Review Canon 16-35 f/4L IS vs 16-35 f/2.8L II for Landscape Photographers

In Reviews On Sunday, June 29, 2014

This is a review of the 16-35 f/4L IS particularly geared towards landscape photographers. Whilst this lens could be used in many other ways it is landscape that I am interested in so please read all comments in that context.

Of particular interest to me is the performance comparison with the 16-35 f/2.8L II, which the 16-35 f/4L IS will replace. This is by far my most used lens, I use it for approximately 90% of my images.

Sharpness at 16mm

A lot of people will be looking at this new lens purely in terms of the sharpness improvements it provides. I have compared the new 16-35 f/4L IS with it’s two predecessors, the 16-35 f/2.8 II and the 17-40 f/4L (which is half the price). For good measure I have thrown in the king of ultrawide angles the 17mm f/4L TSE.  Here is the sample scene showing the areas of the 100% crops.

Sample scene for the sharpness comparison

Center Sharpness

Center comparison of the 16-35 f/4L IS vs. 16-35 f/2.8L II vs. 17-40 f/4L vs. 17mm f/4L TSE

At 16mm the 16-35 f/2.8L is already as sharp as it gets at f4. In fact if we look at all 4 lenses in this sharpness test they are all excellent in the center wide open. I really cant see any difference. They are all fantastic.

Corner Sharpness

Corner comparison of the 16-35 f/4L IS vs. 16-35 f/2.8L II vs. 17-40 f/4L vs. 17mm f/4L TSE

at 16mm corner sharpness of the 16-35 f/4L IS  is better than the 16-35 f/2.8L II. At 16mm and f4 the newer lens is sharper than the f/2.8 lens gets at any aperture. At f11 it improves ever so slightly. It’s worth noting that in this comparison the 16-35 f2.8L II actually performs very well at f11. It’s not quite as good as the new lens or TSE but it’s still very good. This surprised me.

Don’t even think about comparing these zoom lenses at f/4. Both the 16-35 f/2.8 II and 17-40 are woeful by comparison.

The 16-35 is so good that it stands shoulder to shoulder with the 17mm f/4L TSE, I don’t think there is anything to choose between them.

In other words, at 16mm the new lens is sharp at 16mm across the frame at f4 and improves almost imperceptibly when stopped down. Proper sharpening would all but nullify this small difference.

Sharpness at 24mm

24mm sample scene

Comparing the two 16-35s at 24mm. Corner crops are on the left, center crops on the right

I regularly move between 16mm and 24mm for my wide-angle images. Sometimes zoom lenses are designed so that they look fantastic at the extremes (in this case 16mm and 35mm) but the performance at ‘in between’ focal lengths can drop off.

I repeated this test to be sure of the results. At 24mm the 16-35 f/4L IS is decent in the corners at f4 and very good at f11 (close to perfect). The old 16-35 f/2.8L pales in comparison, at f4 in particular it’s a complete train wreck.

In the center of the image the story is a little different. It’s hard to say for sure but I think the old f2.8 lens may be ever so slightly sharper. It’s difficult to separate sharpness from the contrast difference you can see. There is no doubt that the 16-35f4L has a slightly better contrast which you can see from the deeper blacks. This looks like a small difference and it is, but it helps to give the 16-35 f4L more of a 3D look. Any sharpness differences are once again incredibly small in the center, I wouldn’t pick one lens over the other based on center sharpness alone.

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At f11 the 16-35 f/4L IS is super sharp from corner to corner. The contrast is also improved. Great news!

Sharpness at 35mm

35mm sample image

Comparing the two 16-35s at 35mm. Corner crops are on the left, center crops on the right

At 35mm we see that the 16-35 f/4L IS is sharper and more contrasty all over the image by varying margins. The newer lens is as sharp in the corner at f4 as the old lens is at f11. It improves at f11 to become very sharp showing considerably more detail than the older 2.8 lens. In the center its a close call by the f4 IS is possibly slightly sharper. The contrast is noticeably better.

