A Canon 16-35 lens is one of the Canon l lenses that all photographers should have in their bag. The Canon 16-35mm f/2.8l is, without a doubt, the best ultra-wide angle lens for Canon cameras. I should really re-phrase that to say the Canon 16-35 is the best ultra-wide angle lens for full frame Canon dslr cameras because on a crop sensor camera it is effectively a 26mm – 56mm.
The Canon 16-35 is available in two different models, being the 16-35mm 2.8 and the 16-35mm f/4, and both of them are exceptional Canon l lenses.
The 16-35mm 2.8 has a maximum widest aperture of f/2.8 throughout the entire focal length range, which means that once you get the correct exposure it will be consistent and the same subject will have the same exposure shot at any focal length from 16mm – 35mm, which is great. The 16-35mm 2.8 doesn’t have image stabilisation, which is not such a big issue when taking photos of landscapes however in dimly lit rooms the lack of IS can create a bit of an issue, even when used wide open, and the only way to overcome this is to push the ISO.
The 16-35mm f/4 has a maximum widest aperture of f4, which also allows for consistent exposures throughout the entire range of focal lengths. However, unlike the 16-35mm 2.8 the 16-35mm f/4 has got image stabilisation which comes in very useful. Okay, so the f4 may be a stop slower but the IS more than makes up for this.
Both the 16-35mm 2.8 and 16-35mm f/4 are Canon l lenses and as such are made using superior optics and the best materials currently available. The Canon 16-35 is favoured by landscape and cityscape photographers and the build quality of these lenses allows for this. Being Canon L lenses these lenses are tough, durable, weather sealed and more than man enough to deal with whatever Mother Nature throws at them.
Yep, the Canon 16-35 lenses will last a long time and provide ears of service, providing you look after them of course.
The image quality of both the 16-35mm 2.8 and the 16-35mm f/4 is simply superb. Colours are bright and vivid, without being overly saturated, and there is sharpness across the entire frame. Distortion and pin-cushioning is well also well controlled. Many photographers claim the 16-35mm f/4 has better image quality than the 16-35mm f2.8 however I have not found this to be the case, and I own both of them. As far as I can see the image quality between the 16-35mm 2.8 and the 16-35mm f/4 is identical, and I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed with either.
So what is the best Canon 16-35 to buy? The answer to this depends on what is most important to you. If you want IS technology the 16-35mm f/4 is the way to go. If you want the widest aperture the 1-35mm f2.8 is the way to go. One thing I should point out is the 16-35mm f2.8 is bigger and heavier than the 16-35mm f/4, however not by that much.
For my style of photography I find I use the 16-35mm f/4 more than the 16-35mm 2.8. I have never found the need to shoot wider than f4, in fact I typically shoot at narrower apertures anyway, and I like image stabilisation. In addition to this I also like the reduced size and weight of the 16-35mm f/4 and the cheaper price tag also makes it excellent value for money.
When many people hear the phrase “ultra-wide angle” they immediately think of landscape photography. It’s true, the Canon 16-35 is an awesome landscape lens however it is more versatile than that and I use mine for different subjects including:-
LANDSCAPES & SEASCAPES
I have to admit that I use an ultra-wide angle or wide angle lens for 90% of my landscape photography and the Canon 16-35 is ideal for this. Landscape photography requires narrow apertures, much narrower than f2.8 or f4. Similarly, image stabilisation is not needed when taking landscape, therefore either Canon 16-35 is ideal for landscape shots.
All things considered, i.e. the size and weight of the 16-35mm 2.8 v the size of the 16-35mm f/4, the image quality of the 16-35mm 2.8 v the size of the 16-35mm f/4 and the cost of the 16-35mm 2.8 v the cost of the 16-35mm f/4, the best Canon 16-35 for landscapes is the 16-35mm f/4.
That’s not to say the 16-35mm 2.8 isn’t awesome for landscape photos, it is the lens choice for many professional landscape photographers after all. The point I am trying to make is that if you don’t have a Canon 16-35 and are looking to buy one for landscape photography then I would recommend the 16-35mm f/4. I mean, what’s the point in spending the extra money if there is no need to?
ARCHITECTURE & INTERIORS
Taking outdoor architectural photos either the 16-35mm 2.8 or the 16-35mm f/4 will be absolutely fine. Architectural photos are shot at apertures narrower than f4 therefore the maximum widest aperture is not a consideration. The best Canon 16-35 for outdoor architectural pictures is the 16-35mm f/4.
When I shoot indoor architectural shots I also favour the 16-35mm f/4 purely because it is smaller, lighter and has IS technology, which means I can sharp handheld shots without having to push the ISO too far.
The Canon 16-35 is one of the most useful wedding photography lenses I own, especially for the ceremony and reception shots both of which require a wide angle lens to make sure I can get everything I want in the frame.
Whilst the 16-35mm f/4 has image stabilisation I have to say that I prefer the wider aperture of the 16-35mm 2.8 for wedding photographs because I like to shoot at wide apertures to throw the background out of focus. This is not to say the 16-35mm f/4 doesn’t make a good wedding photography lens, in fact it is an exceptional wedding photography lens that many professional wedding photographers use, it’s just that I like the wider maximum aperture and I am willing to sacrifice image stabilisation for the wider aperture.
