Canon Announces The 16-35mm f/4L IS EF Lens

Canon Announces The 16-35mm f/4L IS EF Lens

Announced tonight, Canon adds the 16-35mm f/4L IS to it's prestigious L series line of lenses. With an Optical Image Stabilizer system, the 16-35mm f/4 IS adds up to 4 stops of correction for great performance, even in low light. While this announcement is exciting for many of us, it also has many of us scratching our heads in confusion.

Perhaps what has me scratching my head the most is the f/4 side of this lens. While shooting on the ultra wide angle side of things means you're not getting much bokeh anyway, f/4 feels slow when you consider that Canon announced the 17-35mm f/2.8L in 1996, followed by the original 16-35mm f/2.8L back in 2001, and then released it's version two predecessor back in 2007. While IS is nice, it's not exactly a requirement when shooting at a focal length like 16mm. But alas, I'm just a writer...



Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 16–35mm 1:4.0
Lens Construction: 16 elements in 12 groups
Diagonal Angle of View: 108°10' – 63°
Focus Adjustment: Inner focus system
Closest Focusing Distance: 0.92 ft. / 0.28m
Filter Size: 77mm diameter
Max Diameter x Length, Weight: 3.3 x 4.4 in., 21.7 oz. / 82.6 x 112.8mm, 615g


This lens is currently available for preorder for the price of $1,199.00.


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Zach Ashcraft's picture

As a video shooter I'm thrilled to have the addition of IS on a wide angle zoom!

I stand corrected. I rarely shoot video, seems like it would be great in that arena.

I absolutely agree with you. This makes no sense. Seems okay with things like landscapes and architecture and interiors from Mike Kelley's explanations (although with the use of a tripod, IS is rendered useless). Also, for weddings and creative uses, it doesn't really seem like a worthwhile upgrade.

Well, don't, because for weddings you probably should be using 24-70mm instead at the short end. You may think weddings is just about everything, however landscape and architecture are far more commonly used genres and this is like the 1st useful lens after 17mm TSE or Zeiss 21mm. 17-40mm is useless.

So let me ask you a question. Do you think the hundreds of accountants and executives at Canon just randomly decided to create a lens and came up with something that makes no sense? Do you think that many people risked their jobs and the financial health of the company just to bring something to market that has no real place?

Or, perhaps, you have no real clue about the market and its demands. Your statement is basically saying, "I know what's best for Canon, and this makes no sense for them. All those accountants, researchers, marketers, and engineers have no clue even though their jobs are responsible for that segment of Canon's business." Let me educate you. A multibillion dollar corporation does its research before it spends the millions of dollars needed to create such a lens. If there's little or no demand for a lens, they're not going to make it just because there's a tiny vocal minority on internet forums clammoring for it. And let me drive that last point home: when you see a bunch of people crying for a new/updated lens, such as a new 100-400, those vocal people on the forums are an incredibly miniscule percentage of all DSLR users, and is why you have not seen an update of that lens (as an example, this goes for others as well) for so long.

To summarize: don't be a fool. You don't know what's best for Canon. Canon knows what's best for Canon. Just because you don't have the capacity to understand why a lens will do well, doesn't mean that there's no sense or place for it. If it were as easy as sitting a fat lazy ass in a chair to throw around an ill thought out opinion, then companies wouldn't be hiring teams of accountants and bean counters.

Zach Sutton's picture

You're going to hate my next post on Fstoppers ;-)

Hate is such a strong word! Whatever it may be, I'm sure it will be a good post with great discussion points. I may disagree with some things, sure. I may even be wrong! Unless you're my wife, then for certain I'll be wrong.

Looking forward to it Zach. Greatly appreciate your's and other working photographer's feedback.

Zack Williamson's picture

So it looks like an extra $350 on top of retail for a 17-40 gets you IS, maybe a sharper corners, and a bit less zoom on the longer end. Maybe a good choice for video but I'd much rather the extra stop on a wide zoom for sports work--IS doesn't stop motion like shutter speed :/

I'll spend the extra money for sharper corners alone! Not proven yet, but one can only assume based on recent upgrades.

There's the point. This is very reminiscent of the 40mm STM when announced. Why add f stops that really aren't as good as the others just to say you have them? Lighter and sharper, a good direction.

#Nope I love you guys but try again Canon!!!

MTF looks way better than 17-40mm that I got rid of recently in despair. I'll order one at some point

whilst for stills this lens might seem odd for Canon video shooters, those with C100/300 5mk3, low light is not a huge issue as they have incredibly clean high ISO. The IS for these users is a huge deal especially for those small rig and run & gun shooters. super shallow lenses in many event situation just aren't needed as keeping unpredictable things in focus can be hard work. Getting rid of rolling shutter and camera shake is of much greater benefit.

Well maybe it would be a decent upgrade from users like me that currently have a 17-40, it's a bit wider and the IS in some cases could help, but I really don't understand why they didn't do a stop faster, as it is it's pointless if you already own a 16-35, unless you are a videographer

The perfect tools to complete a canon C300 camera? maybe..

The 17-55 would be a far better match - you get a stabilized f/2.8 lens (not f/4) with more range (in terms of focal length) at a cheaper price!

The 17-55mm is an EF-S lens. For a lot of photographers, this limits the use of this lens with full frame cameras.

A photographer wouldn't be using a C300 now would he? :-)

Ill wait till Sigma creates a better version.. Just saying. Lol.

Zach Sutton's picture

That isn't for full frame cameras....

Chuck Navarro's picture

True. True. This lens still feels like a slap in face to a lot canon users. Pues nimodo!

First the Canon 24-70 f/4 and now this?!?!?!? WTF is wrong with Canon?????

Give us a proper (Nikon Like) f/2.8 wide angle zoom lens c'mon!!!!

I agree with you.

Canon 24-70 f/2.8 II

Jayson Carey's picture

that isn't near wide enough.

The comments are confusing. Who really shoots at 2.8 in that many situations. The added benefits are overlooked by clinging to mythology. We can now shoot at 1600-6400 on full frame. That's better than 2.8 with 400 ISO that was the film fast standard and the best digital did for years. Plus the dof error potential are better. Please don't talk about bokeh on an ultra wide either.

Is it me, or do those MTF charts look like shìt for a $1200 lens?

I think it looks very good for a wide angle lens. Compared to the 16-35mm f/2.8L II, it's a significant improvement.