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Canon EF 16-35 f / 2.8L II USM lens review

In this review, we'll talk about the Canon EF 16-35 f / 2.8L II USM full-frame fast wide-angle zoom. In the previous sentence, all the adjectives are important, because if you remove at least one of them, there are tons of more interesting alternatives to this lens.

So Canon EF 16-35 f / 2.8L II USM:

  1. Full frame... This lens is designed for cameras with a 36mm x 24mm sensor, no crop factor. If you have a crop camera, it makes sense to look for more inexpensive and compact lenses.
  2. High-aperture... The widest aperture of f2.8 allows you to take photos and videos in rooms with medium-low light. If the light is very bad, then f2.8 will not help either.
  3. Wide angle... Focal length 16mm gives a viewing angle 110°... It's wide. With such a focal point, you can shoot in very tight spaces, you can shoot landscapes so that they completely fall into the frame, you can shoot a selfie video from an outstretched arm (really hard from 16-35).
  4. Zoom... The EF 16-35 f / 2.8L II features 3x zoom, which is common in all professional lenses. With these focal lengths, you can shoot both the whole room and take half-length portraits (but not closer). The range is comfortable, but not as versatile as the 24-70mm. However, this lens replaces both wide-angle and standard 35mm.

Optical qualities

  • Sharpness

In terms of detail, the Canon EF 16-35 f / 2.8L II USM has its own nuances. An aperture of f2.8 produces a soft image. It's not completely soapy, but there is a trade-off. You will not want to look closely at the detail at 100%. Not in the center and even more so at the edges. For fans of sharp lenses with an open one I recommend:

  • for the same money - Canon EF 16-35mm f4L IS USM (cost in Ukraine)
  • more expensive, but with the same aperture - Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8L III USM
  • if the money is extra, the same thing but on the RF mount - Canon RF 15-35mm f2.8L IS USM.

Returning to the Canon EF 16-35 f / 2.8L II USM, I will add that when you close the aperture, detail naturally improves. But my copy is not sharp around the edges, even at f10. The center of the map is decent already from f4. At f8, most of the frame is sharp, but not edges. Tested on Canon R5.

  • Color rendition

The color rendering of this lens is at the highest level. This is a full-fledged elka with a juicy and, I would say, rich, picture. Very nice color, on a par with EF 135mm f2L и EF 50mm f1.2L... The combination of these three lenses makes me very happy. The feel of the photos and videos is great. But in terms of sharpness at open EF 16-35 f / 2.8L II of the trio is the weakest.

A couple of frames (16mm and 35mm) for this lens and handle for R5:

Build quality

Excellent. This lens compares favorably with third-party optics. Very smooth and easily rotatable zoom ring (which will appeal to videographers), metal body with a beautiful petal hood. Moderate-heavy weight 635g. The Canon EF 16-35 f / 2.8L II is a pleasure to hold in your hands.

Filter diameter - 82mm. When zooming, the indoor unit moves, but the lens size remains the same. Outward lenses do not go out.

Let's see how the Canon EF 16-35 f / 2.8L II USM looks on its own and on the Canon R5 camera (original and Chinese):

Autofocus quality

Excellent. Focusing is quick and quiet. Slightly faster than the EF 50mm f1.2L, but slightly slower EF 24-70 f / 2.8L II... AF speed is enough for any task. It is also nice that the lens focuses smoothly and quickly not only when taking photos, but also on video. Focus sound is quieter Canon EF 35mm f2IS... If you listen, of course you can hear it, but you have to listen.


I personally liked the lens very much. It will be very appropriate for people who shoot photos and videos in low light. Purely for photographers, I probably would not recommend it, tk. the trade-off sharpness on the open will create a sense of discomfort and sooner or later you will want to upgrade. But people who shoot video on full-frame cameras just show it directly. It makes no sense to crop the camera, tk. there are many other analogues (cheaper, lighter, sharper and with more interesting focal lengths).

I have listed the analogs for the full shot from Canon above. If you want both aperture and good sharpness, you have to pay more. Personally, I would look at the EF 16-35mm f2.8L III as an upgrade. For purely landscape photographers, I would recommend the EF 16-35mm f4L IS, because additional aperture is not needed there, and the f4L IS has excellent sharpness already open.

Lenses from other brands with similar focal lengths have more disadvantages than advantages in my opinion. I talk about all this in more detail in my video review. There you will also see examples of photos and sharpness tests.

I would recommend this lens for advanced video bloggers. By the way, here list of techniques for running a YouTube channel.

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