Canon wide zoom lens test/review database

Index

NEW AND BETTER ARTICLE INDEX AT CANON INDEX
(It is only the new index that will be updated. It doesn't have the ranking yet, but is better and more up-to-date)

NoLensScoreArticlesBuy
1.Canon EF 8-15 mm f/4L USM Fisheye79,29%13Amazon
2.Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM74,29%10Amazon
3.Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM71,70%3Amazon
4.Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM71,55%3Amazon
5.Canon EF 16-35 mm f/2.8L II USM71,08%6Amazon

Help me, help you. You know how ;-) (click, click, click...)

Canon EF 8-15 mm f/4L USM Fisheye

Image quality rating: 79,29%

Overall rating: 86,67%

Main points:
  • Insensitive to flare and ghosting.
  • Zoom lens with a unique focal length range
  • Excellent sharpness, in the centre of the image area


Test/reviewerOpticsOverallQuoteCamera
Camera stuff review
7.8/10
'This Canon Fisheye zoom lens is a very special lens with good image quality, which is fun to use. Canon has been very successful in eliminating flare and ghosting. That is a top achievement for a wide-angle lens. Using a Fisheye zoom lens gives you the unique opportunity to get much of the area in your photo. As a result, you can also get very close to the subject. If you keep the horizon well in the middle, the distortion of this lens does not have to disturb you. However, if you tilt the lens just a little bit, or place the horizon outside the center, distortion is clearly visible. This is inherent to the use of a Fisheye lens. You can take creative images with it as a result, but you should also make sure that the effect is not getting boring. The Canon 8-15 mm is thus a fisheye lens that you will consciously use in a limited number of cases. This makes the price for this lens high.'650D
Camera stuff review
6.7/10
'The Canon 8-15 mm is a unique fisheye zoom lens. The only alternative that we have tested is the cheaper Tokina 10-17 mm , but optically speaking, the Tokina Fisheye zoom is no match for the Canon. The sharpness of the Canon 8-15 mm is OK; the chromatic aberration is nicely limited. This lens is resistant to flare and ghosting, which is an extremely good achievement of Canon. At the shorter focal lengths, the lens hood gets into the picture. But the first thing you'll remember after using this Canon Fisheye zoom lens, will be how much fun it is to see the worlf from a totally new perspective.'5D Mark III
ePhotozine
4.5/5
4/5
'Nobody can deny that this interesting fisheye lens performs well, is built well and offers a unique two lenses in one solution for full frame camera users, and users of multiple Canon sensor formats.'5D Mark III
SLRGear
10/10
10/10
'While we can't tell you quantitatively just how good the Canon 8-15mm &131;/4 L USM Fisheye lens is, we can say that it's both a versatile and fun lens to use. It's basically two fisheye lenses in one, offering full horizontal and vertical 180 degree coverage on full-frame bodies, and a more conservative horizontal 180 degree coverage on all of Canon's EOS lineup, be it full-frame, APS-H or APS-C body.'
Lenstip
'The Canon EF 8–15 mm f/4 L Fisheye USM is one of few lenses in which case I had problems what to put into the “cons” section. A bit by force I decided to mention the chromatic aberration problems. I say “by force” because most of the time it is corrected averagely well and, compared to other “fisheye” constructions, the Canon fares rather well here. Apart from splendid optical properties you should appreciate the versatility of this lens. Canon is the only manufacturer which offers reflex cameras with three different sensor sizes. Launching this lens they made sure all the users will have a fisheye tool, no matter what sensor they work with. What’s interesting, the owners of APS-H matrix reflex cameras benefited the most from this move – finally they have a diagonal fisheye lens which can be attached to an APS-H body.'50D, 1Ds Mark III
Photozone
3/5
5/5