Contrast, Flare, Sunstars

Comparing the contrast/flare characteristics of the 16-35 f/4L IS (left) and the 16-35 f/2.8 II (right)

The 16-35 f/4L IS has great lens coatings. Shooting into bright sources of light it is better than the older lens – notice immediately around the sun how the leaves are less effected by veiling flare. The incredibly long sunstar spikes of the old lens appear to be gone as well. Very occasionally these would make an unwelcome appearance in my images (example here), hopefully this minor issue is now gone.

You can also see some unwanted coloured flares from both lenses, I think they are tied in this respect. I very much doubt flare will be an issue with this lens.

The Canon 16-35 f/4L IS sunstar has 18 points.

The 16-35 f/2.8L produced the best sunstars of any wide-angle lens available. Its 7 blade aperture produces 14 point stars that have been a major draw for landscape photographers who enjoy shooting into the sun. The 16-35 f/4L IS produces slightly better stars. Its 9 blade aperture producing stunning 18 point stars. When the lens was announced I was slightly concerned they might overlook this small detail of lens design so I was very pleased with the results.


I have to say I was a little disappointed that this lens wasn’t f/2.8. I try to keep my camera kit to a minimum for backpacking and the 16-35 f/2.8L II worked as an adequate astrophotography lens. The newer lens is one stop slower (f/4). Lets see how it does….

The 16-35 f4L IS at 16mm, f4, ISO6400, 30 seconds – 100% crop shows great corner resolution

The 16-35 f2.8L II at 16mm, f2.8, ISO3200, 30 seconds – 100% crop shows horrid corners – the stars resemble seagulls

The above comparison shows that using the old lens at f2.8 allows you to shoot at ISO3200 as opposed to ISO6400. As a result there is less noise (both images have basic noise reduction as well). What this doesn’t make up for is the heavy vignetting at f2.8 and the terrible astigmatism. The newer lens is clearly superior in the corners. Stopping the old 2.8 lens down to f4 only helps a little. Both lenses resolve the same amount of detail in the center. It’s hard to say which lens is better, but personally I would rather have a little bit more noise, less vignetting and nice stars in the corner.

Everything else

The build quality is as good or better than any lens I have used. The focus and zoom rings operate smoothly. The lens size is pretty comparable to a 24-70 and not far off the old 16-35. The filter thread is 77mm.

Optically I haven’t discussed vignetting (much), distortion or bokeh. All I can say is vignetting is not a problem and has never been a problem for me, I haven’t looked at it in detail. I haven’t tested distortion, but it certainly isn’t objectionable. Bokeh is unlikely to be an issue with such a wide-angle lens, but it looks pretty good to me, here is an example:

Bokeh example of the 16-35 f4L IS focussed at the closest point and shot at 35mm and f4

I haven’t done any image stabilisation tests but the IS seems totally silent, I can’t hear it whirring like I can with my 70-200 f4L IS.

Test Method

All images were shot with a Canon 6D, ISO 100, RAW, on a tripod with a 2 second timer delay and mirror lockup. No filters were used. Focusing was via live view on infinity.

Exposures were adjusted in Lightroom 5.4 where necessary to try to get a consistent brightness for the image comparisons (and counteract vignetting). Adjustments were set to Lightroom default values. White balance was normalised to 5500K with a tint of 0.

Sunset at Staple Tor shot at 16mm and f11

A detailed woodland scene, again at 16mm and f11. I have never seen detail like this from a wideangle zoom.


The 16-35 f/4L IS USM is the best ultrawide that Canon have produced. It even stands up against Canon’s flagship ultrawide for landscape photographers, the 17mm TSE.

Canon have finally addressed the primary issue with both the 16-35 f/2.8L II and the 17-40 f/4L – corner softness. The corners of the 16-35 f/4L IS aren’t perfect, but they are very good and significantly better than the two predecessors. At 16mm even wide open at f/4 the new lens surpasses the other two stopped down to f/11.  it is equally impressive at 24mm and 35mm. I’ll be careful not to overstate myself here but stopped down I can’t imagine an ultrawide being much sharper. This lens might well be better than you are, I know that the only soft images I found were due to user error. Mount this lens on a tripod and focus carefully with live view and you will create beautifully sharp images.

The latest coatings have produced a lens with excellent contrast and flare resistance (although the 2.8 II or the 17-40 are also excellent). The sunstars are perfect, even better than the 2.8 II. It also does an adequate job as an astrophotography lens, a little bit better than the 2.8L II.

