Review - Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III Lens by TDP

Canon Rumors Guy

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The-Digital-Picture has completed their review of the brand new Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III. As you would expect from a latest generation Canon L zoom, the lens is a stellar performer and worthy of its hefty price tag.</p>
<p>From Bryan:</p>
<blockquote><p>The MTF charts predicted excellence in regards to 16-35 L III image quality and the good news is that I think you will find that expectation fully delivered. With a pair of Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lenses going through formal and informal testing, we have not been left disappointed. This lens is absolutely razor sharp across the entire full frame sensor at 16mm f/2.8, showing very impressive resolution and contrast. Stopping down makes very little 16mm sharpness difference in the center of the plane of sharp focus. <a href="http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-16-35mm-f-2.8L-III-USM-Lens.aspx">Read the full review</a></p></blockquote>
<p>The Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III is in stock at most retailers listed below.</p>
<p>Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III: <a href="https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1274708-REG/canon_ef_16_35mm_f_2_8l_iii.html/BI/2466/KBID/3296">B&H Photo</a> | <a href="http://amzn.to/2bPL0jq">Amazon</a> | <a href="http://www.adorama.com/CA16353.html?KBID=64393">Adorama</a> | <a href="http://bit.ly/2bkKGfQ">Canon Store</a> | <a href="https://mpex.com/canon-ef-16-35mm-f-2-8l-iii-lens.html?acc=3">Midwest Photo</a></p>
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ahsanford

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Aug 16, 2012
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Coma:

"Astro photographers are always looking for a better star lens and many of us were anxious to see how this lens performed on this subject. The good news is that this appears to be one of the best lenses yet for this subject. The stars are not perfectly round at 16mm, but they are very well-formed relative to the other options available and the more-centered stars are very sharp. At 24mm, I see faint wings starting to take shape and the brightest stars appear to have wings at 35mm where this lens performs more average."

(and there are examples)

- A
 

ahsanford

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As far as matching up to the 16-35 f/4L IS (bolded by me for emphasis):

"Between the large price differential and the versatility of its IS feature, the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens is the lens I see competing most strongly against the 16-35 III. The f/4L IS lens performs excellently and it was hard to imagine the 16-35 III besting it substantially in any way. While I wouldn't call the difference "substantial", as mentioned earlier in the review, the III indeed delivers better image quality at f/2.8 than the f/4L IS does at f/4 and that is very impressive. Stop down and I don't see image quality factoring into the decision process."

So... dedicated non-astro landscapers should pass on this lens if they already own the 16-35 f/4L IS?

- A
 

infared

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FINALLY! :D That is great to know....but at that price...I will just keep my incredible 16-35mm f/4 IS.
The few, the proud, the brave can own this beauty!!!!! :p
 
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Shot this last night with it. This is the first Canon zoom that I've been impressed with for astro work.
 

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ahsanford

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infared said:
I will just keep my incredible 16-35mm f/4 IS.

My read as well. I was waiting to see if the 16-35 f/2.8L III would actually outperform the (great) 16-35 f/4L IS, but it appears it is what it is: it's a wider aperture variant of an already great lens (without IS).

So this now looks like the following:

Sports --> f/2.8L III

Events --> f/2.8L III

Reportage --> f/2.8L III

Landscapes --> Either will work brilliantly; if you own the f/4L IS already, keep it and do not buy the 16-35 f/2.8L III

Hiking/travel --> Weight is king --> f/4L IS

Video --> IS is massive --> f/4L IS

Astro --> Consider the f/2.8L III or stay with third party solutions? (Wait for more coma testing? I don't know if TDP's samples put the question to bed, so I defer to astro people.)

Architecture --> Not sure either of these 16-35s scratch that itch well, as interiors would likely prefer the 11-24 f/4L and exteriors might speak to a wide T/S lens.

