Reviews and Problems with Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM
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Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Lens Review
SLR Lens and Camera Reviews
6 June 2009
Excerpt: Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM is one of Canon's professional grade lenses, first released in May of 2003. It is one of only four ultra wide zoom lenses Canon manufactures at this time. Sporting three aspherical lens elements and a Super UD glass element, the lens construction is made of 9 groups and 12 elements.
Conclusion: This is an exceptionally good lens and deserves it reputation, finding its place in most camera bags of professionals using Canon gear. The slightly warm colours produced by Canon L glass and the good contrast and control of other elements required for a nice lens are all there. The results will not disappoint. With recent improvements in lens design however, at the very top end it is staring to look a little long in the tooth.
Pros: Consistent performance throughout the focal range., Build quality., Good value for money
Cons: Top end cameras already at the limit of this lens’ resolution., Edges drop off a bit as focal length increases.
Conclusion: Are these two lens samples representative? I can't say for sure. I've been using my 16-35mm f/2.8L for many months and have been happy with the images it produces. Is it as sharp as primes in this focal length range? No, of course not. But it is very versatile, and I don't hesitate to use it in demanding situations.
Conclusion: If you shoot wide angle, full frame photographs with Canon cameras stopped down at f/8 and beyond, the EF 17-40mm f/4L lens is an outstanding lens. Contrast and sharpness are greatest at the wide end (20 and 24mm) of the zoom range and approach or exceed those of quality prime lenses. Sharpness drops off in far corners at 35mm and 40mm and microcontrast drops off slightly at 35mm.
Conclusion: It isn't lighter than the 16-35/2.8L. It isn't better quality than the 16-35/2.8L. It isn't dramatically wide on the small sensor cameras. However, if you want a high quality wide-angle zoom with a medium weight and a medium aperture, the 17-40/4L is an excellent value.
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens, (tested with cropped-frame APS-C body)
1 July 2007
Summary: The Canon EF 17-40mm may deliver spectacular ultra-wide angle coverage when fitted to a full-frame body like the EOS 5D, but offers a more normal, general-purpose range when mounted on cropped bodies like the EOS 30D or 400D / XTi. As such when evaluating it for cropped bodies, it’s important to compare it against other general purpose options like Canon’s standard kit lens and the popular EF-S 17-85mm.
Pros: Canon 'L' build and optical quality, Fast and quiet USM focusing motor, Constant f4 aperture throughout range, Will also work on full-frame body
Cons: Shorter zoom range than kit lens, No IS (although not particularly necessary), Overkill if not considering full-frame in future, Canon EF-S 17-85mm more flexible for most