Canon-16-35mm-F4-IS-Review-Hands-On-vs-17-40-sharpness-design-4- Canon 6DTHE GOOD

  • Critically sharp throughout the frame
  • Outstanding Chromatic Aberration performance, especially on corners
  • Great weather-sealing (with UV filter) – same as other L-lenses
  • Great Autofocus – same as other L-lenses
  • 2 to 3-stops of Image Stabilization sets it apart from other wide-angle zooms
  • Larger and smoother focusing ring is faster in Live View at 100% than the 17-40
  • Uses 77mm thread size



  • Physically larger than the 17-40
  • Inclusion of IS makes noticeably heavier than the 17-40. Feels downright heavy on my A7R but more well-balanced on my 5D3 and 6D
  • 1 to 2-stops of inherent vignetting at 16mm. A UV filter with a frame thickness of 4mm or more adds 1-stop of light fall off, and frames at 6mm and larger add 2-stops of light falloff
  • Lens hood extends beyond the edge of the lens when backwards, and therefore you can’t use a GND holder with lens hood on backwards (affects only landscape photographers using GNDs)



Click here to join my email newsletter and stay up-to-date!

The inclusion of Image Stabilizationincredible corner sharpness and bar-none the best CA performance on corners I’ve ever seen put the Canon 16-35 F4 IS at the top of a very short list of must-get Ultra-Wide Angle Zooms. If you’re a Canon or Sony landscape and/or a travel photographer in the market for a ultra-wide angle zoom, and/or you’re looking to upgrade whatever you currently have, this is the one to get.

Reports of the 16-35 F4 IS performing critically sharp are true. However, based on the results I’m seeing, the reports of the Canon 16-35 F4 blowing the Canon 17-40mm F4 out of the water are false. When it comes to center sharpness the two are nearly identical at every focal length and F-number. When it comes to corner sharpness and CA the Canon 16-35 F4 edges out the 17-40. With over 10,000 images captured so far with the Canon 16-35 F4 and over 200,000 with the Canon 17-40mm F4, I can confidently recommend both without hesitation.

If you’re a travel or documentary photographer, this is also a must get.

If you don’t think you’d use an ultra-wide angle zoom 80% of the time or more, I’d still recommend the 16-35 F4, but you wouldn’t be disappointed with the 17-40. In fact, it’s lighter and smaller form factor may be preferable for only occasional or infrequent use.

From critically sharp center-to-corner performance to incredibly well controlled CA and 2 to 3-stops of Image Stabilization, the Canon 16-35 F4 IS is the king of ultra-wide angle zooms for Canon and A7-series shooters.

If you found this review useful, click here to join my newsletter. I update my YouTube channel and send an article, like this one, once a month or so.

If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or question on the overview page. I read every single comment and question! :)

Thanks for reading.





Canon 16-35 F4 Review Overview

Optical Performance: Sharpness Shootout Part 1

Optical Performance: Sharpness Shootout Part 2

Optical Performance: Landscape Photography

Optical Performance: Travel Photography

Design & Build Quality






Like this article? I publish content once a month or so. Click here to join my email newsletter and stay up-to-date!

 Click here to view price & reviews on Amazon
Click here to view price & reviews on B&H

14 Comments on “Conclusion

  1. GREAT review. Thanks !

    I was traveling to South Portugal with the exact same combo.

    One short comment about traveling with A7(R) :
    For me, the main drawback of mirrorless camera is sensor dust and stain exposure.
    The sensor has no protection when you swap lens and it is much more prone to get durty because of that and of the very short sensor-to-flange distance. Had the problem with Nex7. Same problem with A7R.

    Otherwise, I like the EF 16-35mm f/4.0L IS very much on the A7R !
    Before that I was using the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L (first Generation) or the Canon FD 20-35mm f/3.5L.
    But the new one is better and IS makes a real difference (yes, IS works also on A7R).
    By the way, the old Canon FD 20-35mm f.3.5L is not bad
    Not in the same league but much smaller and FD lenses are easier to manual focus than EF ones.

    That’s for traveling.
    For events, another wide angle zoom use, I like it too. I use 1DX then.

    For more ‘static’ use, I made a comparison of 1DX and A7R with the 16-35mm f/4.0L IS and the results are about equal in the extreme corners. But you have much more details in the center and mid-frame with A7R.

    May I had something obvious ? Your landscape pictures are awesome !

    Have a good day

    • Thank you! Glad that you could find it useful.

      Couldn’t agree more based on your experience with the A7R performance. My own experience with it is nearly the same.


  2. Fantastic review, but I’ve got a “slightly” off topic question — I currently have the Canon 17-40L and while I’m not currently ready to upgrade to the new 16-35L, I’m wondering if the lens hood from the new 16-35 can be successfully substituted for the awful 17-40 lens hood?


    • Thanks!

      Unfortunately the Canon 17-40 Lens Hood can’t be used with the Canon 16-35 F4, as they changed the lens hood thread design. :(


      • Graham,

        Actually I wanted to do the reverse: put the new 16-35 hood on my old 17-40, but I guess the answer is the same :(

        Thanks for the speedy reply and for providing the reason why it won’t work.


  3. Graham, why no shots at 16 or 17mm?

    Also not many of us shoot at at f22, any chance of comparing both centre and edges at 16/17, 24 at f4 and f8?


  4. How do you find it works out to use Canon EF lenses on the a7r? Does the adaptor stay on the camera? Do lenses mount and unmount easily? Any drawbacks in day-to-day operation?

    I am fed up with waiting for Canon to come out with their equivalent of a D800E and considering using the a7r with my Canon lenses.

  5. Did you have tried them on APS-C cameras like the 7D Mk II for city shots o landscape? Thanks. Ver good report.

  6. Great reviews that gave me valuable advice. Thank you very much.

  7. Thank you very much for the review. Do you believe that the higher pixel sensor will really benefit from moving from 17-40 to 16-35? I have the 17-40 on a 6d and I’m considering the move to the 5dsr. The 17-40 is my go-to lens for most landscape shoots, using a LEE filter set for images such as this one

    I can live with no IS (use a tripod) and I also have a 15mm laowa F4 lens if I need to go even wider, and this is insanely sharp, so the big question is does the large MP camera benefit that much for moving from 17-40 to 16-35?

  8. I have it and am astonished at the corner sharpness and (almost?) complete freedom from distortion and aberrations. I cannot see how supposedly better lenses such as the Zeiss Otis series could resolve more detail, or be better in other ways. And consider that you give up AF and IS with Zeiss.

    But what I really like about this 16-35 lens is the realism of its images. My other Canon lenses (L-zooms and a variety of Primes) someimte shave a cartoon-like look (not due to excess noise-reduction by me) or a hint of Bayer-fuzziness (even when focussed perfectly and taken on a tripod).

    Do you agree about this, or am I deluding myself. But if I am right, what could be the reason?