Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III Review - Dustin Abbott

Oct 4, 2012
2,669
17
www.dustinabbott.net
Hi everyone, I finished up my review of the Canon 16-35L III this week.

"Okay. Raise your hand if you wanted/expected this lens to come with an image stabilizer? In a day when many people use DSLRs as hybrid stills/video cameras and when Canon offers camera bodies with 30 and 50 megapixels, one would think that adding IS would have been a priority, but Canon has elected otherwise. Tamron proved a few years ago that such a lens is possible with its 15-30mm f/2.8 VC, but it will continue as the lone option for Canon shooters that want both the large f/2.8 maximum aperture and an image stabilizer in a wide angle zoom. Take a deep breath if this was your main priority, wipe away that tear from the corner of your eye, and let’s move on. The Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM is not the lens where Canon marries a wide aperture with an image stabilizer, but the 16-35L III is the lens where Canon gets most of the ingredients right for building an exceptional wide angle zoom." read more... http://bit.ly/2fy1COY

Text Review: http://bit.ly/2fy1COY | Video Review Part 1: http://bit.ly/2fkXCjD | Video Review Part 2: http://bit.ly/2fxYJgV | Image Gallery: http://bit.ly/2dKJQYC
 

Eldar

EOS R6
Jan 14, 2013
3,250
7
www.flickr.com
Another good review Dustin. You debate my exact concerns with this lens. I had it on my shopping list, but that heavy vignetting is a turnoff, combined with the outrageous price tag (US price is cheap compared to what it cost over here). I sold my 16-35 f4L IS, because I was confident this would be the lens, but now I regret it. I also use the 11-24, but I hate the dinner plate filter size (and the weight, when travelling/hiking). Maybe I´ll just get another 16-35 f4L IS ...
 
Eldar said:
Another good review Dustin. You debate my exact concerns with this lens. I had it on my shopping list, but that heavy vignetting is a turnoff, combined with the outrageous price tag (US price is cheap compared to what it cost over here). I sold my 16-35 f4L IS, because I was confident this would be the lens, but now I regret it. I also use the 11-24, but I hate the dinner plate filter size (and the weight, when travelling/hiking). Maybe I´ll just get another 16-35 f4L IS ...

+1

A good balanced review, and a conclusion which will mirror many people.

I think it will be interesting to see the Sigma Art 12-24 vs the 16-35 f/4 (although the Canon has IS), and then I think it comes down to how much you need f/2.8 and the IS. Lots of choices, but no clear winner :(
 

Sabaki

EOS RP
Dec 4, 2012
799
0
46
Cape Town, South Africa
Thanks for the awesome review Dustin!

Quick observation: the 2nd video starts with the photos of the restroom, where you show the 16-35 outperform the Tamron in the centre of the frame but the Tamron came out tops in the corners.

If I remember correctly and forgive me if I didn't, wasn't the results slightly different for the lake shots?

PS which brand of hair gel does the Dustin use?
 
Oct 4, 2012
2,669
17
www.dustinabbott.net
Sabaki said:
Thanks for the awesome review Dustin!

Quick observation: the 2nd video starts with the photos of the restroom, where you show the 16-35 outperform the Tamron in the centre of the frame but the Tamron came out tops in the corners.

If I remember correctly and forgive me if I didn't, wasn't the results slightly different for the lake shots?

PS which brand of hair gel does the Dustin use?

You're right, though the sharpness in the infinity scene was somewhat of a tossup. It's not unusual for lenses to have slightly different performance at difference focus distances. Try shooting a 50mm f/1.8 STM at infinity wide open; you'll be far less impressed than what it can do at six feet.
 
Oct 4, 2012
2,669
17
www.dustinabbott.net
Eldar said:
Another good review Dustin. You debate my exact concerns with this lens. I had it on my shopping list, but that heavy vignetting is a turnoff, combined with the outrageous price tag (US price is cheap compared to what it cost over here). I sold my 16-35 f4L IS, because I was confident this would be the lens, but now I regret it. I also use the 11-24, but I hate the dinner plate filter size (and the weight, when travelling/hiking). Maybe I´ll just get another 16-35 f4L IS ...

Yes - when I saw the MTF for the lens I was sure that I would ready to sell the Tamron and get the 16-35L III. And after using it for a month or so I do think it is the better lens in an absolute sense, but not enough to justify such a huge price increase.
 
