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EF 16-35/4L IS test images
  
 
jcolwell
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · EF 16-35/4L IS test images


EF 16-35/4L IS test images

Here's a brief description and some example images to compare the following lenses,

Canon EF 16-35/2.8 L II USM, at 16mm
Canon EF 16-35/4 L IS USM, at 16mm
Canon TS-E 17/4 L
Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 18/3.5 ZE

Long story, short; the EF 16-35/4 L IS USM is the best, and the EF 16-35/2.8 L II USM is the least-best. They're all really, really good. In most cases, the 18/3.5 ZE is nearly as good as the EF 16-35/4 L IS USM, and often slightly better than the TS-E 17/4L. Of course, this comparison does not show the true value of the TS-E 17/4L, because it is at zero tilt and zero shift for these tests.

PROCEDURE

The photos were taken with a Canon 6D, at ISO 100, on a tripod, using manual focus LiveView with a 2 sec. timer for shutter release. For each lens, aperture setting, and subject (e.g. ZE 18/3.5 at f/8, for the harbour scene), at least three different images were carefully taken (with de-focus/focus between each image) and then the "best of three" image was selected. For each lens, all 100% crops were selected from the same image (i.e. the "best of three" image); rather than selecting the best left corner from one, and the best centre from another; and, yadda yadda, yadda.

All images in this thread are IrfanView screen captures of Photoshop CS 6 RAW file renderings using Adobe Camera RAW (ACR), as displayed on a colour-calibrated Dell U2711 monitor . There is no sharpening or image adjustments, except for "auto-contrast". The only exception is the lower left, foreground grass comparison in the 'elevator' sequence (image c5), which had exposure increased in PP to make visual details more apparent, as described later.

GEAR COMPARISON

The first three images below compare the gears themself, followed by a summary table of their vital stats. The Zeiss 18/3.5 ZE (with its 82mm front finter thread) is not a "compact" lens in the normal sense, but it's my go-to, small ultra-wide lens, when I want to travel light (and I don't plan to take my X-E2 and XF 14mm f/2.8 (FF~21mm) with me).

Enjoy.



jcolwell 2014


Image 01, lenses with hoods_MG_6981.jpg





jcolwell 2014


Image 02, lenses_MG_6982.jpg





jcolwell 2014


Image 03, lenses front_MG_6983.jpg





jcolwell 2014


Image 04, info 16-35 test lenses vital stats.jpg




Aug 20, 2014 at 02:25 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · EF 16-35/4L IS test images


AOV COVERAGE: 16mm vs. 17mm vs. 18mm

Here is a comparison of the difference in terms of "horizontal angle of view" coverage, between the two zooms at 16mm, and the primes at 17mm and 18mm. Some folks would say that this type of comparison should be done with the same AOV on all lenses, but I prefer to see what I will get at the widest focal length, according to which UW lens I might choose to bring with me, plus you can't make a 17mm lens do 18mm.

The first, two-panel composite image of the "harbour scene" below shows:

(i) in the top panel, a 100% crop of the far left edge of the TS-E 17/4L harbour scene at f/4, and

(ii) in the bottom panel, the PS CS6 Navigator window showing the entire image, with a red square at the left edge to show where the "top panel" 100% crop is located.

The "full-image" bottom panel in Image a1 shows a few bright flare reflection hot spots for the TS-E 17/4L. The sun was at the upper-left, just out of frame, and shining directly on the front element "dome" of the TS-E 17/4L. No flare was noticed in the other three lenses, which may have been protected by their hoods, regardless of how 'usless' they might appear to be.

The following four-panel composite images are arranged with the top-left panel showing a 100% crop window from the EF 16-35/2.8L II image; the top-right is a 100% crop from the EF 16-35/4L IS ; the bottom-left panel is the TS-E 17/4L; and, the bottom -right panel is the Zeiss 18/3.5 ZE. The image file names on the window title bars (top left of each frame) identify the lens, taking aperture, and RAW file name.

The bottom-left panel in Image "a2" from the TS-E 17/4L is the same as the top panel 100% crop in Image a1.

The 16-35/2.8L II is pointing a tiny bit "to the right" compared to the 16-35/4L IS. IOW, the f/2.8L II has a bit less coverage on the left side and a bit more coverage on the right side.

Note that all of the 100% crop comparison images shown later are based on regions with more-or-less the same 'coverage', and so an "edge" image panel for the ZE 18mm is actually at the edge of the frame, while the 17mm and 16mm crops are slightly in from the ultimate edges of their respective frames.






Image a1, harbour.jpg







Image a2, harbour full width left.jpg







Image a3, harbour full width right.jpg




Aug 20, 2014 at 02:27 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · EF 16-35/4L IS test images


HARBOUR (f/4)

Here is a set of example crops from the harbour scene to compare images at f/4. IMO, the most interesting comparison is between the two zooms, as I often stop-down the f/2.8 II to f/3.5 or so, even in low light conditions. The 16-35/4L IS has much better "optical IQ" at the edges of the image at f/4 than the f/2.8L II at f/4, which means I'd expect much better overall "practical IQ" from the 16-35/4L IS when shooting handheld at slow shutter speeds.






