Will The New Canon 35mm F1.2 Lens Be Innovative?

Lightweight and compact are two words that are seldom used to describe Canon L lenses. And as much as we wish, users have been anxiously awaiting the manufacturer to fulfill its hefty RF lens roadmap. Canon is reported to finally announce the long-awaited RF 35mm f1.2 L lens by the end of this year. While we are pretty sure you can expect to pay a premium, we can’t help but wonder if Canon will opt to innovate and break the mold. Or will they stick with the tried and true blueprint where photographers should bank on weightlifting before wedding season?

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The 35mm focal length is one of my favorites for its versatility and storytelling ability. It is also the focal length of choice for many photojournalists, street, and portrait photographers. There is no question that Canon makes killer glass. However, there are numerous quality 35mm offerings, and some will be half the price of this upcoming lens. Not to mention, Canon still has fantastic EF glass that adapts well to their new mirrorless system. What can be improved with the anticipated RF 35mm f1.2L lens to make people want to drop that kind of cash? Below are a few ideas.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

street photography

I still shoot with a Canon 5D III and various lenses. Although I love shooting with the 35mm f1.4L II lens, I don’t personally own it. I usually opt to put the 35mm f2.8 on my camera and leave it for extended periods. It’s very lightweight and compact. There are a lot of quality 35mm lenses on the market. Most of the high-end ones are heavy and bulky which cause my hands to hurt by the end of the day.

There’s a good chance that Canon’s newest 35mm f1.2 L lens will be reminiscent of their EF 35mm f1.4 lens. That size and weight will create too much weight on the front end and pull the camera down. The lens will feel like a dumbbell attached to a petite mirrorless camera body. It probably will not be the most comfortable to shoot with for longer shoot days.

Canon’s RF 35mm f1.8 lens is a great little lens with a small price tag. The only thing we really missed in our review was weather-sealing. Sony managed to scale back a little bit and retain spectacular optics with their 35mm GM lens. That should be the level the barre to aim for and surpass. Canon really has a chance to innovate here and overhaul the premium 35mm lens blueprint as we know them.

What The Canon RF 35mm F1.2 L Needs

Canon users will expect the newest 35mm f1.2 L lens to have snappy autofocus and be fully weather-sealed. Users will want image stabilization if the company neglects to negotiate on its heft. Even if the lens is on the smaller side, newer photographers and videographers would appreciate IS. Canon should also include acontrol ring to best suit customers’ needs. Last but not least, the company needs to double down on the premium factor and offer a built-in collapsible lens hood.

Character Over Technical Perfection

Users have come to rely on pearlescent bokeh, ample sharpness, and the rich colors of Canon glass. While other manufacturers choose technical perfection, I hope Canon decides to take the road less traveled. The search for perfection is sucking the heart and soul out of photographs. Images without character are boring.

Canon should provide photographers with the option to embrace imperfections or mitigate them. Photographers could choose to create magnificent sun flares or minimize them with a simple twist of the front element. I would like to see them expound upon the aberration ring found on the 100mm f2.8 macro. Canon should give photographers the option to create perfectly uniform circles or bring some variation by opting for imperfect bokeh. Not only is it innovative, It also grants photographers permission to experiment and find their preferred style.

Canon, Please Make Us Want To Drop A Lot Of Cash

Reports continue to circulate around the highly anticipated Canon RF 35mm f1.2 L lens with added frequency. We can expect a few things like weather-sealing, fast autofocus, and a premium price tag. We hope that Canon chooses innovation and creates a premium, lightweight, and compact lens with plenty of character. Many photographers would be happy to pay for a lens like that. In the meantime, I’d suggest lifting weights just in case.

Brittany Smith

Brittany is a commercial fashion and portrait photographer working in Montana and NYC. When not behind a camera she can usually be found at a local artisan coffeeshop, writing for photography education sites and publications, teaching fitness classes, or baking something fabulous.