Thoughts on the Canon EF 17-40 f/4 L USM

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Razeus, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. Razeus macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    Look at this to replace my 18-55 kit lens. Any thoughts?
  2. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    Beautiful lens if you have good light. A friend bought one and it rarely leaves his camera. Much lighter and cheaper (and according to many tests sharper) than the 16-35. On a crop body it is not very wide, but you will be used to that from your current lens. If I shot in good light, or shot a lot of landscapes, it would be in my bag for sure.

    EDIT: I see you already have the 24-105. I would consider the 10-22 unless you find yourself at the wide end all the time. You are only gaining 7 mm on the bottom for $700 with the 17-40. I like the pics out of the 17-40 better, but the 10-22 would provide a huge change in vision for you.
  3. davegregory macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2009
    Burlington, Ontario
    I have the 17-40 L and it's a good lens and like jampat said, in good light. It suffers somewhat on the heavy side from chromatic aberrations. It's nothing that can't be fixed in Photoshop or Aperture, but something to be aware of nonetheless. I use it on a crop body as well and it makes for a good standard lens, but not that great for landscapes. You could use it on a film body if you have one for landscapes, or if you plan on going to full frame digital in the future.
  4. peskaa macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2008
    London, UK
    Good lens, and part of the amateur's "holy trinity" of lenses (17-40, 24-105, 70-200). I'd argue that it isn't actually any better than the 16-35 (if the 16-35 is stopped down to f/4), and obviously lacks the faster aperture - however, for the cost of the lens it is a damn good buy.

    If you're shooting landscapes, you'll be stopping down past f/4 anyway, so no need for f/2.8 at all.

    However, as said above, on a crop body the 10-22 is a much better buy.
  5. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???
    The 17-40 f/4L was my first L lens, and it was a great fit on my 10D; nearly equivalent focal length to a standard 24-70 zoom; a perfect walkaround lens. Yes, f/4 is slow, but it's a wide-angle, and I find that f/4 is far less of a problem on wide-angles than on telephoto lenses, simply because you don't need nearly the same shutter speeds.

    On my 1DmkII, the 17-40 gets used less than it did on the 10D; the problem is that while it's plenty wide (noticably wider than on the 10D, in fact), it is not nearly long enough; it's a 52mm equivalent on an 1.3x crop sensor. I miss that extra reach, and I find myself going with the 50/1.4 as a walkaround lens on my 1DmkII. I would kill for a 24-70 on this body, since the 31-91 equivalent would suit me just perfectly.

    IQ wise, the 17-40 is excellent, and I've not noticed any huge differences in IQ between the 17-40 and the 16-35. I also havent noticed a huge amount of CA problems, as davegregory noted. My copy is nice and sharp, with good contrast and good saturation. By comparison, however, my 70-200 f/4L (non-IS) is sharper, and gives better contrast and saturation, but then I consider the 70-200 to be one of Canon's best zooms. I had a poor quality UV filter on my 17-40 for the first year of its life (before I knew better), but with that gone, it's a fine lens.

    All in all, the 17-40 is an excellent lens, especially on a 1.6x crop body, since it acts like a traditional standard zoom. With modern DLSRs producing acceptable images up to (and past) ISO 3200, I wouldn't worry too much about f/4, though faster glass is always nice. When you consider the low price of this lens, you're getting excellent value for money; the 16-35 is twice the money.

    If you're using the 17-40 for wide-angle, however, you might be better off with the 10-22, which is slower at the long end and has lesser IQ, but is certainly wider.
  6. nburwell macrumors 601


    May 6, 2008
    An absolute beauty of a lens. I used it quite frequently when I owned a 20/40D. However, once I purchased my 5D, I used it much less frequently. It produces wonderful colors, and nice contrast to your images. It probably is one of the sharpest lenses that I have in my bag. It's most definitely a great upgrade to the 18-55 "kit" lens.
  7. JFreak macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2003
    Tampere, Finland
    It's great OUTDOOR lens, but if you know that you shoot INDOORS you are going to miss that f/2.8 --> if money is not an obstacle, I always recommend the 16-35 model.

