Now in its third iteration, Canon has updated its high-speed, ultra-wide zoom.
Canon is revamping its L-series lenses, replacing its most popular models with newer optical designs along with what’s claimed to be a more durable construction and improved water and dust resistance. Not surprisingly this means they’re more expensive, and at nearly $2,300 this new model costs almost $800 more than the one it replaces.
Externally it looks well made. The zoom action feels very smooth with no sticking mid-center that you sometimes fi nd, and autofocus is fast, smooth and relatively quiet. The focus ring is nice and wide, but the full-time manual override doesn’t decouple as slickly as some older models. Not that it’s an issue for back button AF-only advocates, but it’s surprising given Canon’s expertise in USMs. It’s also a big lens.
While the filter ring is the same size as its predecessor the lens is now wider, longer and heavier. As for the optical quality, the new model is without doubt a step or maybe two above its well-regarded predecessor. It has excellent sharpness across the frame at every focal length, not only in the centre, but at the edge of the frame.
And it has good control of distortion, albeit not quite in the same league as the extreme EF 11-24mm over the same range. It also has low levels of chromatic aberration, but it’s not completely suppressed and it does have noticeable vignetting at the shorter end. Nevertheless, image quality like this is never cheap and even with the price tag you won’t feel short-changed.
While there’s some vignetting and fringing at the shorter focal lengths, Canon has done well to keep the price at a reasonable level while delivering a balanced performance at all focal lengths