Oct 4, 2012
2,669
17
www.dustinabbott.net
Stu_bert said:
Eldar said:
Another good review Dustin. You debate my exact concerns with this lens. I had it on my shopping list, but that heavy vignetting is a turnoff, combined with the outrageous price tag (US price is cheap compared to what it cost over here). I sold my 16-35 f4L IS, because I was confident this would be the lens, but now I regret it. I also use the 11-24, but I hate the dinner plate filter size (and the weight, when travelling/hiking). Maybe I´ll just get another 16-35 f4L IS ...

+1

A good balanced review, and a conclusion which will mirror many people.

I think it will be interesting to see the Sigma Art 12-24 vs the 16-35 f/4 (although the Canon has IS), and then I think it comes down to how much you need f/2.8 and the IS. Lots of choices, but no clear winner :(

I've requested the Sigma be sent to me, particularly since I have the yet unreleased Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero D lens in my hands at the moment to compare it to.
 

Alex_M

EOS RP
Oct 16, 2015
345
2
That would be unjust comparison in my opinion. totaly different glass. Canon 11-24 F4 L is a better match and what the Sigma 12-24 A was designed and buiilt to compete with.

TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
I've requested the Sigma be sent to me, particularly since I have the yet unreleased Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero D lens in my hands at the moment to compare it to.
 

YuengLinger

EOS R6
CR Pro
Dec 20, 2012
3,452
1,886
USA
Alex_M said:
That would be unjust comparison in my opinion. totaly different glass. Canon 11-24 F4 L is a better match and what the Sigma 12-24 A was designed and buiilt to compete with.

TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
I've requested the Sigma be sent to me, particularly since I have the yet unreleased Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero D lens in my hands at the moment to compare it to.

In terms of photographers choosing one wide-angle zoom for their quivers, not unjust at all! I agree with Dustin--it is in competition with the newest Canon.
 

Larsskv

EOS R
Jun 12, 2015
842
289
TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
Eldar said:
Another good review Dustin. You debate my exact concerns with this lens. I had it on my shopping list, but that heavy vignetting is a turnoff, combined with the outrageous price tag (US price is cheap compared to what it cost over here). I sold my 16-35 f4L IS, because I was confident this would be the lens, but now I regret it. I also use the 11-24, but I hate the dinner plate filter size (and the weight, when travelling/hiking). Maybe I´ll just get another 16-35 f4L IS ...

Yes - when I saw the MTF for the lens I was sure that I would ready to sell the Tamron and get the 16-35L III. And after using it for a month or so I do think it is the better lens in an absolute sense, but not enough to justify such a huge price increase.

Thank you for another insightful review, Dustin. The vignetting seems so bad that I question it's overall light gadering potential vs the 16-35 f4 L IS. I've noted, though, that the vignette of the f2.8 seems much better at 35mm, than at 16mm, and therefore it still is a little tempting.

I find the sharpness on my 16-35 f4 L IS at 35mm to be little disappointing compared to it's wider angles, and also compared to the 24-70 f4 L IS at 35mm. If the f2.8 L III is considerably sharper at 35mm, than the 16-35 f4 LIS at 35mm, I will be more tempted by it.

Another thing I am looking for is the difference in overall clarity and contrast. The 24-70 f2.8LII has a pop to it's images, that the 24-70 f4 L IS lacks. If it is a comparable difference between the 16-35 f4L IS and the f2.8 LIII, I would be persuaded and save up the money for an upgrade. Any insights on this from anyone who has compared these lenses head to head will be appreciated!
 

Alex_M

EOS RP
Oct 16, 2015
345
2
Sure but Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero D lens wouldn't be that one wide-angle zoom for their quivers you were talking about. There is obviously some value in comparison of super ultra wide constant aperture ZOOM lens with huge bulbous element to ultra wide f2.8 prime lens for some readers. My opinion is that such a comparison is unfair. Sigma 12-24 F4 A lens was designed to be a direct competitor to Canon 11-24 F4 L lens and therefore should be compared to Canon 11-24 F4 L.


YuengLinger said:
Alex_M said:
That would be unjust comparison in my opinion. totaly different glass. Canon 11-24 F4 L is a better match and what the Sigma 12-24 A was designed and buiilt to compete with.

TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
I've requested the Sigma be sent to me, particularly since I have the yet unreleased Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero D lens in my hands at the moment to compare it to.

In terms of photographers choosing one wide-angle zoom for their quivers, not unjust at all! I agree with Dustin--it is in competition with the newest Canon.
 
