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13 137589 1/23/2007
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Keywords: Canon EF Wide Zoom 35mm L USM Tested


Registered: January 2007
Posts: 15
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM review by fergusonjr
Review Date: 1/23/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

Pros: Big Aperture, Superior Build-Quality
Cons: Pricey, Barrel Distortion,

Canon's 'L' lenses are known for their exceptional build quality, and this lens is no exception. Both the zoom and focus rings operate smoothly and solidly.

The focal-length range may seem rather tight and limited (it amounts to barely more than a 2X zoom), but I still found it be very versatile and was able to use it for a whole range of tasks. More zoom would be nice, but more focal length range tends to result in negative tradeoffs.

The f/2.8 fixed max aperture is what makes this lens so attractive. I found that at 2.8 at ISO 800, the lens was a very realistic indoor, available-light lens. The 16-35mm focal range is also a much more useful indoor range than, say, a 24-70mm.

Some problems I encountered with this lens included obvious barrel distortions at at the wider focal lengths and lens flares. Taking pictures of buildings resulted in fairly substantial barrel distortions. While this is something that can be corrected in Photoshop, it's an annoyance that makes this a much less attractive lens for architectural photography. I also found it to be essential to use the petal hood in order to avoid lens flares, particularly in the sun.

If you really need a solid wide-zoom with the versatility of a 2.8 aperture, this is a hard lens to argue against, particularly if you don't care so much about the barrel distortions. If you don't need the more robust and solid-feeling L-quality body, the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS may be a better choice, as it offers extra zoom, better sharpness, as well as image stabilization and a slightly lower price tag.

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 6
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM review by kzr63g
Review Date: 1/9/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 8 

Pros: L guality build, splash-proof
Cons: soft corners at 2.8

Corners are soft on my D60 at F 2.8.
Build quality very good.

Registered: May 2006
Posts: 62
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM review by gadgetguy
Review Date: 12/30/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

Pros: ultrawide and ultrafast
Cons: expensive, not "bang for the buck"

If you need a fast (f/2.8) ultrawide zoom, and your budget will allow it, this is a great lens to have in your kit and I wouldn't hesitate recommending it. Corners are a little soft wide open, but hey - this is a 2.8 ultrawide zoom, don't expect miracles.

For those on a smaller budget, Canon's 17-40/f4L is less than half the price of this lens but is *almost* there in performace (sans 2.8, course).
Matthew Saville

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 21
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM review by Matthew Saville
Review Date: 12/29/2006 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 7 

Pros: Build quality, fast apeture, field of view
Cons: sharpness, cost

This lens has the reputation as one of Canon's most over-priced L lenses. This is probably because of the disappointing sharpness, or lack therof.

I used it a bunch on a 20D, and so the extreme corners were hidden so to speak. (but you would hit them on a 5D etc.) On the 20D the sharpness is pretty good, perfectly fine stopped down and decent / use-able wide open.

The only problem is that you can get a 17-40 f/4 L for half the price. People say that you should only get the 16-35 f/2.8 if you need the apeture, otherwise get the 17-40. But I say, you're probably better off under-exposing with the 17-40, getting a sharp image, and then pushing the exposure. Especially with the amazing high ISO performance of Canon DSLRs.


Registered: July 2006
Posts: 9
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM review by photogjack
Review Date: 12/16/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,500.00| Rating: 8 

Pros: Useful zoom range, reasonably sharp
Cons: not as sharp as primes

This is a good lens for a photojournalist - it covers an excellent working range. It is quite a bit sharper than the 17-35 was and it focuses a lot closer. I don't think it's as sharp as wide angle primes. Flare is extremely well controlled, especially for such a wide lens.

For day to day use, I prefer the 28mm f1.8. I haul this out when I am covering spot news.


Registered: November 2006
Posts: 17
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM review by cjbowlsby
Review Date: 11/28/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 8 

Pros: good focal length range, bright, solid construction, fast focusing
Cons: heavy, a bit soft wide open, not as wide as I'd like

Using this on my 20D, I kept wanting it to actually get wider than it was. That 1.6x crop factor is a bummer sometimes.

I really did like how fast it would focus, and for outdoor shooting where I had enough light to stop it down it was really a pretty solid performer.

But for true wide angle bright, I found myself renting the 14mm 2.8 L instead.

Registered: February 2006
Posts: 2
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM review by lord_malone
Review Date: 2/20/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,250.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Good usuabel WA zoom range, outstanding color, contrast. Quality L build.
Cons: Cost is a killer.

I traded in my 17-40L for this lens. I found myself really needing that extra stop in certain situations. This lens did not disappoint. However, I found that the 17-40L performed as good, if not better in some cases, than the 16-35L and at almost half the price. I would only recommend the 16-35L over the 17-40L if you absolutely without a doubt needed that extra stop. I've examined shots taken wide open with this lens, and though it may appear a little soft when compared with shots taken with my prime lenses, the differences are negligable. As someone already pointed out, it's a WA zoom. Softness at maximum aperature is inherent in these types of lenses. I think people expect too much from this lens. It does what its designed to do, and for what it is, performs exceptionally well. For the price paid, I can see why people would expect this lens to perform better than primes and cook their breakfast for them too.

