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

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
8,617
1,642
rrcphoto said:
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?

A couple theories:

1) I believe the astro niche is growing. I have no data to back this up (please forward me some if you do), but I believe interest is growing with enthusiast astrophotography based on the frequency of posts I see on sites like CR. I do not know if it is because...

  • Sensors are getting so much better that more folks can give this a go for less money
  • People always wanted to try but we needed the world to conveniently organize and publish tools, guides, apps, web pages, etc. to walk us through the process
  • The influence of social media (which tends to fawn over astro work) is so strong
  • With the rise of cell phone photography, there is a desire for photographers to show-up the cell phone masses with 'this is what a real camera can do'

...but your guess is as good as mine. But it appears that more and more people are trying astro out.

2) Some enthusiasts who dabble at everything don't like owning specialized / niche gear. For the same reason a 'most of the time landscaper' buys a 16-35 f/2.8L III when the lens is overwhelmingly used at f/8, some folks don't like a tool that only does one thing. So there is a quest for an autofocusing / fast / wide lens that shoots astro well but can serve other needs.

- A
 

j-nord

Derp
Feb 16, 2016
467
4
Colorado
ahsanford said:
rrcphoto said:
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?

A couple theories:

1) I believe the astro niche is growing. I have no data to back this up (please forward me some if you do), but I believe interest is growing with enthusiast astrophotography based on the frequency of posts I see on sites like CR. I do not know if it is because...

  • Sensors are getting so much better that more folks can give this a go for less money
  • People always wanted to try but we needed the world to conveniently organize and publish tools, guides, apps, web pages, etc. to walk us through the process
  • The influence of social media (which tends to fawn over astro work) is so strong
  • With the rise of cell phone photography, there is a desire for photographers to show-up the cell phone masses with 'this is what a real camera can do'

...but your guess is as good as mine. But it appears that more and more people are trying astro out.

2) Some enthusiasts who dabble at everything don't like owning specialized / niche gear. For the same reason a 'most of the time landscaper' buys a 16-35 f/2.8L III when the lens is overwhelmingly used at f/8, some folks don't like a tool that only does one thing. So there is a quest for an autofocusing / fast / wide lens that shoots astro well but can serve other needs.

- A

I agree most of what ahsanford says here. I'm one who does not want niche/specialist lenses in my kit if I can avoid it. The rokinon 14mm f2.8 for example, while an excellent value proposition, is only good for astro IMO. It's manual focus, doesn't take filters, easy to damage the front element, not weather sealed, and its very bulky. You'll never carry it in your kit which means you have to go out of your way to bring it to shoot astro. If, for example, you want to hike to a location, it's and extra bulky lens to carry.
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
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Jul 21, 2010
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j-nord said:
I'm one who does not want niche/specialist lenses in my kit if I can avoid it. The rokinon 14mm f2.8 for example, while an excellent value proposition, is only good for astro IMO. It's manual focus, doesn't take filters, easy to damage the front element, not weather sealed, and its very bulky. You'll never carry it in your kit which means you have to go out of your way to bring it to shoot astro. If, for example, you want to hike to a location, it's and extra bulky lens to carry.

Personally, I don't mind niche lenses. The 600/4 II can be considered one, as can the MP-E 65 and the TS-E lenses – and I have them, and bring them as needed. Basically, the 24-70/2.8 is always in the kit, and other lenses are added depending on what I'll be shooting. I have the Roki 14/2.8 which I bought for astro, but of course it can be used for other subjects if it happens to be in the bag (although now that I have the 11-24/4L, the Roki will be pretty much only for astro).
 

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j-nord

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Feb 16, 2016
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neuroanatomist said:
j-nord said:
I'm one who does not want niche/specialist lenses in my kit if I can avoid it. The rokinon 14mm f2.8 for example, while an excellent value proposition, is only good for astro IMO. It's manual focus, doesn't take filters, easy to damage the front element, not weather sealed, and its very bulky. You'll never carry it in your kit which means you have to go out of your way to bring it to shoot astro. If, for example, you want to hike to a location, it's and extra bulky lens to carry.

Personally, I don't mind niche lenses. The 600/4 II can be considered one, as can the MP-E 65 and the TS-E lenses – and I have them, and bring them as needed. Basically, the 24-70/2.8 is always in the kit, and other lenses are added depending on what I'll be shooting. I have the Roki 14/2.8 which I bought for astro, but of course it can be used for other subjects if it happens to be in the bag (although now that I have the 11-24/4L, the Roki will be pretty much only for astro).
Let me clarify, I have no problem with niche lenses if money for camera gear was unlimited :) Also, I consider the rokinon 14mm f2.8 even more of a niche lens than any lenses you mentioned. Middle of the night shooting is, for me, pretty rare.
 

neuroanatomist

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Jul 21, 2010
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j-nord said:
Middle of the night shooting is, for me, pretty rare.

