Saturday, July 24, 2010

Going Wide

More equipment shuffle.  Today I swapped my seldom used Canon 100-400mm f4-5.6L lens for a 16-35mm f2.8 II.  Two extremes.  I find myself not using the very long lenses much, and the wide angle is far more useful to me as a everyday shooting lens.  The Sigma 15-30mm f3.5-4.5 that I have been using is not bad, but has no HSM, and extreme corners are also a bit soft, though on the 1.3x to 1.6x crop bodies, it's actually not bad.  But, it's time for an upgrade.

The 100-400mm is very decent lens.  Sharp enough for most occasions even wide open.  And it's usable with a 1.4x converter and still able to auto focus on 1-series bodies.  I enjoyed the dozen or so times that I used it in the last two years.  The image stablization was more effective than I expected.  The only thing I didn't like it much was the f5.6 maximum aperture in the long end, and the fact that this thing looks intimidating when fully zoomed and with a hood on. I also didn't mind the push-pull zoom either.  The lens was sealed well enough that I haven't noticed any dust inside the lens.

The 16-35mm f2.8 II is the second generation of this bread and butter lens for most pros.  I owned the original version and didn't know how Canon could charge such an insane amount of money for a lens with such bad edges on full frame.  I eventually sold it back to the person whom I bought it from, a year later, and he seemed not to mind the soft edges at all.  The MK II is improved, no doubt, but not to the extend that it could compete with the ungodly sharp Nikon 14-24mm f2.8. What's a Canon user to do?  Switch to Nikon?  For most of us, we just take what Canon offers, unfortunately.  At least most users of this 16-35mm lens seem to be quite happy with it, and I am sure I will be happy with it as well. Time will tell.


  1. Hi Yu-Lin,

    Have you ever owned and used the 17-40 f4L ? How does it compare to the 16-35 f2.8L (v1) in terms of corner sharpness as we know the focal length difference and also f-stop differences.

    Is the 17-40 f4L better value for money as noted by ''?

    Looking at an UltraWide for my kit that already has a 24-105, 70-200.


  2. Chester,

    I owned the 17-40mm f4L a "long" time ago when I had my original Rebel 300D. I never used it on full frame so can't comment on the edges. It was great on the 300D. On the other hand, the original 16-35mm f2.8 (also owned the 17-35mm f2.8 for a bit, which was very bad, but could be copy variance) never really impressed me. I think in terms of sharpness, both the 17-40 and the 16-35 Mk I are similar. If you can get the 17-40 for a good price, I would go with than instead of paying a lot more for the 16-35 (MK I).

  3. Hi

    > What's a Canon user to do?

    not sure if it works well on the full frame digital but I'm really pleased with my Olympus 21mm f3.5 lens via adaptor

  4. I do have a few wide angle manual focus lenses, but sometimes auto focus is required when not shooting for leisure.

  5. With this:
    Canon 5D2 + Nikkor 14-24 f2.8 can do the job :))