Registered: February 2006
Posts: 1
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM review by harvej
Review Date: 2/19/2006 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $1,100.00| Rating: 7 

Pros: Light weight, modest size, great build, look&feel.
Cons: Way too costly for only reasonable optics.

I have used this lens for 8 months on a Canon 350D.
The comments in this site's test are dead on for this lens. And that's a shame, because the look&feel of this lens are ideal for my small 350D. I really have to work hard to get a sharp image, and the results can be inconsistent. If I avoid shooting wide open, keep the ISO low, the shutter speed above 160, and shoot longer than 16mm, I can ALMOST depend on getting a good, sharp useable image. Even better if I fire up the Speedlite. But you cannot push the optics on this lens at all and stil expect quality.

Registered: November 2005
Posts: 1
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM review by homecinemaman
Review Date: 1/13/2006 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $1,250.00| Rating: 6 

Pros: Excellent build quality, fit, finish, feel all first rate. Pro construction.
Cons: Soft and expensive for results obtained.

This lens and the 100-400mm "L" made me switch from Canon to Nikon.

I was very impressed with the construction of this lens. Built from the same mold as the great classics of the 60's and 70's. However my sample was soft all over. I first noticed soft images hand held using good shooting techniques. Unhappy with the results I performed a series of outdoor tests with my Manfrotto CF tripod. Using various apatures and focal lenths I realized that the 16-35 was IMHO a unacceptable performer.

I had the same experience with my 100-400 "L". These two lenses along with the poor autofocus in dim light of the D30 and D60 plus the miserable flash system were enough reasons to force me to sell all of my Canon gear. This was not easy.

That said, I had the 50mm f1.8 and the 70-200 f4 'L' and got great results. I would feel that I had bad samples of these two lenses (16-35 & 100-400). However, there were to many reports in the field of problems with them. I have found the "Kit 18-70 Nikkor" to out perform this lens. I have also used the Nikkor 17-35 and there is no comparison, the Nikkor win hands down.

Buyer beware. Test before you purchase.

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 1
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM review by McDphoto
Review Date: 12/5/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

Pros: Color, sharpness, coverage, versatility
Cons: Weight, corner distortion at widest angles

This has been my favorite walk around lens for years. It has earned the spot with great color fidelity and corner to corner sharpness across 28-35-50mm view (@1.6) on D30, 10D and 20D. The 5.6-8 sweet spot delivers stunning results. Overall, a very versatile and reliable performer.

Registered: November 2005
Posts: 2
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM review by magicbutton
Review Date: 12/2/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,250.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: size, wide angle, sharpness
Cons: none

I cannot share the feelings in the previous two reviews of this lens.

This lens is excellent. I've used this for over a year on a 10D in all weather conditions and many different shooting situations (action, portrait, low light, landscape) and it has operated perfectly.

Even though the 10D has a crop factor, the 16mm makes a big differnce and I am glad I have the W/A available. My only gripe is that I wish they made a W/A like this that went out to 50mm or even 100mm since I find myself in need of more a zoom at times (I switch off with the 70-200L 2.8). This is not the fault of the lens though (I knew the stats before I bought, right?). I looked at the 24-70 but i wanted the W/A . Pluse the 16-35mm is a newer design, ligher, shorter and ,frankly, it just felt better. Comes with a nice lens hood.

Very nice walk-around lens. The W/A of this lens enabled me to get many shots that would have been impossible at other W/A focal lengths available. 24mm looks particularly nice on a 1.6x factor sensor.

I always get sharp photos from this lens handheld or not. In *some* lighting situations the image is a bit softer wide open than if stopped to f5, f8 etc. , but what lens doesn't exhibit this? It's a W/A zoom! If you want the sharpest image possible, buy a prime. However, this lens produces very sharp, saturated and contrasty images-a prime just doesn't make sense in it's case for me. AF is micro-second fast. It deserves the L designation.

(I plan on mating this with a full frame sensor body soon, so the EFS lens with the 'wider' wide-angle don't attract me. This is a future proof lens for me)

Registered: November 2005
Posts: 1
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM review by jballiett
Review Date: 11/7/2005 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $1,399.00| Rating: 3 

Pros: constant f/2.8 aperture
Cons: poor optical quality

Very soft at the edges. I sent it back to Canon twice for them to "tweek" the optics and it did improve from it's out of the box performance but still poor compared to Nikon's 17-35mm. Why does Canon tout their full frame sensor when they can't seem to produce a first class wide angle lens and Nikon makes some wonderful wide angle lenses but only APS size sensor. A true photographic catch 22.

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 12
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM review by sivrajbm
Review Date: 10/24/2005 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $1,399.00| Rating: 7 

Pros: USM, 2.8, great color
Cons: 2.8 soft, 4.0 ok

I took this one back.
I'll just keep my little Tamron 17-35.
My Tamron was slightly sharper @ 2.8, better @ 4.0 and equal every where else. The Canon is faster focusing and constant with a warm tone. I thought if it was shaper than my Tamron I'd keep it. Not a chance. The Tamron is a much better buy for the money.


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