RF 16mm f/2.8 STM...Interestingly Poor Yet Good Performance

LSXPhotog

Automotive, Motorsports, Commerical, & Real Estate
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Apr 2, 2015
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As it seems to be the trend these days with Canon, a budget lens has been released where distortion correction can't be disabled in camera and is forced on. I took this new little lens on a beautiful hike today and took a few sample shots with it - I was primarily there to unwind and capture some wildlife with my Fuji X-T4. I took several shots and was honestly surprised how it appeared to be performing (my good experience with the forced correction RF 14-35 fresh on the back of my mind). When I got back into the car I "pixel peeped" the corners pretty hard and identified some fuzziness of the fine details even stopped down quite a bit. This indicated to me that there was certainly some mischievous amounts of corrections being applied to these images. Boy...I had not idea just how incredible discovery awaited me back on my computer.

So I'm just going to post these photos as I could best match the "cut off point" for the corrections. Please keep in mind that the JPEGs coming out of the camera are indeed 45mp. However, you can see from these examples that Canon is providing some bombastic corrections to the photo. I've reduced the JPEG size to best illustrate where the corners of the final image actually begin and overlaid them on an uncorrected SOOC RAW file. There is a lot of software stretching going on here to make the image work. The lens is more of a 14mm that is essentially pulled into shape by the camera. On the RF 14-35, the final image looks absolutely magnificent and if we didn't know it was going on, we wouldn't have suspected any Tomfoolery as afoot.

As a side note, the lens works magnificent for video and I believe that was the entire basis for the creation of this lens. As a photo lens...just don't expect much in the way of fine detail in the corners unless you crop it down further to 17 or 18mm. The final images look pretty decent and I don't want to draw too much negativity toward this lens, but it's worth noting that corrections are once again essential to the use of RAW images. Canon and Adobe need to sit down and talk about releasing firmware updates accordingly because here we are over a month later and the RF 14-35mm f/4L IS USM isn't supported. I already dished out $1700 and created my own profiles for 14mm and 16mm, but I need the REAL correction profiles for these lenses to use them professionally. If Canon doesn't come up with a profile for the 14-35 by the end of the year I will be selling it.

JPEG-overlay-RF16mm-01.jpg

JPEG-overlay-RF16mm-02re.jpg
 
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privatebydesign

I post too Much on Here!!
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Jan 29, 2011
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Well that is the trend that other manufacturers took so in a competitive market in a system that allows that (mirrorless) what do you expect?


The days of the EF 16-35 f4 L IS are dead and gone.
 

privatebydesign

I post too Much on Here!!
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Jan 29, 2011
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Mine works fine with the adapter on my EOS R, thank you very much. :p
Indeed. I'm wondering if the value of EF glass will actually hold for quite a bit longer than a 'replaced' system should imply given the optical performance of much of that EF glass ics so good and adapters work so well on R bodies.

It seems to me EF glass on R bodies is a very smart move for many lenses, with certain exceptions. The RF50 f1.2 would be one for example, if I was a heavy EF 50 f1.2 shooter then I'd relish the upgrade to RF, but for the majority of the glass EF is looking more and more like a bargain.
 
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SteveC

R5
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Sep 3, 2019
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As far as I can recall, they don't play these extreme correction games with L lenses, only with the "cheap" "consumer" stuff.

Is that correct?
 

neuroanatomist

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Jul 21, 2010
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Sorry about question,Are you turn off [Digital lens optimizer] function on camera?
For the 16/2.8 and 14-35/4L, the distortion is automatically applied in-camera and in DPP and cannot be turned off. You have control over it if you shoot RAW and use a converter other than DPP.
 

jeffa4444

EOS 5D Mark IV
Feb 28, 2013
1,537
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We were promised with the RF mount vast optical improvements. That only seems to be the case with more expensive L series lenses. The corrections on the RF 16mm f2.8 stm are extreme as they are at 24mm on the RF 24-240mm zoom. Granted these are not professional grade lenses but I would have expected better.
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jul 21, 2010
26,049
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We were promised with the RF mount vast optical improvements. That only seems to be the case with more expensive L series lenses. The corrections on the RF 16mm f2.8 stm are extreme as they are at 24mm on the RF 24-240mm zoom. Granted these are not professional grade lenses but I would have expected better.
IIRC, Canon stated there would be significant improvements in optical designs because of the RF mount. IQ is only one part of optical design.

The 16/2.8 delivers a much wider FOV than the EF 20/2.8, yet it’s half the size, less than half the weight, and at $300 it’s half the price at launch. Those are all very significant improvements in optical design.
 
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gruhl28

Canon 70D
Jul 26, 2013
175
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As it seems to be the trend these days with Canon, a budget lens has been released where distortion correction can't be disabled in camera and is forced on. I took this new little lens on a beautiful hike today and took a few sample shots with it - I was primarily there to unwind and capture some wildlife with my Fuji X-T4. I took several shots and was honestly surprised how it appeared to be performing (my good experience with the forced correction RF 14-35 fresh on the back of my mind). When I got back into the car I "pixel peeped" the corners pretty hard and identified some fuzziness of the fine details even stopped down quite a bit. This indicated to me that there was certainly some mischievous amounts of corrections being applied to these images. Boy...I had not idea just how incredible discovery awaited me back on my computer.

So I'm just going to post these photos as I could best match the "cut off point" for the corrections. Please keep in mind that the JPEGs coming out of the camera are indeed 45mp. However, you can see from these examples that Canon is providing some bombastic corrections to the photo. I've reduced the JPEG size to best illustrate where the corners of the final image actually begin and overlaid them on an uncorrected SOOC RAW file. There is a lot of software stretching going on here to make the image work. The lens is more of a 14mm that is essentially pulled into shape by the camera. On the RF 14-35, the final image looks absolutely magnificent and if we didn't know it was going on, we wouldn't have suspected any Tomfoolery as afoot.

As a side note, the lens works magnificent for video and I believe that was the entire basis for the creation of this lens. As a photo lens...just don't expect much in the way of fine detail in the corners unless you crop it down further to 17 or 18mm. The final images look pretty decent and I don't want to draw too much negativity toward this lens, but it's worth noting that corrections are once again essential to the use of RAW images. Canon and Adobe need to sit down and talk about releasing firmware updates accordingly because here we are over a month later and the RF 14-35mm f/4L IS USM isn't supported. I already dished out $1700 and created my own profiles for 14mm and 16mm, but I need the REAL correction profiles for these lenses to use them professionally. If Canon doesn't come up with a profile for the 14-35 by the end of the year I will be selling it.

View attachment 200854

View attachment 200855
Thank you for the sample images. Regarding your last statement, DPP has a profile for the 14-35, doesn't it? In fact it applies it automatically and cannot be turned off from what I've read. If you're referring to Lightroom, then it is Adobe that needs to come up with a profile - I don't think that Canon supplies profiles to them. I believe this latest version of Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw released in the last week or two does now include a profile for the 14-35, though, so you should be good.
 

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
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Nov 7, 2013
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As it seems to be the trend these days with Canon, a budget lens has been released where distortion correction can't be disabled in camera and is forced on. ...
Thanks for sharing your discoveries and impressions on this lens.