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Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM 35mm Zoom

4.32/5 (25 Reviews)

Product Description

To meet the growing demand of digital SLR owners, this ultra-wide-angle zoom offers a broader view, fast aperture, and closer focusing down to 11 in. (.28m).
  • Min focus: 11 in. (.28m)
  • Full-time manual focus
  • Moisture-resistant

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    Reviews 1 - 5 (25 Reviews Total) | Next 15

    User Reviews

    Overall Rating:3
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by wbond a Professional

    Date Reviewed: September 2, 2005

    Strengths:    Convenience

    Weaknesses:    Not as fast as a fast prime lens. Fast, wide primes from Sigma are F1.8 or F1.2.

    Bottom Line:   
    Hi. I am quite experienced with film. I'm new to digital, but my knowledge of lenses still applies. Although I am now dabbling in digital, I still prefer film because my main subject is real estate photography both indoors and out. Groups of people are my second most common subject at indoor parties where flash is not allowed and tripod discouraged.

    I intend to use this 16-35 F2.8 lens and my others primarily with film, not digital because real estate photos require wide angle for outdoors and super wide for indoors.

    I've read others say that the image quality of this lens can't be beat. I agree that it's image quality can't be beat for a zoom lens.

    However, you can get better image quality from a quality fixed (prime) lens. Especially a fast fixed lens if we're talking about low light conditions.

    I prefer my Sigma 20, 24, and 28 F1.8 lenses whenever the lighting is low or when I want maximum sharpness. Especially when light low AND want max sharpness.

    I prefer the Canon 16-35 F2.8 zoom when there is a bit more light and-or I'm not after max image quality and sharpness.

    Don't get me wrong, this 16-35 is an excellent zoom lens with as good image quality as it gets from a zoom and as fast as it gets from a zoom.

    However, primes are still better for very low light and max sharpness.

    I consider a zoom lens a convenience tool when I DO have enough light and don't want to keep changing lenses. In this respect, this 16-35 F2.8 Canon lens can't be beat. It's convenient and give good quality for a zoom.

    I like this zoom and my wide primes for real estate photography, which really benefits from a range of wide and super-wide.

    Bear in mind that I'm using this lens primarily on a film camera. So it's VERY wide for me. I don't intend to get really serious about digital until the Canon 5D gets cheaper. Until then, film is best for wide and super wide.

    My continuing love of film camera is due to the extreme wide angle needs of indoor real estate photography, which no digital camera is adequate for, except the 5D which I can't afford. This is also low light conditions, which is why I still like fast primes.

    However, it's nice to own both wide primes and a wide zoom. This is the best wide zoom I've ever seen.

    The limitations of digital cameras (prior to Canon 5D) have really been a help to wide angle photographers like me. The improvements to wide angle zooms in recent years are awesome. Also, the wide angle primes have improved a lot too due to being much faster. I no longer need a tripod to use a lens below 28mm indoors.

    Lastly, regardling people using this zoom at F2.8 (if they really are) and getting blurry results:

    Any lens CANNOT be expected to perform well wide open. Any lens (even a Zeiss) should be used stopped down at least one stop for decent quality. Stopped down 2 stops for good quality, stopped to F8 for ideal quality. The really excellent quality happens from stopped down 2 stops to F8 and everywhere in between. Very good lenses will also do well at F11. This is general photography rules of lenses I learned 15 years ago in school. Still applies. There are some rare lenses that can also perform well wide open, but those are rolls royce-holy grail type lenses, like some of the best Zeiss lenses. However, even many Zeiss lenses can't perform wide open.

    These are accepted rules of what is reasonable to expect from a lens. If a lens can deliver what I described above, it's a good lens. If it can exceed it, it's a great lens. If it can't do as well as I described, it's garbage.

    Now let's apply those lens rules to an F2.8 lens: For an F2.8 lens you should expect decent quality at F4, good quality at F5.6, and excellent quality at F8. Good to great quality at F11, depending on lens quality.

    I think the only question about the 16-35 F2.8 is how does it do at F11? Anyone know?

    Does the 16-35 F2.8 lens meet or exceed what I described above for expected lens performance for an F2.8 lens? You decide. If so, this is as it gets for a zoom lens.

    In low light, I prefer my faster, fixed (prime) lenses because they're sharper and faster. This give me more freedom to use wider aperatures with more aperatures to choose from. i.e. - I can choose from F2.8 (stopped down one) through F8, or even F11.

    My F1.8 fixed lenses can be expected to perform good at F2.8 because that's stopped down 1.3 stops from F1.8. Also these are prime lenses (prime gives extra image quality and sharpness).

    My F1.8 primes can be expected to perform good at F2.8, excellent at F4, and perfect from F5.6 to F8. At F11 they can be expected to perform good or better.

    I haven't been conducting scientific tests with these primes and the zoom, but these are what you can expect based on photographic rules of lenses I learned while getting formal education in photography.

    I have read reviews on all these lenses at various websites and looked at the test that were carefully done by professional photographer who apparently have time to spend hours testing these lenses. Their test results show that the old rules for optics still apply, with one partial exception. The high-end zooms are getting very good these days, and the primes are even better than they used to be. All types of lenses are getting faster. Now F1.8 is fast for a prime, F1.2 is very fast for a prime. F2.8 is fast for a zoom, F2 is very fast for a zoom (Leica).

    So the old rules still apply, but the lenses have gotten better and are having an easier time meeting the old school rules of quality at various F-stops. The zoom lenses especially have improved such that they can now be compared using the same rules for F-stops and quality. In the past, no zoom could meet the standards I described. At that time, only primes could. Now zooms can meet it and primes can now exceed it. Wow!

    Summary: For this F2.8 zoom lens, you should use it at F4 at most wide aperature. If light allows, you'll get much better results from F5.6 to F8.

