Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L III
Full-Frame EOS EF
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Canon 16-35mm f/4 IS (2014-today)
Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L II (2007-2016)
Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L (2001-2007)
Canon 17-40mm f/4 L (2003-today)
Canon 17-35mm f/2.8 L (1995-2001)
Canon 20-35mm USM (1993-2007)
Canon 20mm f/2.8 USM (1992-today)
Canon 20-35mm f/2.8 L (1989-1995)
Tokina 17-35mm f/4 (2011-today)
This is the only 16-35mm f/2.8 or 17-35mm f/2.8 that's actually sharp in the corners of full-frame at 16mm at f/2.8. No other similar lens can do this at f/2.8; you have to stop the rest down to f/11 to get this.
1200 pixel wide crop from top left of above image, 03 December 2016. Canon 5DSR, 16-35/2.8 III at 16mm at f/2.8 at 1/25 at ISO 100. bigger or camera-original © file to explore on your computer. If this is about 10" wide on your screen, the complete image would print at 72 x 48" (6 x 4 feet or 190 x 125 cm).
This Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L III is the sharpest f/2.8 ultrawide ever from Canon. For sports, action, news, sports astronomy and anything else for which you need extreme performance at f/2.8, there is nothing better on Earth for your Canon.
It's also bigger, heavier and more expensive than any other Canon f/2.8 ultrawide.
For things that hold still like landscapes and architecture, the 16-35mm f/4 L IS is just as sharp and a more practical choice because it's smaller, lighter, less than half the price and adds image stabilization. This f/2.8 lens is for action and where you need ultimate performance at f/2.8.
● Sharpest 16-35mm or 17-35mm f/2.8 ultrawide ever from anyone.
● 9-bladed diaphragm gives great 18-point sunstars.
● Instant manual-focus override.
● Large-diameter glass-molded, dual surface aspherical element.
● Ground aspherical element.
● Fluorine, Sub-Wavelength and Air-Sphere coatings.
Canon calls this the Canon EF 16-35mm F/2.8L III USM:
EF: Electronic Focus, as all Canon's lenses have been since 1987.
L: Expensive as L.
III: Canon's third 16-35mm f/2.8.
USM: Ultrasonic Autofocus Motor.
16 elements in 11 groups.
2 aspherical elements: one molded glass and one ground glass.
Fluorine front and rear coatings for dirt and oil resistance.
Subwavelenth and Air Sphere coatings to reduce flare and ghosting.
The front and rear groups move inside the stationary outer barrel as zoomed. Use a filter, and nothing moves externally.
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L III at 35mm at f/2.8 (EF diaphragm not visible). bigger.
9 rounded blades.
Stops down to f/22.
See also Crop Factor.
Angles of View (full-frame)
108.2º ~ 63º diagonal.
98º ~ 54º horizontal.
74.1º ~ 38º vertical.
No external movement as focussed, so no air or dust is sucked in.
0.9 feet (0.28 meters).
Maximum Reproduction Ratio
82mm filter thread.
Canon EW-88D hood. bigger.
EW-88D plastic bayonet hood included.
LP1222 padded pouch included.
3.48" maximum diameter × 5.02" extension from flange.
88.5 mm maximum diameter × 127.5 mm extension from flange.
27.825 oz. (788.9g), actual measured weight.
Rated 27.9 oz. (790g).
12:01 AM NYC time, Thursday, 25 August 2016.
Late October 2016.
Canon Model Number
Canon Product Code
16-35/2.8 L III lens.
$1,999, June 2017.
$2,199, August~December 2016. (299,000 yen in Japan).
Box, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L III. bigger.
This is Canon's biggest, heaviest and most expensive 16-35mm of all time. It's also the sharpest; as good as the 16-35/4 IS and better than every other 16-35mm.
Autofocus is about as fast as other 16-35mm lenses; fast but not instantaneous either.
No big deal; AF speed is never an issue with ultrawides as it is with teles.