'The Canon EF 8-15mm f/4 USM L Fisheye is a more than welcome addition to the Canon lens lineup. The combination of circular and full frame fish-eye in a single lens is a unique offering in the market. It is also capable of delivering technically decent results. This is especially true for the 8mm setting (thus the circular fish-eye view) where the center quality is just outstanding followed by very good borders. The border quality suffers somewhat at the 15mm (full frame) setting and combined with the high field curvature it makes sense to stop down to f/8 or f/11 here but then these are mainstream settings for such a lens anyway. An important aspect for such a lens with its immense field of view is the back light behavior - after all you will experience many outdoor situations where you cannot avoid direct sunlight for instance. The Canon lens does an excellent job here. You will, of course, notice some local decrease of contrast around e.g. light sources or extreme contrasts but the global contrast remains largely intact and ghostings are comparatively very well controlled. We've seen much worse behavior here from other ultra-wide lenses. Typical for a fish-eye lens you will have to live with some CAs in the corner regions - more so at 15mm than at 8mm. Some purple fringing will also be visible in extreme contrast situations but this issue is, again, lower than average for a lens in this class.'5D Mark II
Camera Labs
20/25
20/25
'There's no doubt the Canon EF 8-15mm Fisheye is an exciting and original lens. In one fell-swoop it does the job of four models, three of which never existed in Canon's own catalogue and one of which wasn't made by anyone at all. For the first time, owners of APS-H bodies can enjoy 180 degree diagonal coverage, while those with multiple bodies can relax in the knowledge this one lens delivers proper fisheye coverage to all of them now and in the future.'
Camera Labs
'I'll leave my formal opinion for the verdict page, but just briefly here wanted to conclude by saying the EF 8-15mm Fisheye proved to be less of a novelty over time than I expected. Sure it's still best-suited to specialist and extreme photography, but if you're into action sports, skies and clouds or simply huge subjects, it can prove surprisingly versatil'
Camera Labs
'Would I choose this lens? Maybe. As my 7D, with its cropped frame is my workhorse body and I'm not a fan of the vignetted fisheye look the jury is still out as to whether this is the best ultra-wide for my purposes. For substantially less money I can get the Canon EF-S 10-22mm lens, which everyone is in agreement is a fantastic piece of glass and even optically a bit faster at the wide end. The question then really comes down to: do I need those last 2mm, and the distortion of a fisheye image?'
Camera Labs
'So is it for me? No. As a mostly full-frame shooter, I'd prefer the Canon 15mm f/2.8 fisheye prime lens unless of course I started grabbing a crop-body more often. The older prime is smaller, lighter, delivers a better sun star, and has a better lens cap design. That would be my main lens to compare with the 8-15mm as I mostly use fullframe.'
Dxomark
Dan Carr Photography
'Hats off to Canon’s engineers for coming up with the idea for this lens, it’s always good to see such unique ideas solve so many needs all in one fell swoop.  Personally I have sold my 15mm f2.8.  It did me proud, but knowing that this EF 8-15 will give me the view I’m looking for on any current and future Canon cameras is a good feeling.  You have to assume that at some point Canon will change the 1d series to full frame so I’ve always been loathe to buy a solution specifically for any type of crop camera.  This lens means I’m covered for whatever they decide to do, and that goes some way to justifying the high price.  This is a life lens, I don’t see myself needing anything else in this area for a very very long time and that’s how I prefer to buy my lenses. '
Amateur Photographers
80/100
'The Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM remains a slight oddity and yet an extremely fun lens to use. The optical quality is impressive for such a wide lens and the performance is exceptional, from the autofocus to the weather-sealing.'


Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM

Image quality rating: 74,29%

Overall rating: 74,75%

Main points:
  • Fast AF
  • Chromatic aberration a bit too high
  • Awkward 82mm filter size


Test/reviewerOpticsOverallQuoteCamera
ePhotozine
3/5
3.5/5
'It's hard to write a succinct round-up for this lens, as it really depends on the kind of photography you do and the type of camera you are using as to whether I'd recommend this lens. For example, if you shoot subjects which require sharp details right into the corners and low distortion, such as some landscape work, or architecture, this lens may be quite frustrating for you. The reason I say frustrating, rather than unsuitable is because the lens handles well, is superbly built and shows excellent sharpness in the centre, and even towards the edges of the frame at 17mm. It's the sudden drop in quality in the far corners that is a little disturbing.'5D Mark II
ePhotozine
'This is an exceptionally good lens and deserves it reputation, finding its place in most camera bags of professionals using Canon gear. The slightly warm colours produced by Canon L glass and the good contrast and control of other elements required for a nice lens are all there. The results will not disappoint. With recent improvements in lens design however, at the very top end it is staring to look a little long in the tooth.'
SLR Gear
8.8/10
8.8/10
'The Canon 17-40mm f/4 L is a high quality lens with a full-frame image circle that showed really exceptional performance on the EOS-20D we used to test it with. (The EOS-20D has a nominally APS-C size sensor, so corner sharpness and distortion will be better than if the lens is used on a camera with a full-frame sensor.) Sharpness at maximum aperture is excellent across the board (just a slight decrease in sharpness around 30 mm), and the "sweet spot" for sharpness is unusually broad, with truly excellent results from f/5.6 to f/8 at all focal lengths.'20D, 5D
Lenstip
'We have to remember that the Canon 17-40 mm is a lens designed for full frame. It is a big advantage. When you buy the lens, you buy it for years. First of all, the build quality ensures long lasting operation without any problems. Secondly, in a few years, when the APS-C detector cameras will disappear from the market, our Canon 17-40 mm will still be of great use, not as a kit lens any more but as a great ultra-wide-angle lens for landscape photography and journalism.'20D
Photozone
3/5
3.5/5
'It's not exactly easy to design a flawless full format lens and the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 USM L shows its part of the struggles here. The lens is not overly fast but it has a comparatively broad range for a lens in this class and it seems as if Canon has overstretched things a little with respect to the 17mm setting. The lens is able to deliver a very high resolution for most of the image field but the corner performance is poor thus spoiling the game here - this is like cappuccino without the cream for a ultra-wide lens where corner to corner sharpness is simply more critical than for a tele lens for instance. High vignetting and heavy distortions on top don't make things any better here. However, these rather critical comments apply to the 17mm setting only and from 20mm onwards it's actually a good to very good lens without any major weakness. The mechanical quality is on an exceptionally high level as is the AF performance. If you're aware of its limitations it's still a desirable lens especially considering its very fair pricing.'5D Mark II
Photozone
3.5/5
4/5
'The Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 USM L showed a very good to excellent performance in the lab as well as during the field tests. The lens exhibited very little vignetting and excellent resolution figures. On the downsode the level of distortions could haven been a little better at the wide-angle setting. Typical for most wide-angle zooms chromatic aberrations can be visible but the problem remains comparatively low. The quality of the construction is next to perfect.'350D
Photozone
3.5/5
4/5
'The Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 USM L is a very good performer without a significant weakness. It's generally very sharp and contrasty across the image field. Vignetting is very well controlled - at least when using it on an APS-C DSLR. You may spot some barrel distortion when using the lens at 17mm but it's not all that bad. Typical for most wide-angle zooms chromatic aberrations can be visible but the problem remains comparatively low. The quality of the construction is next to perfect. Looking a bit beyond the APS-C scope it is worth to mention that the lens didn't perform quite as well during our corresponding full format test so the straight-forward idea of buying it now for an APS-C DSLR and using it at a later stage on a full format DSLR may not be as desirable as it may appear. It also faces stiff competition from the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 USM IS which is both faster and slightly superior. However, from a price/performance perspective it is still an attractive lens for APS-C users.'50D
Camera Labs
22/25
20/25
'The EF 17-40mm f/4.0L is one of the best lenses in Canon’s range. It brings you a taste of the truly exotic with ultra-wide coverage, while boasting ‘L’ quality all at a surprisingly affordable price. Sure it ain’t exactly cheap, but it’s considerably more affordable than the EF 24-105mm f/4.0L and almost half the price of the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L.'
Camera Labs
21/25
16/25
'The Canon EF 17-40mm may deliver spectacular ultra-wide angle coverage when fitted to a full-frame body like the EOS 5D, but offers a more normal, general-purpose range when mounted on cropped bodies like the EOS 30D or 400D / XTi. As such when evaluating it for cropped bodies, it’s important to compare it against other general purpose options like Canon’s standard kit lens and the popular EF-S 17-85mm.'
Dxomark


Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Image quality rating: 71,70%

Overall rating: 68,30%

Main points:
  • Consider other options


Test/reviewerOpticsOverallQuoteCamera
SLR Gear
7.17/10
6.83/10
'This is a very useful lens wide angle lens for a full frame camera if you're on a budget or need to pack light. If you're looking for ultimate image quality, click elsewhere. If you want a cheap 20mm lens that is reasonably well built and gives good image quality at f/5.6 or f/8, this may be what you're looking for.'
Photozone
3/5
'It is a little difficult to find a verdict for the Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM. The lens is capable to deliver a very high resolution which surely originates in the rather conservative zoom ratio. However, at the wide-end it suffers from very pronounced residual aberrations so you may run into situations where you cannot exploit the potential of the lens. If you´re primarily shooting landscapes with rather long focus distance settings this will not be much of an issue but for at closer settings you should either choose a small aperture (f/11) or do at least a depth-of-field preview check. Other than that the lens performed according to its class. The zoom range isn´t all that attractive on APS-C DSLRs but it may be worth a look for 1.3x or FF DSLRs (not tested in this scope).'350D
Dxomark


Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM

Image quality rating: 71,55%

Overall rating: 74,13%

Main points:
  • Fast AF
  • Chromatic aberration a bit too high
  • Awkward 82mm filter size