If you already have a lot of 77mm filter lenses and really hate the prospect of 82mm filters --> f/4L IS

If you don't know what you might be shooting in 5 years, if you shoot a little bit of everything, or if you just want to future proof your purchase --> f/2.8L III (only video or your back (on a hike) suffers with that call)

- A
 
Oct 4, 2012
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ahsanford said:
infared said:
I will just keep my incredible 16-35mm f/4 IS.

My read as well. I was waiting to see if the 16-35 f/2.8L III would actually outperform the (great) 16-35 f/4L IS, but it appears it is what it is: it's a wider aperture variant of an already great lens (without IS).

So this now looks like the following:

Sports --> f/2.8L III

Events --> f/2.8L III

Reportage --> f/2.8L III

Landscapes --> Either will work brilliantly; if you own the f/4L IS already, keep it and do not buy the 16-35 f/2.8L III

Hiking/travel --> Weight is king --> f/4L IS

Video --> IS is massive --> f/4L IS

Astro --> Consider the f/2.8L III or stay with third party solutions? (Wait for more coma testing? I don't know if TDP's samples put the question to bed, so I defer to astro people.)

Architecture --> Not sure either of these 16-35s scratch that itch well, as interiors would likely prefer the 11-24 f/4L and exteriors might speak to a wide T/S lens.

If you already have a lot of 77mm filter lenses and really hate the prospect of 82mm filters --> f/4L IS

If you don't know what you might be shooting in 5 years, if you shoot a little bit of everything, or if you just want to future proof your purchase --> f/2.8L III (only video or your back (on a hike) suffers with that call)

- A

I'll add to your list that the 16-35L III has two faults that I can see other than price: 1) It has a LOT of vignette - not so big a deal for stills, but definitely for video and 2) It has quite a bit of distortion. I just got through with the Zeiss Milvus 18mm review, and the Canon has much more obvious distortion (even 18mm). The Canon is definitely the sharper lens, however.
 

Memdroid

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Nice review. IQ is great bit I get a feeling Bryan glanced over the shortcomings a little bit. The price is a little bit too high here in Europe (around $3000). It is a very tempting lens and I wished for this a looooong time to replace my version II with it because I shoot a lot in low light. But the price and increased size (it is HUGE even compared to the 24-70 II) makes me want to hold on to the older version a little longer.
 
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Memdroid said:
Nice review. IQ is great bit I get a feeling Bryan glanced over the shortcomings a little bit. The price is a little bit too high here in Europe (around $3000). It is a very tempting lens and I wished for this a looooong time to replace my version II with it because I shoot a lot in low light. But the price and increased size (it is HUGE even compared to the 24-70 II) makes me want to hold on to the older version a little longer.

What surprised me is that I expected it to be a fair bit smaller than the Tamron 15-30mm - a big lens. It does weigh less, and it is a little bit narrower, but it is pretty much the same size as the Tamron overall.
 

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TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
chrysoberyl said:
TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
Shot this last night with it. This is the first Canon zoom that I've been impressed with for astro work.

Thanks! A lovely shot. Wide open at 16mm? How long was the exposure?

That's wide open, f/2.8, 20 second exposure at ISO 1600.

Thanks. 20 seconds seems long, but the shot speaks for itself! I hope you do a Samyang 20mm 1.8 review.
 

H. Jones

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TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
Memdroid said:
Nice review. IQ is great bit I get a feeling Bryan glanced over the shortcomings a little bit. The price is a little bit too high here in Europe (around $3000). It is a very tempting lens and I wished for this a looooong time to replace my version II with it because I shoot a lot in low light. But the price and increased size (it is HUGE even compared to the 24-70 II) makes me want to hold on to the older version a little longer.

What surprised me is that I expected it to be a fair bit smaller than the Tamron 15-30mm - a big lens. It does weigh less, and it is a little bit narrower, but it is pretty much the same size as the Tamron overall.