Just grab the front focus ring at any time for instant manual-focus override.Manual focus is swell; a little slow (precise) at 16mm and just about right at 35mm, again typical for 16-35mm lenses.
Focus breathing is the image changing size as focused in and out. It's important to cinematographers because it looks funny if the image changes size as focus gets pulled back and forth between actors. If the lens does this, the image "breathes" by growing and contracting slightly as the dialog goes back and forth.
There is breathing; the image gets smaller as focussed more closely. This is mild at 16mm and moderate to strong at 35mm.
Bokeh, the feel or quality of out-of-focus areas as opposed to how far out of focus they are, is good to neutral. With ultrawides there's rarely anything that far out of focus to notice.
Here are some sample shots at head-shot distance — not that you'd ordinarily want to do head shots with an ultrawide!
Coma, or sagittal coma flare, is often seen with fast normal to wide lenses as weird batwing shapes on bright points of light in the corners.
I see no coma in this lens, which is excellent.
The Canon 16-35/2.8 III has a typical amount of distortion: strong barrel at 16mm, and moderate pincushion at 35mm.
Use these factors to correct it, unless your camera can do it for you — if you care.
These aren't facts or specifications, they are the results of my research that requires hours of photography and calculations on the resulting data.
© 2016 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.
* Some waviness remains after this correction.
The 16-35/2.8 III has no eyeblow; not much air pumps in or out of the back of the lens as zoomed.
No news here other than its jumbo size and weight compared to the other 16-35mm lenses.
Front focus ring (grab any time for instant override) and zoom ring in the rear; both covered in the usual ribbed rubber.
The zoom ring is great; one finger can move the smooth zoom ring even if pointed up or down.
There's a little bit of falloff at f/2.8 at 16mm, and otherwise none visible. Look at the 16mm f/2.8 Bokeh shot; no worries.
I've greatly exaggerated the falloff by shooting a gray field and placing these on a gray background:
It takes big 82mm filters.
There's no need for thin filters; there's no vignetting with an ordinary 5mm thick filter on full-frame at 16mm.
Don't use polarizers on ultrawide lenses; the sky's natural polarization will appear as dark bands.
At 16mm, two stacked filters will vignette.
I don't see any significant flare or ghosts.
Point it into the sun, even with a filter, and I don't see anything worth worrying about.
I see none on my 5DSR, on which I use the lens profile.
Great news is that even though this lens is newer than the last firmware I may have loaded into my 5DSR, my camera has the profile in it already. Yay!
This lens doesn't focus any closer than any other ultrawide zoom. It's the same as the rest.
Kienzle Flieger Automat 800/2843, 02 December 2016. Canon 5DSR, 35mm at f/8 at 1/320 at ISO 100. bigger or camera-original © file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display full resolution images properly).
1,200 x 900 pixel crop from above. If this crop is about 6" (15cm) wide on your screen, then the complete image printed at this same extreme magnification would be about 45 x 30" (120 x 80 cm). This shows the texture of the silver paint on the watch face; the depth of field is so shallow that the hands are out of focus.
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L III. bigger.
This lens has a mostly plastic exterior covering mostly metal innards. This is much better than the offshored Zeiss-branded rubbish from Sony that are plastic lenses covered with a metal vanity shell to impress the innocent.
Hood Bayonet Mount
(Section with focus scale window): plastic.
Printed on plastic ring around front element.
Seem like all metal!
Moisture Seal at Mount
Laser engraved on bottom of plastic barrel.
Noises When Shaken
Mild to moderate clunking.
It's essentially perfect; sharp at every setting anyplace in the full-frame as I've shown at the top. No other f/2.8 ultrawide zoom from Canon, Nikon, Sony or Zeiss can do this.
Here are Canon's MTF curves:
Spherochromatism, an advanced form of chromatic aberration in a different dimension than lateral color, also called "color bokeh" by laymen, can cause colored fringes on slightly out-of-focus highlights, usually seen as green fringes on backgrounds and magenta fringes on foregrounds.
