Canon 16 35 F4 Sample Images

By | 16/10/2022

This is a review of the xvi-35 f/4L IS specially geared towards landscape photographers. Whilst this lens could be used in many other ways it is landscape that I am interested in then please read all comments in that context.

Of particular interest to me is the operation comparison with the 16-35 f/two.8L 2, which the 16-35 f/4L IS will supersede. This is by far my nigh used lens, I apply it for approximately ninety% of my images.

Sharpness at 16mm

A lot of people will be looking at this new lens purely in terms of the sharpness improvements it provides. I have compared the new 16-35 f/4L IS with it’southward 2 predecessors, the 16-35 f/2.8 II and the 17-forty f/4L (which is half the price). For good measure out I take thrown in the male monarch of ultrawide angles the 17mm f/4L TSE.  Here is the sample scene showing the areas of the 100% crops.

Sample scene for the sharpness comparison

Middle Sharpness

Eye comparing of the 16-35 f/4L IS vs. 16-35 f/2.8L Ii vs. 17-twoscore f/4L vs. 17mm f/4L TSE

At 16mm the sixteen-35 f/2.8L is already as sharp every bit it gets at f4. In fact if we look at all 4 lenses in this sharpness test they are all first-class in the eye broad open. I actually cant see any difference. They are all fantastic.

Corner Sharpness

Corner comparison of the xvi-35 f/4L IS vs. sixteen-35 f/2.8L II vs. 17-40 f/4L vs. 17mm f/4L TSE

at 16mm corner sharpness of the sixteen-35 f/4L IS  is better than the 16-35 f/2.8L II. At 16mm and f4 the newer lens is sharper than the f/two.eight lens gets at any aperture. At f11 it improves always then slightly. Information technology’s worth noting that in this comparing the 16-35 f2.8L Two actually performs very well at f11. Information technology’due south not quite as skilful as the new lens or TSE but it’s still very good. This surprised me.

Don’t even think most comparing these zoom lenses at f/iv. Both the 16-35 f/2.8 Ii and 17-40 are woeful by comparison.

The 16-35 is so good that information technology stands shoulder to shoulder with the 17mm f/4L TSE, I don’t think in that location is anything to cull between them.

In other words, at 16mm the new lens is sharp at 16mm across the frame at f4 and improves well-nigh imperceptibly when stopped downwards. Proper sharpening would all but nullify this small divergence.

Sharpness at 24mm

24mm sample scene

Comparing the 2 16-35s at 24mm. Corner crops are on the left, center crops on the correct

I regularly move between 16mm and 24mm for my wide-angle images. Sometimes zoom lenses are designed so that they look fantastic at the extremes (in this case 16mm and 35mm) but the operation at ‘in between’ focal lengths can drop off.

I repeated this test to be sure of the results. At 24mm the 16-35 f/4L IS is decent in the corners at f4 and very good at f11 (shut to perfect). The old sixteen-35 f/2.8L pales in comparison, at f4 in particular it’south a complete train wreck.

In the center of the image the story is a piddling different. It’s hard to say for certain only I think the onetime f2.8 lens may be e’er and so slightly sharper. It’s difficult to divide sharpness from the contrast divergence you can come across. At that place is no dubiety that the 16-35f4L has a slightly better contrast which you can see from the deeper blacks. This looks similar a small difference and it is, merely it helps to give the xvi-35 f4L more of a 3D look. Any sharpness differences are once more incredibly small-scale in the center, I wouldn’t pick one lens over the other based on centre sharpness alone.

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At f11 the 16-35 f/4L IS is super abrupt from corner to corner. The contrast is besides improved. Bang-up news!

Sharpness at 35mm

35mm sample epitome

Comparing the 2 xvi-35s at 35mm. Corner crops are on the left, center crops on the right

At 35mm we run into that the xvi-35 f/4L IS is sharper and more contrasty all over the prototype by varying margins. The newer lens is every bit abrupt in the corner at f4 as the old lens is at f11. Information technology improves at f11 to become very precipitous showing considerably more detail than the older 2.eight lens. In the centre its a close phone call past the f4 IS is peradventure slightly sharper. The contrast is noticeably ameliorate.

Dissimilarity, Flare, Sunstars

Comparing the contrast/flare characteristics of the 16-35 f/4L IS (left) and the sixteen-35 f/2.eight II (right)

The sixteen-35 f/4L IS has bang-up lens coatings. Shooting into vivid sources of calorie-free information technology is better than the older lens – notice immediately effectually the sunday how the leaves are less effected by veiling flare. The incredibly long sunstar spikes of the old lens appear to be gone every bit well. Very occasionally these would brand an unwelcome appearance in my images (example here), hopefully this small issue is at present gone.

