Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 USM L III - Review / Test - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Sample Images

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Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 320
Focal Length 28.0mm
Aperture: f/10.0
Exposure 1/125s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 27.0mm
Aperture: f/10.0
Exposure 1/200s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 28.0mm
Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure 1/125s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 800
Focal Length 32.0mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure 1/40s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 1000
Focal Length 35.0mm
Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure 1/50s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 20.0mm
Aperture: f/11.0
Exposure 1/200s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 800
Focal Length 16.0mm
Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure 1/50s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 800
Focal Length 34.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/100s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 28.0mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure 1/250s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 20.0mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure 1/250s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 500
Focal Length 16.0mm
Aperture: f/5.0
Exposure 1/25s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 16.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/400s

Verdict

The Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 USM L III is, of course, an improvement over its predecessors. If you stop down a bit you can achieve edge-to-edge sharp images at all focal lengths even on a 50 megapixel camera. That's quite an achievement! The image corners are a bit soft at f2/8 and the extreme ends of the zoom range though. However, in real life that's rarely a showstopper. If you are using a camera with a more moderate pixel count, you don't really need to worry because the lens is plenty sharp enough in this case. Lateral CAs are generally very well controlled. A substantial weakness is the amount of vignetting at the wide end though. When designing a lens you have to balance the different optical aberrations and Canon obviously decided to favour sharpness over vignetting this time. The vignetting at 16mm f/2.8 isn't pretty to say the least. Of course, you can argue that this can be used in a creative way but then again - the mk II lens delivered better results in this chapter. Image distortions haven't been improved either thus you have to live with some barrel distortions at 16mm. Strong back-light is managed nicely in terms of flare although room for improvement remains (as always).

The build quality is very high and absolutely pro-grade. The lens is weather-sealed although for perfect protection Canon recommends to use a front filter to stop dust/water from entering via the gap between the moving inner and static outer lens tube. A few years ago we saw a trend towards smaller equipment but it seems as if the high quality requirements have reversed this. The Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 USM L III is not only heavier, it's also bigger than its predecessor. Whether this is helpful in the battle against smaller mirrorless systems remains to be seen. While you may not really need it most of the time, it's worth mentioning that the AF is extremely fast. A more surprising aspect is the lack of image stabilization though.

Which brings us to the question whether to prefer the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 USM L III over the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 USM L IS. If you require that extra f-stop for shallow depth-of-field images, the answer is simple of course. Go for it. However, beyond this aspect things aren't quite so simple. Unless you have to deal with moving objects, the EF 16-35mm f/4 USM L IS has actually more potential for low-light photography due to its image stabilizer. Given the results at 21 megapixels (we didn't test the f/4 lens on 50 megapixels), it is also viable to state that there's probably little to gain in terms of resolution with the EF 16-35mm f/2.8 USM L III. The f/4 lens is also more compact and way more affordable. The choice is yours.

Optical Quality (at 50 megapixels):Not provided at this stage   
Optical Quality (at 21 megapixels): to
Mechanical Quality:
Price/Performance:
      
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