Lens Showdown: Canon RF 35mm vs Canon RF 28mm

11 October 2023

The Canon EOS R mirrorless range is perfect for photographers of all skill levels who want to capture high-quality imagery in a portable package. The two prime lenses that we are discussing today, the Canon RF 35mm f1.8 Macro IS STM and the Canon RF 28mm f2.8 STM should be on your watchlist if you want to make the most of these qualities.

Being prime lenses, these two lenses are much lighter and more compact than their zoom contemporaries, but which one should you add to your camera bag right away? Let’s see if we can get to the bottom of that by going through the features.

First Contender: Canon RF 35mm f1.8 Macro IS STM

  •  Maximum aperture: f1.8
  • Fast STM AF motor
  • Compact & Lightweight Build
  • Super Spectra Coating: Reduces Ghosting & Lens Flare
  • Image Stabilisation

The 35mm is a classic focal length, which is excellent for landscape shots, interior photography and, of course, travel photography. If you need your lens to be a bit wider to fit more detail in, but not too wide so you are constantly trying to get closer for a pleasing composition, this 35mm lens is the perfect middle ground.

Thanks to a maximum magnification ratio of 1:2, the Canon RF 35mm f1.8 is also ideal for close-up photography purposes. This lens can produce macro images in which the subject is half-sized - this goes nicely with the lens's impressive closest focus distance of just 17cm.

This Canon RF version offers a fast f1.8 maximum aperture, which is great news for anyone looking to use their camera at any time of the day - you can open the aperture up to let in more light, and therefore adjust your camera to use a faster shutter speed than what would be possible with a slower lens. This fast maximum aperture also allows for the capture of excellent background blur, which helps to make your photographs a bit more dynamic and polished.

Lens Showdown: Canon RF 35mm vs Canon RF 28mmLens Showdown: Canon RF 35mm vs Canon RF 28mm

Further benefiting those working with natural light, this Canon RF lens includes an exceptional Image Stabilisation system. This means that even if things get dim and you need to set your camera to a slower shutter speed, you can still feel confident to fire off handheld images with your camera, without camera shake spoiling your fun.

With its STM autofocus system, this Canon lens functions both quickly and quietly, so it will also be successful for video work. The Canon RF 35mm f1.8 offers a high-quality optical design, capped off by super-spectra coating for reduced flare and ghosting. Another highlight is the customisable control ring that users can assign for the quick implementation of various key settings, including aperture, ISO and exposure compensation.

Second Contender: Canon RF 28mm f2.8 STM

  • Maximum aperture: f2.8
  • Fast STM AF motor
  • Quality Optical Design: Includes 3 PMo Aspherical Elements
  • Ultra-Compact Pancake Design

While the 35mm lens that we just highlighted is compact, this 28mm lens is considerably more portable, weighing in at just 120 grams and being classed as a pancake-style lens - this means it only protrudes a small amount from the front of your camera.

The 28mm focal length obviously delivers a wider field of view than the 35mm lens we discussed before, so it is awesome for landscapes, and it will also come in very handy for street photography. While it is full-frame compatible, this lens can also be mounted on smaller format EOS R cameras, on which it provides a "normal" 45mm field of view.

The maximum aperture of this lens is f2.8, which is not as fast as the 35mm prime lens, but it is still good for available light shooting and depth of field control. Keep in mind, this lens is not stabilised, so camera shake can become an issue when using slower shutter speeds.

Lens Showdown: Canon RF 35mm vs Canon RF 28mmLens Showdown: Canon RF 35mm vs Canon RF 28mm

Once again, this Canon lens includes a fast and whisper-quiet STM AF system, so you can produce lots of video work without your camera recording distracting operating noises. In another shared feature, the Canon RF 28mm lens also provides the flexibility of a customisable control ring for adjusting key shooting settings.

With its key characteristics being a wide focal length, portable stature and fast and quiet autofocus, this Canon Prime lens is a wonderful choice for vloggers of all skill levels. Mount it on your camera, and invest in a Bluetooth Grip or even a gimbal, and you have the basis of a wonderful, portable vlogging kit.

So, which one should I Choose?

Hopefully, by this stage, you have a better understanding of the differences between these two fine Canon prime lenses. We'll go over the key points one more time to keep it fresh in your mind.

If you are looking for an everyday option with a high-quality optical design, ultra-bright aperture and image stabilisation, which makes it usable in all lighting conditions, look no further than the Canon RF 35mm f1.8 IS STM Lens.

Lens Showdown: Canon RF 35mm vs Canon RF 28mmLens Showdown: Canon RF 35mm vs Canon RF 28mm
Sample Image Captured with the Canon RF 35mm Lens
Lens Showdown: Canon RF 35mm vs Canon RF 28mmLens Showdown: Canon RF 35mm vs Canon RF 28mm
As shown in this example, the RF 28mm lens is great for any vlogging kit

If you want to keep your EOS R mirrorless kit as portable as possible, for travel or even vlogging purposes, the pancake-style Canon RF 28mm f2.8 STM lens simply must be added to your shopping cart.

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