The New Canon RF 14-35mm F4 L Is Exactly What the System Needs

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What’s the biggest thing you’ve been asking Canon to do in the mirrorless camera world? If you’re like us, then you’ve probably been asking for smaller, lighter, fully weather-sealed lenses. And the new Canon RF 14-35mm f4 L IS USM is exactly what we needed. Not only did Canon give this lens 5.5 stops of image stabilization, but it also only weighs 1.2 lbs. Put it on a body with image stabilization, and you can get up to 7 stops of image stabilization. Crazy, right? This will be the lens every landscape photographer will want to carry around on their adventures. But there’s more.

Canon RF 14-35mm f4 L IS USM Tech Specs

  • Compact design — Approximately 1.2 lbs. in weight.
  • Minimum focusing of 7.9 inches at all focal lengths and a maximum magnification of 0.38x at 35mm zoom setting.
  • Optical Image Stabilizer with up to 5.5 stops of shake correction.
  • Up to 7 stops of shake correction when paired with Canon EOS R series cameras that feature In-Body Image Stabilizer (IBIS).
  • High speed, smooth and quiet autofocus with Canon’s Nano USM. Rear focusing system
  • Control Ring for direct setting changes of aperture, shutter speed, ISO speed, and exposure compensation.
  • Superb dust and weather resistance on par with other Canon L-series lenses. Weather-resistant seals at the lens mount, switches, zoom ring, focus ring, and Control Ring
  • 77mm filter thread
  • $1,699 price point
  • 9 Aperture blades
  • Three UD-glass elements, three Aspherical elements
  • Approx. ø3.3 in. x 3.9 in. (approx. ø84.1mm x 99.8mm)
  • Minimum length at approx. 22mm zoom position
  • Maximum length at 35mm zoom position – approx. 4.25 in. / 107.9mm

Is This a Sign of What’s to Come from Canon?

This may sound a bit insane given the last decade, but I think Canon may honestly be listening to consumers now. And I’m glad: it hopefully means they’ve learned their lessons. Canon is arguably the most innovative lens company on the market right now. The Canon RF 14-35mm f4 L IS USM seems to be doing a few cool things differently. First off, it’s small. It has image stabilization built-in, which is a first for any lens of this size. It’s also incredibly lightweight. The only thing I can think of that could really rival this is the Panasonic 16-35mm f4. But the Panasonic doesn’t have image stabilization and doesn’t go as wide. It’s fantastic that Canon has found a way to do both. It’s effectively outdoing Sony, Nikon, and Panasonic. 

Our biggest criticism of the Canon RF system has been about lenses, oddly enough. Canon doesn’t want to make non-L lenses weather sealed. That’s fair enough, I guess. So what they’re doing is delivering smaller, lighter, weather-sealed L lenses. I’ll happily take that. The pricing is a bit high, but the Canon RF 14-35mm f4 L IS USM also does things many other lenses aren’t. Canon is continuing to innovate, but I just hope they keep up the pace. 

So who would want this lens? Well, some professionals would surely enjoy it. But I think the Canon RF 14-35mm f4 L IS USM is doing more of what the Canon RF system needs. The system is desperately missing small, lightweight lenses to just walk around with without worry. You might say that they’ve got a few, but those lenses aren’t weather sealed. This one is weather sealed as well as other L lenses. And personally, I’d rather this. It’s far unlike what Sigma does with their contemporary series of lenses where the sealing feels like a half-assed attempt. With the Canon RF 14-35mm f4 L IS USM, you won’t need to worry about using a front filter to complete the weather sealing. 

What’s more, I’d much rather a lens be legitimately weather sealed than have a brand rep tell me it will survive the rain while my warranty says otherwise. 

I’m honestly very excited for the Canon RF 14-35mm f4 L IS USM. And I’m looking forward to more lightweight lenses like this coming from Canon.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.