Many different manufacturers, including Sigma, Tamron and Tokina amongst others, produce wide angle lenses for Canon digital SLR cameras. Arguably, the best wide angle lens for users of Canon cameras is the Canon 16mm – 35mm f/2.8L II USM. The third party lenses are capable of producing good images, however the Canon 16mm – 35mm f/2.8L II USM is capable of producing exceptional images.

The Canon 16mm – 35mm f/2.8L II USM has a constant maximum aperture of f/2.8 throughout the focal range, hence making it a fast lens. The speed of the lens makes it ideal for handheld shots and low light photography, instances where the shutter speeds need to be kept high to avoid camera shake. Although the Canon 16mm – 35mm f/2.8L II USM lens is aimed at the landscape photographer the speed of the lens allows it to be used in other types of photography where a wide angled view is required, such as taking images of cityscapes.

The closest focusing distance is 28cm, making it suitable for close up work. Add some extension tubes, a close up filter and get a ring flash and it can even be used for some macro work.

The Canon 16mm – 35mm f/2.8L II USM lens utilises three high precision aspherical lens elements and two ultra low dispersion lens elements so it is full of modern optical technology and is of high specification. The image quality produced is amazing with bright, vibrant and accurate colour rendition and superb contrast. You really have to see some images to fully appreciate what this lens is capable of.

Like all Canon L series professional lenses the 16mm – 35mm f/2.8L II USM is bullet proof. The lens body is fully sealed for dust and moisture resistance, and whilst it can be used in heavy rainfall, this is best avoided. The lens body is excellent quality, solidly built and is up to daily use and abuse. The 16mm – 35mm f/2.8L II USM is a lens that is built to last and should provide years of service.

The 16mm – 35mm f/2.8L II USM lens has an internal focus, which means the front element doesn’t rotate during zooming and focusing. This feature is advantageous for all those photographers that use circular polarizer filters as it negates the need to keep adjusting the filter. The autofocus is fast and accurate and it will achieve a lock on the subject, or focal point, in no time at all.

The Canon 16mm – 35mm f/2.8L II USM does not have image stabilisation technology but given the short focal length, and the fact that it is most likely to be used on a tripod, this is not such a big issue and should not be considered when purchasing this lens.

The Canon 16mm – 35mm f/2.8L II USM lens is supplied with a soft case and lens hood, which is a touch. A tripod collar is not included which is a disadvantage especially since this lens is primarily aimed at landscape photographers who will use this lens on a tripod. Fortunately, a tripod collar can be bought as an optional extra, but the genuine Canon version is expensive. Third party alternatives are available from many retailers, such as Amazon and Ebay, and these are less expensive than the genuine article.

Overall the Canon 16mm – 35mm f/2.8L II USM lens is a fantastic wide angle lens that all Canon owners who are serious about landscape photography should have in their kit bag. The image quality possible with this lens is outstanding and the colours and contrasts are simply amazing and so true to life. The Canon 16mm – 35mm f/2.8L II USM is not the cheapest wide angle lens available for Canon cameras but given the overall build quality, and the fact that is bullet proof, it should provide many years of service making it superb value for money. It is an expensive outlay but it will soon pay for itself.