kinematic's reviews

  • Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Great walk around lens, Very sharp at 200mm, good build quality, quiet micro motor AF.
    Barrel distortion at 18mm, CA at 50mm range, slow AF in low light at 200mm.

    This is an excellent all around lens (vacation lens). I bought this as a kit for my EOS 50D. As a kit lens I would say it's one of Canon's best kit lenses and very comparable to the cheaper 55-250 in IQ and performance. The build quality is what beats the 55-250 by a long shot. Very solid build and very similar to the 28-135 kit lens. Zoom lock is handy to have but no lens hood with this. But for what it is, it's a great walk around general purpose lens and is very sharp at the furthest end. Doing wide shots are a little disappointing, but at least available when you need it. This lens is a great lens to have in any bag, but I recommend it only as a secondary lens to some better quality primes.

    Couple other things to note about this lens. The 4 stop IS is very fast in response and also include auto panning detect. The micromotor is very fast and actually quite quiet compared to older micromoter lenses (I might even argue it's the quietest micromotor of all Canon lenses with micromoters). Compared to a USM it's actually very close with exception to noise, the speed is almost the same. The only time you notice the noise is when it's infinitely seeking for focus. Another nice feature is the zoom lock that prevents the dreaded zoom creep for those that carry their cameras around their necks.
    Compared to the following kit lenses which I've owned or use:

    18-55 IS - the 18-200 has better range, but more barrel distortion, better build quality.
    17-85 IS - the 18-200 has better range, better build, similar IQ, more distortion and CA than this lens
    28-135 IS - the 18-200 has a wider range, similar build, similar IQ, more CA than this lens
    55-250 IS - the 18-200 is built better by a long shot, similar range, similar IQ, but the 18-200 is sharper at the far end. The 55-250 performs slightly better overall compared to this lens (and cheaper)

    reviewed October 17th, 2008 (purchased for $500)
  • Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 II EX DG Macro HSM APO

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Reasonably lightweight and balanced for it's class, Good build quality. Responsive HSM.
    Some noticeable CA at the far end wide open, No OS - would be worth it for the extra $200-$400. Paint finish is a magnet to scuffs.

    First off I'm between lenses. My current copy has a front focus issue which I was able to calibrate with my 50D. Gentech (Canada distributor for Sigma) is sending me a brand new unit with it calibrated for my 50D (+1 for good customer service) but I wanted to share an early review as I found it difficult to find anything on this lens.

    Second, this lens gets confused with the 3 generations before it. Clearly this generation of this lens has huge improvements over even it's last iteration. So I think it is important to realize that this is not the same lens as the last 3 generations.

    Out of the box this lens performed very well. Before I critically analyzed it for calibration, I hardly noticed a problem. That speaks a lot for this lens which is just slightly out. I of course am a little sticky about accurate focus so a new copy is coming my way.

    I'm currently using the canon mount, so one of the things as a canon user you'll notice is the backwards (or right way) of using the zoom and focus ring. You get used to that real quick. In looking for MTF comparison charts, I could not find one for this lens in a Canon mount so I had to use a Nikon mount and compared it to the Canon L's n the same class. It out performs both the 70-200 ƒ2.8 in IS and non IS in almost all categories of MTF ratings and at all ranges (which seems to match what some people in other forums have stated as such). The only 70-200 lens that it doesn't outperform is the Canon 70-200mm ƒ/4 lens (but this is a faster lens so it's a good trade-off). Now granted the L series lens has seals that this lens doesn't and I personally like the paint finish better on the Canon. I do not know why Sigma chooses to use a matte finish that attracts scuffs like mad. Personally I like black better than white, but it's something to be aware of if you're hard on your equipment, you'll mark this thing up pretty quickly. For the price you save on this lens compared to the competing Canon's, it's tough to argue. The lack of OS might be the only reason to go to the Canon one over this, but the weight and size of that unit is considerably more than this one. For $60 get a rain jacket for this lens and you can use it in all weathers.

