Canon UWA Lens Recommendations

Nickwell24

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 13, 2008
149
12
This past week I had the luxury of testing out a 10-22mm on my T2i and fell in love with the results you get from a UWA (Ultra-Wide Angle) lens. Now I'm debating on which to buy, I can't get the 10-22 because it's EF-S and I'm upgrading to the 6D this month.

Here are the 3 lenses I'm seriously considering, so if anybody has experience I'd love your opinion. The primary purpose of this lens will be landscape and architecture (so I'm not considering the f/2.8 a huge advantage)

Canon 16-35 F/4 ($1,200) -
Pros: Image Stabilization, Corner to Corner sharpness, 77mm Filter
Cons: Price

Canon 17-40 F/4 ($850) -
Pros: Cheaper, 77mm Filter
Cons: No IS, Not as wide

Tokina 16-28 F/2.8 ($650) -
Pros: Cheapest, F/2.8 for if I ever want to shoot stars
Cons: No IS, Unable to use filters, smaller zoom range

I've seen a lot of professionals use the 17-40 with amazing results. I also know that for landscapes most shots will be on a tripod so IS is not very important. That being said, tripods aren't always practical on a photo walk or while shooting architecture in crowded streets.

So I'd like anybody with some input to weigh in on this. Money being no option I'd go with the 16-35 f/4. But money being what is it, my thoughts are to go with the 17-40 and use the left over money on a decent tripod and gear bag.

Here are two shots I took with the 10-22. I didn't have a tripod or monopod for these shots, they were all handheld and being dark some coming close to 1/8th of a second (This is one reason i'm considering paying the premium for the IS).

Springfield-2 by Nickwell24, on Flickr
Springfield-1 by Nickwell24, on Flickr
 

Policar

macrumors 6502a
Nov 21, 2004
647
5
I personally don't like landscapes shot wider than around 50mm, and find tilt/shift necessary for architecture and most landscape, but it seems you've landed on UWA and know what you're after...

I find the 17-40mm f4 L to be ok. Weather sealed, soft corners wide open then some CA in the corners throughout, but a good look and ok contrast. I'm sure the 16-35mm f4 IS is better and IS matters for landscapes if you don't plan to use a tripod. If you do plan to use a tripod, get a tilt/**** lens already!

The issue with the Tokina is you can't use filters. Some people like ND grads and powerful NDs and polarizers for landscapes. I find polarizers and grad filters gross.

Consider just getting the 10-18mm IS for the T2i. A LOT cheaper and sharper than the 17-40mm by all accounts, almost enough to make up for the difference in resolution between FF and APS-C. (But not quite... still... taking IS into account... close.)
 

Nickwell24

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 13, 2008
149
12
Consider just getting the 10-18mm IS for the T2i. A LOT cheaper and sharper than the 17-40mm by all accounts, almost enough to make up for the difference in resolution between FF and APS-C. (But not quite... still... taking IS into account... close.)
If I did daylight photography I'd definitely consider sticking to the crop sensor and picking up the 10-18, however as I have a particular fondness of nighttime landscapes and architecture the full frame's larger sensor offers a lot of benefits.
 

Nickwell24

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 13, 2008
149
12
Really? IS on a wide angle??????
IS can be beneficial for any lens when you're hand holding. I always have gone by the rule of your shutter speed should be a number faster than your focal range (1/200+ for 200mm) for a usable shot w/o blur but IS helps use a lower shutter speed and still get quality results.

The night I took the pictures above I had to sacrifice depth of field and still use 1/4 @ 10mm. Many photos came out blurry but I had a couple that worked. With IS i'm sure more would have come out in usable.

All of this said. I'm fairly sure I'm going with the 16-35 f/4.
 

Kebabselector

macrumors 68030
May 25, 2007
2,850
1,173
Birmingham, UK
We may disagree about IS (personally i think for your night images a tripod is much better option), but the 16-35 would be my preference - I did own the 17-40 and recently traded it due to lack of use. From what I've read the 16-35 is a great improvement over the 17-40.
 

Policar

macrumors 6502a
Nov 21, 2004
647
5
Really? IS on a wide angle??????
Why else would they include it? Landscapes are typically pretty static and you want to shoot at a deep stop for depth of field. I see the 16-35mm f4 IS as landscape-targeted and the 16-35mm f2.8 IS II as more photojournalism-specific.

Of course a tripod would be better still, but for landscapes I think IS is pretty useful if you can't bring the tripod. And you can't always. The combination of sharp corners and IS makes the 16-35mm f4 seem to me like the the best landscape lens going for those who like shooting wide angle near/far composition. I personally am a big fan of a tripod and very long exposures (a few seconds to a minute), but that's not always feasible.
 

Policar

macrumors 6502a
Nov 21, 2004
647
5
Seems it gets included or else the lens will get slated. The 24-70 f/2.8 L MkII doesn't have it and people complained about that. I agree it's nice to have, but when I had the 24-105 f/4 L I found it was barely used.
I use it all the time on my 70-200mm f2.8 II IS (it's the IS, not the image quality, that compelled me to upgrade from the 70-200mm f2.8) and when I had the 17-55mm f2.8IS I used it frequently, too. I find that if I don't have a tripod I'll always keep it on.

For landscapes it seems very useful since you want a deeper stop but steady hand. I think there's a reason people complained about its absence on the 24-70mm f2.8, though the fast aperture and moderate focal length makes it less necessary (the f4 models all have it).
 

tgara

macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2012
995
2,763
Connecticut, USA
I had the 17-40 f/4 before I sold it last month to get the new 16-35 f/4 IS. Both are excellent lenses, but the new 16-35 f/4 is worth the extra money if you can afford it. Better optics, better sharpness in the corners, and IS made it a no-brainer upgrade for me.

If money is an issue, get the 17-40. If it isn't, get the 16-35. Either way you will not be disappointed. Also, keep in mind that due to the new 16-35 coming out recently, there are many 17-40 lenses for sale on the Canon boards at good prices, usually in the $500-600 range. You can also pick up a refurb from the Canon sore.

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Why else would they include it? Landscapes are typically pretty static and you want to shoot at a deep stop for depth of field. I see the 16-35mm f4 IS as landscape-targeted and the 16-35mm f2.8 IS II as more photojournalism-specific.

Of course a tripod would be better still, but for landscapes I think IS is pretty useful if you can't bring the tripod. And you can't always. The combination of sharp corners and IS makes the 16-35mm f4 seem to me like the the best landscape lens going for those who like shooting wide angle near/far composition. I personally am a big fan of a tripod and very long exposures (a few seconds to a minute), but that's not always feasible.
You realize the IS can be turned on and off, right? Don't want to use it, switch it off.
 

Policar

macrumors 6502a
Nov 21, 2004
647
5
I don't think that was Policar's point, he wrote that IS is useful. The way I read it was to argue whether it's worth paying extra for IS.
I was advocating for its usefulness in landscapes, yeah, when someone else claimed it's useless for UWAs. Really confused about the previous reply... of course I get that it can be turned off.

Very confused.
 
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