Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM - as reviewed by photographer Peter Cairns

The very nice but clearly misguided folk at Canon have asked me to review my latest lens, the EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM. Frankly that’s tantamount to asking a four-year old for an explanation of quantum physics.

I’ve been working as a freelance nature photographer for around 15 years now so it might surprise you to know that I’m not that interested in photography. Don’t get me wrong, I love taking pictures; I love working with great light and in wild places but cameras and the gubbins that go with them, leave me a bit cold. As does talk of chromatic aberration and barrel distortion. Ordinarily then, I’d be hard pushed to get excited about a new lens. But this is different.

With a hefty price tag, even for a pro-spec.lens, build quality should go without saying: It does. Ditto feel, balance and weight. What I’m most interested in is performance across the frame – is the lens sharp? Having used the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM and more recently, the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM for some years, there was always a compromise between the flexibility of a zoom and sharpness, especially around the edges. With the new EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM that compromise has gone. This is a sharp lens at all apertures and focal lengths.

I could bang on about the handy Image Stabiliser and the convenience of a 77mm filter thread but these are all incidental attributes. The main reason for buying this lens is image sharpness and that’s why I did buy it.

Not much there for the techies I realise but you know what? Life is too short. Does this lens work? Indeed it does.

Peter Cairns

About Peter Cairns:
Peter is a founder and Director of Northshots and has worked as a freelance photographer since 1999. During that time he’s racked up numerous competition awards, co-produced 6 books and initiated projects such as Tooth & Claw, Highland Tiger, Wild Wonders of Europe and 2020VISION. Peter is also a director of The Wild Media Company,  a Social Enterprise creating innovative conservation communication products. He is a Senior Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers.

Learn more about the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM by reading our previous blog post, or by visiting www.ParkCameras.com.

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