Canon 35L F1.4L II USM: A thing of beauty
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Canon 35L F1.4L II USM: A thing of beauty

Canon 5D | 35L | F1.8

Before we shout 'in with the new, out with the old!', I'd like to pay a short homage to the lovely 35L that the 'new' 35L II replaces. It served me very well during my time with every model in the excellent 5D-series of cameras. There are many things it did well, some things it didn't, but if you've talked to many a photographer, you've probably heard at least a few of them at some point say 'if I could only use one lens for the rest of my life, it'd probably be the 35L'. But as times change, technology progresses, and many have been eagerly awaiting an update to the 1998 model that was, frankly, a lens designed for film. Let's take a look at what I liked with the old one, and use that to talk a little about what I'm looking forward to in the update. 

The original Canon 35L was always a thing of beauty. It was a workhorse of a lens for my (admittedly amateur) candid portraiture, especially at events when paired with the low light performance of Canon's full-frame DSLRs. The almost '3D' look of this photo is due to the depth of wide angled combined with the subject isolation of F1.4. You just don't get this look with anything but a fast, wide prime.