Canon EF 16-35 F2.8/L II USM


Well, I have a pretty good kit of lenses tuned for the APS sized sensor on the Canon 350D but now with a full frame Canon 5D Mark II, many of my favorite lenses don’t work:

  • EF-S 10-22mm. I use this more than you think. On a small frame camera like the 350D, this is an equivalent of 16mm, so need something about that size for the 5DII
  • EF-S 17-55mm. This is a terrific prime lense and super high quality picture for a small frame
  • Sigma 18-200mm DC. A great travel lense. Not perfect but so versatile. Claim picture quality is better than the Nikon 18-200, but I’m not sure I believe that. The main issue is that it is slow and the 350D only shoots well to ISO 400, so it is mainly for bright light. I normally also carry a very small but very fast EF 50mm F/1.4 which works for low light portraits.

So what is there for the 5DII:

  • EF 24-70MM F/2.8 L vs. EF 24-105MM F/4 L IS. This is a really tough choice. the 24-105 is slow at F/4, but with high ISOs, it is less of a problem. The ideal lense is an image stabilized 24-70, but they don’t have this. Or a 24-105 that is F/2.8
  • EF 70-200 F2.8/L IS. This is a huge bulky lense, but super good quality. Can’t throw into my backpack.
  • EF 100-400 F/4.5-5.6 L IS. For bright light things but it is relatively compact.

So what is really needed is something that works at the 16mm full frame like my 10-22mm. With a 1.6x lense factor, this is what I need. The alternative is the 17-40mm F4/L, but I think having the extra stop always matters even with a high ISO camera. But as a budget alternative (although if you are buying a pro level camera like the 5D Mark II, you should spend the dollars on the glass ;-). It makes sense if you only shoot brighter things like landscapes.

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

The Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L II USM Lens is what I consider one of the most important lenses in Canon’s lineup. Taking over the ultra-wide angle position of the available professional grade f/2.8 zoom lenses from the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L USM Lens, the 16-35 L II becomes the new standard for professional and serious amateur photographers alike.

The main drawbacks are that it is an 82mm lense, so the standard 77mm UV filters won’t fit. You need a slim filter anyway to prevent vignetting like the B+W 82mm MRC Slim UV Filter
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L II USM Lens Review

I’m very pleased with the image quality I’m getting from this lens. Wide open results are very sharp in the center and improve only slightly stopped down. Wide angle full frame corners, though not perfect, are very good for a lens this wide – the best full-frame Canon wide angle lens yet.

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

Flare is not absent, but it is very well controlled for an ultra-wide angle lens. Colors and contrast are very good. Exposures are 1/3+ stop bright compared to what I normally expect – the camera meters this way with this lens (same as with the 16-35 L I). CA (Chromatic Aberration) is well controlled but present in the corners – especially at 16mm. Full frame users should expect vignetting in the corners at 16mm and f/2.8 and even 1.6x FOVCF body users will notice a more even darkening at 35mm. Longer focal lengths show only a small amount of vignetting – again only noticeable with a full-frame body.

The Canon 5D has something called peripheral vision correction which basically means that in camera for JPEGs, it compensates for vignetting (the darkening at the corners). Kind of cool!

Technical Report
does a good detailed inside look on this lense says that it has four lense elements and does internal focusing which means the inside moves, but not the outside. Nice for polarizing and other filters. It has some fancy stuff I don’t underrstand that basically means it is really great quality including 16 lens elements in 12 groups with three asphericals. So it is hot stuff which is why it costs so much 🙂

Pricegrabber has it for $1245 from Abes and $1249 from most other dealers. There is a $100 instant rebate on it right now

And then you need to get that slim UV filter which is expensive at B&H Photo, it is $125 and like my other slim 77mm filter, the lens cap sucks the big ones. So maybe you want to suffer with some vignetting and have a decent cover? Adorama is the other choice.

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