Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 STM IS macro - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Sample Images

Click on an image for downloading the full-size variant.

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length35.0mm
Aperture:f/10.0
Exposure1/160s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length35.0mm
Aperture:f/10.0
Exposure1/250s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length35.0mm
Aperture:f/9.0
Exposure1/400s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length35.0mm
Aperture:f/10.0
Exposure1/320s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length35.0mm
Aperture:f/5.0
Exposure1/2000s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length35.0mm
Aperture:f/2.5
Exposure1/6400s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length35.0mm
Aperture:f/10.0
Exposure1/250s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length35.0mm
Aperture:f/8.0
Exposure1/500s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length35.0mm
Aperture:f/1.8
Exposure1/6400s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length35.0mm
Aperture:f/8.0
Exposure1/400s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length35.0mm
Aperture:f/2.5
Exposure1/5000s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length35.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/5000s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length35.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/4000s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length35.0mm
Aperture:f/11.0
Exposure1/320s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length35.0mm
Aperture:f/7.1
Exposure1/800s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length35.0mm
Aperture:f/10.0
Exposure1/250s

Verdict

The Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 STM IS macro may not be the sexiest lens around but it is capable of delivering very high-quality results. Images are sharp in the center straight at f/1.8 and the corners are just marginally soft. There's a substantial increase in quality at f/2.8 and the resolution is truly impressive medium aperture settings. Image distortions, as well as lateral CAs, are low. The same can't be said about the native vignetting which is rather extreme at maximum aperture. However, auto-correction comes to the rescue so most users will probably just notice a slightly elevated light falloff at f/1.8. The bokeh is generally nicely rendered with a silky background blur and smooth out-of-focus highlights. The foreground blur is less ideal though. Bokeh fringing (LoCA) is present at large aperture settings but that's hardly surprising. However, a more ugly effect are focus shifts when stopping down (RSA) which seems to have a negative impact on AF accuracy as well.
The build quality is good but it's more aligned to amateur use rather than professional abuse. The lens body is made of plastic on a metal mount. There's nothing wrong with that per se but it doesn't feel "dense". Canon also decided to omit weather-sealing. The lens can focus down to an object magnification of 1:2. This is less than on a "typical" macro lens but it's good enough for exploring the macro universe already. Having said that - a 35mm lens is not the preferred choice among most macro photographers. The lens uses a stepping motor (STM) rather than Canon's ultrasonic version. The STM is slower than average and it's also not noiseless. Canon's latest image stabilizer (IS) version is one of the best in the industry with a claimed efficiency of up to 5 f-stops. It's usually a tad less in real life but combined with the fast maximum aperture, the lens is ideal for hand-held photography in low-light situations.
Another positive aspect of the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 STM IS macro is that it doesn't break your bank - something that can't be said about most other genuine Canon RF lenses really. On the other side of the fence, the Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 costs 50% more and it doesn't even feature an image stabilizer nor is it capable of high object magnification. So while it has its downsides, it is an interesting option for your shopping list.

Optical Quality:    
★★★★★
Mechanical Quality:
★★★★★
Price/Performance:
★★★★★

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