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  Reviews by: Tudor Seulean  

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Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Nov 6, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: great sharpness
corners blurry at 16mm

I posted a review on this lens a few months ago, right after I bought it. At that point I was so disappointed by the soft corners at 16mm that I wrote a very negative review, saying I did not recommend it.
I have looked for that review to amend it if possible, but can't find it anymore...
The reason I am posting this new review is to let everyone know that after using this lens for a few months (to photograph architecture mainly), I have changed my opinion radically, namely I am now convinced that this is an extraordinary lens from all points of view (except price, perhaps, which is a bit steep!). It is at its sharpest stopped at 8. The corners may be a bit soft if stopped at 5.6 or 4, etc., but it's really not an issue. However, they are indeed soft at 16mm - but that's not an issue with me - my subjects are usually in the center of the shot, not at the corners. It is sharper in the center (but not the corners) than the Canon EF-S 10-22mm (which I also own), but only just. The 10-22mm is consistently sharp across the board, even in the corners, except at 18mm or more, where the 16-35mm is sharper.
Great lens!

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

Review Date: Aug 24, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: $2,500.00

Terrible left edge in most test pictures

I bought this lens a few days ago and can say I am terribly disappointed. I tested it against my EOS 400D kit lens, the EF-S 18-55mm, and couldn't help being appalled by the 16-35mm f/2.8 L II USM's performance on the left edge of the frame at focal lengths of 16-17mm. At 18mm and above this issue seems to disappear. At the center the 16-36mm lens is the sharper, I must admit, but I bought this lens for architecture mainly and so was really counting on being able to use it at 16-17mm, but no, it looks like I'm not going to be able to do that.
I shot cityscapes, individual buildings, walls, churches and the results were consistent: the 16-35mm lens was consistently SOFTER than the kit lens at the left-hand side edge of the photos at focal lengths of 16-17mm. The pictures were shot in broad daylight, stopped down at f8, using a tripod. I wonder what's the point of having a lens that can do focal lengths below 18mm if the extra edges you get below 18mm are total crap? I based my choice mainly on The-Digital-Picture.Com review which speaks very highly of this lens. Unfortunately, I only saw this (fredmiranda) forum after I bought the lens. I will send it to Canon to have it checked but I am sure they'll just claim there's nothing wrong with it. So now I am stuck with this $2,500 investment in a lens I can't use to shoot my architecture - which was the only reason I bought it.