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REVIEW: Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM lens

CANON RF 35MM F1.8 MACRO: The first ‘macro’ lens in the RF series is compact, lightweight and includes five stops of image stabilisation. It’s well built for its type and includes basic weatherproofing, along with shock- and vibration- resistance, and its fast maximum aperture makes it worthwhile in poorly-lit situations as well as providing decent bokeh quality.
RRP: $749

Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM lens is the first consumer-level lens for its RF mirrorless cameras and also the smallest, lightest and most affordably-priced so far. A worthy companion for the EOS RP camera, its bright maximum aperture provides useful depth of field control. Combined with five stops of image stabilisation it also makes this lens ideal for shooting stills or video in dimly-lit environments.

The optical design contains 11 elements in nine groups and includes one aspherical element. Super Spectra coatings minimise ghosting and flare, while a rounded nine-blade diaphragm delivers pleasing bokeh quality. The STM (stepping motor) focus drive supports fast and quiet autofocusing for video recording as well as stills shooting.

Build quality is good for a largely plastic lens, but the inner barrel extends by about 10mm as the lens moves through its focusing range. Only front and end caps are supplied but an optional lens hood (EW-52) is available for about $50 and a soft case (LP1016) for a little less.

JPEG files registered high resolution both near the centre of the frame and towards the periphery of the frame between f2.0 and f8, where diffraction began to take effect. Raw files delivered even higher resolution. Without the in-camera corrections, vignetting was severe at the widest apertures but distortion was effectively negligible.

Purchasing Points:
1. Currently, the best match in size, weight and price for the EOS RP camera;
2. The 35mm focal length is good for landscapes,  environmental portraiture and street photography;
3. Like other RF lenses, the configurable Control Ring can be programmed to adjust a variety of exposure settings;
4. Close-up shooting is limited to 17cm for half life-size reproduction;
5. The STM focusing motor is almost silent, making this lens usable for recording video clips;
6. Bokeh is smooth when backgrounds are evenly-lit but bright background highlights may be outlined;
7. Compared with other current RF-mount lenses, this lens is affordably priced.

Distributor: Canon Australia Pty Ltd
– Margaret Brown

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