My Dream Lens: I Want a 35-85mm F1.8 Zoom Lens

A 35-85mm f1.8 full frame zoom lens would be an absolute dream to own!

You can talk all you want about how big and bulky the Canon RF 28-70mm f2 USM L lens is. But it satisfied the needs and wants of so many photographers. I think the industry is overdue for a 35-85mm f1.8 zoom lens. The wider end would satisfy the needs of many photographers who don’t like shooting super wide. The telephoto end would be perfect for every photographer who also shoots portraits. Just imagine how useful a 35-85mm f1.8 could be for photojournalism? The extra light hitting the sensor would truly be something special!

A 35-85mm f1.8 can’t just be made per se. It needs several things to make it successful. First off, weather sealing is absolutely necessary. This would prevent the camera and lens from the rigors of everyday wear and tear. It would also let photographers take it with them everywhere. Shooting in the rain or on a hike would be super easy with a 35-85mm f1.8. Even if you have to attach a UV filter to the front of the lens, that would be okay. It would still let you exercise the fullest bits of your creative freedom.

This lens also needs to autofocus quickly. Ideally, very few focusing groups moving or even a single element would make a lens like this incredibly fantastic. You could be shooting a party and use face detection. The lens at 35mm would single out a subject from the crowd. Then zoom all the way in to get something a bit more cinematic looking. All the way through, you’d have the isolation and light gathering f1.8 grants you. It’s more than a stop faster than an f2.8 zoom lens!

The 35-85mm f1.8 would need a lot less distortion control and editing than a 28 or 24mm on the wide end. Going from normalish to telephoto is better for making someone’s nose not look super large. This also means that any hobbyist who travels and adores architecture could use this lens to find a way to make better and straighter lines. Sure, ultra-wide lenses sometimes dominate architecture, but we’ve seen lots of ways to do it with telephoto and standard lenses.

Landscape photographers would also have something great for both astrophotography and standard landscapes. 35mm works just fine for most vistas, but too many photographers underestimate what a telephoto focal length can do for landscape photography. Artistically capturing abstracts is a huge and enjoyable part of landscape photography.

So who would do something like this? Well, let’s think:

  • Canon: They might do it for RF series 35-85mm f1.8. They’ve been known to be super innovative with their lenses.
  • Nikon: No.
  • Sony: Maybe, but we haven’t seen any unique focal lengths from them.
  • Panasonic: Nah.
  • Leica: Leica make a constant aperture zoom lens? No.
  • Sigma: Maybe. Their 18-35mm f1.8 and the 24-35mm f2 are both standout favorites?
  • Tamron: I’d totally see them doing something innovative like this.

Of course, something like this wouldn’t be cheap. Depending on the features, starting from $1,400-$2,200 seems very fair. I’d hope that whoever makes it really gets the rest of the industry behind them to understand how powerful a lens like this could be for creators. It’d be great for photos and videos alike.