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Thread: Something better than the 16-35L II

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    Something better than the 16-35L II

    I just picked up a copy of the Canon 16-35, wanted to replace my 17-40 for the slight angle gain, and speed. What a disappointment. The center is sharp with good contrast but the corners are mush @ 16mm. I've read a wide variety of reviews on this lens, and they are all over the place. Are copy to copy variations that significant with the 16-35? Should I keep trying until I get a decent copy? I thought of going with a zeiss prime instead, the 18 or 21, but would rather have autofocus on all lenses. Any thoughts?
    Shaun O'Boyle
    new.oboylephoto.com

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    Re: Something better than the 16-35L II

    Long time that I shot this lens, but over my time with Canon I owned 2 copies and both were excellent. I preferred this lens much more than any of the Nikons (17-35) or Sony Zeiss 16-35.

    So I would give it a second chance with another copy. IMHO this is the best 16-35 zoom available on the market.

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    Re: Something better than the 16-35L II

    My experience is the same with Shaun, I received mine from B&H and had it returned after trying it out. I now shoot primes exclusively with my 5Ds with one exception: 70-200L II. Although my widest Canon is the 24mm.

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    Re: Something better than the 16-35L II

    I find my 16-35mm II excellent at certain focal lengths when stopped down. In some cases almost as good as my Leica 19. I always keep it stopped down past f8 at a minimum or 11-16 whenever I can to assure even sharpness and a flat field. I'm sure there is refraction at 16 but it's worth it over softness in the corners. At 5.6 or more open, I have found strange focus issues in various parts of the frame. Careful manual focus when tethered works very well, but of course that's probably not why you buy a lens like that.

    Hence the Leica, which is razor sharp across the field at f4 - f5.6. But you can't really compare a WA zoom with a prime like the Leica or the Zeiss 21. They are different tools. If ultimate image quality is what you need, then go for the Zeiss or a late model Leica 19 if you can find one.

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    Re: Something better than the 16-35L II

    I decided to try another copy of the 16-35, and also ordered the Zeiss ZE 21 2.8. Fairly confident the 21 will be the keeper, and just rely on my 17-40 for a zoom in this range. Anyone with experience with the Zeiss 21 on a Canon 5D MK2?
    Shaun O'Boyle
    new.oboylephoto.com

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    Re: Something better than the 16-35L II

    This range of zoom has always been Canon's weak spot. I owned three 16-35s including 16-35-IIs twice ... the last of which I send back and the replacement was worse.

    My best luck to date has been with a Nikon 14-24 which was excellent but lacked that important 28mm and 35mm settings ... and currently the best yet, a Zeiss ZA 16-35 ... which I had to send the first back for another, which was much better. I had to return a ZA 24/2 for a better copy also. Better color rendition than the Canon or Nikon.

    Sometimes it is the luck of the draw I guess.

    -Marc

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    Re: Something better than the 16-35L II

    Marc
    Are you using the ZA 16-35 on canon with an adapter?
    I sent back the first Zeiss 21 2.8 that I tested, soft in one corner. Otherwise it is a superb lens, love the Zeiss color and contrast and sharpness.
    Still waiting for the 2nd copy of the 16-35 to arrive. I don't have my hopes high that it will be a keeper. The 17-40 is quite good, so will likely stick with that and add a Zeiss prime.
    Shaun O'Boyle
    new.oboylephoto.com

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    Re: Something better than the 16-35L II

    Quote Originally Posted by soboyle View Post
    Marc
    Are you using the ZA 16-35 on canon with an adapter?
    I sent back the first Zeiss 21 2.8 that I tested, soft in one corner. Otherwise it is a superb lens, love the Zeiss color and contrast and sharpness.
    Still waiting for the 2nd copy of the 16-35 to arrive. I don't have my hopes high that it will be a keeper. The 17-40 is quite good, so will likely stick with that and add a Zeiss prime.
    No, I was just referencing the category of wide zooms in general. I've used most of them from each maker ... including the excellent Contax N 16-35 made by Zeiss, as well as those mentioned above. The Zeiss ZA 16-35 I now use is an AF lens for the Sony A mount ... specifically used on my FF Sony A900.

    Zeiss seems to be concentrating mostly new product efforts on Cine lenses.

    If I were still shooting Canon, I'd be mightly tempted to go for the Zeiss Distgon 15/2.8 at a mere $3,000 ... but who needs two kidneys anyway

    Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Review

    -Marc

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    Re: Something better than the 16-35L II

    The 2nd Zeiss 21 2.8 is a keeper. At first I didn't think so, I did a test against my 17-40 shooting a bookshelf at close range, +/- 3' distance. The 17-40 was sharper across part of the frame. Next test was at a more normal shooting distance of about 15' to the main subject, the difference between the Zeiss and the 17-40 was remarkable. The Zeiss was sharp with beautiful contrast and color to the edges, with a slight softening at the corners. The 17-40 was quite blurry in comparison at the edges and esp in the corners. And this is a very good copy of the 17-40. Very pleased with the Zeiss, best WA I've seen on my 5D2.
    Shaun O'Boyle
    new.oboylephoto.com

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