This is the ultrawide zoom that Canon landscape photographers have been asking for since the beginning of time. Who want’s to buy a 16-35 f/2.8L II……


  1. Alex,

    Excellent review and beautiful photos! Have you run any tests at 35mm? I noticed some softness at 35mm with my copy of the lens but wanted to know if you have noticed the same.


    • I have now run tests at 24mm and 35mm as well. Both focal lengths are almost perfect stopped down. They are also much better than the 2.8II when wide open.

  2. Thanks for excellent review! Would you mind also posting CR2s as DNGs are not supported in Canon’s DPP?

  3. Thanks for your review. 16-35II, which I have been shooting with for a while, indeed has good corners at f11 throughout its zoom range. that is were it beats the older 17-40. The MTF charts on the 16-35 II show the funky sharpness pattern, where it takes a dip 2/3 of the way from center, and then comes up again. That is visible just inside the sides of full frame images. The f4 has a more traditional MTF curve.
    I think at f8 and f11, on the widest end, the difference will be least visible in center, barely visible in the corners, but a bit more visible in the near the sides.

  4. Nice review – thanks a lot!

    I owned the f2.8L II and replaced it by the 35mm 1.4 after a while. I was so disappointed about the smeared corners on full frame – nothing I’d ever expect from an L-Lens. I am quite happy now with the prime, however I still look for something even wider. I was thinking about to get a used TS-E 24mm, because of my positive experience with the TS-E 90mm. Now, after reading this review and looking at the sample pictures: the 16-35 f4L IS zoom seems to be as good or even better as most of the primes in the wide angle area. And I also like the IS, because it allows to stop down to f8-f11 without using a tripod!

    What I do not understand is the astrophotography comparison. You made both shots at f/4, so why could you have a lower ISO for the F2.8L Lens?
    “The 16-35 f4L IS at 16mm, f4, ISO6400, 30 seconds – 100% crop shows great corner resolution
    The 16-35 f2.8L II at 16mm, f4, ISO3200, 30 seconds – 100% crop shows horrid corners – the stars resemble seagulls”

    • Thank you, that was an error. The other image was shot at f/2.8. Corrected now!

      I agree with your conclusion that this lens pretty much makes primes unnecessary, particularly stopped down.

  5. Thanks for the review, best information I could find about the lens so far!
    I am a Sony a7 shooter and consider it over the announced Zeiss 4/16-35 which will probably be more expensive and not as good.

  6. Thanks Alex, great review.

    I was very dubious when this was announced but it’s now at the top of my shopping list.

  7. Thanks Alex for excellent review!!
    I really like this kind of real world shot review.
    it’s long time waiting for 16-35 with 77mm filter from canon.
    i hope it’s will available soon in thailand.

  8. Great review. That’s the kind of information one needs! Well done! (I’ve bought one now :-).

  9. Exellent review indeed. And wonderful pictures of my favorite holiday-destination (Cornwall/Dartmoor). Will buy the lens tomorrow…

  10. You don’t address field curvature, which is often higher with wideangle lenses (especially wideangle zooms) and can very well be an issue for landscape/nature photography.

    • Hi David,

      Thanks for your criticism. I do mention that I haven’t talked about distortion. You must appreciate that I did this review purely for the benefit of others and it took me a very long time already. I only covered the aspects I felt were most important to myslef and other landscape photographers. You can read about distortion and see images at The Digital Picture.


      • I really enjoyed the test, thank you for posting them. It’s been really useful.

  11. Thanks so much for the review.
    My copy of the 17-40 f4 must be quite excellent as I just shot a number of shots with my lens versus the 16-35 f4 and they both are the same for me. I mean to say that in some parts of a corner I might give an edge to the newest lens but I don’t thing anyone would ever see it? Only on one comparison did the newest lens seem a bit sharper on a house number. I wanted to justify keeping the newest lens but there were not the significant differences that your tests demonstrate. If I saw the same results as your test review I too would be convinced. I only did maybe 4 comparison shots at f16 at different zoom ranges but I mainly am interested in the performance at the widest setting and I always stop down when shooting my interiors.
    I knew my copy of the 17-40 was especially good because I once compared it to the 17 tse lens after a couple of shots inside a store and the images were very close–not enough for me to buy the tse lens.

