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Thread started 03 Sep 2007 (Monday) 08:21
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17-40 F4 L

Senior Member
772 posts
Joined Dec 2005
Location: Knoxville TN
Sep 03, 2007 08:21 |  #1

I remember reading stuff a while back that said how sharp the Canon 17-40mm was. Now, it seems like everyday someone is talking about it being soft and selling it in favor of the Sigma 17-70mm. I want the highest IQ of the lenses and don't really like the limitation of the f4. I just mostly want some opinions of the 17-40L and what you all would do if you were in the market for a 17-xxmm lens.

6D - 50 1.8 - 50 1.4 - 70-200F4L

Senior Member
497 posts
Joined May 2007
Sep 03, 2007 08:25 |  #2
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The 17-40L is a great lens if f4 is fast enough for the work you do. I think it gets a bad rap sometimes due to it's short focal length and the fact that some folks just can't seem to understand that short lenses don't have the ability to resolve subjects at a distance like longer ones do. My 17-40L is sharp, but then I don't have any illusions of it being a telephoto glass... lol​photos/district_histor​y_fan/ (external link)

626 posts
Gallery: 8 photos
Likes: 37
Joined Apr 2007
Location: Barad-dûr
Sep 03, 2007 08:29 |  #3

I love mine (17-40l) but on a crop camera it is not wide enough......that said you can always rent one and give it a whirl

http://jjackflash.zenf​ (external link)

Jim ­ G
I feel thoroughly satisfied
12,255 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Jun 2005
Location: Australia.
Sep 03, 2007 08:29 |  #4

Mine's sharp as heck. I'm very pleased with how it performs and have no qualms in recommending it if you want a wide zoom with constant f/4 :)

I don't mind the f/4 - I use the 24-70 and 135L for all my low light work, the only time I ever want 17mm is for landscapes where I don't drop below f/8 or so so I can live with the smaller aperture for this lens.

Gear Listhttp://www.codastudios​ (external link) Reviews & Hotlinks: Domke F-3x - Pelican 1510/1514 (external link) & 1610/1614 (external link) - DIY Variable Length OC-E3 - Crumpler 6 Million Dollar Home (external link) - FA-100 (external link)

Cream of the Crop
8,187 posts
Likes: 24
Joined Apr 2007
Location: DFW, Texas
Sep 03, 2007 10:20 as a reply to  @ Jim G's post |  #5

Ditto what the others have said. I actually started with the Sigma 17-70, but felt that it was a bit soft and swapped it out for the 17-40L. Since I shoot primarily landscapes, the F4 didn't matter much to me. I haven't looked back since. It all boils down to what you shoot. On a crop, 17 really isn't that wide. If you want to go wide and supplement what you already have, the EFS 10-22 would be a good choice. If you want to stay in the 17-XX range, the 17-40L or the Tamron 17-50 would be good options.

"Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son". - Dean Wormer


Senior Member
821 posts
Gallery: 7 photos
Likes: 22
Joined Dec 2006
Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Sep 03, 2007 11:13 |  #6

Add me as another very satisfied user. It's an excellent landscape lens on my FF 5D, and served me well when I had a crop camera, although it didn't have sufficient reach on the tele end to make it a convenient walkabout lens.

If you have the means, I'd recommend the 17~55IS. Fast, excellent IQ, perfect range, and it has IS. As far as lens speed, if you really need an available light lens, the better course is to get a prime lens.

3,179 posts
Likes: 3
Joined Oct 2004
Location: Kelowna, Canada
Sep 03, 2007 11:36 |  #7

I have both the 17-40 f/4 and 17-55 f/2.8. The 17-55 is slightly sharper if you look at 100% pixel views, but on an actual print there is not enough difference to be noticeable.

Since I got the 17-55 I hardly use the 17-40 because of the more useable zoom range, the faster maximum aperture and the image stabilization. The only reason I keep the 17-40 is because I need it for my film cameras and D60. Eventually I will realize I never use film any more and will replace the D60 with an EF-S camera for back up. When that happens the 17-40 will be looking for a new home.

If it is in your budget, and you do not need the lens for a non-EF-S camera, I would get the 17-55, not the 17-40.

Senior Member
783 posts
Joined Jul 2007
Location: Washington State
Sep 03, 2007 11:49 |  #8

My 17-40 is pretty fricking sharp. I don't know about anyone elses, but I'm happy with mine on the 5D. Not all that wide on a crop camera. If you are going to hang with the 20D, or 30D/40D, I would consider the 10-22mm if you want W I D E.

