Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM Assessment: A very good entry-level lens

The Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM was the primary reasonably priced prime lens to hit the marketplace for Canon’s RF mirrorless cameras. It’s was a far departure from the costly L sequence lenses that got here earlier than it. Nonetheless, this lens was welcomed with open arms by those that wanted reasonably priced lenses to make Canon’s mirrorless platform extra accessible.

Price range-friendly 35mm primes are in style on each digicam platform for good causes. They’re nice for road images, documentary images, occasion work, portraits, landscapes and extra. Sigma, Sony, Tamron and others have raised the bar in terms of reasonably priced 35mm primes these days. So, how does the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS STM stack up? Let’s discover out.


  • Small and light-weight
  • Very sharp
  • Good general autofocus efficiency
  • Good coloration rendering
  • Respectable macro functionality (1:2)
  • Underneath $500


  • No lens hood within the field
  • Chromatic aberration, vignetting, and ghosting
  • No climate sealing
  • The STM motor is noisy

Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM — Technical specs

Canon RF 35mm f/1.8

All technical specs have been taken immediately from the Canon web site:

  • Building: 11 components in 9 teams
  • Diagonal angle of View: 63°00′
  • Focus adjustment: AF with full-time guide
  • Closest focusing distance: 0.56 ft. / 0.17m
  • Filter dimension: 52mm
  • Max. Diameter x size: Φ2.93 x 2.47-inches (Φ74.4 x 62.8mm)
  • Weight: 0.67lbs (305g)

Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 — Ergonomics and construct high quality

When it comes to design, the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro is pretty simple. On the left of the lens, you’ll discover the auto and guide focus swap and controls to allow and disable picture stabilization. On the entrance of the lens, you’ll see that this lens makes use of 52mm filters. Simply behind the entrance factor is the management ring, which might be assigned to manage many alternative features. Behind it’s the guide focus ring. It’s a pleasant dimension and it’s straightforward to grip and use.

One of many nice issues concerning the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS STM is simply how compact and light-weight it’s. This lens weighs simply over half a pound and it’s solely 2.5 inches lengthy. It’s a delight to stroll round with for lengthy intervals. I used it on the Canon EOS R5 and barely even knew it was hooked up to the digicam.

Construct high quality

Canon RF 35mm f/1.8

Relating to its construct high quality, the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS STM is OK. It feels a bit low-cost in comparison with 35mm choices on this worth vary from different producers. Nonetheless, the composite plastics really feel robust. The switches click on into place properly. The guide focus ring spins easily and the management ring feels good too. Sadly, there’s no climate sealing. So you possibly can’t use this lens out in inclement climate.

Total the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS STM is a well-designed lens. It gained’t turn out to be burdensome on lengthy shoots due to its low weight. The textured plastic together with the rubber grips really feel good within the hand. It balances completely on the EOS R5. So, this would be the similar story on all present Canon RF mount cameras.

The largest kicker is the shortage of climate sealing. If Tamron could make a 35mm prime for lower than $300 with climate sealing, then you possibly can put it on this lens, Canon. Competitor’s reasonably priced 35mm primes do really feel nicer than this one from Canon, Nonetheless, it ought to stand as much as the trials of (dry) each day use.

Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 — Within the area

Canon RF 35mm f/1.8

This lens from Canon is a straightforward one to make use of due to its manageable dimension and weight. Whereas it’s small, there’s nonetheless loads of room to make use of the management and guide focus rings simply. The built-in lens stabilization and the IBIS within the newer Canon mirrorless cameras mix to present you a powerful seven stops of stabilization. This makes hand-holding this lens at ridiculously low shutter speeds very straightforward.

Autofocus efficiency

Total, the autofocus efficiency of the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM is superb. In good mild, the lens is snappy and really correct, I didn’t encounter any issues when utilizing single level, expanded areas, and zones. The lens carried out properly when monitoring as properly. The main focus speeds do drop a bit and searching does improve in low mild conditions, nevertheless, the lens retains its accuracy.

The STM motor does job. Nonetheless, the actual STM motor used is sort of noisy. You’re going to note it, so I wouldn’t advocate utilizing this lens for video work. Nonetheless, for stills, autofocus efficiency is greater than acceptable. It’s correct, it really works properly with each human eye AF and animal monitoring, and it’s speedy.

