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

October 17, 2016 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The new Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM is an outstanding but also very expensive ultra-wide-angle zoom lens that will appeal most to landscape, reportage and wedding photographers looking for a well-built, weather-proof optic with the main advantage of a fast and constant f/2.8 aperture for low-light hand-held work.

Given its L-series billing, the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM build quality is satisfyingly excellent, and it makes a perfect partner to a full-frame Canon DSLR like the EOS 5D Mark IV that we tested it with. Auto-focusing is very quiet and very quick, with the ability to manually override it and focus manually if required proving a nice touch. The fast maximum aperture of f/2.8 used in conjunction with a high-ISO monster like the 5D Mark IV is a low-light shooter's dream ticket, making it easy to hand-hold the camera and get the shot, despite the lack of image stabilisation.

Image quality is quite simply fantastic. Chromatic aberrations are almost completely absent, bokeh is impressive despite the wide-angle nature of the lens, and the Subwavelength and an Air Sphere coatings successfully prevent contrast loss attributable to flare. The only real optical issues are some obvious vignetting and barrel distortion at the 16mm wide-angle focal length, and a slight lack of sharpness when shooting wide-open at f/2.8 at the 28mm and 35mm focal lengths.

If money is no object and you can afford the eye-watering price-tag, then we can highly recommend the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM as an excellent wide-angle zoom lens for Canon full-frame DSLR owners.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 5
Value for money 3.5