Test/reviewerOpticsOverallQuoteCamera
SLR Gear
7.31/10
7.62/10
'The bottom line on this lens is that it's really not that great an option for dSLR owners. If you're shooting with a camera with an APS-C size sensor (any of the Rebel series, or the EOS-10D or 20D), you'd do much better with the spiffy little 10-22mm EF-Smodel. It covers the effective focal length range that the 16-35 was originally designed for (on full-frame film cameras), with much improved sharpness and low distortion, at almost half the price -- Albeit not with as fast a maximum aperture, nor with vignetting levels as low. For full-frame shooters (1Ds or 5D owners), the 16-35 will indeed provide very wide angle coverage, but almost certainly with even further degraded image quality in the corners. We'll know more once we collect some full-frame test data on it, but it's hard to imagine that it will be a good choice for such usage.'20D
Photozone
3.5/5
3.5/5
'The Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 USM L was able to produce a very good performance in most aspects. The center resolution of the lens is exceptionally high regardless of the zoom and aperture settings. The border performance is lower specifically towards the extreme ends of the zoom range and at large aperture settings. At medium apertures the border performance is one a very decent level. The sweet spot of the lens is clearly at 24mm where it easily outperforms all tested Canon fix-focals to date. Typical for most full frame lenses vignetting is no big issue on an APS-C DSLR. The high barrel distortions at 16mm as well as CAs at 24mm could be a little better. The build quality of the lens is great and it is a joy to use. All-in-all it is a very good lens but if you don't need the f/2.8 setting and that extra mm at the wide end you may as well save quite some bucks by preferring the EF 17-40mm f/4 USM L which performs basically just as good.'350D
Dxomark


Canon EF 16-35 mm f/2.8L II USM

Image quality rating: 71,08%

Overall rating: 83,75%

Main points:
  • Fast AF
  • Chromatic aberration a bit too high
  • Awkward 82mm filter size


Test/reviewerOpticsOverallQuoteCamera
Camera Stuff Review
7.3/10
'The Canon 16-35 mm II has a fast autofocus and the finish is of a high level. Optical wise, there is something to be desired, especially in the 16 mm position. The sharpness in corners is pretty low, the vignetting is clearly visible and the distortion is high. At 24 mm the resolution becomes higher. In addition, the vignetting and distortion become much lower. The practice photos show that A3 + prints look very nice at the center and at the corners at all focal lengths from f/5.6. In some aspects the cheaper Tokina 16-28 mm  performs better than the Canon 16-35 mm II.'5D Mark II
ePhotozine
3.5/5
4/5
'If this lens were to be judged on the performance in the centre of the frame alone I would have no hesitation in recommending this optic. It's not that the quality towards the edges is poor, especially not when the lens is stopped down, but that for me it is below my expectations for a lens at this level, and price point. With care and understand of its limitations, and for applications where absolute edge to edge sharpness isn't critical, this lens is certainly capable of yielding higher than satisfactory results.'5D Mark II
SLR Gear
9.13/10
9.25/10
'Based on our tests, the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM is a solid lens offering in the ultra-wide category. It has a few issues with softness at certain apertures and focal lengths, a little chromatic aberration wide open, as well as some distortion and vignetting to speak of. But it's also a dramatic improvement in all of these areas relative to its predecessor, which shows that the Canon design team has come up with ways to tackle all of these issues. It's not perfect, but then again, neither is any other lens in its category, and for what it does, it doesn't get any better than this.'20D, 5D
Lenstip
'On the one hand you can complain about the Canon – spending such a hefty sum of money you certainly wish to have a lens with possibly the smallest number of faults or totally faultless. It is possible, after all, to manufacture good lenses and it was proven by Nikon - they managed to produce a more difficult 14-24 mm f/2.8 model which presented itself better in the tests. On the other hand, the 16-35 mm focal lengths range does seem to be more universal than the 14-24 mm, either on full frame or on an APS-H. Besides, comparing the weight and the dimensions of both lenses the Canon has an advantage. We must add that it is really difficult to find a good alternative for the Canon (unless we speak of the change of the system). A Sigma 17-35mm fares worse at the maximum aperture and is less fast – its production has ended by the way. A Tamron 17-35 mm, still present on the market, is also less fast, has a worse barrel build quality, weaker frame edge performance and an autofocus not meeting journalistic standards. Certainly there’s a gap to be filled. Will anybody take up the challenge?'20D, 1Ds Mark III
Photozone
2.5/5
3.5/5
'The Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 USM L II may not be the greatest lens around in absolute terms but it delivers regarding its primary purpose - a very good performance at its ultra-wide to wide settings (16-26mm) from about f/4 onwards. This isn't all that simple as we've seen during the test of the EF 17-40mm f/4 USM L. On the downside the lens is rather mediocre at 35mm although still perfectly fine at medium apertures. A major weakness is the amount of vignetting at f/2.8 especially at 16mm but to be fair this is a general problem in this lens class when using a full format DSLR. The Canon lens suffers also from a typical degree of barrel distortions at 16mm whereas it's only a minor problem from 20-35mm. Lateral CAs are very well controlled throughout the range. The bokeh (the quality of the out-of-focus blur) could be better but, again, few ultra-wides are really good here anyway. Flare wasn't a big issue during our field tests. The build quality of the lens is exceptional and the AF speed and accuracy is on a very high level. All-in-all a good offer although it will not knock your socks off.'5D Mark II
Dxomark


Post a Comment