The Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS:

The Canon Landscape photography Ultra-Wide angle Zoom

An appreciation of the Canon 16-35mm f/4L

In the early years of 2000, there were two Ultra-Wide angle zooms for landscape photography: The Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L introduced in 2001 (coming from the 17-35mm) and the 17-40mm f/4L introduced in 2003.. The first was double the price of the second and for landscape photography, the cheapest was the best: better corners etc. The only benefit at the time was to be able to shoot at f/2.8 with the bigger brother 16-35mm. At the time, I had the 16-35mm first until the 17-40mm came out. For my use of an Ultra-wide zoom lens, the 17-40mm was a better choice; so I sold my 16-35mm f/2.8

Then in 2007 came the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II. It was as expensive as the first one (if not more) but the contrast and color was better. The corners were as good as the 17-40 so a little wider and as good with better contrast and color. I had and used extensively the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II for several years until 2014: the year Canon came up with the Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS.

At first I did not pay attention until I saw the MTF charts. These MTF are not the only thing you should t look at to get an idea of the value of a lens but it gives you a pretty good idea of the contrast and sharpness. Telling myself Canon would not fo backwards in terms of autofocus, I decided to sell the 16-35mm II and get a copy of the new 16-35mm f/4L IS. The MTF charts wee right: very sharp in the middle and very sharp (read sharper that the f/2.8 II) in the corner. Contrast about the same. And I was not disappointed in terms of sharpness, center and corners. I use this lens mainly on the tripod with a wired remote to do landscapes so the IS was not really necessary but I have found that I was taking more picture with this lens handheld and getting very sharp scenes, especially in cityscapes and normal life shooting.

So the benefits of this lens are: very light (as light as the 17-40mm), Image Stabilized and very sharp which are the key points to be included in a landscape photography bag. This one with the Canon 24-70mm f/4L IS are a great duo.

I was so happy with the lens that I started to use less and less my tilt shift lenses: the Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II and the TS-E 17mm f/4L which are two brilliant lenses but heavy and with manual focus. The new 16-35mm allowed me to be more creative in shooting and it is certainly a keeper for many years.