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Canon Announces two new wide angle lenses: EF 16-35mm f/4L IS & EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM

There were many rumors that many lenses were on their way from canon for 2014, and they've finally launched two of them. They're for the most part slightly different from already existing lenses, but do have some interesting tidbits. 

First up on the L line is the new 16-35mm. This is now the cheaper alternative to the excellent Canon 16-35mm f2.8L, but not by boatloads. Considering the current rebates the f/2.8 is $1500, while the f/4 is $1200. The main difference as you can tell is that the new lens is 1 stop slower. Everything else is pretty similar, though the new lens does have some potential big advantages. Let's stack them up:

              View/Buy at:
 - B&H - Amazon
(new) Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens

Format Compatibility- 35mm Film / Full-Frame
Minimum Focus Distance- 11.02" (28 cm)
Elements/Groups- 16/12
Diaphragm Blades- 9, Rounded
Image Stabilization- YES
Filter Thread Front- 77mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx.- 3.25 x 4.44" (82.6 x 112.8 mm)
Weight- 1.35 lb (615 g)

(older) Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens

Format Compatibility- 35mm Film / Full-Frame Sensor
Minimum Focus Distance- 11.2" (28 cm)
Elements/Groups- 16/12
Diaphragm Blades- 7
Image Stabilization- No
Filter Thread- Front:82mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx.- 3.48 x 4.39" (88.5 x 111.6 mm)
Weight- 1.4 lb (635 g)

So, similar weight, similar optical design, similar minimum focus, but that's where similarities halt. OK, so the new lens shaves off some size, but not huge amounts. The aperture blades on the other hand have increased to 9, which MAY be an improvement on the surface, but you have to remember that the f/2.8 lens already claims a truly circular aperture. That, and it's already a proven delight, so instead of seeing this as an improvement, see it as a possible alternative pretty. Something less important but i appreciate is the reduction from 82mm threads, to 77mm. You can see the new lens has a more consistent tube shape as opposed to the old lens's bigger front end. I also have invested in 77mm as my thread size of choice, so that works for me. 

But the big improvement here, at least for people with extremely shaky hands or shooting video, is the inclusion of Image Stabilization. This is a distinctly wide lens for Full Frame, which many will dismiss as not needing IS, but it really never hurts to have it if you want it, and being that i'm primarily a videographer, it is a definite plus over the older lens. I'd gladly give up 1 stop of light for IS. Canon's IS in particular is great for video despite being originally designed for photography. I find it floats more pleasingly than some other manufacturers. The one thing i don't see on this lens is STM, which is a motor built with video autofocus in mind. It makes sense though, as canon has thus far been pretty clear that the L line is for photography first, and won't be getting any video attention. Nonetheless, they work fantastically for video.

It's a pretty similar story with the next new lens, it's a little brother to an existing excellent lens, only this one is for cropped sensor, APS-C cameras. We lose some light, and we lose some long end, but gain some IS!

              View/Buy at:
Adorama - Amazon
(new) Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens
Focal Length- 10 - 18mm
Aperture Maximum- f/4.5 - 5.6
Format Compatibility- Canon (APS-C)
Minimum Focus Distance- 8.66" (22 cm)
Elements/Groups- 14/11
Diaphragm Blades- 7, Rounded
Image Stabilization- Yes
Filter Thread Front- 67mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx.- 2.94 x 2.83" (74.6 x 72 mm)
Weight- 8.47 oz (240 g)

(older) Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens 

Focal Length- 10 - 22mm
Aperture Maximum- f/3.5 - 4.5
Format Compatibility- Canon (APS-C)
Minimum Focus Distance- 9.5" (24 cm)
Elements/Groups- 13/10
Diaphragm Blades- 6
Image Stabilization- No
Filter Thread- 77mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx.- 3.29 x 3.54" (83.5 x 89.8 mm)
Weight 13.6 oz (386 g)

OK, so they went with 67mm threads, i've got a step ring for that. We get an extra aperture blade which may give us some differening bokeh from the 10-22mm which again, already has a circular diaphragm. The optical design has changed in the new one, adding an additional group as well as an additional element. They shaved a nice bit of size and weight off as well

For video shooters, the new lens includes the STM focus drive, which promises improved AF noise/smoothness/performance over traditional photo lens AF motors.

And once again, we get IS in the new lens, which for video shooters is a huge bonus.

But really the biggest feature of this new lens is the price, it's HALF the cost of the old lens, $600 vs $300, this undercuts just about every superwide in the aps-c category. Nice move Canon.

The big question though, will that lower price be enough to take a hit on the wide angle champ, the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8? The Tokina is in the area of twice the cost of this new lens, but has the ever desirable constant aperture, an f/2.8 to boot. Sigma's 10-20mm is also a very nice lens, but still over $100 more and no IS. Image stabilization will likely be the deciding factor for you, that and cost. At $300, this could very well be the new best bang for your wide angle buck.

Two new lenses, but still more than 6 months in the year, what's next Canon?

Added on 2014-05-13 by
Darren Levine

Darren Levine

Stimulus Video

DP/Videographer, Video/Film Editor
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