Review: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II

June 11, 2013 12:24 31 comments

By: Justin VanLeeuwen


Wide angle lenses tend to be an essential, if not fairly niche, part of a photographer’s kit. The distortion caused at the extreme edges of the frame can have both a positive and negative effect on the results of an image, and thus should be used sparingly and selectively. Part of the Canon “holy trinity” (complemented by the 24-70 f/2.8 L II, and the 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II) of zooms, the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L II USM represents the pinnacle of Canon’s wide-angle zooms. For the longest time, I’ve been using a close Canon alternative, the 17-40 f/4 L. At half the price and quite a bit lighter it was actually my very first lens, ever. Obviously I was curious to see if the wider aperture, the slightly wider focal length, the added weight and cost were worth an upgrade from a lens that has worked very well for me up to now.



While this won’t be a straight compare-and-contrast of the 16-35mm vs. the 17-40mm, I think it’s important to note some of the more stand-out differences. Of course, the first thing I noticed was the weight. At 640 grams, it’s slightly heavier than the 17-40′s 470g. It’s not a huge difference, but remember, I’m incredibly used to the 17-40 so it was noticeable. The added heft does give it a good balance on my 5dMKIII with grip, and it was pleasant to use all day during some events I covered. I’ve mentioned in other reviews that 82mm is the new 77mm and with the 16-35 was the first to introduce that filter size in the lineup. I’m not afraid of using circular polarizers on lenses this wide, though you will have to be careful with what type you choose, as any filter that is too thick will definitely cause vignetting at the corners on a full-frame body at 16mm.


The rubber focus and zoom rings were smooth and well-proportioned to the size of the body. Mine was a rental unit but didn’t show any signs of being loose. A rubber gasket at the mount makes this lens weather sealed (though a front filter is required to *fully* weather seal the lens). The 16-35 is built to last and work in the most trying of environments.

Read the complete review on Canon Rumors.

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