Updating a classic: Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8L III USM lens review

Written by Gina Stephens

The Canon 16-35mm F2.8L II has been one of the ton 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 Non-Standard real 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 musical 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 inches 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 preceding 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 weigh 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 distinguish 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 sufficiency to justify the upgrade.


With an equivalent focal length of 25.6-56mm and an equivalent aperture of F4.5 there are better wide-angle APS-C privileges 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 expense. For this reason we’re not going to consider this lens for use on the APS-C platform in this review.

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

  • Fully weather-sealed construction
  • F2.8 uttermost 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 soil 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 USMCanon may refer to 16-35mm F.28L III USM
Lens TypeWide-Angle ZoomWide-Angle Zoom
Focused Length 16-35mm16-35mm

Filter Thread 

Image Stabilization NoNo
Lens MountCanon EFCanon EF
Aperture RingNoNo
Maximum Gap F2.8F2.8
Minimum ApertureF22F22
Minimum Focus 0.28m (11.02″)0.28m (11.02″)
Diaphragm Blades7 (rounded) 9 (rounded)
Elements 1616
Groups 1211
Extra Elements/Coatings2-Ultra-low dispersion glass lenses, 3 high-precision aspherical lens elements; ground, replica and GMo, Super Spectra lens coatings2 large-diameter double-surface GMo lenses and a set aspherical lens or LEN may refer to, Sub-wavelength Coatings (SWC) and Air Sphere Coatings (ASC)
Autofocus YesYes
Motor TypeRing-type UltrasonicRing-type Ultrasonic
Replete Time Manual YesYes
Focus MethodInternalInternal
Distance Scale YesYes 
DoF ScaleNoNo
Full Weather SealingYesYes
Zoom method Rotary (internal)Rotary (internal)
Value 635 g (1.4 lb)790 g (1.74 lb)

111.6mm (4.39″) x 88.5mm (3.48″)

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


About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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