    • In fact I was tempted to write a section about this….
      I don’t know what camera you are using but at f16 you are causing diffraction which will soften the images and make the 16-35 look similar to the 17-40. Anyone who has spent a lot of money on L grade lenses really should learn this first. In fact even my tests show diffraction at f11 but this is the aperture I shoot at for depth of field because the diffraction effect is minuscule. At f16 diffraction has a much more significant effect.
      It may well be that you have a good copy of one lens and a bad copy of the other, but you would be very lucky indeed to have a 17-40 that performs better than it’s theoretical MTF and the MTF shows us that it is always soft in the corners. Really though it goes without saying that if you can’t see a difference you should return the 16-35!

  12. Alex, field curvature is not distortion. It has to do with focusing:

    I repeat my assertion that field curvature can be of concern to landscape photographers.

    The Digital Picture review you cite does not address field curvature either.

    • My apologies David, I am familiar with the term but read ‘distortion’, my mistake. You are right of course that field curvature is a relevant issue for landscape photographers. I have often felt that is this, not absolute sharpness, that has been the problem with the 2.8 II although I have never tested it.

      I’m afraid I can only offer anecdotal opinion that, when focussing hyperfocally I get sharp corner in the near foreground. This would actually be a very interesting (if difficult) test. I may well give it a go. Thanks for the clarification and once again sorry for jumping the gun!


  13. thanks for the review Alex

    well I have one waiting for me to pick up tomorrow, all I asked was that the corners were sorted and it looks like they have been, added to that the IS will help those 15th sec shots when I can’t be bothered with the tripehound


  14. Thank you very much for the review.
    Would it be possible to get the 2 raw files ? (they don’t seem to be available on dropbox anymore) I would like to try my usual sharpness settings on them.

  15. Thanks Alex – excellent.

    Those 17-40 corners…that lens used to be welded to my 300D and then 5D but the corners encouraged square cropping. I haven’t used a wider lens recently than the 24-70 but this new 16-35 is very interesting.

    Cheers again.

  16. Enorme el articulo y las fotos, tengo el 17-40 desde hace 1 año y medio y ya tenía decidido cambiarlo por el 16-35 f/4 is, pero tu articulo aún me lo ha dejado más claro, muchas gracias…

  17. I really enjoyed your practical review. I love to shoot landscapes when traveling, and have an upcoming trip to the tropics. I only have a crop sensor, 60D. Love my 70-200 2.8L, and wonder if I should splurge for this, or pay $300 less for the canon 17-55 2.8 EF-S lens? Any thoughts.

  18. Nilangsu 23rd July 2014

    One of the best, if not the best, review of this lens. I can’t thank you enough. A great review from a fantastic photographer. This lens is posed to become the stuff of legend.


  19. Excellent unbiased review!

    Just sold my 17-40, planning to upgrade to F4 IS or F2.8 II, after seeing this review, I’m quite sure which to get now 🙂

    Thank you!

  20. Hi Alex!

    Is 16-35mm F4 better than F2.8 one??

    • I have to suggest reading the article….

    • Stephen Garratt 15th November 2014

      Simply, the answer is Yes!
      Received my 16-35 F4 last week and popped out briefly on Sunday afternoon to take some test shots, round my home town and I can say that I am mighty impressed! The results brought a big smile to my face!
      I have now, at last, completed my “Holy Trinity” of main use lenses with the 24-70 MKII and the 70-200 MKII

  21. Great review thank you so much! Btw, your answer to Yusak’s question was spot on haha.

    As someone who shoots mostly real estate and events, I’m at a loss for which of these two lenses makes the most sense for me.

    For real estate, the answer is clearly the f/4 IS. But for events/weddings, I’d prefer f/2.8 over corner sharpness.

