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

BLFPhoto

Canon EOS user since '91...
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

Regarding that 24-70 II pop, it is amazing to me. I resisted the version II for a long time since my version I worked so well. Now I can't believe I waited so long. The 70-200 II doesn't have it. The 35mm II does. The pop is certainly due to the newest coatings. I would expect this new 16-35 version to have the coatings that will produce what you're referring to.
 

YuengLinger

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BLFPhoto said:
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

Regarding that 24-70 II pop, it is amazing to me. I resisted the version II for a long time since my version I worked so well. Now I can't believe I waited so long. The 70-200 II doesn't have it. The 35mm II does. The pop is certainly due to the newest coatings. I would expect this new 16-35 version to have the coatings that will produce what you're referring to.

Whether reviewers see "the pop" or not?
 

Bernd FMC

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First thanks to Dustin for his great Review(s) !

YuengLinger said:
Whether reviewers see "the pop" or not?

I also recognized "the Pop" especially with the 35 L II - also have the 24-70 2.8 L II - not sure how to find out the Reason what it is - or discribe it to other Persons - take a Look on the Pictures ::) .

I am looking for an Replacement for my 17-40 - not "urgent" -but in a While ... .

Usage for Landscape including Astro - and the strong Vignette does not look promising for me in that Point.
Event and such Things where covered with the 24-70 - so 2.8 ist necessary for Low Light for me - strong Vignette make it not that much useable for this Kind of Photo´s.

Possible the right Choice for me to get an 11-24 f 4 L - as an Lens especially for (Ultra)Wide Shot´s - or an TS-E 17 because of the possibility of keystone correction - not sure at the Moment.

16-35 III is much to expensive at the Moment ( for an general Purpose UWW Lens - with such an heavy Vignette ) .

Greetings from Germany

Bernd
 

Larsskv

EOS R
Jun 12, 2015
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TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
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.

What I am most thankful of, in your reviews, Dustin, is that you are able to point these "feel" or "taste" things out in a very good manner, and by that give unique insights to a lens strengths, that other "tech" based reviews will never let you know. I know from my own experiences with various lenses that you have reviewed, that I can trust your opinions.

Your ability to describe feel and taste qualities in a lens, in a trustworthy manner, sets you apart from the competition.
 

GMCPhotographics

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I think the lens hood is a major step forwards over the mkII. The hood on the mkII is a bit of a joke and completely useless. It's great to see the mkIII has a far better level of optical resolution at f2.8 and it's CA control is exceptional. The mkII's Achilles heel was CA...no question. The corner sharpness looks massively improved too, although for landscape work, even the old 16-35mk I stopped down to f13 was good enough. So wide open corner sharpness isn't that useful for landscape work, but it has its uses in other genres. The mkII was already very good in terms of flare and ghosting. Better than the 24-70IIL, surprisingly. But the mkIII takes this several steps further forwards...in fact I'd say that now the mkIII is probably one of the most flare resistant lenses in existence. It's a pity that Canon opted for the newer 16 blade aperture design, the mkII had less blades...but it's sun star was more striking. But it is what it is...and it's certainly easier to use Contre Jour.
From an optical perspective, the f4 lenses aren't inferior at all....just a choice. It now means that the choice for f4 or f2.8 is purely size / weight / cost / aperture and no longer a point about optical quality.
In terms of price...it's new and over priced. It will come down dramatically over the next year...although it'll never be a bargain. The f4 IS variant has already been on the market for a while and it's price has dropped significantly, which makes it even more of a bargain when compared to this new mkIII f2.8 version.
I think the old spector of Canon weak wide lenses has been thoroughly vanquished and this lens is a sign of the quality of optics that Canon are capable of pushing out.
 
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GMCPhotographics said:
I think the lens hood is a major step forwards over the mkII. The hood on the mkII is a bit of a joke and completely useless. It's great to see the mkIII has a far better level of optical resolution at f2.8 and it's CA control is exceptional. The mkII's Achilles heel was CA...no question. The corner sharpness looks massively improved too, although for landscape work, even the old 16-35mk I stopped down to f13 was good enough. So wide open corner sharpness isn't that useful for landscape work, but it has its uses in other genres. The mkII was already very good in terms of flare and ghosting. Better than the 24-70IIL, surprisingly. But the mkIII takes this several steps further forwards...in fact I'd say that now the mkIII is probably one of the most flare resistant lenses in existence. It's a pity that Canon opted for the newer 16 blade aperture design, the mkII had less blades...but it's sun star was more striking. But it is what it is...and it's certainly easier to use Contre Jour.
From an optical perspective, the f4 lenses aren't inferior at all....just a choice. It now means that the choice for f4 or f2.8 is purely size / weight / cost / aperture and no longer a point about optical quality.
In terms of price...it's new and over priced. It will come down dramatically over the next year...although it'll never be a bargain. The f4 IS variant has already been on the market for a while and it's price has dropped significantly, which makes it even more of a bargain when compared to this new mkIII f2.8 version.
I think the old spector of Canon weak wide lenses has been thoroughly vanquished and this lens is a sign of the quality of optics that Canon are capable of pushing out.

