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Lens review

Canon EF 16-35 mm f/2.8L III USM

4 December 2016
Szymon Starczewski

6. Distortion

On the small APS-C sensor the distortion shouldn’t be a problem for anybody. It can be noticeable only at 16 mm where you see slight “barrel” amounting to −1.53%. In the middle of the focal range that aberration becomes practically zero (its official level being of +0.17%), and at the maximum focal length you get pincushion of +0.58%.

There are more problems on full frame but still the result of the tested lens compares favourably with the results of its rivals. At 16 mm you have to take into account barrel distortion of −2.99% which we got by averaging out results across the frame. It is a sensible value but the Canon wouldn’t get it without the help of moustache distortion. The distortion in the frame centre reaches near −3.5% but that value still doesn’t look bad if you remind yourself that the result of the Tokina 16–28 mm and the Canon EF 16–35 mm f/4L IS USM was of almost −4%, the distortion of the Tamron 15–30 mm at a bit wider angle was −5.81% whereas the distortion level of the Nikkor 16–35 mm f/4 could even get near −6.33%.

In the middle of the focal range (24 mm) there are no problems even on full frame – we got a result of +0.55%. Only at the maximum focal length you have chances to notice pincushion distortion which value amounts to +1.47%. 

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Canon EF 16-35 mm f/2.8L III USM - Distortion
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Canon EF 16-35 mm f/2.8L III USM - Distortion