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Gear Reviews

How Does Canon’s New 16-35mm F/4 Stack Up To Tokina’s 16-28mm F/2.8?

By Anthony Thurston on July 2nd 2014

I recently shared my initial thoughts on the lens myself, but Dave Dugdale over at Learning SLR Video just put put together a quick head-to-head video between Canon’s new 16-35mm and Tokina’s 16-28mm.

I have been hearing a lot about the 16-35mm F/4’s sharpness from corner to corner being “prime lens comparable.” From what I could see in the video, it seemed to me that on sharpness alone, the two lenses were very similar, but at the extreme corners, it looked as if there was more distortion from the Tokina. I noticed that in both of the shots.

[REWIND: Canon’s New 16-35mm F/4L IS Initial Thoughts]

That being said, the price difference between these two lenses makes the Tokina a clear choice to anyone with budget on their mind, unless of course, image stabilization is the key feature for you.


For me, this isn’t so much a knock on the Canon, you pay a premium for the “L” brand and the IS. Performance-wise, it holds up to the Tokina, and for many, it will be a great choice. As with any lens purchase, it really just depends on your situation, and how much you can afford.


What are your thoughts on this quick test from Dave? Do you think the Canon is worth x2 as much as the Tokina? Leave a comment below!

[via Dave Dugdale]

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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. Fotograf Nunta Brasov

    What do you think about the new Tamron 15-30 f2.8 vc? Will this lens be better than the f4 Canon?

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  2. Tobias Heyl

    This short review and quick “look at” is nice, but not really saying much.
    In case you’re interested and like to see a german review (I didn’t do it, just want to point you to the guy(s) who did it) please follow the below link:

    It’s not a good looking website, yet it is very informative and the test is way better than Dave’s “I don’t know why they sent it to me so I’m going to shoot my fireplace and compare it to the Tokina” lens review. If you don’t want it Dave, I’ll take it and make a review out in the wild ;-)

    As a short summary: It’s sharp, it has less chromatic aberration than any previous 16-35 mm lens or the 17-40 mm lenses, the IS works silently and pretty well, and it’s affordable, very good for photography and excellent for videography.

    If the price isn’t really an issue and you could wait until Photokina is over why not give it a try? I’ll defintely order one!

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  3. Tyler Friesen

    The Canon looks clearly sharper and the contrast is a little more subtle. Both look good though.

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  4. Mike derbish


    Wouldn’t the Canon in camera lens correction give canon the edge on barrel?

    The way I see it:
    Pros for Tokina: Cost, 1 stop, better warranty.
    Pros for Canon: image quality (with lens correction), build quality, Image Stabilization, weight, Less CA, standard filter use, slightly longer zoom

    I read stellar reviews on the Canon and the MTS charts are through the roof. I also see that ebay and craigslist are flooded with Canon 16-35mm F2.8, Canon 17-40mm F4, so there is no doubt this lens is a huge improvement on the older Canon UWA zoom.

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    • Kevin Young

      Doesn’t in-camera correction only apply to RAWs if they are processed in Canon’s proprietary raw converter? Regardless, Lightroom fixes barrel distortion well, thankfully =)

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  5. Kurt Miller

    Several reasons to consider the Canon:
    1. IS
    2. Filter use
    3. Weight (1.35 vs. 2.09 lbs), and the Tokina is very awkwardly weighted.
    4. The Tokina has horrible rainbow haloing around lights, such as this: []
    5. One thing that is very hard to view/measure is local contrast. The Digital Picture says that it has local contrast similar to the 24-70 II. I just love the look of that lens, and I’m not talking just sharpness. If the 16-35 has that ‘look’, it will be a winner. I’m not sure about the Tokina’s local contrast, but that’s another thing to consider.

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    • Kevin Young

      Here is a sample of the micro-contrast. It’s actually the highest of all the lenses I own. Granted, things will vary from sensor to sensor (this is with the D800). The jpg uploaded to my site is a 100% crop with either no sharpening or LR’s default sharpening (and any marginal effects from global contrast adjustments). A noticeable amount of detail is lost converting to jpg, so keep in mind that it’s actually better than this.
      (click on the image to take it full-screen, and then click on the lower right icon and choose “original” to get pixel-peeping)

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  6. Kevin Young

    After doing some research and shooting some with one for sale on Craigslist, I decided to pick up the Tokina 16-28 2.8 for my D800. It does not disappoint! The resolving power is second only to Nikon’s 14-24 and 18-35 in the wide-angle zoom category. Ultimately, I will look to switch to the 18-35 G for its sharpness and filter threads. Besides the lack of filter threads, my only other complaint about the 16-28mm is the zoom ring is slightly sticky around 16mm.

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  7. Joram J

    Both are usable on FF.
    Also if you are in the market for the Tokina keep in mind, standard screw-on filters will not fit.

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