    Think I’ll wait for Photokina to see if this Sigma 14-24mm f/4 OS rumor is true. But your review was extremely helpful. Keep up the good work 🙂

  22. Mark Jenson 8th September 2014

    That was a great look at what I expect will be great lens for my 6d. After months of reading reviews and mental debate I decided on the 17-40 f4 and bought it. I also have a T3i that I coupled with a Tokina 11-16 f2.8 some 2 years ago and used it extensively. I have to say that while this lens gave very good results on a crop sensor lens it had its limitations, soft corners, flaring, ca, and a limited sweet spot mostly noticeable at the wide end. But, what I really missed the most, was not having image stabilization for those times when I wasn’t carrying my gitzo and needed to shoot at smaller apertures. I highly recommend the Tokina 11-16 f2.8 as a very good crop sensor lens, but, found I seldom shot at f2.8. So, when I bought my 6d w/24-70 f4 last year, to go with my much loved 70-300 f4-5.6 L all that was missing was a great wide angle (of course there are other lenses I’d like in the future).

    So two days ago I see a blurb in in Pop Photog about a new Canon wide angle zoom… I’m thinking…. oh no this might be what I’ve been looking for? Something I can hand hold in low light and howling winds when I’m not w/pod. I quickly go to the internet, read reviews including yours which I found most useful, made arrangements to send back 17-40 f4 (unused) and immediately ordered the 16-35 f4 based on all of the positive reviews and the fact it had IS. Sure it’s more money but, compromising doesn’t work well in the field. My copy will arrive this week… I can’t wait. Thanks again for your review.

  23. Stephen Garratt 22nd October 2014

    In error, in February, when I purchased my new Canon EOS 5D MKIII, I bought as a package the 16-35 f/2.8 MKII.
    I have subsequently bought the 24-70 MKII and the 70-200 MKII which both leave the 16-35 in the shade for both sharpness
    and punchy contrast.
    Thanks to this and other similar reviews and also, very positive ordinary photographers’ comments, I am about to put my 16-35 f/2.8 MKII
    up for sale on Ebay.
    I shall, of course, make a loss, but you live and learn, but will enjoy using my new 16-35 F/4 IS lens!

  24. Stephen Garratt 23rd October 2014

    In addition to yesterday’s comments, I have just ordered the 16-35 f/4 IS lens and eagerly await it’s arrival!
    Will be out photographing exteriors and interiors of local ancient churches shortly..

  25. Marc Crumpler 29th October 2014

    Thanks for a great review-just ordered mine.

  26. Hi Alex

    Thanks for taking the time to put this review together. A lot photographers enjoy putting these together and love the technical aspect of lenses etc, but lens reviews still take time.

    I have a 17 tse for my architecture, and a 24mm is usm and 40mm pancake that i take backpacking. I almost bought the 16-35 ii instead of the above primes, but due to the size of the zoom on the camera, decided against it.

    I have found that while the ‘concept’ of primes sounds purist, and at one stage they were sharper, practically they can be a pain to work with while hiking. They are smaller though when on the camera and easier to carry as a lens combo on the the waist belt.

    However after two hiking trips, the constant changing of lenses started to get a bit irritating, and now since the f4’s arrival, and it amazing quality, I am thinking of getting that instead and selling the other two.

    Thanx again.

    • There is no justification for any primes any more in my opinion except perhaps TSE lenses and even then that can be worked around with focus bracketting. Thanks for your comment

      • Emile 4th May 2015

        You’re right the moment Canon starts selling f/1.2 zooms. But only then…

  27. Hello Alex,

    Thank you for the detailed and unbiased review. I have been looking to purchase a wider lens than my 24-105 and narrowed it to the 17-40 and the 16-35 f4. I think you have made my mind up for me with this review.

    Landscapes don’t really feature in my portfolio but with my 70-200, the wide zoom would cope with my brother in laws wedding quite easily. I’m tempted to hire it for a weekend first before I go (he’s marrying abroad).

    Thanks again,


  28. Great review! I am very curios if you will do a review over the new Tamron 15-30 f2.8 – i am very curios how this lens performs over these two. Thanks!

  29. The new f/4 looks great, yes but how about the noise that you get when boosting up the ISO?

    Doesn’t that bother you?

    • Hi Janis,
      As I am sure you already know the lens doesn’t directly require the selection of a higher ISO but if light is at a premium (astrophotography) then obviously you may choose to boost the ISO to counteract the fact that the 16-35 f4 IS is a stop slower than the 2.8 version. Personally I think the sharpness improvement is well worth the trade.