Solid points all. The one problem with stopping down to f/13 on newer bodies with higher resolution is that you really start to take a diffraction hit. It's imperative that modern lenses be able to achieve peak sharpness across the frame by no more than f/5.6.

I think if the price was $1799 for the lens we wouldn't be debating much about this lens (though that vignette isn't great at any price. That's usually the Zeiss weakness, not so much Canon. Ironically Tamron typically does a great job with vignette and a lesser job with light transmission. I almost wonder if that isn't a worthy tradeoff, though, particularly in a wide angle lens.
 
TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
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.

Ahhh!!, that's why I find my 50STM to be so sharp, I never use it at infinity, ditto my 100f2.0, rogers MTF curves slate it, but when I use mine for portraiture it's very sharp.
 

Eldar

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I have given this some more thought and decided to get one, despite my concerns of vignetting and price. My Zeiss 15mm f2.8 is a fantastic lens and I have been very happy with it. It is also widely considered the king of its focal length. It´s vignetting though, wide open, is 4 stops, which is pretty close to this one. So I decided I could live with that. Next, a dealer over here had it on black Friday sale, with a $400 discount. Looking forward to test it next week.

PS! I also got a 5DIV, with an $800 discount (didn´t need that either, but looking forward to it ;) )
 
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Eldar said:
I have given this some more thought and decided to get one, despite my concerns of vignetting and price. My Zeiss 15mm f2.8 is a fantastic lens and I have been very happy with it. It is also widely considered the king of its focal length. It´s vignetting though, wide open, is 4 stops, which is pretty close to this one. So I decided I could live with that. Next, a dealer over here had it on black Friday sale, with a $400 discount. Looking forward to test it next week.

PS! I also got a 5DIV, with an $800 discount (didn´t need that either, but looking forward to it ;) )

I'm interested in your feedback on this lens (as a long term Distagon 15mm user). Great deal on the 5DIV, by the way. Enjoy!
 

Eldar

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TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
Eldar said:
I have given this some more thought and decided to get one, despite my concerns of vignetting and price. My Zeiss 15mm f2.8 is a fantastic lens and I have been very happy with it. It is also widely considered the king of its focal length. It´s vignetting though, wide open, is 4 stops, which is pretty close to this one. So I decided I could live with that. Next, a dealer over here had it on black Friday sale, with a $400 discount. Looking forward to test it next week.

PS! I also got a 5DIV, with an $800 discount (didn´t need that either, but looking forward to it ;) )

I'm interested in your feedback on this lens (as a long term Distagon 15mm user). Great deal on the 5DIV, by the way. Enjoy!
This is pretty much the most boring time of the year, from a photography perspective, but I am looking forward to see what this lens delivers. However, I am even more eager to get my hands on the 5DIV. No time to be bored :)
 

tron

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Re: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III Review - Dustin Abbot

East Wind Photography said:
...
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.)
...
True, correction in camera is not important at all BUT you cannot say that vignette can be corrected easily on post for astro work. Having to raise almost 4 stops (at the corners) an already high iso (say 6400) landscape astro shot it will destroy it (the equivalent iso is 100K!). Have you ever tried that? I do not even raise corners 2 full stops in my landscape astro pics to avoid the change of color and the increased noise.

I was expecting this lens to not only replace my 14 2.8 L II and 16-35 f/4 IS but to take advantage of the combination of hood and flat front element for better protection from side lights. Now I will continue as is.
 

Eldar

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Re: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III Review - Dustin Abbot

tron said:
East Wind Photography said:
...
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.)
...
True, correction in camera is not important at all BUT you cannot say that vignette can be corrected easily on post for astro work. Having to raise almost 4 stops (at the corners) an already high iso (say 6400) landscape astro shot it will destroy it (the equivalent iso is 100K!). Have you ever tried that? I do not even raise corners 2 full stops in my landscape astro pics to avoid the change of color and the increased noise.

