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

Oct 4, 2012
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www.dustinabbott.net
ahsanford said:
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

Exactly. Bryan's testing of this kind of thing is great. Over 4 stops of vignette in the corners is bad. I think the Tamron's result is probably the upside of that curved front element.
 

StudentOfLight

I'm on a life-long journey of self-discovery
Nov 2, 2013
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Cape Town
TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
ahsanford said:
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

Exactly. Bryan's testing of this kind of thing is great. Over 4 stops of vignette in the corners is bad. I think the Tamron's result is probably the upside of that curved front element.
The vignetting actually killed my enthusiasm for the III. Distortion is also a bit underwhelming, but not a dealbreaker.

For wide-field-astro having such dark corners is not ideal. For me, a max of 2 stops of vignette is okay to work with. In order to get to that you'd need the 16-35L III to be stopped down to f/4.5 which kinda defeats the purpose of using a fast lens. I guess I'm gonna just have to wait for a "18/2" or "20/1.8" with low coma and low vignette or something in that focal length that clears up those issues by f/2.8.
 

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
8,617
1,642
Again, I don't shoot astro, but I keep hearing the mythical dream astro tool is:

Fast + Wide + Coma Free when shot wide open


...but now I'm hearing it needs to be:

Fast + Wide + Coma Free when shot wide open + Low Vignetting when shot wide open

Hayzoose... Each ultrawide that comes out must feel like Lucy with the football for the astro camp. It's Christmas Day that never arrives.

- A
 

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Nov 18, 2012
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Virginia
ahsanford said:
Again, I don't shoot astro, but I keep hearing the mythical dream astro tool is:

Fast + Wide + Coma Free when shot wide open


...but now I'm hearing it needs to be:

Fast + Wide + Coma Free when shot wide open + Low Vignetting when shot wide open

Hayzoose... Each ultrawide that comes out must feel like Lucy with the football for the astro camp. It's Christmas Day that never arrives.

- A

Vignette is not a problem. You can correct in camera with jpg and with most other post tools with RAW. I used this lens to shoot a 1600+ timelapse of the wallops island Antares rocket launch monday night. I used in camera PIC and the results were very flat. Though it wasnt a real good test for stars, the ones i did capture were well formed. Very happy with the lens and look forward to great astro with it.

Now if you plan to use it on an aps-c, the vignette would be even less.
 
Nov 18, 2012
1,413
0
Virginia
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

And wih the tamron, you get no in camera peripheral illumination correction...which is a plus for canon lenses.
 
Sep 20, 2016
7
0
East Wind Photography said:
ahsanford said:
Again, I don't shoot astro, but I keep hearing the mythical dream astro tool is:

Fast + Wide + Coma Free when shot wide open


...but now I'm hearing it needs to be:

Fast + Wide + Coma Free when shot wide open + Low Vignetting when shot wide open

Hayzoose... Each ultrawide that comes out must feel like Lucy with the football for the astro camp. It's Christmas Day that never arrives.

- A

Vignette is not a problem. You can correct in camera with jpg and with most other post tools with RAW. I used this lens to shoot a 1600+ timelapse of the wallops island Antares rocket launch monday night. I used in camera PIC and the results were very flat. Though it wasnt a real good test for stars, the ones i did capture were well formed. Very happy with the lens and look forward to great astro with it.

Now if you plan to use it on an aps-c, the vignette would be even less.

Please show off your timelapse when complete! I was excited to capture the Antares launch but messed up my long exposure during. Oops! It was a great launch.
 

Random Orbits

EOS 5D Mark IV
Mar 14, 2012
2,432
303
StudentOfLight said:
The vignetting actually killed my enthusiasm for the III. Distortion is also a bit underwhelming, but not a dealbreaker.

For wide-field-astro having such dark corners is not ideal. For me, a max of 2 stops of vignette is okay to work with. In order to get to that you'd need the 16-35L III to be stopped down to f/4.5 which kinda defeats the purpose of using a fast lens. I guess I'm gonna just have to wait for a "18/2" or "20/1.8" with low coma and low vignette or something in that focal length that clears up those issues by f/2.8.

The vignetting is the same or less (longer focal lengths) than the 16-35 f/4 IS at the same aperture. So the trade compared to the 16-35 f/4 IS is gaining f/2.8 with sharpness better to similar to the 16-35 f/4 IS wide open at f/4 and you lose on IS, size and weight (both increase) and cost.
 

Woody

EOS R
Jul 20, 2010
1,157
82
Shocking that this lens is actually sharper than the 16-35 f/4L IS, both wide-open.
 

