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Lens Review: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM in Landscape Photography

In this article, we shall take a closer look at the features of one ultra wide-angle lens that is perfect for landscape photography – the EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM, through shots taken together with the EOS 5D Mark IV. (Reported by: Kazuo Nakahara)

Landscape photography (EOS 5D Mark IV + EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM)


Versatile ultra wide-angle lens with excellent usability

Released in 2014, the EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM is Canon’s first ultra wide-angle lens that adopted a new lens design, in response to the advent of cameras with increasingly high pixel counts. It weighs 615g and comprises 16 lens elements in 12 groups, including three aspherical lens elements for reducing aberrations as well as two UD lens elements. The EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM is also the only EF wide-angle zoom lens that boasts an IS effect of approximately four stops, making it ideal for handheld photography even at slow shutter speeds.

The lens offers an impeccable level of resolving power that is extremely sharp, up to the edges of the image at the maximum aperture. While most lenses are said to provide the peak sharpness about two stops below maximum aperture, the EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM is capable of achieving maximum sharpness when the lens is wide open. However, if peripheral light fall-off that occurs at the maximum aperture is a concern, then you are recommended to stop it down to about f/8. When used in macro photography, the lens provides bokeh effects with a natural, creamy blur.

For more information about zoom lenses, you can also read up the article below.
Lens Basics #1: Zoom Lenses



Landscape photography (EOS 5D Mark IV + EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM) Shot at 16mm

EOS 5D Mark IV/ EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 16mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/8, 1/160 sec, EV±0)/ ISO 640/ WB: Auto

Here, I captured the reflections of the trees on the water surface by using the perspective exaggeration effect created by the ultra wide angle. Besides offering a sharp depiction up to the four corners of the image, note that the details are resolved while maintaining the contrast with the sky, which appears slightly blown out under the backlit condition.

Some users may be concerned about the f-number of the EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM, which has a fixed maximum aperture of f/4. However, when combined with the EOS 5D Mark IV, a camera with a sufficiently high level of ISO performance (a native range of up to ISO 32000), there should be no cause for worry. AF speed is extremely fast, while the movement during zooming and focusing is also smooth. Other pleasant features include a filter size of φ77mm, and compatibility with other lenses that have a maximum aperture of f/4, such as the EF24-105mm f/4L IS II USM



Landscape photography (EOS 5D Mark IV + EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM) Shot at 35mm

EOS 5D Mark IV/ EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 35mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/4, 1/250 sec, EV±0)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto
As an ultra wide-angle lens, the focal length of 35mm at the telephoto end, which falls in the standard range, is extremely useful. Significant bokeh can be created even when close-up photos are captured at the maximum aperture of f/4 while the IS feature offers reassuring support for shooting in unstable postures, such as low-angle shots.


Lens construction diagram

Lens construction diagram (EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM)

A: Aspherical lens elements
B: UD lens elements
C: IS unit


Lens construction: 16 elements in 12 groups
No. of aperture blades: 9
Closest focusing distance: 0.28m
Max. magnification: 0.23x
Filter diameter: φ77mm
Size: approx. φ82.6×112.8mm
Weight: approx. 615g


For more information about the EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM, you can also read up the articles below. 
[Part 1] The Latest Wide-angle Zoom Technologies Canon Takes Pride in EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM & EF-S10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM
[Part 2] The Latest Wide-angle Zoom Technologies Canon Takes Pride in EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM & EF-S10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM


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A monthly magazine that believes that enjoyment of photography will increase the more one learns about camera functions. It delivers news on the latest cameras and features and regularly introduces various photography techniques.
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Kazuo Nakahara

Kazuo Nakahara

Born in Hokkaido in 1982, Nakahara turned to photography after working at a chemical manufacturing company. He majored in photography at the Vantan Design Institute and is a lecturer for photography workshops and seminars, in addition to working in commercial photography. He is also a representative of the photography information website studio9.