The Canon 16-35mm F2.8L II has been one of the most coveted lenses amongst landscape photographers for a fairly long time. The legendary sunstar was one of the major selling points of the lens and it was one of the major characteristics that really separated the Canon lens from the rest of the field.

When we first heard that Canon was going to release an updated version of the lens we were pretty darn excited. The Mark II was a fantastic piece of glass, but struggled in terms of corner sharpness and control of chromatic aberration along the edges and in the corners of the frame. The upgraded version of the Canon lens promised to correct a number of those issues while still holding onto some of the characteristics of the previous version that made it so appealing to landscape shooters around the world.

With that said, the real question is; how does the updated Canon lens compare to its predecessor? The previous iteration of this lens had a number of issues that we will discuss in this review while we compare and contrast the two versions. The fundamental questions that we will be addressing in this review is; if the upgrade warrants the price increase and if the performance from the new design is convincing enough to justify the upgrade.

APS-C

With an equivalent focal length of 25.6-56mm and an equivalent aperture of F4.5 there are better wide-angle APS-C options on the market such as the Tokina 11-16mm F2.8 AT-X116 Pro DX II Lens or the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Art DC HSM that can really take advantage of a fast aperture for a fraction of the price. For this reason we're not going to consider this lens for use on the APS-C platform in this review.

Canon 16-35mm F2.8L III USM Headline Features

  • Fully weather-sealed construction
  • F2.8 maximum aperture
  • 16-35mm focal range
  • Sub-wavelength Coatings (SWC) and Air Sphere Coatings (ASC) to eliminate lens flare and ghosting
  • Two large-diameter double-surface GMo lenses plus a ground aspherical lens to help decrease distortion, curvature of field and astigmatism
  • Two UD lenses help to reduce chromatic aberration

Specifications Compared

  Canon 16-35mm F2.8L II USM Canon 16-35mm F.28L III USM
MSRP $1599.00 $2199.00
Lens Type Wide-Angle Zoom Wide-Angle Zoom
Focal Length  16-35mm 16-35mm

Filter Thread 

82.0mm 82.0mm
Image Stabilization  No No
Lens Mount Canon EF Canon EF
Aperture Ring No No
Maximum Aperture  F2.8 F2.8
Minimum Aperture F22 F22
Minimum Focus  0.28m (11.02") 0.28m (11.02″)
Diaphragm Blades 7 (rounded)  9 (rounded)
Elements  16 16
Groups  12 11
Special Elements/Coatings 2-Ultra-low dispersion glass lenses, 3 high-precision aspherical lens elements; ground, replica and GMo, Super Spectra lens coatings 2 large-diameter double-surface GMo lenses and a ground aspherical lens, Sub-wavelength Coatings (SWC) and Air Sphere Coatings (ASC)
Autofocus  Yes Yes
Motor Type Ring-type Ultrasonic Ring-type Ultrasonic
Full Time Manual  Yes Yes
Focus Method Internal Internal
Distance Scale  Yes Yes 
DoF Scale No No
Full Weather Sealing Yes Yes
Zoom method  Rotary (internal) Rotary (internal)
Weight  635 g (1.4 lb) 790 g (1.74 lb)
Dimensions

111.6mm (4.39") x 88.5mm (3.48")

128 mm (5.02″) x 89 mm (3.48″)
Hood Included (EW-88D) Included (EW-88D)