A quick comment on the weight-- I tried it out quite a bit at a local camera shop recently and I was very impressed by the weight. It doesn't feel all that substantial in my hands, despite how big and heavy it looks. It weighs less than the 24-70mm f/2.8L II, which is something I didn't expect since it's bigger than the 24-70mm.
 

ahsanford

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TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
What surprised me is that I expected it to be a fair bit smaller than the Tamron 15-30mm - a big lens. It does weigh less, and it is a little bit narrower, but it is pretty much the same size as the Tamron overall.

And that non-trivial distinction of having convenient front-filtering. Unless all you do is astro, that's a big deal.

- A
 

Maximilian

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TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
chrysoberyl said:
TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
Shot this last night with it. This is the first Canon zoom that I've been impressed with for astro work.

Thanks! A lovely shot. Wide open at 16mm? How long was the exposure?

That's wide open, f/2.8, 20 second exposure at ISO 1600.
Thanks, Dustin, for this ad hoc example for astro shooters.
I'mlooking forward to your full review :)
 

j-nord

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Maximilian said:
TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
chrysoberyl said:
TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
Shot this last night with it. This is the first Canon zoom that I've been impressed with for astro work.

Thanks! A lovely shot. Wide open at 16mm? How long was the exposure?

That's wide open, f/2.8, 20 second exposure at ISO 1600.
Thanks, Dustin, for this ad hoc example for astro shooters.
I'mlooking forward to your full review :)
Great to hear! I've go my eye out for direct astro comparisons with the Samyang/Rokinon 14mm f2.8.

Im looking at the pro/con of:

16-35 f4 IS + Rokinon 14mm f2.8 + maybe Rokinon 24 f1.4 (I hate this kind of over lap in my lenses)

vs.

16-35 f2.8 iii
 
Hrmm. I've been holding on to my money for a while, watching this lens go from rumor to announcement to this point where reviews are starting. I also have an alert setup for the 16-35mm f/4L refurb and it has hit < $800 a few times already.

I figured for sure, dropping the extra ~$1k on the f/2.8 III would be a slam dunk choice, especially with the even newer optics. I don't do video and I use a tripod for most of my stuff so IS is not important here. Weight isn't a big deal (I currently haul the 24-70 2.8 MK1 beast and a 100-400 II). I only really wanted the 2.8 over the 4 so that I would have the option (better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it, most of the time) of taking in more light and doing some astro and such should I want to. Looks like the new one slacks at the upper 28-35 too.

Guess I'll wait a little longer and if nothing else, rent it from Lens Rentals. I've already tried the f/4L from them and loved it (though IS was a bit noisy).
 

telemaq76

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TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
Shot this last night with it. This is the first Canon zoom that I've been impressed with for astro work.

same problem than the version II . MAssiv dark corners at 2.8, not that great for nightscape. I ll still prefer my tamron 15-30, but well i m waiting for real tests
 

ahsanford

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telemaq76 said:
TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
Shot this last night with it. This is the first Canon zoom that I've been impressed with for astro work.

same problem than the version II . MAssiv dark corners at 2.8, not that great for nightscape. I ll still prefer my tamron 15-30, but well i m waiting for real tests

TDP does real tests for vignetting. Here you go:

f/2.8L III vs. Tamron 15-30:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Lens-Vignetting-Test-Results.aspx?FLI=0&API=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0&Lens=1073&Camera=979&LensComp=986

f/2.8L III vs. f/2.8L II:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Lens-Vignetting-Test-Results.aspx?Lens=1073&Camera=979&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0&LensComp=412&CameraComp=9&FLI=0&API=0

f/2.8L III (@ f/4) vs. 16-35 f/4L IS:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Lens-Vignetting-Test-Results.aspx?Lens=1073&Camera=979&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0&LensComp=949&CameraComp=453&FLI=0&API=1

Ouch. That's a clear step in the wrong direction.

It should be noted that the f/2.8L III vignetting tests are reported on a 5DS R while the others are reported on a 1Ds3, but that shouldn't affect vignetting measurements on a same-sized sensor, right?

- A
 
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