Macro capabilities

Whereas the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM isn’t a real macro lens, it does provide a pleasant shut focusing distance of 6.7 inches. At this distance, you’ll be capable to create photos with a 1:2 magnification ratio. You possibly can seize a powerful quantity of element in objects at this distance.

The autofocus works properly when capturing macro photos as properly, although the sleek turning guide focus ring is useful right here. Total, this mode is nice and it provides one other layer of versatility to this reasonably priced prime.

Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 — Traits

Canon RF 35mm f/1.8

Total, the Canon RF 35mm F/1.8 IS STM produces good photos. Nonetheless, in comparison with 35mm primes from different producers that sit on this worth vary, the Canon RF 35mm does have a number of points. Let’s break it down.

Distortion management and vignetting

The Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 does a reasonably respectable job at controlling barrel distortion. As you possibly can see within the picture above, with profile corrections turned off there’s a small quantity of pin-cushion distortion and vignetting. Nonetheless, these are simply corrected by leaving profile corrections turned on.

When it comes to vignetting, this lens has a good quantity when shot wide-open at f/1.8. Nonetheless, it disappears while you attain f/4. There’s nothing too loopy to fret about right here.

Chromatic aberration, flares and ghosting

Sadly, the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM suffers from extra chromatic aberration, fringing, and ghosting than many different 35mm primes on this worth vary.

You possibly can see across the whip and the arms of the statue, there’s a major quantity of purple fringing. Inexperienced fringing across the face can be exhausting to disregard. There’s purple fringing within the chrome of the motorbike too. These photos are after modifying with chromatic aberration correction utilized. I additionally tried to take away the CA manually, nevertheless, I used to be not very profitable.

The lens additionally struggles with ghosting and flaring. Flares and ghosting can, in fact, be used creatively. Nonetheless, should you don’t wish to cope with it, you’ll want a lens hood. Nonetheless, Canon being Canon, determined to exclude the hood from the field. The hood for this lens (mannequin EW-52) will set you again one other $42! For disgrace, Canon, for disgrace.


The Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM held up properly to the 45-megapixel sensor within the EOS R5. Pictures are impressively sharp. Vast-open, the corners are a bit comfortable, however by f/4, you’ll have corner-to-corner and edge-to-edge sharpness. Shoot, be glad and benefit from the wonderful efficiency.


The Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 does a pleasant job with out-of-focus areas. With the minimal focusing distance of 6.7 inches, you possibly can create photos the place the background merely melts away. The bokeh is sweet and creamy. Bokeh balls are barely catseye, nonetheless, they’re good. In case you’re capturing portraits, doing product images or macro work, you’ll be happy with the bokeh.

Coloration rendition

Everyone knows that Canon cameras and lenses produce a number of the greatest colours. So, it ought to come as no shock that the colours the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS STM produces are attractive.

The colours are pure with out being oversaturated. They don’t lean come what may in terms of taking up heat or cool tones. No, they strike a pleasant stability. Pores and skin tones are implausible as properly. It doesn’t matter what you’re capturing, the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM will seize the colours completely.

Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS STM — Remaining ideas

The Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM is an effective entry within the Canon mirrorless lens lineup. Nonetheless, lenses on this worth vary on different platforms like these from Sigma, Tamron, Sony, et al, do outperform this providing from Canon. Additionally they characteristic various ranges of climate sealing the place this lens from Canon has zero.

The Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM is a little bit of a blended bag. Pictures are sharp, however they take successful in high quality due to distortion, vignetting, ghosting, and chromatic aberration. The dearth of an included lens hood hurts as properly.

At slightly below $500, the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM does give these searching for an reasonably priced lens a option to get began with the Canon RF platform. It’s not a foul lens in any respect. No, it’s fairly good. Nonetheless, it might have been so a lot better. In case you want an reasonably priced 35mm prime to your EOS RP, EOS R, EOS R5, EOS R6 or EOS R3, this one will do a good job for you.

Canon RF 35mm F/1.8 IS Macro STM

The Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM provides an reasonably priced option to get into Canon’s mirrorless digicam system. The lens is sharp, renders pleasing colours, and produces good bokeh. The Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 additionally has a really useful macro mode. In case you want a flexible 35mm prime to your Canon mirrorless digicam that gained’t break the financial institution, this lens will serve you properly.

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