LensRentals.com has continued their series in looking at the MTF of lenses and their variation copy-to-copy. This time they look at the Canon EF 16-35 f/2.8L II, EF 16-35 f/4L IS & EF 11-24 f/4L as well as the Nikon's 14-24 f/2.8G. They look at the variations across the entire zoom range for each lens and have found the Canon EF 11-24 f/4L to be the best, by far.
The Canon 11-24 f/4 though was just shockingly good. We did not expect anything like those numbers. It's by far the most consistent zoom we've tested; far better than many prime lenses. I have no idea what Canon is doing or how they are doing it, but the copy-to-copy variation in most of their new lenses is minimal. I know people love to think that better inspection or QA procedures would accomplish this, but that's not really the case. A lot of it has to do with designing the lens so that tolerances are not so critical. Put another way, that means that a tiny movement of an element doesn't cause a huge change in the optics. Read the full article…
It's good to know that if you spend $3000 on the Canon 11-24 f/4L, you know you're likely to get an excellent copy.