Image a4, harbour f4 centre.jpg







Image a5, harbour f4 left edge.jpg







Image a6, harbour f4 right.jpg




Aug 20, 2014 at 02:28 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · EF 16-35/4L IS test images


HARBOUR (f/8)

Here is a set of example crops from the harbour scene at f/8, which is where I'd most likely use these lenses for "scenic" photos.






Image b1, harbour f8 centre.jpg







Image b2, harbour f8 left edge.jpg







Image b3, harbour f8 right edge.jpg







Image b4, harbour f8 bridge top.jpg




Aug 20, 2014 at 02:29 PM
Gunzorro
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · EF 16-35/4L IS test images


Great start, Jim! The new 16-35 looks really promising so far! Thanks.


Aug 20, 2014 at 02:30 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · EF 16-35/4L IS test images


GRAIN ELEVATOR (f/8)

The first two-panel image in this next set shows the "grain elevator scene" in the bottom panel, and a near left-edge 100% crop for the EF 16-35/4L IS in the top panel. This is followed by a series of four-panel composties to show 100% crops from the four lenses at various locations in the grain elevator image.

The "original images" used to make Image c5 were adjusted to increase exposure by +2 EV (+1.5 EV for the ZE) using the PS CS6 Image/ Adjustment/ Exposure slider, in order to make details of the ground more easy to see. Note that the dreaded Canon shadow-banding problem is clearly evident in the form of annoying grass-like patterns. ...and no, these images were not taken with my X-E2.






Image c1, elevator full image.jpg







Image c2, elevator f8 centre.jpg







Image c3, elevator f8 left edge.jpg







Image c4, elevator f8 top right.jpg







Image c5, elevator f8 left bottom, EV +2.jpg




Aug 20, 2014 at 02:31 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · EF 16-35/4L IS test images


BRICK BUILDING (f/8)

The first two-panel image in this last set shows the "brick building scene" in the bottom panel, and the right edge 100% crop for the ZE 18/3.5 in the top panel. This is followed by a series of four-panel composties to show 100% crops from the four lenses at various locations in the brick building image.

Images d4 and d5 show the ZE 18 and 16-35/2.8L II have most red/green CA at bright edges, and the 16-35/4L IS has the least (the same results are also evident in Image b2, and to a lesser extend in Image a5).






Image d1, brick building full.jpg







Image d2, brick building f8 centre.jpg







Image d3, brick building f8 left.jpg







Image d4, brick building f8 top right.jpg







Image d5, brick building right edge.jpg




Aug 20, 2014 at 02:32 PM
Sneakyracer
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · EF 16-35/4L IS test images


The 16-35F4L IS and the Zeiss seem like the winners to me. Impressive performance by the IS zoom. A little disappointed by the amount of CA shooing in some of the 17mm TS-E crops. I also observe that the color of the Zeiss is more "neutral". On the crop shot of the bridge I see the Zeiss has no CA from I can see. The 17mm TS-E has a lot more than I expected in that shot. But on the building shot the Zeiss is showing some CA while the TS-E is clean.

The 16-35 2.8 II as expected is pretty worthless close to the borders and corners.

The new 16-35 f4L IS seems to be the most consistent performer of the lot. Wow.

I really like the look of the Zeiss. Its smooth but sharp with good color and neutral contrast. Images look quite nice free from artefacts.



Aug 20, 2014 at 02:38 PM
kevindar
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · EF 16-35/4L IS test images


Jim, I have looked twice a day over the least few days at your posts waiting for your comparison. Thanks so much for doing this. certainly appears that the f4 lens, at 16mm, has the edge even at f8. the 2.8 images look good, its just that the f4 images are better. I have discovered at times when I run tests, I may find a lens sharp and am happy with it. but its only when I run it side by side another sharper lens is where I can really judge.

Of course the question remains is sharp enough good enough with 2.8II and having extra stop of light, or is sharper better with IS.

I will pick up my lens today, as it did not arrive before I took off for vacation and has been sitting in my office since Monday. I will run some brick wall, as well as more detailed tests and and share them.
If you end up doing any other focal lengths (some comon like 21, 24, 28 and 35) would be curious to see if your comparison holds up.

thanks again for the detailed post



Aug 20, 2014 at 03:07 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · EF 16-35/4L IS test images


I have not done (and will not do* ;-) any comparisons as exhaustive as those you have done, but your work confirms what I've seen from my 16-35mm f/4L IS: It is a fine performer, certainly a step up on many ways from the previous Canon ultra-wide zooms, and fully capable of producing large prints with excellent quality.

Dan

*I have thought about comparing some lenses I have access to that can do 24mm (24mm f/1.4 L, 24-70mm f/2.8 L II, 24-105mm f/4L IS, 17-40mm f/4L, 16-35mm f/4L IS) and 35mm (I'll spare us all the list).



Aug 20, 2014 at 04:03 PM
 

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Sheldon N
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · EF 16-35/4L IS test images


Great stuff, thanks for sharing!


