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Canon 16-35mm f2.8L: Part 5
Mar 15, 2008, 20:42 (This post was last modified: Mar 15, 2008 22:51 by zedbra.)
Post: #1
Canon 16-35mm f2.8L: Part 5
Now a quick look at things a bit more at the 35mm end, at f2.8 and f8 respectively:

[Image: daffs_23_35mmf28WEB_unsh.jpg]

[Image: daffs_25_35mmf8 copyWEB.jpg]

At this size there's not too much to report, so let's have a look at some crops: f2.8 first:

[Image: daffs_23_35mmf28-cropWEB.jpg]

...followed by f8...

[Image: daffs_25_35mmf8cropWEDB.jpg]

...f11...

[Image: daffs_27_35mmf11-cropWEB.jpg]

..and f22:

[Image: daffs29_35mmf22cropWEB.jpg]

It's the familiar story: f11 just having the slightest edge over f8, though both are very good. The wider apertures hold up very well until softening slightly at the centre... but again I am wishing that f22 held its head up just a tad more. Arguably, one would perhaps not worry quite so much in terms of edge performance wide open here, as the question might be: why would anyone need edge definition when shooting a near-centre object at the widest aperture?
Generally, though, at the extreme ends of the lens, it is the 35mm end that performs slightly better at f22 than the 16mm.

So, "conclusions"?
Er, well, as this is day one, I haven't concluded yet. Nor do I expect to, as the 16-35mm f2.8L Mk2 seems to already have had the ability to reinvent itself depending on the application one wishes to use it for. More than many a lens, it requires a pleasant familiarising process to get to know its quirks and to get the most out of it. Given that constructing a wide-angle zoom is a tricky balancing of priorities, it is by no means a matter of working around its limitations, more of learning to become aware of its strengths.
For example(and I've flagged down a taxi to Subjective-ville here), it is not a landscape lens at 16mm to 19mm...it can sometimes be so from 27-ish to 35mm, depending on your requirements(so I'd guess that the 17-40L would cover the longer end better for landies)...but it most defnitely IS from 20-26mm the equal of many a prime lens...and it definitely sings a new and rare song at f11: for me, it most definitely is "worth" it for its prime landscape capabilities at the focal lengths I need "prime" capability in. It also seems(to me) to be capable of subtlely different tonal responses at some apertures and focal lengths. Whether this is me just being an "L-Noob", I've no idea, but this tonal shift in addition to "depth of field" upon going thrfough the apertures, promises a degree of new awareness for me.
What amazes me is what it can do in addition: a really interesting portrait/ candid/street lens with the ability to capture a plurality of tones...a low-light and aurally unobtrusive way to capture many shots you simply would not have thought of...a very versatile architectural lens with very low distortion, that can suggest a different approach because of the pleasing quality of its "lines".
I'd think it might disappoint, if one tried to get it to do something it's not able to do: a truism here, yes, but avoid disappointment by wising up to the fact that it will end in tears if you try to apply it as a 16mm landscaper at f16/22: however, it most certainly does 17mm at f4 considerably better than if 17mm/f4 is your lens' starting point.
It's a funny(strange) feeling having bought this lens: I find it a wonderfully advanced and superior landscape tool and more besides, hinting at more subtleties than I expected : I'm also enamoured of its obvious capabilities to do more than I expected: I imagined it would just satisfy me because it "goes wider"...yet can see already that it has the capability of changing the way I shoot if I allow it.
I'm slightly anxious that it seems often much softer at the top corners than the bottom at the wider 2 apertures: will I be sobbing at its appalling inability when I go full-frame...or will that be eclipsed by the combination of large sensor and stonking sharpness when I get into the comfort zone of 24mm at f11?
I used to decry zooms as being jacks of many trades and masters of none of them, being quite cynically locked into the discipline of primes; but to be honest this is the first lens I've felt so..interested in.... and oddly enough I feel a learning curve coming on. There is defnitely more to this lens than meets the eye...I've never thought that I'd approach any lens with both a sense of liberation and challenge.....
...time to get out more, maybe.
Finally, I must again stress the subjective nature of these thoughts: if anyone says, "you've got it all wrong", they may well be correct; if they were to say how unscientific I've been, then they most certainly are!
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Mar 16, 2008, 04:20 (This post was last modified: Mar 16, 2008 04:20 by gd.)
Post: #2
Canon 16-35mm f2.8L: Part 5
Thanks for your interesting series of test posts.

My concern is that corners should not be notably soft with that lens on a 1.6x camera. Plain and simple. I would send it back and get another copy.

f/22 most likely will be softer than f/8 through f/16 due to diffraction, so that's not a surprise.

Your flower macro at f/2.8 isn't surprising either, but looks like it may have mis-focused slightly (stem seems crisper.) Ken Rockwell reported that his copy of the lens also mis-focuses consistently (LOL) when doing close-ups.