    Some people mention the tripod collar as being flimsy. I actually found it very nice. It's the perfect size for this lens. If it was bigger or I had a big 2X teleconverter I might think otherwise, but on my monopod this collar is perfect. It also has a quick release system which the next model does not have which for me is something I like.

    IQ on this lens is fantastic. It is by far the sharpest lens I own. Even compared to my 85 ƒ1.8 USM, it outperforms it because that lens suffered from CA badly wide open. Even when I put a teleconverter (1.4 tamron PRO) onto it, there is only a subtle loss of quality and increase of CA. AT 70mm this lens makes a great fast portrait lens and there is no CA and barely any vignetting which is why I'm making the comparison to the 85 prime.

    At 200mm this lens performs very well. I got this lens to replace my 18-200mm Canon which I reviewed here and I must say that although I thought the 200mm on the Canon was very good, this is leagues better than that. There is some CA but stopped down to F/4 or more seems to correct this.

    As a macro-like lens, this lens is a stellar performer. Wide open at 2.8 can be tricky, but that's more to do with user than the lens. Stopped down to 7.1 or more creates excellent close up images that are very comparable to a true macro lens.

    Overall this lens is a big winner as a great walk-around lens. I've even used this for some landscape shots and been very pleased with it. I highly recommend this lens as a lens you stick onto your camera and rarely take off. It's a great way to get into pro level glass without breaking the bank.

    reviewed March 31st, 2009 (purchased for $800)
  • Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Less distortion over the older model, very sharp at 10mm, great build quality.
    82mm Filter is a rather large size and almost pointless with a polarizer. Also totally pointless lens hood.

    After using the F3.5 for a shoot all weekend (Local Theatre company) I must say that I am very impressed by the F3.5.

    First things first, compared to the F4, it has slightly less distortion at the widest end. Now I should qualify this a bit. The F4 had a unique distortion at the very edges. I would say that the distortion on the F3.5 is more gradual with to me is more desired rather than the abrupt distortion on the F4. This probably has something to do with the larger front element. I can't confirm this, but I might have to see if I can get a copy of DxO's testing software to determine what kind of distortion I'm seeing in my photos compared to my F4 versions. If I was to guess, I would say about half or less the amount of distortion.

    The reason I got this lens was for shooting architectural or landscapes with minimal distortion. The sharpness seems to be on par with the older model I had, maybe a touch sharper. I can't afford the Canon 14mm with a full frame camera which is what I'd prefer to do, but this seems to work very well to give me 16mm field of view with very little distortion.

    Vignetting also seems to be reduced in this copy. I see far less of it even at F/5.6. I'm also using a slim kenko Pro-1 Polarizer and it does not create any shading.

    Point lights look fantastic with this version because of the extra aperture blade with 14 points on the stars making very beautiful looking 'Sunstars'. Is it worth it for this alone... that's a matter of subjective opinion, but I like the 14 points over the 12 points personally.

    It isn't all roses though. You have be very careful about strong lightsources that may cause flare. This lens is easily prone to lens flare especially at night (and it isn't pretty when it does). I had a light source just left of my frame and the flare came in looking like water spots. Fortunately I could see them in my LCD viewfinder and I recomposed my image. Lenshood doesn't help much to combat this. The lenshood is pretty much pointless, and do be careful with it, for some reason the version I had was very loose and it was very easy to lose the hood in the reverse position. In the active position it wasn't so bad, but either way, it is a pointless accessory.

    I don't recall if this is how it is on the F4 version, but with the lenshood in reversed position, it sticks out beyond the rim of the lens. This can be a good thing for those that don't believe in using protective filters as it gives just a little more protection if you hit the front of the lens at the edges, however it's a problem if you use slim polarizers on the front element as it's very difficult to turn your polariser as it is almost inset into the rim of the lenshood. Easily resolved by removing the lenshood.

