Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8L II USM Sample Photos and Review

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Canon 16-35mm f2.8L II Review

I've recently adopted the use of Ultra Wide angle lenses after strictly using the Canon 24-70mm f2.8 for the last few years.

There are two ultra wide angle lenses I picked up. This one, the Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8L II USM and the Samyang 14mm f2.8. So far they are both really nice. Compared to the Canon 24-70mm f2.8 the 16-35mm f2.8L II seems much sharper all around and it zooms out significantly wider. 

I picked up the Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8L II USM for about $1,600 on Amazon. You can check the link below for current prices:

Amazon: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II

Canon 16-35mm f2.8L II USM Ultra Wide Angle Lens Review Sample Photos

Now that I've had this lens awhile I've noticed it can really open up my scenes and make them look larger than life. The Canon 24-70mm f2.8L is a nice lens but its focal range just doesn't allow you to expand the world the same way as an ultra wide can.

The Canon 16-35mm f2.8L II Experience

IMPORTANT UPDATE: For the last year, I've been one of those anti UV filter guys. There is an exception to this lens and I've nearly ruined it because of that mentality. When zooming with this lens the front element slides in and out creating a vacuum suction. If you don't have a UV on the front of this lens you will be sucking in a ton of dust and other debris. I even have hairs inside of my lens. It's awful and I now need to spend some cash to have Canon disassemble and repair it. Use a UV filter on this lens in all circumstances. 

When I first unboxed this lens I was actually surprised at how much smaller and lighter it was compared to the 24-70mm f2.8L. To me this was great since I got tired of always lugging around large lenses. The only other lens I had at the time was the 70-200mm f2.8L IS II which is a monster. It also seems pretty durable for being made of high quality plastic. I've dropped it once so far from about 2 feet onto concrete and everything is still solid. Just a small scratch on the lens hood. I guess early models of this lens had a problem with the camera attachment breaking (or maybe they are grey market?). I've noticed this is not the case with my lens. Plus I tested it by accidently dropping it from two feet. I'm sure it's fine for most normal uses. I tend to abuse my gear. 

One other thing I really like about this lens compared to my Samyang 14mm f2.8 or even the Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 is that it accepts screw on filters. This is great if you want to throw an ND filter for ultra wide long exposures or even mount other filters. There are not many Ultrawide lenses that let you do this.

Now compared to my Samyang 14mm f2.8 it's not as sharp corner to corner, but more sharp in the center. This is to be expected when comparing any zoom to a prime. There are also some chromatic aberrations in the corners that's also common with zooms. It can be corrected with Lightroom profiles and isn't really a problem when shooting low contrast environments. I also can't seem to find a lens profile for the Canon 16-35mm f2.8L II for jpg in lightroom, only Raw. It's also not a big deal since I hardly shoot jpg, and the barrel distortion is very minimal and easily correctable by hand. 

So far I'm really liking this lens and am getting some really good results form it. I recommend renting and reviewing the Canon 16-35mm f2.8L II for a few days for yourself and I bet you'll love it. 

Now if this is too pricey for you and you want an amazing full frame wide angle lens, I've been using the Samyang 14mm f2.8 with great results. I hope this Canon 16-35mm f2.8L II Review was helpful to you. I try to share my hands on experiences rather then tech specs. Now here is some of my photography I've produced with this lens. 

Other Canon 16-35m f2.8L Reviews

Kenrockwell Review. Ken posted his review of this lens. He says the lens is very sharp and almost impossible to take a bad shot with. And if you want a lens that is just as sharp and almost have the price check out the Canon 17-40mm f/4. This is actually not a bad idea. You don't shoot at f2.8 hardly with ultra wide lenses anyway. Although I've personably seem many comparisons between the two lenses and the 17-40mm isn't quite as sharp. He also mentions some distortion at 16mm but goes away by 24mm.

The-Digital-Picture Review They consider this "The most important lens in Canon's lineup." They post a lot of different framing examples of how this lens performs at different ranges. They also post different size comparisons between this and other lenses. Their biggest complaint is the 82mm filter threads because they think filters this size are hard to find. Personally I've only had trouble finding a 9stop ND in 82mm. But now with Amazon nothing is hard to find. I now buy all filters at 82mm since that seems to be where Canon is going, and then I buy step up rings for my other lenses.

DXOMark Scores

Canon 16-35mm F2.8L II IQ Scores

LuisMayhem17 Youtube Review

He talks a little about the weather sealing and rubber gasket on the back. I've had my camera and lens soak in the range. Just put a UV filter on the front element when your in inclement weather. 

Other Ultra Wide Zoom Lens Options

There are only two other options out there I would consider in this range besides the Canon 16-35mm f2.8L II.

The first being the Tokina AT-X Pro FX 16-28mm f/2.8 for Canon. It's a few hundred cheaper and slightly sharper. 

The other is the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM . It's sometimes even cheaper than the Tokina, not quite as sharp or as fast, but when shooting high aperture scenes such as landscape photography, the draw backs become irrelevant. 


Canon 16-35mm f2.8L II Sample Photos

Yutoku Inari Shrine, Japan, HDR photography

Victoria Beach Tower Beach Photography HDR Laguna Beach Landscape

Shanghai City Lights, China, HDR photography

Hiroshima City Japan

Two Harbors Catalina Gas Station for Boats

Autumn in Japan at the Takachiho Gorge, Gokase-gawa River

Santa Barbara Orange Reflections

If you have any questions about the Canon 16-35 f2.8L II Review or the Sample Photos, you can email me at