After my last wedding, I reviewed my lens collection. Something is missing. Something between the 24mm 1.4 and the 85mm 1.4. 24mm are too wide while 85mm and even 50mm are too narrow. So I was looking for something in between. While having an EOR R body, there are multiple options:
- Canon EF 35 1.4L II
- Canon RF 35 1.8 IS
- Sigma 35 1.4 Art for Canon
Having the Sigma 24 1.4 Art lens, I dropped the idea of getting the 35mm version. With a mirrorless body, the autofocus issues are pretty much gone, so this was not my reason. It is just the fact that the Sigma is feature-wise surrounded by the two Canon lenses. All three lenses can produce sharp images. Having that said, you need to look for other features. Weight is one of them. I would prefer having the Canon RF 35 1.8 over having the Sigma 35 just because it is lighter. Both have no weather sealing; the Canon has an impressive image stabilizer. Okay, the Sigma has a more beautiful lens hood, but who cares.
That was pretty easy, right? But there is still the Canon 35 1.4L II. From my point of view, the main reason for considering it is the weather sealing. I don't need to care so much about rain when I use this lens. The missing image stabilizer would not help with people in motion anyway. The macro feature of the RF version, on the other hand, is pretty sweet.
But is it worth more than triple the price of the RF 35 1.8? In theory, I could buy a new RF one if the other got wet. But that stupid rubber gasket at the mount also protects the camera body from getting wet.
So I did a small test. I compared the lenses with their widest aperture. Bokeh-wise, this is not entirely fair. Buying a 1.4 lens to use it with 1.8 only makes not much sense. Unfortunately, I like the images created with the 1.4 version more. What a surprise! The smoother bokeh is my main reason. The 1.8 version has a very busy bokeh, much "louder" than the 1.4 lens. Even my 9-year-old unbiased son liked the 1.4 images more and pointed to the better-blurred areas. Interestingly this is not so much visible if you zoom into the picture. But if you check the image in full, there is a difference.
So the RF 35 1.8 has more features, is lighter and cheaper. The big fat EF 35 1.4L II tank looks more beautiful and keeps rain and dust out. Do I keep them both? Probably not. Right now I tend to stay with the Canon 35 1.4L II.