    The lens is slightly bigger so it does need a little more adjustment in your lens bags if you already had it tight. The AF/M switch is different on this model. It's almost like they redesigned it and made it an interchangeable unit. I'm not willing to take it apart to find out why it's designed this way, perhaps something to do with the way how they have to make it adaptable for the different camera mounts. I suspect they are using a more easily interchangeable part with circuitry built right into the switch for each camera model/mount. If you have ever taken apart a sigma lens, they all have very interchangeable parts, a smart thing to do from a manufacturing point of view.

    Is it worth the extra $100 I paid for it. For me so far yes. Distortion was my number one reason why I wanted this lens and for me it seems to deliver less of it. I have since gone full format and returned this lens, but I would still highly recommend it if you're looking for a very sharp at 10mm UWA lens for stuff like architecture work, this is the lens to get.

    reviewed September 15th, 2009 (purchased for $650)
  • Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Very, very sharp lens. IS makes it possible to handhold macro shots. On FF makes an excellent portrait and walk around lens.
    No Tripod ring - boo Canon. Noisier than usual IS.

    There aren't too many lenses I would give the highest marks possible, but this lens is my most favourite piece of glass that Canon has ever made. Everything they could learn from the original 100mm macro and then add the new hybrid IS onto it was put into this package.

    The only thing that annoys me is that this lens does not come with a factory tripod ring which is unusual for an L-series lens. Is it necessary? Not totally, as it is pretty light weight and shouldn't put too much strain on your lens mount.

    Build quality is the usual high quality polycarbonate L-series engineered plastic. It's lightweight but does still have some decent mass to it. I normally like steel cased lenses, but it doesn't bother me that this lens isn't. Keeps it light weight and easy to tote around.

    Sharpness is by far the top of the heap even at F2.8. I used to rave on about the Nikon 105 VR, but this just beats it. Especially since the IS actually works in Macro mode (Unlike the Nikon which shuts of VR when you get closer to the macro range) and with the hybrid IS is very useful.

    I found the IS a touch noisy. Most noticeable in a very quiet room, but perhaps I have sensitive ears. It's like a casino in the distance but it's not going to disturb anyone, and even with the 5DmkII's overly sensitive internal mic, is barely picked up by it.

    The vignetting in full frame is noticeable at F2.8 at the edges by just a touch but it's desirable when doing portrait or even street photography. My 24-105 has gone to the shelf as a result of this lens. The background blur or bokeh is very smooth, silky and desirable.

    The focus limiters are very handy as well if you want to shoot action with it. Three positions is just perfect. AF is pretty snappy, even better when you put the limiters on, however in low light there's some seeking that happens. I kind of expected that.

    Last thing to add is the 67mm filters was a little annoying at first, but with step up rings is no long a problem (Most of my lenses are 77mm so I got a 67-77mm step-up ring). The plus to this size I found was that I could put my Raynox DCR-250 directly on it with no need for a step up ring. This really increased my magnification and the pairing is quite nice. Easy to pocket the Raynox adapter and just add it if I need that extra zoom.

    The included lens hood is very large. It can be a little cumbersome and in the way. If you like to manually focus, you'l always have it in the forward position as it generally obstructs the very substantial focus ring.

    I highly recommend this lens not just as a macro, but as an all around walk around prime. You'll not be disappointed. Is this worth the premium over the original 100mm, that will be a little more difficult to say. The sharpness is about the same, but with the IS and the fact that the front element does not extend is hugely worth it to me.

    reviewed November 5th, 2009 (purchased for $1,000)
  • Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Very sharp lens, gorgeous build, amazing low light performance.
    Nothing major, but the lens hood is a touch too loose.

    Currently my favourite prime to use. On my full frame this is such a versatile lens and I love the look it gives. It's not overly wide that it starts to distort like ultra wides, but it's wide enough to cover a good landscape shot, or to do fantastic environmental portait shots. I would defer to genotypewriter for his expertise on this lens. He has had a lot of experience with this lens.