His take:
Quote:If you enjoy looking for an obvious imperfection, it's very, very soft in the corners (full-frame) at 16mm wide open. It gets better as you stop down, and is sharp by f/11 as you see above.

My Nikon 17-35mm AF-S also gets soft in the corners at 17mm wide open, as I saw when I mounted it on my 5D to try it. This has nothing to do with digital sensors or any other baloney. Super wide retrofocus lenses get soft in the corners. They've been doing this since they were invented in the 1950s and are the reason some of us still shoot view cameras. I have this same shot on film with a modern Made-in-Germany Schneider 47mm Super Angulon XL which I'll be scanning and sharing later.

The 16-35mm L is supposed to be soft in the corners at 16mm wide open. It's designed that way. Not that we want it that way, but that's the way it is and the way it's specified by Canon. See Canon's MTF curves printed in Canon EF Lens Work III, page 223, and I'm sure online as well. Canon would love to sell us a better lens, but to get this perfectly sharp in the corners at f/2.8 and 16mm would require a 30-pound lens that costs $25,000. Since no one would buy that lens, this is as good as it gets for a 1.5 pound lens that sells for $1,500.

The 16-35 L's MTF curves all plummet to zero at r = 21.6mm, which is a scientific way of saying that it's hideously soft in the corners at 16mm at f/2.8 on a full-frame camera.

On a 1.6x camera the corners are as sharp as the center.
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Mar 16, 2008, 15:01
Post: #3
Canon 16-35mm f2.8L: Part 5
Thank you slej, I'll take that on board..my Part 6 touches on this and I've posted some examples.
Now, in terms of the focussing, I was thinking I must have inadvertently pre-nudged the shutter button: I also noticed that in the series with the flower pots in my garden, the focus point would appear to be slightly in front of where I actually did focus. I remember focussing on the pot's crack, yet was surprised that the patio stones seemed sharper than the pot.
Yes...thanks mate: it's going back and I'll have a proper one: the upper-frame softness on this copy is also a little too worrying for me, after some thought.
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Mar 16, 2008, 16:51
Post: #4
Canon 16-35mm f2.8L: Part 5
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and obvious enthusiasm for this lens; too bad that it's going to need to be replaced. Something tells me the wait will be even harder the second time around.

Zig Wrote:I imagined it would just satisfy me because it "goes wider"...yet can see already that it has the capability of changing the way I shoot if I allow it. ... I used to decry zooms as being jacks of many trades and masters of none of them, being quite cynically locked into the discipline of primes; but to be honest this is the first lens I've felt so..interested in.... and oddly enough I feel a learning curve coming on.
It's interesting to me to hear you say that. The lens that I've used that has had that effect on me, and that I frequently hear the term "learning curve" applied to, is the ultra-wide for the Olympus system. (I do most of my tech-talk on the Oly boards, naturally.) I'm really looking forward to hearing your continued experiences once take two arrives.

Now, if only Irma would hurry up and buy one for her 5D.... Big Grin
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Mar 18, 2008, 07:15
Post: #5
Canon 16-35mm f2.8L: Part 5
Well, I use one on a 5D and I sent it back as it was too soft at 2.8. It is much better now and totally acceptable at 16 and 2.8. The beauty of this lens rests in it's distortion free edges even at 16mm and lack of vignette problems even on full frame vrs the version 1.
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Mar 19, 2008, 01:29
Post: #6
Canon 16-35mm f2.8L: Part 5
Matthew...
I am considering the purchase... but I still can't decide...

Why considering the 16-35mm? because the lens I have goes to 24mm... This lens would overlap too much the one I have, I think.
Maybe I am wrong but I think an improve in my case would be a prime lens further from 24mm.

Reading about this kind of lenses I found the Canon EF 14mm f/2.8 II USM.

I have read some reviews and they say it is a great lens... Still looking for some pictures to check.
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Mar 19, 2008, 05:32
Post: #7
Canon 16-35mm f2.8L: Part 5
I met a newspaper reporter who did a presentation at my club said that his 14mm prime was one of the best lenses he owned. On a 'full frame' camera its focal length is what I use my ultra-wide at for about 80-90% of its photos. All of my Toronto photos in the architecture assignment are at a 14mm equivalent, and it's probably my favourite single focal length.

The big advantage of a wide-angle zoom - I think I mentioned this elsewhere to Zig - is that changing the focal length doesn't just change the magnification. If you keep the same framing of your subject by zooming the lens while moving closer or farther away you will change the relationship between your subject and its background. With wide-angle lenses this effect can be very strong since they keep so much of the environment, and because the perspective distortion can have such a powerful effect on composition. I'm going to be off-line for three or four days, but I'll see if I can find some examples of this when I come back.

On the other hand, the 14mm f/2.8 is a really cool lens....Big Grin
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