True...but the corollary of that is you generally know you're going out to do it and thus you plan in advance. So the argument about needing to go out of your way to bring it is less relevant since astrophotography generally isn't something you spontaneuosly decide to do...and when you do, you pretty much just need that one lens.
 

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
8,617
1,642
neuroanatomist said:
j-nord said:
Middle of the night shooting is, for me, pretty rare.

True...but the corollary of that is you generally know you're going out to do it and thus you plan in advance. So the argument about needing to go out of your way to bring it is less relevant since astrophotography generally isn't something you spontaneuosly decide to do...and when you do, you pretty much just need that one lens.

+1. It was refreshing that my first try at astro (at Bryce Canyon a couple weeks ago) was such a refreshingly skinny kit to manage. No Lee Holder/ND/ND grad filter lunchbox. No pre-ND framing and post-ND timer work needed. No bag full of lenses. I just had a camping headlight, my cell phone (for the milky way locator), camera with one lens + L-plate + tripod + sandbag shutter release. It was a very mobile setup.

Now, with the actual photography I completely s--- the bed for astro rookie/experience/technical/composition reasons, but it was a delightfully back-pain / widget-free experience. Highly recommended. :p

- A
 

j-nord

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Feb 16, 2016
467
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neuroanatomist said:
j-nord said:
Middle of the night shooting is, for me, pretty rare.

True...but the corollary of that is you generally know you're going out to do it and thus you plan in advance. So the argument about needing to go out of your way to bring it is less relevant since astrophotography generally isn't something you spontaneuosly decide to do...and when you do, you pretty much just need that one lens.

I'm as likely to have astro shooting opportunities when traveling, on a road trip, or returning from a day trip/hike as I am to specifically pop out to shoot astro. Still waiting on more reviews and comparisons but between the vignetting/cost of the 16-35iii, I'm leaning towards the 16-35 f4 + roki 14 f2.8 as better cost/benefit for now.
 

j-nord

Derp
Feb 16, 2016
467
4
Colorado
ahsanford said:
neuroanatomist said:
j-nord said:
Middle of the night shooting is, for me, pretty rare.

True...but the corollary of that is you generally know you're going out to do it and thus you plan in advance. So the argument about needing to go out of your way to bring it is less relevant since astrophotography generally isn't something you spontaneuosly decide to do...and when you do, you pretty much just need that one lens.

+1. It was refreshing that my first try at astro (at Bryce Canyon a couple weeks ago) was such a refreshingly skinny kit to manage. No Lee Holder/ND/ND grad filter lunchbox. No pre-ND framing and post-ND timer work needed. No bag full of lenses. I just had a camping headlight, my cell phone (for the milky way locator), camera with one lens + L-plate + tripod + sandbag shutter release. It was a very mobile setup.

Now, with the actual photography I completely s--- the bed for astro rookie/experience/technical/composition reasons, but it was a delightfully back-pain / widget-free experience. Highly recommended. :p

- A

You couldn't see it with the naked eye in Bryce?
 

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
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j-nord said:
You couldn't see it with the naked eye?

Yes, but it was faint. We went out way too soon in the evening and we also had moonlight to fight with on the more pronounced milky way side in the FOV, so I ended up shooting opposite the moon and brightest parts of the Milky Way and just getting the distant tail of the Milky Way over the main canyon view.

Again: This is the first night I ever tried astro, and I didn't have an astro-veteran wingman with me for settings, composition, etc. (I later read at Lonely Speck that I should have been gunning for -7 EV and I laughed out loud at how horribly I pooched my first night out.)

Given that I live in one of the most light polluted parts of America, and given how exacting and punishing this form of photography is, I doubt I'll get hooked with it. This will be a twice a year thing I'll do on road trips, camping, etc. and I will continue to post my sad misadventures to this talented collection of photographers. :D

- A
 

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ahsanford said:
j-nord said:
You couldn't see it with the naked eye?

Yes, but it was faint. We went out way too soon in the evening and we also had moonlight to fight with on the more pronounced milky way side in the FOV, so I ended up shooting opposite the moon and brightest parts of the Milky Way and just getting the distant tail of the Milky Way over the main canyon view.

Again: This is the first night I ever tried astro, and I didn't have an astro-veteran wingman with me for settings, composition, etc. (I later read at Lonely Speck that I should have been gunning for -7 EV and I laughed out loud at how horribly I pooched my first night out.)

Given that I live in one of the most light polluted parts of America, and given how exacting and punishing this form of photography is, I doubt I'll get hooked with it. This will be a twice a year thing I'll do on road trips, camping, etc. and I will continue to post my sad misadventures to this talented collection of photographers. :D

- A

Nice, crisp star points, though. That's nice.
 

rrcphoto

EOS R6
Jun 20, 2013
2,505
147
ahsanford said:
rrcphoto said:
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?

