Search for a nice Canon wide angle lens: 16-35mm or 17-40mm?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by valdore, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. valdore macrumors 65816

    valdore

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    #1
    Canon 16-35mm Wide angle lens

    Canon 17-40mm Wide angle lens

    I'll be upgrading my lens collection soon, and I'm really looking forward to a nice ultra-wide angle lens.

    I'm wondering if you guys can provide some insight into these two lenses. How is the 16-35mm worth $700 more than the 17-40mm?

    If I go the cheaper route and get the 17-40, what am I giving up?

    For mostly cityscape photos, would the f/2.8 make much of a difference from the f4.0?
     
  2. M@lew macrumors 68000

    M@lew

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    #2
    Do you know what the wider aperture gives you? If not, I would research into that and then make your decision. If you do then what camera do you have? These lenses are more "standard" lenses, so if you have say a 400D, then why not look at the 10-22 for a really wide angle lens?

    UPDATE - Yeah I just noticed in your sig you have a 5D, so these lenses are perfect. The 16-35 is much heavier and chunkier and if you think you need the wider aperture, then go for it.
     
  3. sjl macrumors 6502

    sjl

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    #3
    It's faster - one stop faster. The rule of thumb with photography is that you can hand-hold the camera if your shutter speed is faster than 1/focal length (in seconds, applies to 35mm photography; adjust the focal length to the FOV equivalent for crop bodies, which you don't have so it's a moot point for you.)

    One stop doesn't sound like much, but it may be the difference between getting that one shot and missing out.

    It also means that there's more glass going into the lens, and it has to be ground to more exacting specifications, which jacks up the cost. Notice, for example, the difference in price between the 300mm f/4 and the 300mm f/2.8 (or for an even more extreme example, the 400mm f/5.6 and the 400mm f/2.8). Price goes up as the lens gets faster, and it is most emphatically not a linear progression.

    1mm of width at the wide end, which isn't a great deal for the most part, but with ultra-wide angles it might be. The difference is a shade over three degrees in the field of view (in whichever direction you're looking at) - 93.3 versus 96.7 degrees in the horizontal plane, for example (assuming a landscape orientation.)

    You also give up one stop of light. For ultra-wide lenses, this isn't a massive deal; it depends on what you're shooting, and whether you have a tripod.

    Image quality wise, assuming the extra stop is not essential, I believe (but do not know for myself) that the 17-40mm has the edge at the wide end, where it matters more (because the long end is also covered by other lenses, such as the 24-70mm or the 24-105mm.)

    Not at the sort of distances you're likely to be taking the shot from - you'll be beyond the distance that is considered "infinity" for focusing purposes, so depth of field doesn't really come into play.

    If you're not certain, my suggestion would be to get the 17-40mm. If the speed becomes an issue, you won't lose out a great deal in the bargain; there's a solid second hand market for any L series lens, and they hold their value pretty well. If you're really unsure, get a second-hand copy, and you stand to lose even less if it doesn't work out for you.
     
  4. valdore thread starter macrumors 65816

    valdore

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    #4
    Thank you very much for the input SJL and M@lew. :)
     
  5. Xfujinon macrumors 6502

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    Iowa City, Iowa
    #5
    wide angles generally get used for landscape, outdoor photography, and abstract stuff, although individual mileage may vary. For those uses, I tend to stay in the f5.6-f8 range anyway.

    The 16-35 is reportedly quite soft (www.photozone.de, look for lens tests), while the 17-40 is a good performer, as well as about half the cost.

    I strongly considered the 17-40 as a walkaround lens for the 40D, but eventually decided on the 24-70 since I don't mind the weight or the (allegedly) unremarkable working distance of the lens.

    If you want to save money, but still get a very usable lens, the 17-40 is a good bet. if you find you don't like it, after a year you could probably sell it for around 450 and put it toward the 16-35.

    Good luck!
     
  6. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #6
  7. valdore thread starter macrumors 65816

    valdore

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  8. seenew macrumors 68000

    seenew

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    #8
    I have the 17-40, just to throw that in there. I love it. It's solidly built, and it's really sharp. I had the 10-22 since my dSLR is a crop body, but when I got into film, I wanted a FF super wide, so I switched. The quality on either camera is great. You won't be disappointed.
     
  9. milozauckerman macrumors 6502

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    Jun 25, 2005
    #9
    If you're on a 350d/400d-Rebel Xti/30d/40d/etc., check out the 17-55/2.8 - in between the two price-wise, just as wide with more reach on the long end, designed for the 1.6x sensor bodies, excellent reputation for image quality.

    If you're on a 5D (just guessing you didn't jump into a 1D), the f/2.8 will make for a brighter finder (though f/4 lenses are very usable in the 5D viewfinder), somewhat superior autofocus performance, and allegedly, slightly sharper corners at comparable apertures. In the daytime, when f/8 or f/11 are feasible, the difference between the two lenses will be negligible. At night or indoors, you might wish for that extra stop of light.
     
  10. valdore thread starter macrumors 65816

    valdore

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