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

Update: 05:13:14: Canon recently announced an update to this lens, the 16-35mm f4L IS. The lens will be a big sharper at both wide and tele especially along the edges which was this current lenses biggest flaw. The new lens will also have less chromatic aberrations but will include image stabilization.

Consider this review a great example of what kind of images you’ll be able to get out of the Canon 16-35mm f4L IS but imagine the images being a bit sharper especially along the edges and corners. If you’re still looking for a lens in this range that is faster like for those that shoot astrophotography, than the current model 16-35mm f2.8 will suite you well.

New Canon 16-35mm f4L IS Preorder and Price: Amazon

This Is A Review For The Canon 16-35mm f2.8L II

canon 16-35 sample images

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


The Canon 16-35mm f2.8L II Experience

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.

4 Things I Love About This Lens

1. Small And Light

It’s not small for a lens, but it’s small for a full frame ultra wide zoom. And it’s pretty light as well.

I’m use to the Canon 24-70mm f2.8L II. The lens is much smaller and lighter in comparison.

2. Durable

I’ve used the lens for a few years now. It’s been dropped, banged, covered in rain, water, dust, and is still good as new. Except some dust inside from not using a front UV filter.

Older lenses had issue with the lens mount being held in with plastic mounts. This is not the case with this lens. Mine is metal. Although the lens itself is high quality plastic.

3. Sharpness

Sharpness is great in the center. Falls off a bit towards the edges. Also the lens is much sharper at the wide end from the tele which is how I use it.

4. Screw On Filters

It’s nice being able to screw on filters on an ultrawide zoom. A rare quality.

I like to use ND filters and this makes it very easy.

3 Things I Don’t Like About This Lens

1. Soft Edges

I wish the lens stayed sharp but the edges get a bit softer.

2. Chromatic Abberations

They actually aren’t bad at all with this lens, but they are there. To be expected from a zoom lens. But for those high quality fine art prints you might want to consider using primes.

3. Weather Sealing Isn’t Great

Make sure to use a front UV filter to seal the lens. Mine has a lot of dust inside now from now doing this. It doesn’t hurt image quality unless i shoot at extremely high apertures.

Canon 16-35mm f2.8L II VS Samyang 14mm

It’s kind of comparing apples to oranges but both lenses are similar in a way.

The Samyang at 14mm it’s not as sharp in the corners or in the center, but I feel it is a bit sharper all around. This is to be expected when comparing any zoom to a prime.

The Samyang is also relatively free from chromatic aberrations compared to the Canon.

What Lens Do I Like More?

It’s hard to say what I like more. I think for shooting at 14mm or strictly ultra wide, I’ll stick with the Samyang 14mm. But when traveling and when I need versatility I always make sure I have my 16-35mm.

If the 16-35mm is too pricey for you and you’re looking for a landscape HDR beast then check out the Samyang 14mm f2.8. I love it.

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.


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

Victoria TowerThe tower is a concrete reinforced spiral stairway leading from the top of the cliff to the beach. This kind of landscape photography required a bit of patience and a lot of luck. You never really know what you're going to get when shooting at the ocean. That's why I love ocean photography. No two photographs will ever look the same.See more about my HDR Photography at

If you have any questions about the Canon 16-35 f2.8L II Review or the Sample Photos, please leave a comment.

Which lens would you rather have, The Canon 16-35mm F4 or the 2.8?