A couple theories:

1) I believe the astro niche is growing. I have no data to back this up (please forward me some if you do), but I believe interest is growing with enthusiast astrophotography based on the frequency of posts I see on sites like CR. I do not know if it is because...

  • Sensors are getting so much better that more folks can give this a go for less money
  • People always wanted to try but we needed the world to conveniently organize and publish tools, guides, apps, web pages, etc. to walk us through the process
  • The influence of social media (which tends to fawn over astro work) is so strong
  • With the rise of cell phone photography, there is a desire for photographers to show-up the cell phone masses with 'this is what a real camera can do'

...but your guess is as good as mine. But it appears that more and more people are trying astro out.

2) Some enthusiasts who dabble at everything don't like owning specialized / niche gear. For the same reason a 'most of the time landscaper' buys a 16-35 f/2.8L III when the lens is overwhelmingly used at f/8, some folks don't like a tool that only does one thing. So there is a quest for an autofocusing / fast / wide lens that shoots astro well but can serve other needs.

- A

It's certainly growing because it's more easy to do.

Except a manual focus lens will always be better for night-landscapes. less complex lens / non electronic for dew and environment is also better.

If you are dabbler, the vignetting isn't a problem - it isn't anyways for astro work. Where it's a problem is high DR low ISO scenes where you need to boost detail in the corners.

I refuse to call this astrophotography though, simply because slapping a f2.8 lens on and doing a 500 rule exposure certainly isn't anywhere near as challenging as even medium focal range to deep sky astrophotography.

if you're not a dabbler, you most likely have flat frames for your lens anyways, which is harder for a zoom than it is for a prime.
 

Hjalmarg1

Photo Hobbyist
Oct 8, 2013
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Woody said:
Shocking that this lens is actually sharper than the 16-35 f/4L IS, both wide-open.
It may be sharper but only by small margin. It will find some shooters that require speed in low light conditions but for most photographers and videographers using wide angle lenses, the 16-35mm f/4L IS is more than adequate.
 

photojoern.de

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Mar 10, 2016
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photojoern.de
It may be sharper but only by small margin. It will find some shooters that require speed in low light conditions but for most photographers and videographers using wide angle lenses, the 16-35mm f/4L IS is more than adequate.
Using the 16-35 f4 IS L for a year now, I can only underline that. It´s crisp sharp up until the corners. Par level with the famous 24-70 L f2.8 II, in my opinion. And I love the fact that I can handled shot until 1/10th of a second, if not slower.
 
Nov 18, 2012
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Virginia
photojoern.de said:
It may be sharper but only by small margin. It will find some shooters that require speed in low light conditions but for most photographers and videographers using wide angle lenses, the 16-35mm f/4L IS is more than adequate.
Using the 16-35 f4 IS L for a year now, I can only underline that. It´s crisp sharp up until the corners. Par level with the famous 24-70 L f2.8 II, in my opinion. And I love the fact that I can handled shot until 1/10th of a second, if not slower.

Only if your subject is not moving...otherwise f2.8 is better. I wrapped up a shoot last night with the 16-35 III and its pretty amazing. After sunset, f2.8 was really helpful. Kept me from using a higher ISO which would have only degraded the overall quality of the image.

Not everyone needs to shoot in low light though so the expense may not be warranted.
 

YuengLinger

EOS R6
CR Pro
Dec 20, 2012
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East Wind Photography said:
photojoern.de said:
It may be sharper but only by small margin. It will find some shooters that require speed in low light conditions but for most photographers and videographers using wide angle lenses, the 16-35mm f/4L IS is more than adequate.
Using the 16-35 f4 IS L for a year now, I can only underline that. It´s crisp sharp up until the corners. Par level with the famous 24-70 L f2.8 II, in my opinion. And I love the fact that I can handled shot until 1/10th of a second, if not slower.

Only if your subject is not moving...otherwise f2.8 is better. I wrapped up a shoot last night with the 16-35 III and its pretty amazing. After sunset, f2.8 was really helpful. Kept me from using a higher ISO which would have only degraded the overall quality of the image.

Not everyone needs to shoot in low light though so the expense may not be warranted.

+1
 

LordofTackle

EOS RP
Nov 25, 2014
291
0
By chance I had a short opportunity today to play around with the new 15-35 III.

What I noticed to far:
- build quality is excellent, feels almost the same as my 24-70 II (also looks the same). Therefore I have no problem with the increased weight
- picture quality seems very good, especially in the corners
- vignetting is pretty obvious and strong but not the 4 stops that TDP shows (at least from looking on the photos, no scientific comparison). I can definitely live with it.

Just my 2c
Sebastian
 
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