Question/issue between Canon 16–35mm f2.8L ii vs iii

Discussion in 'Canon Lenses' started by deemo119, Mar 18, 2019.

  1. deemo119

    deemo119 TPF Noob!

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    Hello! I’m searching everywhere to find an answer to something I’m noticing on my new EF 16–35mm f2.8L USM iii. My question is: Have you found the newer 16-35 iii is slightly darker and has a slightly narrower field of view than the older version ii? Or is it just my particular lens?

    I’m looking for someone who has direct and substantial experience with both the ii and iii versions. Here’s more info and context:

    I’ve shot my 16-35 2.8 ii for many years, mostly at weddings for close-quarters dance floor party shots, but also occasionally for big wedding party creatives & big vista creative shots. As most people know, it’s reasonably sharp in the middle but has soft spots outside of that; mine in particular has a really soft area on the right side.

    So hearing that the iii has made substantial sharpness improvements, I purchased a new one. And I noticed it didn’t quite look/feel the same, so I ran some tests.

    I mounted a body (5Diii) on a tripod and took various test shots with each lens (without any filters or changing any settings). In every test-shot set that I took, the new 16-35 iii had a slightly narrower field-of-view at 16mm than my older ii (i.e., you could not see as much around the outside edges of the images, as if it was zoomed in just slightly). And the iii images were also darker. [Note, I was also careful in some of the sets to be in manual focus and focused to infinity on both lenses, since changing focus can slightly change the FOV.] In Lightroom, toggling back and forth between 2 images in each set it’s clear that the field of view is slightly narrower and the histogram is darker on the shots from the new iii.

    I sent both lenses to the Canon Service Center (CPS member) with my findings and test prints, hoping I had a defective lens that I could have repaired or replaced under warranty. But I was told that “under inspection it was found that your product performed accordingly.” And “due to the differences in shooting parameters, adjustment can be made in the camera setting to compensate the image exposure” (not sure what adjustments they're referring to?!)

    So I’m wondering if it’s just my particular lens or if ALL iii’s are slightly darker and narrower FOV than the ii. And I’m faced with the choice of either: (1) returning the iii to Adorama for a new one, hoping the replacement is “better” but knowing it could just be how all iii’s perform, (2) keeping my iii and living with it, or (3) returning the iii and just going back to using my old ii. I’ve actually never been bothered by the softness around the edges of the ii for reception/dancing shots, I more notice it for the occasional big vista/wedding party shots.

    Obviously I like that the iii is sharper. But it’s also bigger, heavier, and worst of all possibly darker & narrower FOV (either just mine, or all of them). Since I use this lens so much for reception dancing (close proximity to subjects and in dark environments) it’s crucial that it’s as wide and bright as possible.


    UPDATE: I got the following specs from the Service Center:

    Max Magnification(at 35mm):

    ii: 0.22x

    iii: 0.25x

    Field of view:

    ii: 231 x 358 – 109 x 162mm

    iii: 196 x 295 – 96 x 143mm

    So there are in fact some obvious differences between the ii and iii, with the iii having more magnification and smaller FOV numbers. Seems obvious but I’m guessing this could explain the field of view difference that I’m seeing, and would possibly indicate, I think, that what I’m seeing in the images is for ALL iii’s, not just mine. …correct?

    But would this also affect the issue of the images being slightly darker (for example, would the slightly smaller field of view = less light getting in…??)


     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Your newer lens is slightly longer than your earlier lens...yes...VERY slightly, within tolerance,according to CANON.
    THE specs tell the tale...as do the photos... Lens f/stops are physical & mathematical representations ONLY and do not always correspond to the T-stop of a lens--it is very likely that the lenses are slightly different in T-stop...
     
  3. deemo119

    deemo119 TPF Noob!

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    Yes, right. So the question now is... do I keep the newer iii or return it and go back to my ii. The iii is sharper, but bigger, heavier, slightly darker in exposure, slightly narrower in FOV, and $1750. That's a lot of trade-offs for some sharpness.
     
  4. bratkinson

    bratkinson No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think I'd give Lens Rentals a try and see how one of their iii's performs. You might like their lens better than Adoramas. Lens Rentals has an option to buy the lens you're renting. I should have done that with the 24-105 ii that I rented. Hind sight is 20/20, as always.

    Note: I have no relationship with Lens Rentals other than being a satisfied customer.
     

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