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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 15 Nov 2016 (Tuesday) 09:39
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Canon EF 16-35 f/4L IS or f/2.8L II?

 
tsong
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Post edited over 4 years ago by tsong. (2 edits in all)
     
Nov 15, 2016 09:39 |  #1

Hi all,

I am looking for advice on which one to get for full frame. My quick history is that I have always been shooting primes (35-50 primes) and I would say that I'm an advanced enthusiast, with my favorite photography being Nature/Hiking, Landscape, Nightscape/Astro (Long Exposure), Street, Food.

I use an 80-200 f/2.8L for Portraits and Landscapes/Nightscapes​, 35 f/2 Non-IS and 50 1.8 STM for Street, and recently just picked up a 24-70 f/2.8L II for Hiking/Nature.

I use a Canon 6D (after my 5DC, I can't go back to Crop Sensors) so the images would be true to the 35mm size.

Overall, I have been reading a lot and the f/4L IS looks like it's Canon's sharpest ultrawide zoom, but I always tend to buy lenses with apertures f/2.8 or less since I want to have the option to shoot handheld in the city at night or just in general when it's darker, but it looks like everyone's saying to go for the f/4 since it's a better bang for the buck and it's cheaper ($725-800?) while the f/2.8L II is a little more expensive ($850+).

My goal for the lens would be for occasional Astro photos and startrails and also just general purpose.

Please let me know what you think, thanks!




  
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MatthewK
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Post edited over 4 years ago by MatthewK.
     
Nov 15, 2016 09:49 |  #2

By all accounts, the f/4 is an all around better performer than the f/2.8II. The big question is whether or not you need the f/2.8 aperture; seeing as how you have primes for the low light work, the f/4 may be a better option.

I've had the f/4 for a few years, and it works great as an all-purpose walk around, especially for travel and landscape. I used it for astro on occasion with my 5D3, and with the 6D boasting better low light/high ISO performance, you shouldn't have a problem. Again, you have a few other lenses that can take on that role if you find yourself being limited by the f/4.




  
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tsong
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Post edited over 4 years ago by tsong.
     
Nov 15, 2016 12:26 as a reply to  @ MatthewK's post |  #3

Thanks for the reply Matthew! That was something I was wondering, it looks like a lot of people say the f/4 is overall better than the f/2.8II. And yes, I could just use my primes for low light.

I wasn't sure if the f/4 would have been able to do startrails well/fast due to the f/4 but if it's overall better than the f/2.8II I'll consider it.




  
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MatthewK
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Post edited over 4 years ago by MatthewK.
     
Nov 15, 2016 13:06 as a reply to  @ tsong's post |  #4

For astro work I cannot comment how the f/2.8II and f/4 compare, as I have only ever used the f/4.

Here's one I did with the f/4. With an f/2.8, I could have used 1600 vs. 3200 ISO, which could definitely make a difference in the noise.

IMAGE: https://c8.staticflickr.com/6/5756/22088576799_9047e3bb83_c.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/zDTJ​k2  (external link) Milky Way, from Bittinger, MD (external link) by M K (external link), on Flickr



  
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Nethawked
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Nov 15, 2016 14:10 |  #5

MatthewK wrote in post #18185046 (external link)
By all accounts, the f/4 is an all around better performer than the f/2.8II. The big question is whether or not you need the f/2.8 aperture; seeing as how you have primes for the low light work, the f/4 may be a better option.

I've had the f/4 for a few years, and it works great as an all-purpose walk around, especially for travel and landscape. I used it for astro on occasion with my 5D3, and with the 6D boasting better low light/high ISO performance, you shouldn't have a problem. Again, you have a few other lenses that can take on that role if you find yourself being limited by the f/4.

I agree completely. I owned the f/4 and almost cried when I sold it, but I need f/2.8 for dark theater photography. I had the f/2.8II and was very disappointed after owning the f/4, so as an interim step to the new 16-35mm f/2.8 III I purchased a Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 with VC (image stabilization). It's waaaay better than the f/2.8II, but it's a bit heavy and won't take conventional filters. It's definitely one for consideration if you need wider aperture than f/4 (and desire IS).




  
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George ­ Zip
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Nov 15, 2016 22:19 |  #6

Nethawked wrote in post #18185304 (external link)
I agree completely. I owned the f/4 and almost cried when I sold it, but I need f/2.8 for dark theater photography. I had the f/2.8II and was very disappointed after owning the f/4,

Is it really that much of a difference? I have the 2.8 and I really like it. I think it is nice and sharp.

But I do not do landscapes so corner to corner sharpness is not as important as it would be for a landscaper I guess.




  
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Luxx
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Nov 15, 2016 22:28 |  #7

I own the 16-35 F4 and the rokinnon 14 2.8. You could get both of those for less than the 16-35 2.8.