    I really enjoy using this lens for late night astro photography based landscapes. Several friends of mine also use this lens for that kind of application and it's just such a treat to use.

    I own several wide angle lenses (17-40L, 16-35L II, 14mm Prime) and it's one of the sharpest of the lot - the 14mm actually is a touch sharper.

    As per SLR Gear's review, the vignetting is a bit extreme wide open, but it's very desirable to me. Even wide open this lens is pretty impressively sharp.

    I also occasionally use this on a crop camera (7D) and it's actually quite nice on that camera as well. vignette is more reduced and it acts more like a 35mm would on my 5DmkII but I can't say too much more about this lens other than buy it!

    reviewed January 7th, 2011 (purchased for $1,600)
  • Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Image Stabilizer, Fast Aperture, Comparable quality to Canon and Nikon equivalents, Quick Release Tripod Ring, Large Zoom Ring.
    Noisy IS which takes a second or two to activate, heavy, not weather proofed

    My second Sigma 70-200 F/2.8 and now with OS (Image Stabilized).

    Sigma made some really important and necessary improvements. I loved the previous version but there were some issues with micro contrast and slight CA. But it was such a tremendous value.

    When Sigma first announced this, it was only a couple of hundred dollars less than the brand name ones, but when it finally hit the stores the price has now dropped to almost a thousand less. Regardless, Sigma's oddball marketing team might be off their rockers, the engineering team were on que to delivering a nice lens in this version. The new coatings pay off. I was comparing samples from both my Canon 70-200 F/2.8 and this, and I could barely see a difference. When I added the Canon 2X Extender Mark III (which works great with it by the way), I noticed a slight difference between the Canon one and a slight favour goes to the Sigma.

    The OS is finally a nice touch to this long needed version. Hand held at 1/80 of a second really gives pleasing results which finally makes this a great lens to use in low light events.

    The new paint finish is a nice change from the course finish of the last generation, however I suspect it will be a bit of a finger oil magnet, but so are most black finished lenses.

    The zoom ring is going to take some time to get used to being in reverse of how I usually expect it, But I do appreciate the big rubberized ring overall.

    Included with this lens is a nice nylon padded pouch (much nicer than the Canon one), lens hood, and lens hood extender (for APS-C cameras). The extender is really nicely built, but it's a touch loose in my opinion.

    Back to the weight of this lens. It's heavy, so it's actually a good thing it has the OS in it, but get ready to work out the arms. However it is slightly lighter than all the others, this particular design lends to a lot of complex lens formulas. The cost of image quality comes weight.

    I'm disappointed in one aspect in the build quality and that's the lack of weather sealing. I'm not sure I understand in this day and age why pro quality lenses at this level lack that feature. It should be standard to have at least minimal seals against ambient moisture and dust. I also don't understand why Sigma doesn't include a focus limiter. For some this might be a big deal, especially if you're shooting sports or birds in flight. These are two things that for some might find the branded ones are worth the extra $1000. For me it isn't a deal breaker, and I'm pleased with what this lens has to offer.

    Overall, I do think this is a winner of a lens, and hopefully it will drive the prices of the competitors down, or else leave the rest of them in it's wake. Despite some minor features missing, the value this lens offers with the features and quality is well worth it.

    reviewed August 16th, 2011 (purchased for $1,400)
  • Olympus 45mm f/1.8 ED M.Zuiko Digital

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Light, compact, fast, gorgeous rendering
    No lens hood or protective pouch - focus by wire only

    This lens is fantastic!

    Gorgeous rendering that rivals other classic rangefinder glass like the Contax G Carl Zeiss T* Planar 45.

    Some comparison images found here:

    Overall I'm very impressed with this as a portrait lens, and kudos to Olympus for making such a fantastic lens that makes the Pen system very grown up. As a 5Dmk2 user as well, I find that this combination rivals the big camera well and works perfectly fine as a back-up system for any professional situation.