StudentOfLight

I'm on a life-long journey of self-discovery
Nov 2, 2013
1,444
3
38
Cape Town
ahsanford said:
Again, I don't shoot astro, but I keep hearing the mythical dream astro tool is:

Fast + Wide + Coma Free when shot wide open


...but now I'm hearing it needs to be:

Fast + Wide + Coma Free when shot wide open + Low Vignetting when shot wide open

Hayzoose... Each ultrawide that comes out must feel like Lucy with the football for the astro camp. It's Christmas Day that never arrives.

- A
To put vignette into perspective lets compare the 35/1.4L II to the 16-35L III:
A) 35mm 6.0s at f/1.4 ISO 3200 and you have 3 stops of vignette
(after correction, corner IQ is essentially that of ISO 25,600)
B) 16mm 15.0s at f/2.8 ISO 6400 and you have 4 stops of vignette
(after correction, corner IQ is essentially that of ISO 102,400)

The 24L II has been my wider angle lens option. It also has a massive coma and vignette problems wide open, but by f/2.8 it has mostly cleared up and the vignette greatly improves as well. http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Lens-Vignetting-Test-Results.aspx?Lens=1073&Camera=979&FLIComp=0&APIComp=2&LensComp=480&CameraComp=453&FLI=0&API=1

The 35L II also has a significant vignette wide open but improves greatly by f/2.
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Lens-Vignetting-Test-Results.aspx?Lens=1073&Camera=979&FLIComp=0&APIComp=1&LensComp=994&CameraComp=453&FLI=4&API=0

If I need to close down to f/5.6 to get corners within 2 stops of center then I might as well use my TS-E 24mm L II and shift-stitch to get to a 16mm angle of view. With that approach I can get 2x the resolution with stitching compared to a single shot from the zoom which will help make up for the corner softness on the shifts. http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Lens-Vignetting-Test-Results.aspx?Lens=1073&Camera=979&FLIComp=0&APIComp=1&LensComp=486&CameraComp=453&FLI=0&API=2

Stitching Panoramic shots with the faster primes (stopped down slightly) will give less noise and higher resolution than the 16-35L III.
 

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privatebydesign

EOS-1D X Mark III
CR Pro
Jan 29, 2011
9,684
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StudentOfLight said:
Stitching Panoramic shots with the faster primes (stopped down slightly) will give less noise and higher resolution than the 16-35L III.

Similarly layering and averaging multiple shots from the 16-35 will get you the fov and less noise.

There are so many ways to arrive at our desired destination now anybody complaining really is looking for issues, probably where there aren't any.

Having said that if TDP's results are confirmed by others it dies seem like vignetting is high to the point of impacting images if light gathering is your reason for f2.8 and not dof control.
 

krisbell

EOS 90D
Mar 18, 2014
168
43
www.flickr.com
Slightly underwhelmed by the results here. Despite the fact I love my 16-35mm f4 I would have upgraded for the added versatility of f2.8 plus a small improvement in IQ. I dont see any improvement here and the added cost and weight is too much to justify the cash outlay.
 

M_S

EOS 90D
Jul 31, 2013
158
10
TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
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.

As long as the lens correction tool is able to fix that, I am fine with it. Definitly will try this one out. Waited long for this. How does it perform in relation to the Rokinons?
 

tron

EOS R5
CR Pro
Nov 8, 2011
4,829
1,121
StudentOfLight said:
ahsanford said:
Again, I don't shoot astro, but I keep hearing the mythical dream astro tool is:

Fast + Wide + Coma Free when shot wide open


...but now I'm hearing it needs to be:

Fast + Wide + Coma Free when shot wide open + Low Vignetting when shot wide open

Hayzoose... Each ultrawide that comes out must feel like Lucy with the football for the astro camp. It's Christmas Day that never arrives.

- A
To put vignette into perspective lets compare the 35/1.4L II to the 16-35L III:
A) 35mm 6.0s at f/1.4 ISO 3200 and you have 3 stops of vignette
(after correction, corner IQ is essentially that of ISO 25,600)
B) 16mm 15.0s at f/2.8 ISO 6400 and you have 4 stops of vignette
(after correction, corner IQ is essentially that of ISO 102,400)

The 24L II has been my wider angle lens option. It also has a massive coma and vignette problems wide open, but by f/2.8 it has mostly cleared up and the vignette greatly improves as well. http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Lens-Vignetting-Test-Results.aspx?Lens=1073&Camera=979&FLIComp=0&APIComp=2&LensComp=480&CameraComp=453&FLI=0&API=1

The 35L II also has a significant vignette wide open but improves greatly by f/2.
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Lens-Vignetting-Test-Results.aspx?Lens=1073&Camera=979&FLIComp=0&APIComp=1&LensComp=994&CameraComp=453&FLI=4&API=0

