Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Canon 16-35mm F4 IS Review and Sample Photographs

Canon 16-35mm F4 IS Lens Review
The Best Ultrawide Lens this Generation Will See
Photo courtesy of me

77MM filters
616 grams (very light)
Image Stabilized

I've been a Canon DSLR shooter since 2005.  I've used all the ultrawides since the Canon 17-35mm 2.8 to the Canon 16-35mm F/2.8 II.  All were good, but lacking on the borders and corners.  All that changed in 2014 when Canon launched their 16-35mm F4 IS.  It's as optically perfect as you're going to get from 16 to 35mm.  After exhaustive and thorough testing both on charts and in the real world, I can tell you that Canon engineers optimized this lens for 16mm at F4.  On the long end, it's great wide open, but superb stopped down. And I don't use any of these terms loosely. This is a stellar performing lens.  And it works superb on crop-sensor cameras too--which truly shows off Canon's engineering because rarely do full frame lenses perform stellar on crop sensors due to magnification of a small portion of glass.  

Size and Weight

The Canon 16-35mm being a full frame lens is quite large, but at least it's light.  It feels light and airy, but solid and rugged at the same time.  You feel confident using it.  It doesn't feel quite as solid as older all-metal versions, but it's not necessary due to modern engineering plastics.  If you have a DSLR, you already in large-size territory so don't sweat the size of this lens. Just grab it and go.  Well-captured memories never regret the extra size and weight needed to preserve them.  If you want, the Canon 16-35mm F/2.8 III features identical optical performance as this F4 version, but costs more and weighs more.  Use this F4 version to shoot things that hold still or use the 2.8 version to shoot things that move (in low light).


Canon boasts their latest generation of weather sealing on this lens--sealing is completed when you fit a 77mm filter to the end of it.  I recommend a B&W 77mm UV filter for protection and near 100% light transmission.  I've shot in pouring rain all over the world with varying humdity and never had any problems.

Optical Quality

By far, the best.  Not only the best from Canon, the best period.  This lens rocks where you need it most and that's wide open at F/4 @ 16mm and at all ranges.

Shot at 24mm F4

Great for environmental people shots, too!

Unique Perks

Most lenses, including Canon's own and even newer generation lenses don't perform optimally wide open.  This lens does.  Razor sharp out to the extreme corners wide open at 16mm.  Why is this a unique perk? Well in addition to being inherently sharp wide open, when you combine that with the built in image stabilization, you can get museum-grade shots without using a tripod.  I shot in some quiet churches in Europe and at The Shard skyscraper in London--two areas where tripods were prohibited, and I came out with some shots that would be impossible without this lens.  Hand-held for nearly a second wide open, you can shoot at ridiculously low ISOs where every other tourist is shooting at 56k ISO because they don't have a tripod or a lens with IS.

No tripods allowed? No problem. Hand-held from the top of The Shard.  Magic of IS and earth shattering wide open performance.

Shot 16mm on crop Canon EOS M3.  (24mm equivalent)

I hope you enjoyed my review of this Canon 16-35mm F4 IS. I appreciate you guys using my links per above--it helps me earn a tiny percentage when you guys make purchases.  Appreciate it!

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

How I wall-mounted my TV for $20 -- with JUST a screwdriver and my hands.

Gone are the days you needed a $100 TV bracket and a stud finder and a professional to hang your TV on the wall.  I was doing research and found a high quality slim mount bracket for $12 with rave reviews on Amazon.  TWELVE DOLLARS.  What?!  So I thought... OK.  I'll need a stud finder and drill to mount this bracket to the studs--I've been through this whole ordeal years back when I mounted my 85-lb plasma.

Well, nope! Not anymore.  They make these new fasteners called Toggle-Bolts.  My friend who does home theater systems for a living recommended them and said they don't even need to go in studs these days since new TVs are so light.   The new 43" Sony 4K LED TV I just bought is light as a feather--hell the stock stand it comes with is made out of flimsy plastic and it holds the TV.  The TV is about 20 lbs but Toggle-Bolts says it can securely hold up to 80 lbs simply just using the drywall.

The best part of Toggle Bolts? You don't even need a drill.  You use your hands. It has a built in sharp edge that cuts through the drywall with a twist of your hand.  Just twist it back and forth and it makes a 1/2" hole in the drywall.  You insert the toggle bolt and pull it back firmly securing the anchor to the backside of the drywall.  You then push the plastic cap over the hole and twist the carcass of the toggle bolt off.  Voila.  Then you screw on the bracket.

Oh and onto the bracket I got.  It's made of strong steel--probably made in China but very secure and easy to mount.  Screw the supplied brackets onto the back of your TV using the assortment of fasteners and washers it comes with and you hang the TV on your newly installed bracket. Oh and this bracket comes with a bubble level.  They thought of everything.

After the anchor is pulled tight against the back of the drywall and the threaded receiver is flush against the wall facing you, you push the plastic cap into place and you are left with this.  Simply snap it off with your hands and you end up with what you see on the right. Two done. 

 See. You just use your hands to drive the toggle bolt through the wall.

Install tips:

Toggle bolts: use an LED flashlight to ensure the threaded screw receiver is facing you directly flush against the back of the drywall. So you can easily thread the screw. To know where to put the Toggle Bolts: stand or sit wherever and however you'll be using your TV and what I did was make sure the center of the bracket is eye-level with how you'll be watching your screen.  Use the supplied bubble level that sits on the bracket and use your screwdriver to twist little marks/holes in the drywall where you'll be installing your Toggle Bolts. Oh and don't forget these to hide your wires.

Bracket: self-explanatory, but the way it hooks on is you pull the cloth straps on the top hooks of the bracket on your TV as you hook the BOTTOM of the TV up against the bracket then the top hooks on, then you release the hooks. Easy.  So bottom then top, then RELEASE the cloth strap/hooks.

Use this resource as informational tool only. If your TV is big or heavy, you should use a stud finder and mount to studs for maximum security.  Only use this method if you feel your TV is light enough.  Always work safe and use safety goggles. 

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