I see none in this lens.
Sunstar at f/11. bigger.
Great news: while the diaphragm is rounded at large apertures, at moderate to small apertures we get very nice 18-pointed sunstars. There are some sunstars at f/11 and wider, and they are stronger at f/16 and f/22.
See also Full-Frame Ultrawide Lenses Compared.
Versus the 16-35/2.8 Mark II and 16-35 IS
While this is the sharpest f/2.8 ultrawide ever made by Canon in the corners at large apertures, that's not that important. At normal apertures and throughout most of the image they are all the same.
No one who shoots these f/2.8 lenses really cares if the corners are that sharp when shot at f/2.8, they are rarely in focus. These are for shooting action, not test charts.
The f/4 IS is for shooting things that hold still and is just as sharp as this Mark III, and adds Image Stabilization lacking in this Mark III. The f/2.8 lenses are for shooting action, not nature and landscapes.
The original 16-35/2.8 and the improved 16-35/2.8 II both had blurry corners at f/2.8, but no one really cared. They were so blurry many amateur test chart shooters thought their lenses were broken, while in fact that was simply the limit of Canon's technology at the time (also bourne out by their MTF curves).
How much better is this Mark III compared to the Mark II in the corners at f/2.8? Here are crops from corner areas. Click any of these for the camera-original 50 megapixel files from a Canon 5DS R:
As you can see, the 16-35/4 IS and this 16-35/2.8 Mk III are the same, and the old 16-35/2.8 II looks broken by comparison — but no one shoots nature in the daytime at f/2.8 expecting the corners to be sharp; they are rarely in focus at f/2.8!
If these are 10" (25cm) wide on your screen, the complete images printed at this same high magnification would be 75 x 50" (190 x 125 cm)!
Since we're also dealing with depth of field and other issues, don't read much more into these shots than that the old Mk II was for news and sports, not landscape shooting, and that the f/4 IS and this new Mk III are both excellent wide-open. The IS looks a bit sharper in the corners because the depth of field at f/4 is deeper than the Mark III at f/2.8.
See also Canon Ultrawides Compared.
Nikon has nothing competitive at f/2.8.
Nikon's 17-35/2.8 came out back in 1999 and is three performance generations behind Canon's 16-35 f/2.8 lenses. It's downright fuzzy by comparison at f/2.8.
Nikon has never made a 16-35/2.8! So sad.
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L III. bigger.
This is clearly Canon's best ultrawide for news, action and sports where we need a faster aperture for faster shutter speeds to stop motion — or for astronomy. It's also Canon's newest, biggest and heaviest ever. This lens has no Image Stabilization; it freezes subject and camera motion with its faster f/2.8 speed.
For nature and landscapes where things hold still, the 16-35mm f/4 L IS is just as sharp, less than half the price, smaller and lighter — and adds a stabilization system so we can leave the tripod at home. For most people reading this, the 16-35mm f/4 L IS is a much smarter choice. This 16-35/2.8 III is for shooting action.
The old 16-35mm f/2.8 L II is still a perfectly good lens, and it's smaller, lighter, tougher and less expensive. It's not as ultrasharp in the corners at f/2.8, but so long as you stop down it takes the same pictures. Likewise, the corner sharpness at f/2.8 doesn't matter unless you're shooting boring flat targets or things at infinity; for real 3D subjects the older lens is just as good.
The very best protective filter is the 82mm Hoya multicoated HD3 UV which uses hardened glass and repels dirt and fingerprints, and is also multicoated.
Filters last a lifetime, so you may as well get the best. The Hoya HD3 stays cleaner than the others since it repels oil and dirt.
This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Canon does not seal its boxes in any way, so never buy at retail or any other source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, damaged, returned, store demo or used camera. I use the stores I do because they ship from secure remote warehouses where no one gets to touch your new camera before you do. Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection.
Thanks for helping me help you!
© Ken Rockwell. All rights reserved. Tous droits réservés. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.
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15 December 2016, 25 August 2016