    In low light, this lens is challenged because although F2.8 is fast for a zoom, it's not fast. Fast for a prime lens is F1.2. F1.2 is 2.5 stops faster than F2.8. An F1.2 prime can work decent at F2, good at F2.8, and excellent from F4 to F8, and maybe F11 too.

    So you see, although this zoom is excellent for a zoom and fast for a zoom, it's not at all fast compared to a good prime. For true low light without a flash or tripod you need F1.8 or faster. F1.2 is ideal. In this regard, Sigma EX lenses can't be beat for wide angle primes. Their photo quality is very competitive with Canon L wide primes, and Sigma has many more focal lengths to choose from. For a high-end zoom however, the Sigma 20-40 F2.8 is good, but the Canon L 16-35 F2.8 has the Sigma zoom beat.

    So it's Sigma for wide, fast primes, and Canon for a wide, fast zoom. Unless money is an object, in which case it's Sigma for all lenses.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

    Similar Products Used:   I haven't used any "similar" wide zooms because none compare. For a wide zoom, this is the best.

    Type of photography:   Other

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by meeksdigital a Expert

    Date Reviewed: June 19, 2005

    Strengths:    very sturdy and durable, weather sealed, nice feel to the zoom and focus, full-time manual focus is really nice, glass quality, sharpness, and it comes with a lens hood!

    Weaknesses:    its an L series lens! weaknesses don't exist! maybe the only thing would be the price, but you pay for quality.

    Bottom Line:   
    I COMPLETELY agree with "memorialdentist". i couldnt write a review better than he did, but i will throw in my two cents. this lens is an excellent choice for your line-up of quality lenses. i am slowly converting to an all L-series line-up, all f/2.8 lenses. i cannot stress enough how amazingly beautiful this lens is, as well as all of the other L series.
    the people who complain about soft images with this lens MUST be shooting at f/2.8 all the time, because around f/9 and up it is incredibly sharp, and of course, has gread DOF. THERE ARE OTHER f STOPS PEOPLE!
    anyway, this is the perfect lens for anyone using a digital SLR (i have a 20D) or anyone who wants a super super wide angle lens. its amazing to be so up close to your subjects and still get everything in the frame. groups of people etc. its a great photojournalism lens as well...
    dont let the bad reviews fool you... they are full of C*R*A*P
    i HIGHLY recommend this lens!

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   2-5 years

    Price Paid:    $1399.00

    Purchased At:   B&H

    Similar Products Used:   18-55mm EF-S (crummy lens!)

    Type of photography:   Outdoor

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by memorialdentist a Intermediate

    Date Reviewed: April 26, 2005

    Strengths:    Great sharpness, smooth, nice balance. Nice color and minimal distortion.

    Weaknesses:    Lens should come with a sign that tells people their are other f-stops than 2.8 on this lens.
    Maybe these folks shoot 1.4 on their 50 mm 1.4 all day long as well and wonder why they can't seem to get anything but peoples nose in focus.

    Bottom Line:   
    This is a great lens to have in your arsenal of quality lenses. You can't compare this to a 70-200. Although, I have one and it's great. This is a wide angle zoom. And anyone who reports pictures that are not sharp either needs to take some ritalin and stop moving around when taking shots. As a dentist, I will shake a patients cheek while adminstering local anesthesia to distract the patient. Maybe these photographers are trying to distract their subjects by shaking the caaaaaamera. Others need to stop taking all their exposures at 2.8. It seems that people open up to 2.8 to shoot at lower ISO's yet forget about depth of field.
    Just because you have a lens that opens to 2.8 doesn't mean you need to use it at 2.8 100% of the time.
    Most of what your paying for is quality of glass.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

    Price Paid:    $1500.00

    Purchased At:   Samy's

    Similar Products Used:   28-70 2.8, 70-200 2.8, 50 1.4 28-135 IS+++++

    Type of photography:   People

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:3
    Submitted by Steve Lutz a Expert

    Date Reviewed: May 27, 2004

    Strengths:    2.8 constant aperture is the reason to own this lens. I know have all the 2.8 brothers, 16-35, 28-70 and 70-200. Quite a line-up, and quite a lot of weight to lug around. All are essential for profectionists.

    Weaknesses:    Heavy, expensive, and can very similar image quality can be had for a fraction of the cost. For absolute best image quality in a wide angle (at least for Canon), though, this is it! There certainly are better values, but not better quality, in an absolute sense.

    Bottom Line:   
    I traded a 35-350L for this lens, and it was a good trade. I used the 16-35L much more frequently than I ever used the other one. Both are great lenses, both optically and in quality of construction, but with the 10D and Digital Rebel, the 16-35 2.8L gives true wide angle to digital photography. This is the lens I used 80% of the time. Sharp, colorful and very fast focusing. High build quality.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

    Price Paid:    $1000.00

    Purchased At:   Murphy's Camera

    Similar Products Used:   19-35 Tokina

    Type of photography:   People

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by dktchu a Expert

    Date Reviewed: December 26, 2003

    Strengths:    Close focusing than previous range L zoom lens. Good built quality. Sharpness at wide ranges is remarkable.

    Weaknesses:    Some distortion at "wide" range, however, super wide angle all have this characteristics. Isn't it except T&S model.

    Bottom Line:   
    This 16-35mm F2.8L is a solid built zoom lens, fast speed for all around photo shooting. Well balance with camera bodies on D30, D60 and 1D. Good choice when open wide 2.8 aperture is necessary.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   21+ years

    Price Paid:    $1300.00

    Purchased At:   Hong Kong

    Similar Products Used:   20~35mm, 24mm T&S F3.5L.

    Type of photography:   Outdoor

    Reviews 1 - 5 (25 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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