Resolution (f2.8)

Performance at f2.8 (Zone A)

CanonFlare2a ff ff
Olympus 18mm f3.5 at f3.5 (centre) Leica 19mm at f2.8 (centre) Canon 16-35mm f2.8 II at 18mm f2.8 (centre)
4.3 points
4.8 points
4.8 points

As the MTF charts and previous testing of the Canon 16-35mm f2.8 Mark I confirm, the flagship Canon ultrawide zoom is razor sharp centre frame at all apertures: even wide open. Though the Leica 19mm capture appears to be inferior at first glance, close examination confirms that, though its accutance is compromised at this aperture, it fractionally out-resolves the Canon. Notice, too, that right from the off, the Leica has beautiful colour rendition. As expected, wide aperture performance is not the Zuiko’s forté.

Performance at f2.8 (Zone B: Right Side)

CanonFlare2a ff ff
Olympus 18mm f3.5 at f3.5 (centre) Leica 19mm at f2.8 (centre) Canon 16-35mm f2.8 II at 18mm f2.8 (centre)
3.9 points
4.3 points
4.8 points

Moving out across the image circle, the Mark II Canon 16-35 images outstandingly well, maintaining the excellence of its centre frame performance right the way out to 18mm from the centre, as promised by the MTF charts. Here it looks much more attractive even than the Leica 19mm. However, look out for the expected dip as we move into Zone C . . .

Performance at f2.8 (Zone C: Upper Left Corner)

CanonFlare2a ff ff
Olympus 18mm f3.5 at f3.5 (centre) Leica 19mm at f2.8 (centre) Canon 16-35mm f2.8 II at 18mm f2.8 (centre)
3.9 points
4 points
3.7 points

This set of crops is particularly revealing: in the Canon 16-35’s favour, I’ve never seen a lens this wide deliver such an outstanding lack of vignetting wide open. However, this is such an easy post-production fix we shouldn’t get misty-eyed about it when the resolution is so poor. Note, too, that none of these lenses suffer badly from CA which is somewhat evident with the Olympus and the Canon at the window frame. Here we see the waveform distortion problem that affects the Olympus and (to a greater degree) the Leica 19mm. Unusually, the Canon 16-35mm II proves to be near-perfect for geometry at 18mm.