I use the 16-35 F4 for landscape and night photography…The IS is very impressive and it's crazy sharp corner to corner. For static subjects you can probably get more light onto the sensor with the F4 IS than the 2.8

I use the rokinnon 14 2.8 for astro and low light. At 14mm manual focus is not too hard even in the dark

The 16-35 2.8 likely has a bunch of coma and wouldn't be great for astro anyway.

The only thing that would make you want the 2.8 would be low light moving subject wide angle photography




  
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Nov 16, 2016 11:20 |  #8

I've had the 2.8II for a few years now and the f4 IS for almost a year so I have had a chance to compare the two. I do not need to freeze action and I am not into Astro photography so the 1 stop faster aperture is lost on me especially when the f4 IS has 4 stops of image stabilization, which is much more beneficial to my style of shooting. I did a shoot a while back where I was hand holding the f4 IS at 1/8 sec and every single image was sharp. I also feel I am seeing less distortion at the edges of the image with the f4 IS. I've been keeping the 2.8II around for use with video but since I am not doing any video work I think I will be selling it.


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rndman
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Nov 18, 2016 21:45 |  #9

I just pulled the trigger on 16-35 f/4 today. Couldn't pass up the street price offer from CPW.


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Alveric
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Nov 18, 2016 23:39 |  #10
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Interesting, the f/4 version fared better than the f/2.8 in photozone.de's tests (external link), which I find to be the most reliable and objective all around. Not impressed with the use of plastic on the lens, though.


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dochollidayda
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Post edited over 4 years ago by dochollidayda.
     
Nov 19, 2016 02:11 |  #11

Alveric wrote in post #18188639 (external link)
Interesting, the f/4 version fared better than the f/2.8 in photozone.de's tests (external link), which I find to be the most reliable and objective all around. Not impressed with the use of plastic on the lens, though.

16-35 F4L IS was Canons sharpest UWA until recently, and that was the consensus. 2.8 MK III has now dethroned F4L IS but its quite close and the F4 has IS which comes in very handy especially when shooting landscapes and using it as walkaround.


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Uncle ­ Flash
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Nov 19, 2016 03:02 |  #12

The IS on the f/4L is as good as having a tripod. Well, almost.

Fantastic value.


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Alveric
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Nov 19, 2016 11:42 |  #13
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Not impressed with the focus shift on the f/2.8 Mk III. The f/4 version looks like the winner of all the lenses in this segment, even though it's plastic.


'The success of the second-rate is deplorable in itself; but it is more deplorable in that it very often obscures the genuine masterpiece. If the crowd runs after the false, it must neglect the true.' —Arthur Machen
Why 'The Histogram' Sux (external link)

  
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MatthewK
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Post edited over 4 years ago by MatthewK.
     
Nov 19, 2016 12:20 |  #14

Alveric wrote in post #18188916 (external link)
Not impressed with the focus shift on the f/2.8 Mk III. The f/4 version looks like the winner of all the lenses in this segment, even though it's plastic.

Where are you seeing the focus shift? Is it the usual "f/4-5.6 at MFD" type? I'll keep an eye out for it.

I have my f/4 for sale now, but it's tough to part with despite having the III. The smaller size (vs the 2.8), IS, and light weight are hard to give up.

As for it being plastic... how are people treating their lenses that it requires a metal body? I'm not gentle by any stretch, and the plastic of my 100L and 16-35 f/4 are still structurally intact with no image degradation.




  
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Nov 19, 2016 12:57 |  #15
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MatthewK wrote in post #18188939 (external link)
Where are you seeing the focus shift? Is it the usual "f/4-5.6 at MFD" type? I'll keep an eye out for it.

I have my f/4 for sale now, but it's tough to part with despite having the III. The smaller size (vs the 2.8), IS, and light weight are hard to give up.

As for it being plastic... how are people treating their lenses that it requires a metal body? I'm not gentle by any stretch, and the plastic of my 100L and 16-35 f/4 are still structurally intact with no image degradation.

I am not seeing it because I don't have the lens; but the review at The Digital Picture (external link) reports it:

Basically, the 16-35 L III has some focus shift, with the center of the plane of sharp focus pushing rearward as the aperture is narrowed. I'm seeing this issue most visible at the long end of the focal length and, fortunately, the subject appears to remain in focus.

Having once had a lens with such issue, I learned to hate it. I would be extremely reluctant to purchase a lens with focus shift, even if it were cheap, and I definitely wouldn't spend three grand on a lens with such problem. Come to think of it, I'd rather purchase the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II, which I'd find more useful, since I rarely need extreme wide angle views.

Yep, I have the 100L which is all plastic. Good plastic, and it has never let me down. Maybe Canon decided to go all plastic to reduce the weight of what is already a rather heavy lens. Still, at three thousand dollars, you'd expect something more solid.


'The success of the second-rate is deplorable in itself; but it is more deplorable in that it very often obscures the genuine masterpiece. If the crowd runs after the false, it must neglect the true.' —Arthur Machen
Why 'The Histogram' Sux (external link)

  
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Canon EF 16-35 f/4L IS or f/2.8L II?
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