If I need to close down to f/5.6 to get corners within 2 stops of center then I might as well use my TS-E 24mm L II and shift-stitch to get to a 16mm angle of view. With that approach I can get 2x the resolution with stitching compared to a single shot from the zoom which will help make up for the corner softness on the shifts. http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Lens-Vignetting-Test-Results.aspx?Lens=1073&Camera=979&FLIComp=0&APIComp=1&LensComp=486&CameraComp=453&FLI=0&API=2

Stitching Panoramic shots with the faster primes (stopped down slightly) will give less noise and higher resolution than the 16-35L III.
You also can just use 16-35 f/4 L IS which is excellent in everything but f/4 (coma, IQ, vignetting) or even use TS-E 17 4L with the same qualities and with shift capability to correct converging verticals (although they are less of a concern for that type of photo - but still a bonus). I have used both in astro shots and my only concern was the f/4...
 

GMCPhotographics

EOS 5D Mark IV
CR Pro
Aug 22, 2010
1,673
377
50
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What I think is remarkable compared with the mkII...is the lack of CA. While there's lots of commenataries about the mkII's sharpness wide open (which I've found to be acceptable in most cases), there is little that comment on it's massively bad CA. Every shot needed a high amount of CA correcting, which then came back if a heavy curves were applied. But with the new mkIII....there seems to be almost none. From a CA point of view, it's nearly as good as a TS-e lens.

With a general use ultra wide, there is always going to be deliberate distortion. If the lens use is assumed to be architecture (TSe 17 for instance, or 11-24L or 14IIL) then Canon would have fully rectilinear corrected it. But for general use, a little distortion is a good thing. It's also very easy to correct in lightroom to taste. The distortion on this lens is a-typical and maybe even a little less than other ultra wides.

While I'd agree that the vignetting wide open is a little dissapointing, by every other measurable aspect...this lens is amazing and in the same league as the TSe 17L and TSe 24IIL. That's an amazing achievement.

Ironically...with this lens, we might have found our first real need for a three stop shadow push....on a 5D4...due to the heavy vignetting. Lol....
 

Alex_M

EOS RP
Oct 16, 2015
345
2
Sir You cannot do that with 5D4 due to "5 stop mega shadows push banding sensor deffect"! just jocking... :D

GMCPhotographics said:
Ironically...with this lens, we might have found our first real need for a three stop shadow push....on a 5D4...due to the heavy vignetting. Lol....
 

GMCPhotographics

EOS 5D Mark IV
CR Pro
Aug 22, 2010
1,673
377
50
Uk
www.GMCPhotographics.co.uk
Alex_M said:
Sir You cannot do that with 5D4 due to "5 stop mega shadows push banding sensor deffect"! just jocking... :D

GMCPhotographics said:
Ironically...with this lens, we might have found our first real need for a three stop shadow push....on a 5D4...due to the heavy vignetting. Lol....

We're all ok bud....it's only a three stops vignette :D
Apparently, even a lowly 5D mk1 was good for that! But lets not mention the latest Nikon...it'll only upset the fanboys with the yellow camera straps.....
 

GMCPhotographics

EOS 5D Mark IV
CR Pro
Aug 22, 2010
1,673
377
50
Uk
www.GMCPhotographics.co.uk

LordofTackle

EOS RP
Nov 25, 2014
291
0
GMCPhotographics said:
Alex_M said:
Sir You cannot do that with 5D4 due to "5 stop mega shadows push banding sensor deffect"! just jocking... :D

GMCPhotographics said:
Ironically...with this lens, we might have found our first real need for a three stop shadow push....on a 5D4...due to the heavy vignetting. Lol....
We're all ok bud....it's only a three stops vignette :D
Apparently, even a lowly 5D mk1 was good for that! But lets not mention the latest Nikon...it'll only upset the fanboys with the yellow camera straps.....
Actually...it's right in the middle between you guys :D

TDP charts shows a 4-stop vignette in the extreme FF corners
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Lens-Vignetting-Test-Results.aspx?Lens=1073
 

rrcphoto

EOS R6
Jun 20, 2013
2,505
147
ahsanford said:
Again, I don't shoot astro, but I keep hearing the mythical dream astro tool is:

Fast + Wide + Coma Free when shot wide open


...but now I'm hearing it needs to be:

Fast + Wide + Coma Free when shot wide open + Low Vignetting when shot wide open

Hayzoose... Each ultrawide that comes out must feel like Lucy with the football for the astro camp. It's Christmas Day that never arrives.

- A

vignetting shouldn't be a problem for astro landscapes - that's an easy correction for anyone with a brain in their head, and astro landscapes are fairly low DR so that isn't an issue.

coma and wide open sharpness is the main thing - but with so many cheap and great primes for this .. see samyang .. why the hell does every lens have to service this niche anyways?
 
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