I was expecting this lens to not only replace my 14 2.8 L II and 16-35 f/4 IS but to take advantage of the combination of hood and flat front element for better protection from side lights. Now I will continue as is.
I had the same opinion. My (by far) best wide angle lens was (is) the Zeiss 15/2.8. A fantastic lens, highly regarded by anyone who has used it and regarded as the king of astrophotography (which is not very important to me). At 2.8 it has 4 stops of vignetting and it has not bothered me at all. So I decided to go for the 16-35 f2.8L III. Time will show if it was a smart move, but I look forward to test it myself.
 

tron

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Re: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III Review - Dustin Abbot

Eldar said:
tron said:
East Wind Photography said:
...
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.)
...
True, correction in camera is not important at all BUT you cannot say that vignette can be corrected easily on post for astro work. Having to raise almost 4 stops (at the corners) an already high iso (say 6400) landscape astro shot it will destroy it (the equivalent iso is 100K!). Have you ever tried that? I do not even raise corners 2 full stops in my landscape astro pics to avoid the change of color and the increased noise.

I was expecting this lens to not only replace my 14 2.8 L II and 16-35 f/4 IS but to take advantage of the combination of hood and flat front element for better protection from side lights. Now I will continue as is.
I had the same opinion. My (by far) best wide angle lens was (is) the Zeiss 15/2.8. A fantastic lens, highly regarded by anyone who has used it and regarded as the king of astrophotography (which is not very important to me). At 2.8 it has 4 stops of vignetting and it has not bothered me at all. So I decided to go for the 16-35 f2.8L III. Time will show if it was a smart move, but I look forward to test it myself.
I look forward to your test too :)
 

LordofTackle

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Nov 25, 2014
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Eldar said:
I had the same opinion. My (by far) best wide angle lens was (is) the Zeiss 15/2.8. A fantastic lens, highly regarded by anyone who has used it and regarded as the king of astrophotography (which is not very important to me). At 2.8 it has 4 stops of vignetting and it has not bothered me at all. So I decided to go for the 16-35 f2.8L III. Time will show if it was a smart move, but I look forward to test it myself.

+1 :)

OTOH, I am REALLY tempted right now to get it ASAP, as I can get it for 700€ less, so roughly 1900€!!
That's almost 30% less...for a lens that is 1-2 months old.

I went back to TDP, and actually the f/4 version is not that tempting anymore to me: it has about the same amount vignetting wide open as the f/2.8 stepped down to f/4, so no difference on that front. And you can still go to 2.8!
The IS is a nice to have but I ran around for several years on both my 16-35 and my 24-70 w/o it, so I don't really care about IS much....also I'm not much into video stuff.
 

tron

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LordofTackle said:
...
I went back to TDP, and actually the f/4 version is not that tempting anymore to me: it has about the same amount vignetting wide open as the f/2.8 stepped down to f/4, so no difference on that front. And you can still go to 2.8!
...
If you shoot landscapes and events OK but for astrophotography that does not apply! The alternative is not the f/4 zoom but another 2.8 uwa lens. The 700 off is nice.
 

LordofTackle

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Nov 25, 2014
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Yep, my main use is landscape, and sometimes "events" such as birthdays and so on.

So I think for me the f/2.8 III is the better way. Although I'd like to try Astro at some point :p
Jon's pictures are just too tempting :)
 

JMZawodny

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I'll add myself to the list of thankful readers of this review. I conclude that this is not a lens for me, primarily due to the excessive vignetting. I have the f/4 IS version and it suits my needs admirably.
 

tron

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LordofTackle said:
Yep, my main use is landscape, and sometimes "events" such as birthdays and so on.

So I think for me the f/2.8 III is the better way. Although I'd like to try Astro at some point :p
Jon's pictures are just too tempting :)
Jon's pictures are fantastic!
 

tron

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JMZawodny said:
I'll add myself to the list of thankful readers of this review. I conclude that this is not a lens for me, primarily due to the excessive vignetting. I have the f/4 IS version and it suits my needs admirably.
The f/4 IS is an excellent landscape lens for me. I also use it inside museums. I was hoping to consolidate 16-35 IS and 14 II but I will not. I was wishing 2 years for such a lens (I had many incidents with side lighting and a flat front element with hood could be a solution).
 

neuroanatomist

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JMZawodny said:
I'll add myself to the list of thankful readers of this review. I conclude that this is not a lens for me...

Agree on both counts. In my case, the 24-70/2.8 is wide enough for my people/event shooting, I have two TS-E lenses in the 16-35 range for architecture, and if I really want wide, I have the 11-24/4L.

I did have the 16-35/2.8L II, and I don't regret selling it.
 
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