You tin also see some unwanted coloured flares from both lenses, I think they are tied in this respect. I very much doubt flare will be an issue with this lens.

The Canon 16-35 f/4L IS sunstar has 18 points.

The 16-35 f/2.8L produced the best sunstars of whatsoever wide-bending lens available. Its 7 blade aperture produces xiv bespeak stars that accept been a major describe for landscape photographers who relish shooting into the sunday. The 16-35 f/4L IS produces slightly improve stars. Its 9 blade aperture producing stunning xviii point stars. When the lens was announced I was slightly concerned they might overlook this small item of lens pattern and so I was very pleased with the results.


I have to say I was a little disappointed that this lens wasn’t f/2.8. I attempt to keep my camera kit to a minimum for backpacking and the 16-35 f/two.8L II worked as an adequate astrophotography lens. The newer lens is i stop slower (f/four). Lets run into how it does….

The xvi-35 f4L IS at 16mm, f4, ISO6400, xxx seconds – 100% ingather shows peachy corner resolution

The 16-35 f2.8L II at 16mm, f2.viii, ISO3200, 30 seconds – 100% crop shows horrid corners – the stars resemble seagulls

The above comparing shows that using the old lens at f2.eight allows you to shoot at ISO3200 equally opposed to ISO6400. As a result there is less noise (both images have basic noise reduction as well). What this doesn’t make upward for is the heavy vignetting at f2.8 and the terrible astigmatism. The newer lens is clearly superior in the corners. Stopping the former 2.8 lens downwardly to f4 only helps a little. Both lenses resolve the aforementioned amount of particular in the center. It’south difficult to say which lens is better, but personally I would rather accept a fiddling bit more racket, less vignetting and prissy stars in the corner.

Everything else

The build quality is as good or better than whatever lens I accept used. The focus and zoom rings operate smoothly. The lens size is pretty comparable to a 24-70 and not far off the old 16-35. The filter thread is 77mm.

Optically I haven’t discussed vignetting (much), distortion or bokeh. All I can say is vignetting is not a problem and has never been a problem for me, I haven’t looked at it in particular. I haven’t tested baloney, just it certainly isn’t objectionable. Bokeh is unlikely to be an issue with such a wide-bending lens, but it looks pretty good to me, hither is an example:

Bokeh instance of the 16-35 f4L IS focussed at the closest indicate and shot at 35mm and f4

I haven’t done whatever image stabilisation tests but the IS seems totally silent, I tin can’t hear information technology whirring like I tin with my 70-200 f4L IS.

Test Method

All images were shot with a Canon 6D, ISO 100, RAW, on a tripod with a 2 second timer filibuster and mirror lockup. No filters were used. Focusing was via live view on infinity.

Exposures were adjusted in Lightroom five.4 where necessary to try to get a consequent brightness for the prototype comparisons (and counteract vignetting). Adjustments were set to Lightroom default values. White residual was normalised to 5500K with a tint of 0.

Sunset at Staple Tor shot at 16mm and f11

A detailed woodland scene, once more at 16mm and f11. I take never seen detail like this from a wideangle zoom.


The xvi-35 f/4L IS USM is the best ultrawide that Canon take produced. It even stands up against Catechism’southward flagship ultrawide for mural photographers, the 17mm TSE.

Canon take finally addressed the main consequence with both the sixteen-35 f/ii.8L Ii and the 17-40 f/4L – corner softness. The corners of the 16-35 f/4L IS aren’t perfect, merely they are very good and significantly ameliorate than the 2 predecessors. At 16mm fifty-fifty wide open up at f/four the new lens surpasses the other two stopped down to f/11.  it is equally impressive at 24mm and 35mm. I’ll exist careful not to overstate myself here merely stopped down I can’t imagine an ultrawide being much sharper. This lens might well be better than y’all are, I know that the but soft images I plant were due to user error. Mount this lens on a tripod and focus carefully with live view and you will create beautifully precipitous images.

The latest coatings take produced a lens with fantabulous contrast and flare resistance (although the 2.8 Two or the 17-twoscore are also fantabulous). The sunstars are perfect, even better than the ii.8 II. Information technology likewise does an adequate job every bit an astrophotography lens, a little bit better than the 2.8L II.

This is the ultrawide zoom that Canon landscape photographers have been asking for since the beginning of time. Who want’s to purchase a xvi-35 f/two.8L 2……