Review of Canon EF 16-35mm
Comparison with EF 16-35mm f/2.8L
|In this review, performance of the Canon EF 16-35mm
f/2.8L II is compared to that of the first version of the lens (EF
Statements from the Canon website about the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II:
It has been specifically designed for improved edge-to-edge image quality.....It features 3 high-precision aspherical lens elements, each of a different type: ground, replica and GMo for even better image quality than the original EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM. The circular aperture produces a beautiful and natural background blur when shooting at wider apertures. Other features include internal focusing, a ring type USM (Ultra Sonic Monitor), and new AF algorithms for fast and quiet autofocusing.
A brief performance review of the original EF 16-35mm f/2.8L lens relative to the EF 17-40mm f/4L lens is HERE.
50% MTF and Resolution
Data determined using these methods.
Performance of both lenses is excellent and noticeably better than the three non-L primes tested. The first version of the lens gave slightly better 50% MTF performance at f/2.8 than the second version.
Corner Sharpness and Lateral Chromatic Aberration
|As a general remark, corner line resolution at f/2.8
and f/4 is slightly better in the first version of the lens. However,
there is noticeably less lateral chromatic aberration in the corners at
f/2.8 and f/4 with the second version of the lens than the first
version, especially at 16mm and 20mm. The differences between the two
lenses are small and are generally not visible in most photographs.
Do I have a bad version II lens sample?
No, see tests HERE
Linear Distortion at f/8
20mm, 24mm, 35mm
||Linear distortion with both lenses is remarkably well
controlled. Both 16-35mm lenses have very mild barrel distortion at 16mm
and mild pincushion distortion at 35mm. The second version of the lens
has slightly more pincushion distortion at 35mm than the first version.
The second version also has slight pincushion distortion at 24mm.
At 16mm, the first version of the lens has a slightly wider field of view than the second version. The wider "16mm" lens setting field of view is noticeable at infinity focus in landscape application.
Vingetting from f/2.8 to f/8
Lenses were tested at infinity focus using a led illuminated light box with double opaque white diffusion screens.
The second version of the lens has slightly more light drop off at f/2.8 at the 16mm and 20mm settings than the first version of the lens.
Out of Focus Background Detail (Bokeh) and Highlights
||At f/2.8, f/4 (and to a lesser extent f/5.6), out of
focus background (bokeh) is much more smooth and highlights and
reflections of lights in the background are more even and smooth with
the second version of the lens.
Focus point is lens cap in the foreground. Background is about 20 feet behind the lens cap. The image has been cropped to a small portion of the total field.
Flare and Internal Reflections
|Both lenses are very resistant to flare. Internal reflections are better controlled in these test images with the second version of the lens.|
Building Photograph Assessing Chromatic Aberration and Image Sharpness
Both lenses produce high quality images at f/11/. At the 16mm setting, the first version of the lens produces mild, but noticeable, chromatic aberration in the upper right corner of the field that is not present in the image made with the second version of the lens.
Other Building Photographs
Both lenses give outstanding quality images at f/8 to f/13. It is difficult to find any difference in the excellent image quality that both lenses give from 16mm to 30mm.
Both the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L and the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lenses produce superb images with minimal distortion across a wide range of angles and apertures. Both lenses have excellent central field imaging performance when shot at f/2.8. It is difficult to see a difference in the high quality images produced by either lens.
Comparison Summary of 1st and 2nd Versions of the Lens
|EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM (2nd version)||EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM (1st version)|
|Potential Weaknesses for Some Users
||Potential Weaknesses for Some Users
2006-2009, William L. Castleman
First version posted 18 June, 2006. Second version posted 22 July 2009 and revised 05 August 2009