Oct 4, 2012
2,669
17
www.dustinabbott.net
Alex_M said:
Sure but Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero D lens wouldn't be that one wide-angle zoom for their quivers you were talking about. There is obviously some value in comparison of super ultra wide constant aperture ZOOM lens with huge bulbous element to ultra wide f2.8 prime lens for some readers. My opinion is that such a comparison is unfair. Sigma 12-24 F4 A lens was designed to be a direct competitor to Canon 11-24 F4 L lens and therefore should be compared to Canon 11-24 F4 L.


YuengLinger said:
Alex_M said:
That would be unjust comparison in my opinion. totaly different glass. Canon 11-24 F4 L is a better match and what the Sigma 12-24 A was designed and buiilt to compete with.

TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
I've requested the Sigma be sent to me, particularly since I have the yet unreleased Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero D lens in my hands at the moment to compare it to.

In terms of photographers choosing one wide-angle zoom for their quivers, not unjust at all! I agree with Dustin--it is in competition with the newest Canon.

I don't disagree, but I happen to have the Laowa on hand at the moment. :)
 

LordofTackle

EOS RP
Nov 25, 2014
291
0
Larsskv said:
TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
Eldar said:
Another good review Dustin. You debate my exact concerns with this lens. I had it on my shopping list, but that heavy vignetting is a turnoff, combined with the outrageous price tag (US price is cheap compared to what it cost over here). I sold my 16-35 f4L IS, because I was confident this would be the lens, but now I regret it. I also use the 11-24, but I hate the dinner plate filter size (and the weight, when travelling/hiking). Maybe I´ll just get another 16-35 f4L IS ...

Yes - when I saw the MTF for the lens I was sure that I would ready to sell the Tamron and get the 16-35L III. And after using it for a month or so I do think it is the better lens in an absolute sense, but not enough to justify such a huge price increase.
Another thing I am looking for is the difference in overall clarity and contrast. The 24-70 f2.8LII has a pop to it's images, that the 24-70 f4 L IS lacks. If it is a comparable difference between the 16-35 f4L IS and the f2.8 LIII, I would be persuaded and save up the money for an upgrade. Any insights on this from anyone who has compared these lenses head to head will be appreciated!

Another great review, thank you for that Dustin. Also that you comment a bit more on the vignette than other sources ;)
I'm really torn right now whether to go for the 2.8 III or the 4 IS. IS is not as important to me, since I don't do video and I'm used to not having IS from the II and the 24-70/2.8. I also really like the ability to have 2.8 when needed.
OTOH, as Eldar said, the high price (here in Germany MRSP is 2625€!! close to 3000$) is a real turnoff, and so is the huge vignette. Choices choices....

But regarding the price, that already seem to regulate itself, since several shops decreased the price for new III already by 300€, which is pretty telling I guess, since the lens has only been available for 2-3 weeks here. (maybe Canon got to little preorders/early adopters for that price?).

What I would like to ask: As Larsskv pointed out, the 24-70/2.8 has a certain pop, a kind of special feeling, to its images, which I also really like. Where does the new 16-35 III stand in that regard? Especially compared to the f/4 version.

Sebastian
 
Oct 4, 2012
2,669
17
www.dustinabbott.net
LordofTackle said:
Larsskv said:
TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
Eldar said:
Another good review Dustin. You debate my exact concerns with this lens. I had it on my shopping list, but that heavy vignetting is a turnoff, combined with the outrageous price tag (US price is cheap compared to what it cost over here). I sold my 16-35 f4L IS, because I was confident this would be the lens, but now I regret it. I also use the 11-24, but I hate the dinner plate filter size (and the weight, when travelling/hiking). Maybe I´ll just get another 16-35 f4L IS ...

Yes - when I saw the MTF for the lens I was sure that I would ready to sell the Tamron and get the 16-35L III. And after using it for a month or so I do think it is the better lens in an absolute sense, but not enough to justify such a huge price increase.
Another thing I am looking for is the difference in overall clarity and contrast. The 24-70 f2.8LII has a pop to it's images, that the 24-70 f4 L IS lacks. If it is a comparable difference between the 16-35 f4L IS and the f2.8 LIII, I would be persuaded and save up the money for an upgrade. Any insights on this from anyone who has compared these lenses head to head will be appreciated!

Another great review, thank you for that Dustin. Also that you comment a bit more on the vignette than other sources ;)
I'm really torn right now whether to go for the 2.8 III or the 4 IS. IS is not as important to me, since I don't do video and I'm used to not having IS from the II and the 24-70/2.8. I also really like the ability to have 2.8 when needed.
OTOH, as Eldar said, the high price (here in Germany MRSP is 2625€!! close to 3000$) is a real turnoff, and so is the huge vignette. Choices choices....