Aug 20, 2014 at 04:18 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · EF 16-35/4L IS test images


kevindar wrote:
...Of course the question remains is sharp enough good enough with 2.8II and having extra stop of light, or is sharper better with IS.


Good question. I think the 16-35/2.8L II is sharp enough for any large print, scenic photography I would want to do (that doesn't need tilt-shift movements). I was very pleasantly surprised at how much better the Mk II is at the edges and corners than was the ver. 1 of the same lens that I replaced.

OTOH, when I'm shooting a low-light event with the f/2.8 II at f/3.5 and 1/20 sec., I can't help but think having IS would be nice. Getting IS in an UW lens that's this sharp is an absolute bonus! Based on what I'd seen from early adopters and review sites, this is what I expected to get. I'm happy that it is.

I'm going to wait until September before I decide which lens I'll sell, but it probably won't be the 16-35/4L IS, TS-E 17/4L, or Zeiss 18/3.5 ZE.



Aug 20, 2014 at 05:06 PM
mogud
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · EF 16-35/4L IS test images


Great job Jim and very thorough. Your testing sure confirms that the 16-35 IS is a superb lens. The Zeiss is close behind however.

I sold my 16-35 II because I found I didn't use the zoom range as much as I anticipated. I'm still fence sitting for now but your results are very compelling.



Aug 20, 2014 at 05:25 PM
skibum5
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · EF 16-35/4L IS test images


gdanmitchell wrote:
*I have thought about comparing some lenses I have access to that can do 24mm (24mm f/1.4 L, 24-70mm f/2.8 L II, 24-105mm f/4L IS, 17-40mm f/4L, 16-35mm f/4L IS) and 35mm (I'll spare us all the list).


My tentative feeling is that it would go (best to worst at f/8 on FF): 24-70 II and 24 1.4 II, 16-35 f/4 IS, ...., 24-105L. Not sure where the 17-40 would place, haven't used on in years.




Aug 20, 2014 at 06:09 PM
molson
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · EF 16-35/4L IS test images


jcolwell wrote:
In most cases, the 18/3.5 ZE is nearly as good as the EF 16-35/4 L IS USM, and often slightly better than the TS-E 17/4L.


Interesting, considering many people feel the 18mm f3.5 is the "worst" lens Zeiss currently makes (although I would personally argue that's the 50mm f1.4)...



Aug 20, 2014 at 06:10 PM
Cphoto1954
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · EF 16-35/4L IS test images


Having owned the 16-35 f2.8 and currently owning the Zeiss 18mm I can say these are exactly what I've experienced. I did test the new 16-35 f4 at a local pro camera store and my test agree with what I see here.

The only problem I saw with the one I tested is that it was softer on one side (lens element alignment issue?). Which is the same issue I had with my inital 16-35 f2.8 before I sent it in to Canon for repair. Keep in mind that my 2.8 was fine for a year then it got worse for no know reason. Checking the internet I found that others had this same issue. Hopefully this new f4 will not experience that same problem.

Great testing - thanks for doing this!



Aug 20, 2014 at 06:46 PM
StillFingerz
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · EF 16-35/4L IS test images


Jim, thank you for your efforts, Canon's f4L IS lenses are looking mighty fine!

Now what do I do with my 17-40



Aug 20, 2014 at 06:48 PM
drobertfranz
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · EF 16-35/4L IS test images


Jim thanks for you tireless efforts. Confirms what I saw with my far less exhausting test. Canon hit a home run with this one!


Aug 20, 2014 at 07:17 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · EF 16-35/4L IS test images


jcolwell wrote:
In most cases, the 18/3.5 ZE is nearly as good as the EF 16-35/4 L IS USM, and often slightly better than the TS-E 17/4L.

molson wrote:
Interesting, considering many people feel the 18mm f3.5 is the "worst" lens Zeiss currently makes (although I would personally argue that's the 50mm f1.4)...


Hi Cliff,

I used the 21/2.8 ZE for many years, with great results. As I've mentioned elsewhere, I sold it after getting the TS-E 24/3.5L II, and later picked up the 18/3.5 ZE as a "compact" UW lens. I've never felt let down by the IQ from the 18/3.5 ZE, and so I don't buy into the "poor IQ" common wisdom for this lens.




Aug 20, 2014 at 07:22 PM
Gunzorro
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · EF 16-35/4L IS test images


Jim -- Thanks so much for these comparisons.

The new 16-35/4 IS looks really good.

I'd be remiss if I didn't indicate how well the 16-35/2.8 II performed here, especially in the center, against all the lenses. Your results validate mine in that I've often used the 16-35/2.8 II with great results when the movements weren't needed from the TSE (a lens I love very much too!).

I guess it's going to get down to whether a person needs f/2.8 on a well-adjusted 16-35/2.8 II, or if they can get by with f/4 and the terrific IS. That's a tough one! Especially in situations where subject motion can be an issue.

If you get a chance, I'd love to see a comparison of subjects at medium distance and relatively close-up from this lens set.




Aug 20, 2014 at 07:45 PM
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