing. The lens also has another crazy feature; it can focus down to 7 inches. That is measured from the sensor, so that means you can have an object nearly touching the front element and it can focus on it. At the 35mm end of the range this works out to a freakish 0.38x magnification ratio. That is very close to the same magnification on real macro lenses back in the film camera days (0.5x).

Overall this is a 5 star affair. It isn’t perfect per se, but it is as good as anything on the market in this kind of range.

Below I have some photos made with the lens, nothing special but I did try to showcase its range of operation so take a look each image has a caption. All images made with EOS R5.

September, 2021: West End of Columbia River Gorge from Cape Horn, WA hand held at 14mm 1/500 sec @ f/8
September, 2021: Waterfall in Columbia River Gorge hand held at 35mm 0.6 sec @ f/16
September, 2021: Shot at 14mm 1/640 sec @ f/8 This is a real estate image that was shot specifically to fit a cover of a magazine, the cover is below.
This was the final product in print
November, 2021: Yard ornament taken at 14mm 1/320 sec @ f/4 very near minimum focus of 7 inches. Look at that soft background with a 14mm!
November, 2021: Another near minimum focus shot at 14mm 1/1000 sec @ f/4 uncropped point of focus near the edge of the frame and still reasonably sharp!

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