In part 1 of this test I looked the the new EF16-35mm F4 IS lens in the 24mm range comparing to my EF24-105mm F4 IS lens which was my go to lens in the 24-35mm range. In part 2 of this test I will look at both lenses at 35mm which is the long end of the 16-35mm and getting into the mid-range of the 24-105mm. Some early testers seemed to think that the long end of the EF16-35mm F4IS was it’s weakest performing focal length. As for the 24-105mm I have found that in the middle of it’s zoom range it’s an excellent performing lens. I’m hard pressed to see a difference between my 24-105mm at 50mm when compared to my normal Canon EF50mm F1.8. So this should be an interesting comparison. First here are the full frames images at 35mm F11. Focused using live view on my Canon 5D mk3 and the correct hyper focal distance. First the 24-105mm followed by the 16-35mm.
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At this focal length 35mm, and an aperture at F11 the lenses are very close in performance. With some extreme pixel peeping I get the feeling the EF16-35mm has a slight edge overall. Next will look at the center of the image.
This is looking at the center of the frame at 100% magnification. Again very hard to tell the two lenses apart. Now we’ll look at an extreme corner of the frame.
Here in the lower left portion of the frame I can see that the EF16-35mm is slightly sharper than the EF24-105mm lens. Close examination of the images showed that overall this was pretty near a draw at 35mm. The 16-35mm had a very slight advantage. In the real world either lens would produce excellent results. Next I did the old brick wall test. I wanted to make sure my new EF16-35mm F4 didn’t have any glaring deficiencies due to a decenter-ed element. Wide angle zooms are prone to that problem. I leveled the lens the best I could, live view focused, and then shot the lens at 16mm, 24mm and 35mm at F4, F5.6 and F8. Below I’ll show each focal length at F4 and F8.
Here I was able to see that overall I had a good copy of the lens, with no major problems in any of the corners which would indicate a de-centering internal element. I had that problem once with my EF16-35mm F2.8L and ended up sending it to CPS for repair twice before they got it right. At16mm the barrel distortion is noticeable as is the light falloff at F4 By F8 the light falloff is pretty much gone. At 24mm distortion is very well controlled and there is much less light falloff than at 16mm. 35mm shows slight pincushion distortion. There seems to be a bit more light falloff at 35mm than at 24mm. Sharpness wise my copy seems very good at 35mm unlike some reports I’ve heard. I looked very hard and really didn’t see any chromatic aberrations with this lens.. Very impressive! I didn’t get a chance to see how the lens handles flare nor did I test for shooting sunstars. Some reviewers have reported that the lens produces a beautiful 18 point sunstar and handles flare very well.
So what does all this mean? For one it means Canon has addressed a weakness in their lens lineup, an ultra-wide zoom that’s sharp in the corners. Roger Cicala at LensRental.com did a very thorough and controlled test of the EF16-35mm F4IS against a number of different lenses. To see Rogers test go here http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2014/07/canon-wide-angle-zoom-comparison. His testing showed It to be the best ultra-wide zoom Canon has made to date and even equaled the renown Nikon 14-24mm F2.8. When I’m out in the field and want the very best image quality in the ultra- wide range, the 16-35mm F4 will be my go to lens.
To purchase this fine lens go here. Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens