Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 USM L IS - Review / Lens Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Sample Images

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Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 28.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/250s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/11.0
Exposure 1/160s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 35.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/1600s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 28.0mm
Aperture: f/11.0
Exposure 1/160s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 16.0mm
Aperture: f/11.0
Exposure 1/125s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 16.0mm
Aperture: f/11.0
Exposure 1/160s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 35.0mm
Aperture: f/11.0
Exposure 1/400s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 16.0mm
Aperture: f/11.0
Exposure 1/200s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 22.0mm
Aperture: f/7.1
Exposure 1/60s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 16.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/320s

Verdict

The Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 USM L IS is definitely a step forward for Canon. The lens is capable of delivering an impressive performance throughout most of the range but especially between 16-24mm. The center quality is stellar here and the borders and even corners are sharp. It can't really reach the same level of peak performance at 35mm but it's no slouch either here. Canon has mastered the handling of lateral CAs - while not completely absent, they are low unless the contrast change is really extreme. The vignetting is typical for a lens in this class so you have to live with visible light falloff at f/4 especially at 16mm. Image distortions can be disturbing at 16mm but if needed you can apply auto-correction in the more popular RAW converters.

The build quality is very high and certainly pro-grade. However, while no show-stopper we'd raise an eyebrow regarding the use of plastic in the lens body though. However, we certainly welcome the weather sealing and the smooth control rings. Be warned that the EF 16-35mm f/4 USM L IS is not a small lens - it may have a moderate max. aperture of f/4 but in terms of size and weight, it is almost identical to the EF 16-35mm f/2.8 USM L II. Unsurprisingly the AF is very fast and near silent but then we also expected no less from a USM lens. The image stabilizer is certainly a interesting value-add. It's usually not all that useful for landscape photography but such lenses are also often used in-room with less than optimal lighting and then it comes really handy here.

Thus would we recommend the EF 16-35mm f/4 USM L IS over the EF 16-35mm f/2.8 USM L II and EF 17-40mm f/4 USM L ? Yes, certainly. The improved performance in the critical 16-20mm range is noticeable. Whether it is worth over the Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX is a more difficult question though (if you can find a good sample). However, the Canon lens is more resistant against flare though and that's certainly a plus considering the immense field-of-view and the corresponding risk of having difficult light peaks in your scene.

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