When Would You Use a 16-35mm Lens?

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If you love photography, you should have a range of lenses in stock for different needs. While there are many options on the market, one of the most versatile lenses is a 16-35mm lens. Before you get it though, you need to know when would you use a 16-35mm lens.

When Would You Use a 16-35mm Lens?

You would use a 16-35mm lens mostly for landscape and architecture photography, because it allows you to capture an entire scene. This lens can also be used for capturing portraits or documentary photos when you want to include more within the frame to tell a story.

When would you use a 16-35mm lens

Landscape Photography

This lens is a great landscape photography lens. At the 16mm focal length, it not only gives a wide angle field of view that is able to capture a large area, but it also has an aperture of f/4. This wide aperture allows you to capture sharp photos.

Capturing at such a narrow aperture will let less light enter your camera. However, at this aperture you can keep a slow shutter speed to let more light in and still capture sharp photos.

Another factor that helps is the zoom range. This allows you to capture a particular area of the landscape while standing in one place. This and the fact that it is light (at 27 ounces) are specifically helpful when you are traveling. All of this allows you to capture great landscape photos.

Architecture Photography

You can also capture architecture photos with this lens. Similar to landscape photography, the wide field of view is helps in capturing both indoor and outdoor  architecture. Also, the narrow aperture helps capture sharp details of various architecture such as buildings, museums, and churches.

Its aperture of f/2.8 at 35mm allows you to keep a low ISO level and allow more light into the camera. Moreover, the Air Sphere Coating prevents flare and ghosting from ruining the texture of your photos. This is extremely useful in capturing photos in indoor settings such as the inside of a church or a Mosque.

Documentary Portraits

Although most people would not use this lens for portraits due to the wide field of view, it can be used to capture contextual portraits. This refers to capturing portraits of the subject along with capturing the rest of the scene. Also, the fast autofocus, sharpness, and high image quality, all help in capturing great portraits.

Features of a 16-35mm Lens

The 16-35mm lens has a flexible focal length. It has a magnification of 0.22x that helps you take pictures from afar. This makes capturing candid moments possible too. It has an aperture range of f/2.8-22. It has dimensions of 3.45 x 5.02 inches and a weight of 23.7 ounces. Both of these make it compact and easy to travel with.

It has 16 elements in 11 groups and 9 rounded Diaphragm blades. These are better able to control optical defects and capture very sharp images. It has a durable, weather sealed construction that can get by in harsh conditions and does not get damaged easily.

An image of a camera lens

Disadvantages of Using a 16-35mm Lens

Although a 16-35mm lens is a great choice, there are some cases where it does not work as well as other lenses:

  • Distortion: Lens distortions are a problem in most wide angle lenses and the same is true here. At 35mm, you get some black shades at the edge of photos.
  • Expensive: This lens is on the pricier end of lenses on the market. This means that if you are on a budget, this lens might not be one you can get right away.
  • Insufficient Zoom: Although this lens allows you to zoom in and out of scenes, the zoom is insufficient for most uses. The magnification is only 0.22x which is not good for professional uses such as wildlife and sports photography.

Related Questions

Is 16-35mm Focal Length Good for Macro?

A 16-35mm focal length is not good for macro photography; however, with some expertise, you can capture macro shots through it. The aperture of f/2.8 would let you focus on the subject and with some cropping in post production, you can capture great macro photos with it.

Does Canon 16-35mm Have Image Stabilization?

Canon 16-35mm has image stabilization (IS) technology. This technology is very useful for capturing both pictures. For pictures, it reduces motion blur. You can capture at lower shutter speed and IS would allow you to capture a smooth image.


You would use a 16-35mm lens for landscape and architecture thanks to the wide field of view and the narrow aperture that gives you clear and crisp images. Besides that, some people also use it for contextual portraits. However, some downsides of using this lens include lens distortion and insufficient zoom.