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Gear Rumors

New Canon 16-35mm F/2.8L In The Works?

By Anthony Thurston on May 22nd 2015

According to the latest Canon rumor buzz, it looks as if there could be a new 16-35mm F/2.8L lens coming down the pipe from Canon.


In the Canon Rumors report, the admin points out that he received a tip last week, which he dismissed, saying that a new Canon 16-35mm F/2.8L was in the works. As he put it, at the time it seemed unlikely – he didn’t even post the rumor. Then earlier today, a new 16-35mm F/2.8L patent emerged over on Egami, and now the CR admin is changing his tune, bumping up the rumor to CW3 status.

The current 16-35mm F/2.8L II was originally released back in 2007, so it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that the lens could be updated, though I can think of plenty of other lenses in more need of an update.

New Canon 16-35mm F/2.8L Patent Details


  • Patent Publication No. 2014-206674
    • Published 2014.10.30
    • Filing date 2013.4.15
  • Example 1
    • Zoom ratio 2.06
    • Focal length f = 16.49-23.74-33.94mm
    • Fno. 2.91
    • Half angle of view ω = 52.69-42.35-32.51 °
    • BF 38.74-48.38-63.65mm

I have to admit, it would seem odd to me if Canon is really refreshing the 16-35mm F/2.8L II already. That said, the lens is 8 years old, so I guess that is not exactly new, but as I said above, there are several lenses I can think of that need an update more than the 16-35mm F/2.8L II.

What do you think? Does the 16-35mm F/2.8L II need a refresh, or are there other Canon lenses you would like to see updated first? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. 

[via Canon Rumors]

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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. Arnold Ziffel

    I think it would be a welcome update, because I don’t think the current version is as good as the latest f4.

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  2. Stephen Velasquez

    With the medium format 5DS Canon needs to revamp most of their lenses for optimum image quality close to those arty/sporty Sigmas or Otuss Primes.

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  3. Jeremy Huynh

    As a happy owner of the 16-35 f/2.8, I would have loved to buy the upgrated version instead of the one on the market, if the price tag was the same. A lens with less flaring, a bit sharper in the edges, and with IS.
    But :
    – All those features in one lens isn’t going to happen
    – I will probably not upgrade from this one, as switching would cost me money. Money that I need to get that killed 70-200 f/2.8.
    – The price is probably going to increase.

    For concert shooting and astro : This lens suits me well.
    For landscape, and especially cityscape : Well I just do my best with all those flares and average corners.

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  4. Austin Swenson

    I always think it’s great when there is a refresh, but it’s even better when it is sold at the same price as the older model like the 50mm they just refreshed…

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  5. Jeff Morrison

    Always love the updates and the comments…..

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  6. Ben Young

    I don’t see any need to rush to upgrade this lens. It would be nice though. But thy have the new 16-35 f/4 IS which is amazingly sharp and covers the same focal length as this lens.
    And they have the even newer 11-24 f/4 lens which is wider than both of these lenses and sharp, albeit very expensive.
    I don’t think the current f/2.8 model is so bad that they need to hurry to get a new one out.

    What I would like to see Canon prioritise is a replacement for their 35mm f/1.4, followed up by refreshing their 50mm primes, including the f/1.2.
    And then maybe look at adding IS to their 24-70 f/2.8 or an improved 16-35 f/2.8.
    Not that I do macro photography, but they might also want consider updating their 180mm macro lens. If I was to buy a macro lens then I’d most likely buy a Sigma.

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    • adam sanford

      Ben, Canon has a problem in that is has built an expectation in its users that optimal ‘specialist’ lenses will be offered:

      11-24 f/4 = interiors, UWA enthusiasts, etc.
      16-35 f/4L IS = landscapers, hikers (who love light glass)
      16-35 f/2.8L = events, sports, astro possibly

      Canon is basically saying that there will never be one UWA zoom that does everything well. So choose the one you like.

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    • Ben Young

      I know. It was why I listed those three lenses.
      But I just don’t see that the f/2.8 version being that bad for events and sports that they need to rush to push out a new one.
      That’s just my opinion. I don’t own the f/2.8, but I have used one.

