Canon has designed a soft focus lens for the Canon EOS R!

Canon has designed a soft focus lens for the Canon EOS R!
Canon EOS R with Canon EF 135mm f/2.8 Softfocus (Image credit: James Artaius / Digital Camera World)

Canon has developed a brand new soft focus optic for the Canon EOS R system. The manufacturer has patented a Canon RF 35mm f/1.4 Softfocus lens – which may be a companion for the previously patented RF 35mm f/1.2L, tipped to be announced next year. 

This would be the company's first soft focus lens since 1987's Canon EF 135mm f/2.8L Softfocus (pictured above, mounted to a Canon EOS R (opens in new tab)), and an intriguing counterpart to its upcoming Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS (opens in new tab) – a defocus smoothing lens for the RF mount. 

The patent was spotted by the sleuths at Canon News, who describe it (opens in new tab) as "a complex lens". It possesses the following characteristics:

Focal length 35.91 35.82 36.00  (normal focus, under and over)
F-NUMBER 1.52 1.52 1.53
Half angle of view 31.07 31.13 31.01
Image height 21.64 21.64 21.64
Total lens length 133.70 133.68 133.69 
BF 19.05 19.03 19.04

The website shared an excerpt from the US patent application (number 20190361228 (opens in new tab) ), which gives some insight into its design:

"A lens system of the disclosure is a lens system which is disposed on the image side of an image pickup optical system and has a negative refractive power. The lens system includes, in order from an object side to the image side, a first lens unit having a positive refractive power, a second lens unit, and a third lens unit. The first lens unit consists of a single lens or a cemented lens. The second lens unit is configured to move in a direction of an optical axis to change a spherical aberration."

It's noteworthy that another 35mm lens for Canon's full-frame mirrorless system was discovered back in August, the Canon RF 35mm f/1.2L USM (opens in new tab). It is conceivable that Canon might release both lenses side-by-side, as companion optics with different characteristics, much as it has done with the standard and DS versions of the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM (opens in new tab)

It had been reported that the 35mm f/1.2L would be added to the Canon RF lens roadmap (opens in new tab) next year. Could this soft focus version be officially revealed at the same time? We're have a soft spot for soft focus lenses, so we certainly hope so. 

Do you love soft focus lenses, or are they a relic of the Eighties best left there? Let us know what you think in the DCW forums (opens in new tab)!

Read more: 

Ultra-fast Canon RF 35mm f/1.2L (opens in new tab) pro lens – coming to the Canon EOS R in 2020?
Canon RF lens roadmap (opens in new tab): everything we know so far
Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM review (opens in new tab)

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.