  30. Thank you for one of the best comparisons available online. I’m very much impressed with the new Canon EF 16-35/4 L IS. About your photos of the night sky: Looking at the corner-crop from the 16-35 II isn’t there a marked difference between this corner and the opposite one? The other corner looks better from here. Could it be that coma is shown more clearly where stars are larger? The photo from the 16-35/4 also shows some differences between corners. It would be interesting to see all corners at 100%. The reason I’m asking is that I have a different lens that shows inconsistent results in some corners and I’m trying to figure out if this is an optical flaw or a small decentering issue or something else. Once again thank you for taking your time testing these lenses side by side!

    • This is consistent with all corners its just that the top left had more bright stars to show the coma and astigmatism at its worst.
      Glad you found it helpful 🙂

  31. Hi Alex,
    Ich bin, wenn auch in Deutsch (Excuse me), sehr dankbar für diesen Test.

    Dass der seagull-Effekt bei dem neuen Objektiv in den Ecken nicht so sichtbar ist, hat mich gefreut, weil ich das f/4 L 16-35 auch für meine astronomischen Aufnahmen benutzen werde. Bei meinem Canon 50/1,4 Festobjektiv sind diese Verzeichnungen noch viel schwerwiegener. (Cropfaktor 1,0)


  32. Hi Alex
    I have a different reason for wanting to use a wide angle lens – sports.
    I am finding that my 24-105 L is not wide enough for me anymore ( I am mostly using it under 70mm and specifically on the 24mm end). This is for capturing Mountain Bike and Skateboard events (“people events” also – I would resort to a 24-70 f2.8 when the light requires).
    I do realize that the 24-70 f2.8 L II is sharper but I am wanting to venture into using an appropriate wide angle lens first.
    May I ask your opinion/insight/experience with this regarding choosing between the 16-35 f2.8 or f4 for my needs please?

    Thank you in anticipation!

  33. Thank you very much. I am looking at getting a wide landscape lens and have found good deals on used 17 tse and used 16-35 f2.8, but I am going to go for a 16-35 f4.

  34. SHEKHAR BOPARDIKAR 18th April 2015

    Excellent Review.
    Frank Opinion required
    Want to by a Wide Angle Lens for Canon 5D MarkII aminly for Landscape and Architecture indoor and outdoor.
    17-40 F/4LUSM is better or 16-35f4LUSM
    I want comparison on OPTICS and not price.

  35. pundit 11th May 2015

    Hi Alex!
    Thanks for covering 17 TSE in the results. I’ve been needing a lens for architectural photography and your review makes me think that 16-35 F4L is better than 17 TSE (I may be able to save half of my money). I have tried the 24TSE and 17TSE (rental) and I’m going to try this lens now after reading The Digital Picture review and your coverage of everything TDP left out. Thanks really!!

  36. Hi Alex, first thanks for this great article.

    So far i (still) own the 2.8. I just would like to know, if you also noticed that the left/right border (i’m not talking about the corners) are very soft compared to the center for the 2.8? How is the left/right border sharpness for the new f4 compared to the center sharpness of the f4?

  37. Med Ayez 30th August 2015

    That was so helpfull ! thank you so much Alex ! Excellent review .

  38. Super helpful review. I’m awaiting the arrival of the f4 from B&H today and anxious to have a go with it. I was looking at the 24mm 1.4 just to have the astro ability. Then a helpful guy at ‘The Looking Glass’ store in Emeryville, CA suggested the F4 AND the Rokinon 24mm would be roughly the same price as the canon 24mm by itself. Step one, done with the f4 purchase. Now, I’m reading reviews of the Rokinon and a bit nervous about bad copies. Any advice there?

  39. Hi Alex, I recently purchased the 16-35mm f4 lens and have loved using it but then I wondered if I should have bought the older model with f2.8 as I love the bokeh you get with a 2.8 or less. After reading your review I decided to stick to my beautiful lens, I think it would be a mistake to return it and buy the 2.8 version! I am also glad that the f4 is a little cheaper than f2.8! Thanks so much for the great review!