But regarding the price, that already seem to regulate itself, since several shops decreased the price for new III already by 300€, which is pretty telling I guess, since the lens has only been available for 2-3 weeks here. (maybe Canon got to little preorders/early adopters for that price?).

What I would like to ask: As Larsskv pointed out, the 24-70/2.8 has a certain pop, a kind of special feeling, to its images, which I also really like. Where does the new 16-35 III stand in that regard? Especially compared to the f/4 version.

Sebastian

Sebastian, I know what you are referring to (the new 35L II definitely has it!). I would have a hard speaking definitely on that without comparing the two side by side. It produces really great images, to be sure, but what you are describing is more of a "feel" or "taste" thing.
 
Nov 18, 2012
1,413
0
Virginia
Re: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III Review - Dustin Abbot

LordofTackle said:
Larsskv said:
TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
Eldar said:
Another good review Dustin. You debate my exact concerns with this lens. I had it on my shopping list, but that heavy vignetting is a turnoff, combined with the outrageous price tag (US price is cheap compared to what it cost over here). I sold my 16-35 f4L IS, because I was confident this would be the lens, but now I regret it. I also use the 11-24, but I hate the dinner plate filter size (and the weight, when travelling/hiking). Maybe I´ll just get another 16-35 f4L IS ...

Yes - when I saw the MTF for the lens I was sure that I would ready to sell the Tamron and get the 16-35L III. And after using it for a month or so I do think it is the better lens in an absolute sense, but not enough to justify such a huge price increase.
Another thing I am looking for is the difference in overall clarity and contrast. The 24-70 f2.8LII has a pop to it's images, that the 24-70 f4 L IS lacks. If it is a comparable difference between the 16-35 f4L IS and the f2.8 LIII, I would be persuaded and save up the money for an upgrade. Any insights on this from anyone who has compared these lenses head to head will be appreciated!

Another great review, thank you for that Dustin. Also that you comment a bit more on the vignette than other sources ;)
I'm really torn right now whether to go for the 2.8 III or the 4 IS. IS is not as important to me, since I don't do video and I'm used to not having IS from the II and the 24-70/2.8. I also really like the ability to have 2.8 when needed.
OTOH, as Eldar said, the high price (here in Germany MRSP is 2625€!! close to 3000$) is a real turnoff, and so is the huge vignette. Choices choices....

But regarding the price, that already seem to regulate itself, since several shops decreased the price for new III already by 300€, which is pretty telling I guess, since the lens has only been available for 2-3 weeks here. (maybe Canon got to little preorders/early adopters for that price?).

What I would like to ask: As Larsskv pointed out, the 24-70/2.8 has a certain pop, a kind of special feeling, to its images, which I also really like. Where does the new 16-35 III stand in that regard? Especially compared to the f/4 version.

Sebastian

I've been using the 18-35 Iii now since it was first released. IQ is stunning. Contrast and color quality is excellent. In fact for the fall foliage here I've been having to desaturate quite a bit. The vignette is not a big deal as it's easily corrected in camera or in post. 3rd party lenses cannot be corrected in camera but for the most part this should not be a deciding factor, even for Astro work (which by the way the lens performs great with stars all the way to the edges.)

Price seems to be an issue for you so if you don't need the low light capability, then go with the F4 version. The IS adds to the f4 cost but you can turn it off if you don't need it. I can't say exactly how it compares with the f2.8iii but most of the reviews say the f4 version is pretty close. A lot closer to the f2.8iii than the f2.8ii.

I was able to land a deal on the 1st week it was released so it was a little less painful. However, i Used the money saved to pick up a heliopan high transmission polarizer for it for when I do landscapes.

I think it boils down to available cash and wether or not you do low light work.
 

YuengLinger

EOS R6
CR Pro
Dec 20, 2012
3,452
1,886
USA
I wonder when we'll learn how much the vignetting might depend on copy variance.

For indoor events, single subject more or less centered in frame, no big impact, maybe, but for composing more towards the edges of the frame, raising shadows more than a stop is not great for skin and details...

Price is an issue when the whole point of going with 2.8 over f/4 is to get fantastic low-light performance from edge to edge--which clearly should be delivered at this price. Half the price, easier to brush off as part of the bargain.
 

AvTvM

EOS R6
Nov 4, 2011
3,165
0
thanks, but not interested. too big, too fat, to expensive, too mirrorslapperish. :)

will not buy.
 
<-- start Taboola -->