Bryan Carnathan, over at The-Digital-Picture.com put the new RF 14-35 f/4 through its paces. The upshot: much of what we expected. It’s half the light throughput of the RF 15-35 f/2.8; but with very similar image quality; smaller size and weight; lower price; and – interestingly – a bonkers image stabilization (IS) system.
The lens is rated to 5.5 stops of IS, while the older f/2.8 version is rated to 5 stops. But the new lens works with in-body image stabilization (IBIS) cameras like the R5 to cumulatively provide 7 stops of IS.
Because a stop is a doubling of the previous value, 7 stops of improvement means 128 times better versus an unstabilized lens. As a practical matter, this means that a picture that needs a shutter speed of 1/256th of a second to be sharp at 200mm could be taken instead at 1/2 second and have similar results.
Bryan, who has developed some consistent methodologies for real-world testing image stabilization, reported that the claims appeared to be accurate, even getting shots of several seconds shutter speed when allowing himself to rest his elbows.
Canon did not claim that the older RF 15-35 f/2.8 lens could compound the lens and body stabilization systems to increase its abilities past 5 stops. Curious about that, Camnostic rolled out one of its writer’s copy of that lens and attempted to see if running it on the R5, with its IBIS system was better than using it on an RP camera, which lacks IBIS. The results: the f/2.8 version doesn’t appear to benefit from the a body’s IBIS, tipping a major advantage to the new f/4 version when mounted to an appropriate camera.