      Additionally, one could use the 14mm f/2.8. Obviously this isn’t as flexible as a zoom, but it’s an option if you want/need wide and fast.
      And you even have the 17-40 f/4 L if you want to go even cheaper & lighter while sacrificing 1mm in focal length when compared to the two 16-35s.

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  7. adam sanford

    I agree with you, Anthony — there are squeakier wheels in Canon’s lineup than ultrawide event/sports glass. I’d peg each of these with a higher noise/buzz/demand from the other online forums I’m part of:

    50 f/nooneknows IS USM (to replace the ancient 50 f/1.4 — 1993 design)

    35 f/1.4L update — 1998 design

    85 f/1.8 USM update (likely with IS) — 1992 design

    24-70 f/2.8L IS (in fairness, no one is screaming for this as no one believes Canon/Nikon will offer this, but demand would be immense were it offered)

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    • Lauchlan Toal

      With regards to the 24-70, I heard a little while back that Nikon might have a 24-70 PF VR lens planned, so it’s possible that Canon might start working on an IS version as well. Could be interesting!

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    • adam sanford

      Lauchlan, agree 100%. It’s a cold war sort of lens — if they offer one, we need to offer one, too.

      I’m stunned Sigma hasn’t joined Tamron to take a bite at such a lens.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      I think the price to make a pro-quality lightweight 24-70 f/2.8 VR/IS lens would be prohibitive. To get the IQ that a pro needs as well as pack in the stabilization will make for a huge heavy lens.

      Yeah, the Tamron has VC, but it’s really a poor performing lens on any full-frame camera with more than 12MP. It’s gotta be stopped down to f/5.6 to get decently sharp results even when not pixel peeping. It’s not much better on a crop sensor even though it gets rid of the abysmal performance in the corners.

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    • adam sanford

      J Dennis, I hear ya, but I think max aperture bosses weight much much more than IS does.

      Consider: Canon has two pairs of 70-200 lenses: f/2.8, f/2.8 IS, f/4, and f/4 IS. The IS versions are only 10% heavier than the non-IS versions, whereas the f/2.8 lenses are nearly *100%* heavier than the f/4 ones. So I think IS on a 24-70 wouldn’t tip the scales too much.

      I’m not myself in the market for a 24-70 f/2.8 IS, but a lot of people would love it. Forget Tamron’s offering for a moment: imagine Canon’s 24-70 f/2.8L II (a dynamite piece of kit) with IS. It would be near-Otus money, but people would certainly step up to buy that.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      Well, the 70-200 stabilized lenses are already large, so in effect they already have plenty of space for the stabilization technology.

      The mostly plastic Tamron is nearly as heavy and large as the magnesium Nikon. Max aperture is definitely the biggest consideration for weight, but keeping the glass the smallest size it can be for the given aperture is why the Tamron IQ sucks so bad.

      Making the glass elements larger so the lens isn’t using the absolute edges of the glass is how higher end lenses keep the image quality from edge to edge more consistent. If Tamron designed their lens to be on par IQ-wise with Nikon gold-ring or Canon L glass, it would be much larger and heavier.

      Add the larger glass, plus the stabilization tech (which requires space for the lens elements to be shifted) and you’re getting into a lens that will by necessity be pretty big.

      If CaNikon thought the technology was feasible with keeping the highest IQ I have no doubt they would have beat Tamron to market with one. Even Sigma isn’t going down that road because presumably they are more concerned with IQ than with adding stabilization. It’s pretty clear that at this point the tech isn’t ready to get IS/VR/OS/VC and the highest image quality into the same package at this focal length.

      Supposedly Nikon is looking into PF for this, which would make the lens elements smaller, but at this point it’s unclear as to how fresnel lenses will work on wider focal lengths since they’ve been used for telephoto lenses mostly due to the propensity for odd flaring artifacts which will be more noticeable the wider the lens is. Even now Nikon’s only fix for the 300mm PF flare is in-camera software.

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