  40. I stand before choosing between these lenses. Now I have confidence that it will be 16-35 f / 4. You have a small mistake in the description 17-40 f / 4 @ 16mm ? I think it should be 17mm. Thanks for comparison


  41. Tiberiu Vidrascu 17th February 2016

    Hi, Alex. Again, great review and I have bought the lens now. For landscapes where one wants the absolute sharpness from front to back what is the perfect aperture for you think? Thank you.

    • That depends where the front is! I tend to use the lens at f8, most of my work doesn’t involve super close foregrounds now.

  42. Stephen Garratt 16th September 2016

    I purchased this excellent lens in November 2014.
    Used with my EOS 5D MKIII it surpasses images taken previously with the F2.8L MKII.
    As the reviewer states, the images have a more 3D effect than with the previous permutation, which I have subsequently sold off on EBay.
    Another superb similar lens worthy of mention here, is
    the EF-M 11-22 which I purchased at the same time to use
    with my EOS M.
    Like the 16-35 F4 it displays superb sharpness and contrast at all F stops.

  43. Mandya Nagaraj 10th August 2017

    I have 16-35 2.8 for film making in 4k it is a very good lens suits for indoor and also outdoor shoots I am very happy.

  44. I had the 16-35 f/4 L IS and I liked it a lot. The IQ is great, it is versatile, the IS helps a lot with hand-held shots (though I saw only a 2 or 3 stop improvement, not the claimed 4). The weather sealing is also nice to have, as is the internal zoom and focus and non-rotating front element. But I sold it when, on a whim, I went out with my old 35mm f/2 EF and discovered not only that is it much nicer to have a lot less weight on the camera, but also that:
    a) The IQ is at least as good as the 16-35 f/4. It is a tiny bit poorer in the extreme corners, but makes up for that with better contrast throughout the frame.
    b) Being able to go to f/2 is a big deal
    c) I need only increase the ISO one stop and I can hand hold as effectively as I can hand hold the zoom with its IS
    d) I don’t miss being able to go wider than 35

  45. Alex, you Nail it.
    The best comparison between this lenses I could find in the web, I thank you for your hard and excellent work.
    I liked you used a 6D for this tests, since is the Canon body I have now, I’m on my way to receive a copy of the 16-35 f/4 this Christmas and can’t wait to give it some tasks.
    Wish you the best for the season.

  46. Maciej Matwiejszyn 18th January 2019

    Excellent review, thanks a lot.
    I noticed that your 16-35 F/2.8 looks like is damaged, my one is sharper than the 16-35 F/4 IS when I compared it at F/4.

    • No, it’s not damaged. I suspect you are using the version 3 of this lens which is dramatically better than the version 2 but was not released when I wrote this review.

  47. Alex,

    Many thanks for this review. It was super concise, and the sample photo crops helped a ton to get down to business regarding sharpness. Your review is the first I’ve read, and I think it’s gotten me most of the way to a decision.

    I’m likely going to pick up the 16-35mm f4 for landscapes as well as to shoot some architecture. I’m curious as to whether you have done any more digging into the distortion issue, or have any insight into it since doing this review many years ago? I’m going to go poke around on the web a bit more as well, but I appreciate your experience and insight.

    In other news, I wasn’t at all familiar with your work prior to landing on this review, but it’s wonderful, and inspirational!

    Thanks again,

  48. I really enjoyed your practical review. I love to shoot landscapes when traveling, and have an upcoming trip to the tropics. I only have a crop sensor, 60D. Love my 70-200 2.8L.

  49. Awesome review! These photos are amazing. Thanks for sharing!

  50. This was really helpful. Thanks for this tips!

  51. why are there no examples of photos in rav attached? The pictures made from full-size photos do not give an understanding of the difference in the quality of the images at all

    • Just replying to this comment because I think it’s incredibly rude.
      Firstly quite clearly it does give a good, if limited, comparison of the lenses. These are 100% crops and differences are clear to see. To say it gives no understanding in the differences at all is obviously wrong.

      Why didn’t I provide the RAW files? Well firstly at the time I wrote this, several years ago now, I wouldnt even have thought to upload them, it wasnt standard, 100% crops were.

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