After 17 years Canon unveils the long-awaited 35mm f/1.4L II

by Gannon Burgett

posted Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at 11:59 PM EDT

Seventeen years after Canon released the EF 35mm f/1.4L USM, it’s finally giving the wide-angle prime the successor it deserves in the form of the EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM, a very welcomed update that dramatically improves upon the classic lens in almost every regard.

This updated wide-angle prime is the first lens in the world to feature Canon’s new Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics (BR Optics), a molecular, organic material that is placed in-between glass elements to correct for chromatic aberration.

According to Canon, this new technology refracts blue light within the short-wavelength range, a trait that enables the EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM to keep a superior handle on chromatic aberration better than anything currently on the market; even fluorite and Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) elements. In addition to correcting for chromatic aberration and color fringing, the BR Optics are said to improve the overall sharpness of the image.

The lens also includes two aspherical elements and one Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) element in its design, which overall has 14 elements in 11 groups.

Coating the rear surface of the first and second aspheric lens elements is Canon’s proprietary Sub-Wavelength Structure Coating (SWC) to further help reduce flaring and ghosting.

Focusing is done using Canon’s quick and quiet Ultrasonic Motor (USM) placed in the rear of the lens. Minimum focusing distance remains almost identical to its predecessor at approximately 11 inches (0.28m).

In regards to design, the EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM features a slightly more sleek and modern design with a larger focus ring and textured surface.

Unlike the 'Mark I' version, this lens is fully weather-sealed, including a gasket around the lens mount. The lens accepts a 72mm filter, and Canon recommends using a front filter for more complete protection in harsh environments.

The Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM is set to ship in October of 2015 for an estimated retail price of $1,799. 

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  • Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM: $1,799 -- B&H, Adorama