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Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens
Canon introduced Canon EF 16-35mm II lens to replace the 16-35mm f/2.8L I lens. The original 16-35mm produces sharpness in the center but has a number of issues including softness and CA (chromatic aberrations) in the corners. These imperfections are more noticeable on full-frame Canon DSLR cameras. Among the many “fixes" Canon made, they changed the filter thread size from 77mm to 82mm.
Note that on a cropped sensor DSLR this lens is equivalent to a focal length of 25-56mm.
The build quality of the Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8 II lens is great. Its zoom and focus rings are easy to use and are in right place. With a 2.8 aperture throughout its focal range, it is well suited for shooting in low light conditions.
If you don’t need a 2.8 aperture lens, a good alternative is the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L.
If you need a lens with the specific range from 16mm up to 35mm at a lower cost, then there are prime lenses that may meet your needs such as the new Canon EF 24mm and 28mm 2.8 IS lenses among others.[spoiler style=”2″ title=”Pros & Cons”] [/su_spoiler] [spoiler style=”2″ title=”Specifications”]
|35mm equivalent FL (APS-C)||25-56mm|
|Camera Mount Type||Canon EF|
|Format Compatibility||35mm Film / Full-Frame Digital Sensor
|Angle of View||108° – 63°|
|Angle of View (APS-C)||–|
|Minimum Focus Distance||0.28m (0.92ft)|
Super Spectra coatings
3 aspherical elements
2 UD elements
|Diaphragm Blades||7 circular|
|AF motor type||Ring-type USM|
|Focus – Zoom methods||Internal|
|Filter Thread||82 mm|
|Dimensions (DxL)||Approx. 89 x 112mm (3.48 x 4.39 in)|
|Weight||635g (1.40 lb)|
|Included accessories||Front and rear caps
|Other||Metal barrel, metal mount
- Landscape / Scenery
- Low light conditions
- Architectural Interiors
* Listed lenses are the APS-C (1.6x crop) body alternatives to a field of view equal or close to one that Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8 USM II produces when mounted on FF (full frame) sensor body
** Listed lenses are the FF (full frame) body alternatives to a field of view equal or close to one that Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8 USM II produces when mounted on APS-C (1.6x crop) sensor body
You can check dpreview MTF-50 + CA chart here.
The Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM zoom lens is sharpest at its center at 16mm and f/2.8, but the best results for overall image quality are around 20-24mm at f/5.6-f/8. The 16-35mm II is the more advanced version of original 16-35mm, but it’s not flawless. Shooting at its widest focal length (16mm) shows some corner softness in images. It is normal to have some distortion with wide angle lenses and the 16-35mm II is no exception.
Furthermore, the MTF Chart WIDE confirms that this lens at its shortest focal length (16mm) and largest aperture (f/2.8) performs quite well but mostly in center of the frame (black thick line). Such performance is good for low light conditions. While stopped down to f/8, it has almost full frame sharp coverage (thick blue line). Landscape users will most often use apertures above f/5.6 and this lens performs quite well within that aperture range.
From the dpreview chart, it can be shown that CA is not really a big issue for this lens. It is well controlled and shows higher amounts of CA on edges of the frame. These days, CA is easily resolved in post processing.
If this lens is at focal length 16mm, it shows a 2-3 stops fall off at the edges of the frame. When stopping down or zooming in, the light fall off compared to center lags for 1 stop.
As expected, at 16mm a large amount of distortion will occur. The level of distortion varies among lenses but on a cropped sensor DSLR body, the average distortion across the frame is around 0.5%. On full-frame cameras, the 16-35mm II shows more distortion, varying from a bit under 1% (barrel average) at 16mm (meaning that in corners it can reach up to 3%) to about 0.5% pincushion from 24-35mm range. At 35mm, the pincushion distortion is less than 0.2% in the corners.
Nevertheless, the level of distortion of this lens is less than that of its predecessor. This is a great improvement as version I has an almost 1% of barrel distortion in the corners at 16mm.
The Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II has its lowest distortion at 28mm on cropped sensor cameras, and around 22 mm on full-frame bodies.
Distortion shouldn’t concern you much, as you can use photography software to correct images, but in case it does bother you, you can always search for Wide Angle prime lenses with less distortion.
Overall, this is a consistent lens with a short focal length that has a fast and reliable auto-focus.
Out of focus area (Bokeh)
Bokeh produced by this lens is decent but not amazing. It looks circular with some distorted shapes.
When compared to its predecessor, this lens has less flaring because it is built with better optical elements.
Bottom line for Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens
The 16-35mm f2.8 II, a unique wide angle zoom lens is without competition. Usually, primes outperform zoom lenses in image quality and all of the issues mentioned before about this particular lens are expected in all wide angle zoom lenses. This lens has been proven to be the best full-frame Canon wide angle zoom lens. It’s not without imperfections, but is highly versatile with excellent performance. This lens is most commonly used for Landscapes, Architectural Interiors, Low light situations, Weddings, Night Life, Photojournalism and much more. If you know how to use it, this lens can be an amazing addition to your gear.
We recommend that you get your copy of the Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8L USM II lens in one of these stores: