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Lens review

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

29 September 2009
Szymon Starczewski

3. Build quality

The EF 16-35 f/2.8L is not small on account of its wide angles on full frame and a good fastness. On the other hand when you remind yourself how looked a Nikkor 14-24 f/2.8 you must admit that the Canon is simply dainty next to it. In the picture below, the 16-35 mm is situated between an EF-S 10-22 mm, designed to work on an APS-C sensor (although less fast, it has a similar visual field as the EF 16-35 mm on full frame) and a prime EF 50 mm f/1.4 UMS. The comparison with its competitors is shown in this linked chart

Canon EF 16-35 mm f/2.8L II USM - Build quality


L- series lens’s housing is of course made of light and durable magnesium alloy, enriched in several places with metal. This metal can be found e.g. in the mount. Then we have a zooming ring. Taking into account the significant dimensions of the lens, the ring is rather small but it operates smoothly and is well-damped. In the following part of the lens we find a clear distance scale window with markings in both feet and meters. On the left side of the scale there is also an AF/MF switch.

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Canon EF 16-35 mm f/2.8L II USM - Build quality

Even higher we have a manual focus ring. It is a bit bigger than the zooming ring and more finely ribbed. It allows very precise, comfortable work.

The front element is surrounded by a non-rotating filter thread as big as 82 mm in diameter. It is one of more evident differences between this lens and the previous L-series version, which allowed the usage of 77 mm filters. It is also something which distinguishes the Canon from the Nikkor 14-24 mm f/2.8, already tested by us, in which the manufacturers simply didn’t envisage the possibility of using filters.

It is worth mentioning here that the front element changes its position only within the inner barrel which the dimensions fixed– it extends to its maximum at 16 mm and is the most collapsed at 28mm. We can suspect a filter is necessary to fully seal the lens.

The second thing that changed significantly compared to its predecessor is of course the lens’ inner design. The Canon EF 16-35 mm f/2.8L II USM consists of 16 elements in 12 groups. As many as three high-precision aspherical lens elements and two Ultra Low Dispersion (UD) lens elements were used. Inside you will also find a circular aperture with 7 diaphragm blades, which can be closed down to the value of f/22.

Canon EF 16-35 mm f/2.8L II USM - Build quality

Buying expensive Canon L-series lenses we can expect to find something more in box than just both caps. It is exactly the case when you purchase the 16-35 mm model – in the set you get a petal-type lens hood and a soft pouch.

Canon EF 16-35 mm f/2.8L II USM - Build quality