Step back please... I'm armed with a camera...
Gear - Canon 5D/Grip, Canon 20D/Grip, EF 17-40mm, EF 24-70mm/2.8, EF 28-135mm IS, EF 50mm/1.4, EF 85mm/1.2, EF 135mm/2.0, EF 200mm/2.8, Canon 70-200mm/2.8 Canon 580EX II (3)
Other Stuff - Manfrotto Tripods/Heads, Domke bag, Pelikan Cases

Senior Member
909 posts
Joined May 2006
Location: Germany
Sep 03, 2007 11:49 |  #9

I have the 17-40, I though it was soft and wanted to get the 16-35 f/2.8L II but decided it wasn't a good idea as the 17-40 is sharp. :-) 17mm wide open it's sharp, and get's sharper 'till f/9 and then the sharpness is just amazing.

One more to the satisified users list!

EOS 5D Mark II | EF24-105 f/4L IS | EF100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS | EF200 f/2.8L II | 580EX | Manfrotto 055xProB + 808RC4, and 679B
Le Gear List

3,429 posts
Likes: 2
Joined May 2007
Location: Bedford, MA
Sep 03, 2007 13:36 |  #10

It's all a matter of personal opinion. I bought a used one and returned it. Everyone in the camera shop was amazed that I was returning such a "great lens," but it didn't seem to fit right to me. I'd suggest renting if possible.

smugmug (external link)

1,736 posts
Gallery: 9 photos
Likes: 40
Joined Oct 2005
Location: Toronto. CA - Bedford. UK
Sep 03, 2007 13:37 |  #11

Mine is also sharp, I love using it, it's sometime the only lens I go out with.

R :)

Canon: EOS 5DmkII • 50D • 40D • 350D • 100 f2.8L IS Macro • 70-200 f4L • 24-105 f4L IS • 17-40 f4L • 50 f1.4 • 60 f2.8 Macro • 85 f1.8 • 430EX • 580EX II • ST-E2
Sigma: 10-20 f4-5.6 EX DC HSM • 30 f1.4 EX DC HSM • 17-50 f2.8 EX • 24-70 f2.8 EX DG MACRO
Apple: CS3, Aperture & iPhoto. Various Manfrotto, Portaflash, Battery Grips, SanDisk & Lowepro

alamy: my stock photography (external link)

Cream of the Crop
10,206 posts
Likes: 1413
Joined Feb 2005
Sep 03, 2007 13:40 |  #12

iv never found mine soft and suprised to hear others do.

"The LensMaster Gimbal"
http://www.lensmaster.​ (external link)

Senior Member
576 posts
Gallery: 4 photos
Likes: 66
Joined Apr 2005
Location: Texas
Sep 03, 2007 13:44 |  #13

My 17-40 is sharp and I love it!!!!! If you need a faster lens go for the 16-35 2.8

1,919 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Dec 2005
Location: Arizona, USA
Sep 03, 2007 13:44 as a reply to  @ GyRob's post |  #14

Mine is very sharp and has incredible color and contrast. I’d never get rid of it. It’s a fantastic lens on my 5D.

- I discovered I scream the same way whether I'm about to be devoured by a great white shark or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot.

Cream of the Crop
9,909 posts
Likes: 206
Joined Jan 2006
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
Sep 03, 2007 14:21 |  #15

Stump wrote in post #3851035 (external link)
I remember reading stuff a while back that said how sharp the Canon 17-40mm was. Now, it seems like everyday someone is talking about it being soft and selling it in favor of the Sigma 17-70mm. I want the highest IQ of the lenses and don't really like the limitation of the f4. I just mostly want some opinions of the 17-40L and what you all would do if you were in the market for a 17-xxmm lens.

I've been where you are. This thread is why I sold my 17-40L. The 17-40L is a well-built lens with fabulous saturation. However, as you have noted, many of us have rec'd copies that are soft at f/4, and really don't sharpen up until f/5.6. It's for this reason I sold it for the 17-70. At f/4, the 17-70 was the sharper lens, but did not have the saturation (which is an easy fix in post-processing, of course). The combination of faster aperture, sharpness at f/4 and range (almost twice that of the 17-40) makes the 17-70 a most attractive option. I sold my 17-70 to get the new Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 macro (for constant aperture) and optically the two lenses are about the same. The 17-70 is the only lens I've sold that I miss - it's a wonderful outdoor walk-around.

"Raw" is not an acronym, abbreviation, nor a proper noun; thus, it should not be in capital letters.

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17-40 F4 L
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