    Regardless of the depth of field equivalent of F/3.5 full frame, images speak a lot of words for it's shallow depth of field rendering: You don't have to work too hard to nail focus and also get lovely selective focus with this lens.

    Couple of things that I wish it had from it's sibling the 12mm F/2 is the snap focus feature (I think all Olympus lenses should have this feature now). But Olympus tried it's best to keep costs down so I respect that. However there is no excuse not to have a lens hood included and also a protective lens pouch.

    In the past I never used lenses pouches with my larger lenses, but with these smaller rangefinder like lenses, I put all my lenses into pouches before they go into my bag. This is one disappointment I have with Olympus which Panasonic is one step ahead with even their Leica lenses. Hood and Pouch should be included in the price of this.

    Lastly, the build quality of this isn't the same as the 12mm, however it's also half the price so it's hard to argue that. At the end of the day, this lens is just such a nice little portrait combination that it is easy to overlook it's plastic construction and lack of a physical focus ring. Certainly my favourite lens from Olympus thus far and look forward to more like these in the future.

    reviewed September 30th, 2011 (purchased for $399)
  • Olympus 12mm f/2 ED M.Zuiko Digital

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Fantastic build quality, super fast AF, snap focus ring, low distortion
    Expensive, no lens hood or pouch included. Kind of pointless wide aperture.

    I'm a wide angle snob but I must say this lens does meet my expectations. Low distortion, and fantastic image quality out of this lens. One of my favourite shots out of this lens is this one:

    Superb build quality and although I am a wide angle snob, this lens does perform really well in low distortion, great corner to corner sharpness, and excellent control over CA overall. It is an expensive lens for this category of camera, but it does put the Pen into a professional level with this and the 45mm F/1.8. I've already begun using this lens professionally in my work and very satisfied with the results.

    My only beef is the lack of lens hood or pouch. For the price you pay for this lens, it should have definitely included the pouch.

    I did mention the pointless wide aperture. One of the things that I was attracted to this lens was the wide aperture. It is beneficial in using it in low light photography, but if you were hoping to use this as an environmental portrait lens, the F/2 just doesn't really cut it. You need to get very close to the subject to really isolate the background much, and by that point, you may as well just give your subject a kiss while you're at it. However that said, it is still possible to get a nice background blur when you plan it out, for the most part, I wouldn't use it in this way much.

    The snap focus is my favourite thing about this lens. I think Olympus needs to include this feature in all of its lens designs from this day forward. For street photography this makes it a joy to use, and zone focusing with this lens and the Pen is that much easier to do.

    reviewed September 30th, 2011 (purchased for $749)
  • Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 ASPH LEICA DG SUMMILUX

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    super bright wide aperture, lovely build quality, includes lens hood and protective pouch. Fast AF performance and nice big focus ring.
    Expensive, cheap quality lens hood with no internal flocking which doesn't reverse. A little bulky.

    One of my first in the holy trinity of micro four third lenses (12mm F/2, 25mm F/1.4 and 45 F/1.8).

    This lens is very nice and a treat to use for selective focusing. For 3/4 body portrait shots, it's a superb performer. I use this lens professionally for portrait work, but also recreationally for street photography. The large focus ring is very nice to use, and super smooth. The wide aperture isn't too hard to use, but shallow enough to give you great subject isolation.

    There is a slight bug to using this on an Pen which makes the aperture freak out because of how bright it is. In fact you do kind of need to get an ND filter to use this during the day if you want to keep your shallow depth of field.

    Overall it's a great lens to use and as one of my holy trinity of lenses, is a must have lens if you like the 50 mm equivalent.

    Couple sample images here;

    reviewed September 30th, 2011 (purchased for $650)
  • Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Better vignette control, weather proof build, lens hood locks, superb image
    82mm filter thread

    Simply the best zoom lens Canon has made.

