Flare & Ghosting

A naked point light source was raked across the front element of each lens with the hoods removed. The following examples represent the worst behaviour that could be provoked . . .

Olympus 18mm f3.5 at f8 (full frame)
7 points

Excellent flare control from the Olympus 18mm: only the most modest scattering of internal reflections are visible under these circumstances.

Leica 19mm Elmarit f2.8 at f8 (full frame)
9 points

However, the Leica behaves flawlessly: no ghosts, no matter how hard I tried to induce them, and very well controlled local contast under duress. The only tiny flaw is a ‘big ring’ showing up in Zone C here, bottom right corner.

Canon 16-35mm f2.8 Mark II at 18mm / f8 (full frame)
9.25 points

Perhaps surprisingly, given the size and complexity of the design, the Canon 16-35mm Mark II not only matches the Elmarit for practically ghostless performance (there is a faint internal reflection in Zone B), but it retains contrast even better than the Leica, and (a personal favourite, this), hangs a few rays in place of the prime’s unadorned glow.

Flare handling (100% crops)

CanonFlare2a ff ff
Olympus 18mm f3.5 at f8 (100% crop) Leica 19mm Elmarit at f8 (100% crop) Canon 16-35mm f2.8 II at 18mm f8 (100% crop)

The new Canon 16-35mm shares the superb flare control characteristics of its cheaper stablemate, the 17-40mm f4. In fairness, all three contenders here fare very well and none could be considered unreliable in the field.