LensTip.com

Lens review

Canon EF 16-35 mm f/4L IS USM

22 July 2014
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality and image stabilization

The following chart presents a comparison between the tested lens, its predecessor and two rival lenses, produced by Nikon and Tokina. As you can notice, the new lens is physically bigger and heavier than the older one but it is understandable if you take into account it features the optical stabilization and more elements. Compared to the stabilized Nikkor 16-35 mm, with identical parameters, the differences in weight and dimensions are slight and actually the Canon presents itself slightly better.

In the photo below the tested lens is positioned between the Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM and the EF-S 10–18 mm f/4.5–5.6 IS STM designed for smaller sensors.

Canon EF 16-35 mm f/4L IS USM - Build quality and image stabilization


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The Canon EF 16–35 mm f/4L IS USM starts with a metal mount surrounding a plate with contacts and a rear element, 28 mm in diameter. That element is situated on the same level as the mount at 16 mm focal length. When you pass to the 35 mm focal length it hides about 2.5 cm deep. Then you can take a good look at the interior of the tube which is well matted and blackened, without any traces of shiny screws or electronic parts.

Canon EF 16-35 mm f/4L IS USM - Build quality and image stabilization


The proper body of the lens starts with a narrow, immobile stripe featuring a red dot which makes the alignment with a camera easier. The next part is a zoom ring, 25 mm wide, with rubber ribs and focal length markings at 16, 20,24, 28 and 35 mm. The ring moves evenly and is well-damped.

Canon EF 16-35 mm f/4L IS USM - Build quality and image stabilization


Further on you find a distance scale, expressed in meters and feet, behind a window. On its right side there is an inscription stating the parameters of the lens and on the left a focusing mechanism mode switch (AF/MF) and a stabilization switch (STABILIZER ON/OFF). On the opposite side of the distance scale you see the serial number of the lens and the info that it was produced in Japan.

Canon EF 16-35 mm f/4L IS USM - Build quality and image stabilization


The next part is a manual focus ring – 35 mm wide, ribbed and very comfortable to use. It moves smoothly, is well-damped and doesn’t have any slacks. Running through the whole distance scale needs a turn through 100-110 degrees. It is an acceptable value, taking into account the parameters and the depth of field of the tested lens.

Behind the ring you find a red stripe, characteristic for the L series, which turns into a hood mount.

The front element is less than 50 mm in diameter, surrounded by a non-rotating filter thread, 77 mm in diameter. The element is the closest to the thread at 16 mm and it hides the deepest inside near 24 mm. The lens is fully sealed only when you screw the filter on.

Canon EF 16-35 mm f/4L IS USM - Build quality and image stabilization


When it comes to the optical construction you deal here with 16 elements positioned in 12 groups. Three elements are aspherical and two are made of low dispersion UD glass. Inside there is also a circular aperture with nine diaphragm blades which can be closed to f/22.

Buyers get both caps, a petal-type hood and a soft pouch in the box.

Canon EF 16-35 mm f/4L IS USM - Build quality and image stabilization


It is also worth mentioning that, beginning with the launch of the EF-S 10–18 mm and the EF 16–35 mm f/4L IS USM lenses, the Canon company changed the packaging from white into gray-silver.

Canon EF 16-35 mm f/4L IS USM - Build quality and image stabilization



Optical stabilization

The Canon company claims that the image stabilization system in their lenses is as efficient as 4 EV. When it comes to their more expensive devices it is often true but the stabilization of the cheaper ones is sometimes worse than that. How does it look in the case of the EF 16-35 mm f/4L model? At 35 mm focal length we took several dozen photos at every exposure time ranging from 1/40 to 0.8 of a second, with the stabilization switched on and off. The percentage of blurred photos we presented on the graph below (the 0 EV point being the equivalent of 1/30 of a second).

Canon EF 16-35 mm f/4L IS USM - Build quality and image stabilization


The maximum distance between both curves amounts to 3.3 EV and such is the efficiency of the stabilization of the tested lens. It is a good result but still short of these declared 4 EV.