I'm wondering if I might have a bum copy (bought used) of this lens, or if I just haven't mastered it yet. Either way, I'm not satisfied.
To be clear, it's a fine lens---definitely better than a kit lens. But after months of getting spoiled with a 400 f/5.6, which I use for wildlife, I've come to expect a lot more from an "L" lens. The 400 produces crisp, contrasty, beautiful-color images. Right out the camera in RAW (no in-camera processing), I've got printable images with sharp lines at 100% scale.
The 17-40 images are usually a touch soft and in need of post-processing to be good. Not a single shot I've taken is wow-worthy at 100%. On a shoot today, I found myself relying much more heavily on my new 35mm f/2, which gave me beautiful shots closer to what I'd expect from an "L" lens.
So I'm wondering if this is typical...? Do people get prime-quality images out of this lens, or am I asking too much of a zoom? Is there a sweet-spot aperture I should be using (as much as conditions will allow)? Today I was all over, from f/4 to f/11 and never got the kind of quality I was hoping for.
Your input is much appreciated! A few sample full res-crops:
An image with the 400 f/5.6 (my "L" standard)
An image with the 17-40