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Canon 16-35mm F/4L IS Officially Announced

By Anthony Thurston on May 12th 2014

We heard rumors that this lens may be coming down the pipeline and tonight it was made official as Canon announced the new 16-35mm F/4L IS. The first thing you will notice is the addition of IS and the drop from F/2.8 to F/4 from the previous 16-35mm F/2.8L.

I know that many of you are probably not happy about the aperture, but I can maybe see why Canon may have thought that this was ok. Cameras these days are absolutely crazy in low light and high ISO shooting, so in cases where F/4 may have been a detriment before, you could now comfortably shoot and get quality shots. That being said, this lens was definitely made with video in mind, as evident with the addition of Canon’s IS or Image Stabilization.

Canon 16-35mm F/4L IS Specs


  • EF Mount L-Series Lens
  • Optical Image Stabilizer
  • Two UD and Three Aspherical Elements
  • Fluorine Coating
  • Internal Focusing Ring-Type USM AF Motor
  • Full-Time Manual Focus Override
  • Water- and Dust-Resistant with Filter
  • Nine-Blade Circular Aperture
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 11″

The lens is currently available for pre-order, at a price of $1,199. I think that is a fair price considering the F/4 aperture.  I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Canon have this over $1,500, so to have it at about $1,200 is nice. If you are interested in pre-ordering this lens you can do so now over on B&H here.

What are your thoughts on this new lens from Canon? Are you upset about the drop from F/2.8 to F/4 or do you think that is a good move? What about the price? Leave a comment below to join the discussion.

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Derek Grant

    I have the 2.8 version and to be honest I seldom use the fully open aperture, I cant say with honesty that I would miss this. I would however love the IS as I don’t always have a tripod at hand and it is always great to have that extra couple of stops to play with. However, there is NO way I would buy this as a replacement for what I already own and to have both would be over the top in my opinion.

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  2. Ben Perrin

    I’ll wait for the reviews but this is looking promising as a replacement for the 17-40L for me. It’s the lens I use 99% of the time for landscape work so if this new lens is going to out perform it in enough areas I’ll definitely upgrade. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup o’ tea but I think this will appeal to landscape photographers and videographers. Looking forward to hearing more details.

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  3. Nicholas Gonzalez

    This will replace my excellent 17-40l as my all purpose zoom. This is great news!

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  4. Sean

    //yawn. I guess it could be worse? At least it’s not massively overpriced?

    I’m still waiting for a Canon 14-24 f/2.8 to hit markets… I’ve been running a Nikon 14-24 on my Canon bodies to cover my ultrawide needs, but it’s kind of slow and annoying to deal with.

    My ideal ultrawide would be a 16-35 f/2.8L III with non-craptastic corners, 77mm filter threads, and <$1500. The chance of that happening, though, is identically zero.

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    • Brak Jones

      Yeah Sean, that would be very nice. We can all dream :)

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    • Matthew Saville

      I think a Sigma 16-24 f/2 is still a better thing for any astro-landscape photographer to hope for, really. I have almost no need for going longer than 24mm at an aperture slower than f/2, not for astro-landscapes. If I have a 35mm f/1.4, why do I need a zoom that goes to 35mm at f/2.8, let alone f/4?

      In other words, this 16-35mm f/4 L IS is going to be great for traditional landscape shooters who almost always work at f/8-16, or for wedding photojournalists who don’t mind bumping their ISO up another stop in order to have better optical performance the indeed craptastic 16-35 2.8 mk2. However astro-landscape photographers are still hanging out to dry WRT Canon and these two recent lenses. Heck, the EF-S 10-18mm isn’t even f/4, it’s f/4.5! And with vignetting, it’s probably T-5.0 or T-5.6 in reality. That’s a show-stopper for any landscape photographer with even a remote interest in night photography and exposures faster than 1-2 mins lol.


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  5. Paul

    Motion blur caused by hand-holding is more exaggerated by longer focal lengths, and so relatively speaking this short focal length will show much less blur (i.e., it’s much more forgiving just by the nature of being so short). Therefore, the IS system isn’t as necessary as it would be on, say, a 400mm. By comparison, in those darkened concert halls and twilight wedding receptions, the aperture would be more desired than IS would be. But as you said, this lens is likely aimed more at the video folks, and so maybe this post is moot. :)

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    • Matthew Saville

      Despite being less effective at shorter focal lengths, it never hurts when you introduce another factor into the shooting conditions: shooting from the hip etc. In extremely active conditions, hand-holding rules for shutter speed fly right out the window.

      In other words, as a wedding photographer I kinda laugh when people say “just use good hand-holding technique, and you won’t need stabilization any wider than 50mm”. Even if I find myself at 1/60 sec. or 1/125 sec at 16-35mm, stabilization might still make or break a shot.


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