DO YOU NEED THE CANON 16-35 ?
The Canon 16-35 is a very useful lens you can use for many different types of photos. I am fortunate to own both the 16-35mm 2.8 and the 16-35mm f/4 so I have the choice of the wider f2.8 aperture or image stabilisation, the choice of which depends on what I am taking photos of. I long for the day when Canon creates the ultimate ultra-wide lens which will be a Canon 16-35 2.8 IS lens of the same size and weight as the current 16-35mm f/4.
Links to other Canon lens reviews
The lens above is just one that I own and use for my photography. I, like all photographers carry many different lenses around with me and other lenses that I use include the following:-
Canon lens review - 100mm f2.8L IS macro
Whilst it is possible to do macro photography on a budget and use close up filters, reversing rings or extension tubes if you want to capture the highest quality macro photos you need a designated macro lens.
Having used a Canon macro 100mm f2.8 in the past I was impressed with it but once the 100mm f2.8L IS lens was released I simply had to have one. This lens is absolutely awesome and not only can it record levels of detail you can’t see with the naked eye, it is tack sharp and it also has image stabilisation to enable sharp hand held shots at slower shutter speeds.
For an honest and unbiased review of the Canon 100mm f2.8L IS macro lens (yes I had to part with my own hard earned cash and buy it myself and wasn’t lucky enough to get given one to road test for free) and to see what it can do you may wish to take a look at this article. If you want a macro lens forget about the rest and go for this, I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Canon lens review – 24mm -70mm f2.8L
The 24mm – 70mm focal range is useful for many things including landscapes, portraits, seascapes, travel and for general walkabout photography, and if there is one zoom lens every photographer should have in their lens bag it is a 24-70 zoom.
I originally bought the 24-70 for portraits because I had read about (and seen) the high image quality and the smooth and creamy bokeh. It wasn’t until after I had the lens for a few weeks that I realised just how versatile it is, and I now use it for many different types of photo. The Canon 24-70 f2.8L lens is my workhorse and a lens I couldn’t live without and if you haven’t got a 24-70 lens I have to ask the question “why not?”
For a quick and honest review of the Canon 24-70 f2.8L lens (once again, it is a lens I had to buy myself and didn’t get gifted one to road test and report on) this article is something you should read.
Canon lens reviews - 50mm f1.8 “Nifty Fifty”
I only use Canon L series lenses these days, and upgraded from all my other non- L series lenses however I did keep my Canon 50mm f1.8, and couldn’t bear to part with it.
I bought the 50mm f1.8 as the first upgrade to my kit lens, and whilst it look and feels more like a toy than a serious piece of photography equipment it is a top performer and I have managed to get some cracking images using it.
I bought the f1.8 because the f1.2L is (in my opinion) way too expensive and I couldn’t justify the high price tag. Sure I would love an f1.2 lens but I am not prepared to pay that much for it. I chose the f1.8 over the f1.4 because, whilst the 1.8 is a little slower, the image quality of the 1.4 wide open isn’t that good and at f1.8 the 1.8 and the 1.4 are identical. The 1.4 is better built but the 1.8 is far better value for money.
For an honest and unbiased review of the Canon 50mm f1.8 lens take a look at this article. This is one lens you really do need, even if you are like me and only shoot L series lenses.
Canon lens review - 70-200 f2.8L IS
Every photographer needs a standard zoom in their kit bag and a 70-200 fits the bill perfectly. The Canon 70-200 f2.8L IS lens is Canon’s flagship 70-200 zoom (it is also available in f4L, f4L IS and f2.8L versions, which are obviously cheaper) and quite rightly so.
This 70-200 is a top quality lens and is the choice of many professionals. Okay, it is expensive but then you do get what you pay for. With a maximum f2.8 aperture this zoom lens is ideal in all conditions (both indoor and outdoor as well as in good light and low light) so you will never struggle again.
For an honest and unbiased review of the 70-200 f2.8L IS lens (this is a lens I wish I was given for free to test out and report on – unfortunately I had to part with my own money, although I am so glad I did) you need to take a look at this article.
Canon lens review - 100-400L IS
The Canon 100-400 is, without a doubt, the best value for money super zoom lens on the market and I am stunned how Canon can sell such a top quality lens at such a great price. Okay, there are cheaper alternatives out there, and these cheaper alternatives go longer than 400mm but the image quality of the cheaper alternatives is absolute rubbish. Combine that with the speed of the lenses (narrow maximum apertures of f6 or more) and it is easy to see the cheaper lenses simply aren’t worth buying. The image quality of the Canon 100 – 400 is awesome, the build quality is awesome and it is also affordable.
The Canon 100 – 400 is the ideal lens for motor sports, wildlife, bird photography and all other situations where you need to get up close to the subject whilst standing far away from it. I even use my Canon 100 – 400 for dragonfly photography! If you need a super zoom lens, and let’s face it who doesn’t? this is the lens you need.
For an honest and unbiased review of the Canon 100 – 400 from a long term user (this is one lens I didn’t have to buy because it was a gift from my wife. Strictly speaking, I guess I did buy it then – D’oh) you need to take a look at this article.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.