    Excellent improvements made over the previous generation and superb image quality. I never thought I would say this about a zoom, but best lens that Canon has made to date.

    Pros are certainly in better vignette control, the weather proof build, locking lens hood, and image quality. Some might think a poly carbonate build is not better than metal. After dropping my 100L of the same kind of build 3 times, I can tell you this is better than metal.

    Another concern some might make is the lack of IS. I have no issues that this doesn't have IS and kind of glad they didn't as it would have added weight to this lens which they tried hard to lighten up.

    Here's where I share my images of from lens:

    My more complete review of this lens:

    reviewed September 15th, 2012 (purchased for $2,200)
  • Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Compact design, metal mount, STM motor (vs Micro Motor), short close up distance,
    Not weather sealed, noisy for video (but quieter than micro motor), no lens hood.

    This might become my favourite walk around lens. It encompasses so much in one little $200+ lens. For its value, it gives you all the sharpness you'd expect in a prime, the speed of an F/2.8 lens, the low profile of a pancake lens, and a reasonably silent inexpensive STM motor (short for stepper motor).

    I tested out my new lens on my 5DmkIII, and some reports said it was slow for focusing, but honestly it wasn't all that bad. I actually found it probably on par with my Sigma 85 F/1.4 in reality (which isn't all that slow, but not super fast either).

    The neat thing about this lens is that it has a wonderful close up range, so it's great for portrait as well as landscape or urban photography. If you're a street photographer, you'll love this lens.

    I loved the fact that I could also just go with this in hand and capture a variety of scenes with it. Although today's weather wasn't cooperating, I did get a few shots off finding it very easy to use and flexible in all sorts of quick shooting situations. All my examples were frame and go, less than a couple of seconds. No tripods or a lot of time composing.

    I also set up my 5DmkIII to not shoot lower than 1/125 of a second. This made it really handy to use this handheld in Auto ISO and not worry about needing to have IS. I had recently given up my compact Olympus EP-3 to my wife and was missing that as a quick small package for discrete street shooting, but I think this new lens will fill that void quite well (almost to the point of not caring if Canon comes out with a mirrorless system). Stripped down to just camera and 40mm lens is very nice to use. It's light in my hand and I maintain the image quality of an SLR. The only thing I need to add is a simple wrist lanyard to the kit so I don't feel like I'm going to lose my camera from my butter fingers.

    The focus ring is small, and honestly I don't think I'll ever use it for manual focus (a fly by wire focus like the 85mm F/1.2 and the 300 F/2.8 lenses). One thing to note, if you do get this lens and you own the 5DmkIII, you'll need to update your firmware so it can do full time manual focus. Without the firmware update it does not manually focus when AF is set, only in MF mode. It's honestly not as bad as I thought it would be and cradling the base, it was easy to use my index finger to adjust the focus.

    I've been testing AF on the new T4i as well, and I did try this lens out on that camera and believe it or not, it's the smoothest focusing of all the EF lenses with the new hybrid AF. All AF lenses seem to have this weird ratcheted like focus, which is annoying and useless. The STM motor is smooth, although slightly noisier than USM, it doesn't have quite the ratcheted AF sound when trying to get focus lock. Clearly this lens was being considered for video applications.

    Lastly the one thing I do miss on this lens is a distance chart. This will make hyperfocal street focusing a little more difficult, but I guess the idea here is to lock your aperture, and trust in the AF to do the rest.

    Full review on my blog:

    Images examples here:

    reviewed June 26th, 2012 (purchased for $199)
  • Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Landscape dream lens, 77mm Threads, Sharp images corner to corner even at F/4, IS, Locking Lens Hood
    Not really, but in specific astrophotography situations, the aperture is not wide enough.

    Another winner by Canon.

    I find this lens very difficult to find faults with. In fact this might be the first time I could not come up with a Con for this lens.

