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Lens review

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

Canon EF 16-35 mm f/2.8L III USM
4 December 2016
Arkadiusz Olech

1. Introduction

The Canon company is very experienced when it comes to production of full frame, ultra wide-angle zoom lenses as fast as f/2.8. The following chart includes models which have been present on the market during the last 20 years.

Taking into account the fact that the first lens of that type was launched already in 1996 and five years later the company showed a model with a bit wider focal range we were surprised that the next version of the lens, marked as II and launched in 2007, was a fail. You couldn’t blame the quality of the image in the frame centre but the resolution on the edge of the sensor was very weak. Mind you, in order to notice that weakness you didn’t have to employ full frame. Even the edges of APS-C or APS-H sensors provided rather unsatisfactory values.

Still you could find positive opinions about the lens on different sites and forums. Some users claimed the trick consisted of finding a good specimen among several available in shops by trial or error. If it was actually true, the mere necessity of looking for one good lens among several expensive L-series devices reflected rather badly on Canon’s quality control. Apart from that it seemed a bit similar to the Quest for the Holy Grail. I admit I didn’t manage to find it even though I personally handled four Canons EF 16-35 mm f/2.8L II USM. All of them were invariably very weak on the edge of the frame.


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In August 2016 a new chapter was opened in that segment. Canon decided to show the Canon EF 16–35 mm f/2.8L III USM. How it fares in practice? Is it different than its predecessor? We hope our test will allow you to answer those questions and much more.

We would like to thank the Cyfrowe.pl shop for lending us the tested specimen.

You are also invited to get acquainted with our test procedure, described in the article "How do we test lenses?" If you feel it’s still not enough, please go to our FAQ section where you can find some further explanation.

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