Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM & EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Preview: New wide-angle glass for both Canon full-frame and APS-C lens mounts

By Paul Carroll - Tuesday May 13 2014

Lens Preview

Canon has announced new wide-angle zoom lenses in both their L-series professional line-up and EF-S consumer range. With both lenses boasting new features, and slightly cheaper prices than current options, it’s an exciting announcement for Canon shooters who like to go wide. We preview the specs’ and look at the DxOMark Lens Scores for Canon wide-angle zooms already on the market.

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Canon have unveiled new wide-angle zoom lenses with Image Stabilisation for both their professional full-frame EF and consumer APS-C EF-S lens mounts

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Specification: Canon’s first L-series wide-angle with Image Stabilisation 

The new Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 L IS USM wide-angle zoom lens is designed for use on Canon full-frame DSLRs such as the EOS 6D, EOS 5D Mark III or EOS 1D X. Featuring an ultra-wide to standard-wide angle focal length it’s an ideal lens for landscape and architectural photographers, or those shooting in confined spaces. Featuring a fixed f/4 maximum aperture, the new Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM is 1-stop ‘slower’ than the existing Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, but benefits from the addition of Image Stabilisation. Canon’s Image Stabilisation system offers up to 4-stops of anti-shake performance, for sharp shots using slow shutter speeds, which could be a bonus to architectural or landscape photographers wanting to shoot hand-held using small apertures. The new lens also includes Canon’s Ultrasonic Motor (USM) for quick and quiet autofocus, as well as a full-time focus ring for fine tuning focus in either Manual or Auto AF modes. The new Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM will line up alongside its ‘faster’ EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM counterpart, and although the initial SRP of $2,000 (€1,400) for the new lens places it in the same pricing ball-park as the f/2.8L version, no doubt it’ll be cheaper than that within a few weeks. For a third-party option the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 PRO FX offers a comparable overall performance matching the same DxOMark Score of 22 in our tests. In fact it out trumps both Canon L–series lenses for sharpness, and all at a more pocket friendly $1,200 (€900), although the Tokina offers a shorter focal length and no Image Stabilisation. We look forward to testing the new Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 L IS SM lens as soon as it’s available in June 2014.

If you can live without Image Stabilisation and a shorter focal length the Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX achieves the same DxOMark Score as the more expensive Canon version

Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Specification: A cheaper wide-angle zoom for Canon APS-C Shooters 

For APS-C sensor DSLRs the new Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.6-5.6 IS STM lens offers an equivalent 16-29mm wide-angle focal length. With an initial SRP of just $480 (€349) the new lens will be significantly cheaper than the existing $800 (€580) Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM version, but offers both a shorter focal length and slower variable maximum aperture range. The new Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM does however benefit from the addition of a 4-stop Image Stabiliser, as well as Canon’s STM technology, which enables fluid continuous autofocus during video capture. It’ll be interesting to see how the new cheaper Canon EF-S fares in the DxOMark lens tests compared to the existing third-party competition from Tokina and Sigma. Both the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM and Tokina AT-X PRO SD 11-16 f/2.8 IF DX II performed marginally better than the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM in our tests, achieving Overall Lens Scores of 14, 13 and 12 respectively. Boasting a fixed maximum apertures these third-party options are notably more expensive however, coming in at $675 (€590) for the Sigma and $1,000 (€725) for the Tokina, making the new, cheaper Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM a more affordable and attractive proposition for the consumer market it’s targeted at. 

Current 3rd party APS-C wide-angle lens from Tokina & Sigma only marginally out perform Canon’s EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM lens – but how will the new cheaper alternative fare?