    Initially I thought the only possible negative I could come up with is that F/4 is not enough for certain astrophotography situations. I shot this on my Canon EOS 5D mark III, with High ISO and at 16mm and it was still very nice, but certainly having 1 more stop would have give me a little less blur if I wanted pin sharp stars.

    Starting by build quality. I know some reviewers don't like the engineered plastic shell. I'm here to tell you that as an accident prone pro, I appreciate the polycarbonate construction over the metal lenses of the past (I've dropped my similarly built 100mm L macro 3 times onto concrete and it survived - no metal lens would ever survive that kind of tumble). The construction is a combination of metal and plastic shell. There is no wobble which is to be expected on an L class lens. Switches feel positive, and the locking lens hood plus the pinch caps are all very positive improvements that Canon has put on their pro lenses. Both focus and zoom are all internal (meaning there is no tromboning or extension of the front element).

    I do wish there was a rear gel filter like the 17-40 F/4 or the 16-35 F/2.8 Mark I, but unlike the 16-35 F/2.8 Mark II with it's 82mm thread mount, this one comes with a more common 77mm thread.

    Having the smaller thread is a huge benefit to me. Although I have 82mm threads, I also struggle with vignetting with filters that are too thick or larger than 100mm square filter systems. This lens doesn't have that problem. It handles the Cokin-P wide adapter with no issues and even thick screw on ND filters don't vignette. However the Standard Cokin-P does vignette, it is encouraging to point out unlike the 16-35 F/2.8 mark II lens, you can use the 100mm Cokin-Z filters with no issues.

    As a previous owner of the 16-35 F/2.8 Mark II, I will make frequent comparisons to it. This F/4 lens is a major improvement over the F/2.8 version for clarity, sharpness, and CA control. Although the centre performance is almost identical to each other at F/4, the corners on this lens trump the F/2.8 version by a long shot. I actually got rid of the F/2.8 because of how bad it was and replaced it with the better performing and inexpensive 14mm F/2.8 from Samyang.

    There is a little bit of circular vignetting wide open at F/4, but you quickly overlook that by the sharpness it produces at the corner. Flare control by the SWC coating is well managed. 9 bladed apertures make a beautiful 18 point star. The bokeh is also surprisingly pleasing.

    If you are concerned by the slower F/4 aperture, don't be. The IS that was introduced to this lens is rather surprisingly useful. I thought initially that there is no point with having IS on an ultra wide lens, but after walking around shooting handheld wide angle shots at .3 second shutters with corner to corner sharpness was very enlightening. Simply not having a tripod around and hiking with this lens negates any benefit over smaller mirrorless cameras that would still require a tripod.

    At 16mm this lens has little barrel distortion (pretty much similar to the F/2.8 lens). The little distortion that is there is barely noticeable at best, even when shooting brick walls (because we all do that). The 16mm is brilliantly sharp, and I'd even put it against the quality of a Zeiss 15mm especially at F/5.6 and up.

    20-24mm is fantastic as well. Usually the middle range of a zoom is pretty dreadful, but it actually very good and no vignette is present at F/4.

    35mm is like using a prime lens and feels like using a popular street lens.

    One last point about this lens is the close up performance of it. I have been carrying around my 100mm L macro along hikes with this lens, but surprisingly, I choose to zoom out to 35mm and shoot close up images with it. It's not going to be as close as a macro by a long shot, but I've enjoyed using it for the odd close up shot both for my hikes and also for my professional work.

    In conclusion this is the must have lens for landscapers. I will be keeping my Samyang 14mm for special circumstances, but generally I'm very happy with the range of the 16-35 F/4 for landscape. Having no need to bring a tripod along hikes is an added bonus and the edge to edge sharpness is the lens I was hoping for from Canon for a long time. It's already earned it's keep as I put it into commercial application for architecture work right away.

    As I always do in my past reviews on here, here's a link to see the performance in my flickr album:

    reviewed July 29th, 2014 (purchased for $1,200)