    That said, the 17-40 is in fact sharper at f/4.0 so if you don't necessarily need the wider aperture it's a great value.
  8. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    good but not better than a 17-55 or Tamron 17-50. tests have shown it's actually not that much better than the 18-55 IS, other than the lack of color cast.
  9. Phrasikleia macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2008
    Over there------->
    I'm having déjà vu. Didn't we just go through this issue in your last thread, after which you purchased the 24-105? I (still) agree with Toxic that the 17-55 or else the new stabilized Tamron 17-50 will give you the most bang for your buck. They're both optically superb and give you the added bonuses of f/2.8 and stabilization.
  10. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    Echoing what others have said, it's a great outdoor lens with super fast focus. Indoor, I use 50mm f/1.4 USM, but I miss 17-40's much faster, much more accurate focus. That said, if you are not planning on upgrading to full-frame in the future, I would save up for EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM.
  11. Phrasikleia macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2008
    Over there------->
    Or even if you are. I'm sure I'll eventually own a full-frame camera, but right now I'm happily getting shots with my fast and stabilized 17-55 that I could not have gotten with a relatively slow and unstabilized 17-40. When I decide to upgrade my camera, I'll sell the 17-55 and get whatever makes sense at that point. The 17-55 fetches a very high second-hand price, so I have no worries.
  12. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    It's probably primarily my shooting style, but the 17-40L is the least used lens in my kit (I have 7 L lenses). In fact I can't remember the last time I used it.

    Personally I've never been impressed with the image quality. And mostly I despise slow lenses and rarely ever mount anything slower than F2.8. As I don't take much landscape or architecture photography, the main place I would use that focal length is indoors, and that's exactly where the limits of F4 glass are most annoying!

    Anyway, your shooting style may be much different than my own, and I'm on a 1.3 body, not a FF, but I wouldn't buy it again.
  13. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2003
    Heh... yes... we just went through all of this. He should have settled on the 17-55mm per your advice to start with. 24mm is too long on a cropped body to cover everything you'd need. Now he is spending 50% more for lenses that are a stop slower than your recommendation ;)

    I'll agree with other posters here... the 10-22mm is much better than the 17-40 or 16-35 on a cropped body. 17mm isn't really THAT wide.

    As I think I mentioned in your other thread, why don't you just check out the lens review sites listed in the sticky at the top of the Digital Photography forum? You won't find out anything here that you couldn't find out yourself by spending 5 minutes reading the reviews.
  14. Razeus thread starter macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    In that case, 95% of the posts here shouldn't be here. LOL.
  15. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    It's a good lens (I wouldn't overemphasize the fact it has received `only' 3.5 stars optically on photozone) that is also decently priced. However, on a crop body, it's not that wide and there is a sizable overlap with your 24-105 mm lens.

    Since you already have the 24-105 mm lens, I'd suggest you have a look at Tokina's 12-24 mm f/4 lens: the focal length is much more appealing for crop sensors, the image quality is top notch (usually beats Canon's and Nikon's UW zooms in tests) and has a built quality that's already very close to pro glass. Plus, it's cheaper, too.
  16. SayCheese macrumors 6502a

    Jun 14, 2007
    Thame, Oxfordshire, England
    I have the 17-40 f4 L. It is a stunning lens. Nice and sharp and fast enough for my needs.

    I am using it on a 1D Mk II. I spent all of yesterday afternoon and evening professionally shooting a wedding with it and it performed flawlessly. I also used my 70-200 f2.8 L and that too is stunning, however that is a different story.

    I would recommend it. Just make sure that you can live without the extra stop of the 16-35 f2.8 with whatever type of photography you prefer to do.

    Now I just need to find something to sit between the 17-40 and 70-200. I'm thinking 24-70 but am not sure. However that can wait for a different thread.
  17. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

    Mar 10, 2005
    That is my favorite lens! I used it for the majority of photos in one recent body of work, ranging between 17 and 30mm on a 5d body. I was usually shooting it stopped down to f/8 or f/11. It's a definite keeper with a full frame, though the 10-22 would be a better option on a crop.
  18. Kebabselector macrumors 68030


    May 25, 2007
    Birmingham, UK
    It is a nice lens, though after buying the 24-105 f/4 L I found I hardly used it. However as my 24-105 is currently playing dead I've started the use the 17-40 once more and rediscovered it!
  19. Razeus thread starter macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
  20. synth3tik macrumors 68040


    Oct 11, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    THe L glass lenses are great. Personally I only go with prime lenses, however this is a nice lens.
  21. Razeus thread starter macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    It came in today. First test shot and it's plenty sharp! Can't wait to play with it tomorrow at the Zoo.
  22. sziehr macrumors 6502a

    Jun 11, 2009
    I am thinking about getting this lens as well
    I currently am shooting with a sigma 18-50mm F2.8
    The issue i am having is now that i am using it more and more i am finding it very soft at times.
    I am doing some weddings and portate shooting.
    I am considering getting a 50mm f1.4 or the 17-40 f4.0 fl
    I use a canon 580 speed light for indoor and portrait shooting as for fill light.

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