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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 14 Jul 2010 (Wednesday) 20:59
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17-40 not "L" enough...

 
noahcomet
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Jul 14, 2010 20:59 |  #1

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 (external link) (my "L" standard)

An image with the 17-40 (external link)


http://www.flickr.com/​photos/noahcomet/

  
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jsboutin
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Jul 14, 2010 21:06 |  #2

To be honest, you're comparing the sharpness of a zoom with two primes, the 400 5,6 L's sharpness being considered awesome. Example photos please?


EOS Digital Rebel XT, EF 17-40 F/4 L and 70-200 f/4 L

  
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noahcomet
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Jul 14, 2010 21:09 as a reply to  @ jsboutin's post |  #3

Absolutely, which is why I admit that I might be asking too much of a zoom. Do you think that's the issue? Even an "L" zoom can't compete with a prime, eh?


As for sample, I provided links to two in my original post. (Didn't want to be held back bu the 150kb upload size limit this site seems to impose on me, so I used an external host.)


http://www.flickr.com/​photos/noahcomet/

  
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SuzyView
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Jul 14, 2010 21:13 |  #4

The 17-40 was my first L lens and I was blown away. And I continue to use it for landscapes, very wide with the 5D2. I don't know about your copy of the 17-40, but in daylight, I think it's wonderful. That being said, I don't use primes for the work I do. I have nothing to compare it with except the 50 1.4 and the 85 1.8. If you are comparing it to the 400, that's not a fair comparison. They are not for the same purpose. Maybe you are asking too much and some have traded in their zooms for the 24 or 35 primes.


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My children and grandchildren are the reason, but it's the passion that drives me to get the perfect image of everything.

  
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billybookcase
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Jul 14, 2010 21:13 |  #5

even though my 17-40 can't compare to my primes in terms of sharpness, in my opinion, it held its own right in color reproduction and made for a good events walk-around when paired with a flash.


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jsboutin
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Jul 14, 2010 21:13 as a reply to  @ noahcomet's post |  #6

Try taking a picture of something still, under well-lit conditions, wide open, maintaining shutter speed shorter than 1/300. We'll be able to talk about sharpness after. This picture is awful, but it could be a thousand things, starting with motion blur.


EOS Digital Rebel XT, EF 17-40 F/4 L and 70-200 f/4 L

  
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JayCee ­ Images
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Jul 14, 2010 21:14 as a reply to  @ noahcomet's post |  #7

Your examples dont really show much...

Youve got an extreme closeup with the prime and a snapshot of someone throwing a horseshoe(at a moderately slow shutter speed).

It took me a while to "master" my 17-40...when i first got it, i didnt really understand what all the hype was about either. But the more i used it, the more i started to figure out all the ins and outs of using it and the better my pictures got. It wasnt a lens, for me, that i just slapped on any body and started taking amazing pictures with.


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speedyy17
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Jul 14, 2010 21:14 |  #8

Holy Crap uhhh your 17-40 looks horrid!!! hmmm may re-consider picking one of those up now... What were the setting on the pic...ap?


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jsboutin
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Jul 14, 2010 21:16 |  #9

speedyy17 wrote in post #10538256 (external link)
Holy Crap uhhh your 17-40 looks horrid!!! hmmm may re-consider picking one of those up now... What were the setting on the pic...ap?

Look at the archive, it's WAAAAAAAAAY more representative than that of this awesome lens.


EOS Digital Rebel XT, EF 17-40 F/4 L and 70-200 f/4 L

  
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SuzyView
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Jul 14, 2010 21:19 |  #10

The archive thread was the reason I bought the 17-40 first. Some of the pros and amateurs outdid themselves, and I did, too. My image is in that thread, in the beginning.


Suzie - Still Speaking Canonese!
5DIV, SONY a7iii, 7D2, G12, M100, M50, 5 L's & 2 Primes, 25 bags.
My children and grandchildren are the reason, but it's the passion that drives me to get the perfect image of everything.

  
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noahcomet
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Jul 14, 2010 21:21 as a reply to  @ jsboutin's post |  #11

Yes, after looking through the archive, I'm getting the sense that this may be a bad copy. While I have a lot to learn about photography, I've put this lens in a variety of situations (so I don't think operator error can be solely responsible) and none have given images like some of the ones here.

And of course, there's a bit of apple-and-orange going on here. I simply meant to explain what I've come to expect from an "L" in order to gauge whether such an expectation of this lens is even reasonable.

Don't judge the 17-40 from my crappy pic. It seems many are getting way better results. A new question---when one sends in a lens to Canon for calibration, how long does it usually take for the lens to be returned?


http://www.flickr.com/​photos/noahcomet/

  
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Tommydigi
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Jul 14, 2010 21:24 |  #12

A prime is usually sharper then a zoom, especially a zoom wide open. My 50 1.4 is sharper then my 24-70 at 2.8. You should get excellent color and contrast from your 17-40. I have just the opposite experience I got one used and ended up liking it more then I thought I would.


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noahcomet
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Jul 14, 2010 21:27 |  #13

Okay, I just found this pic, which I didn't remember taking---took it the day I got the lens. Perhaps a fairer comparison to the 400 5.6 shot I posted. ...It's a hell of a lot sharper. So I guess I'm the problem after all. I'm not that bad of a photographer!---what the heck am I missing here?

http://mansfield.osu.e​du/faculty/ncomet/1740​.jpg (external link)


http://www.flickr.com/​photos/noahcomet/

  
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AlanU
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Jul 14, 2010 21:47 |  #14

op,

Your example of the 17-40 lacks good lighting.

I love my 17-40L. I am considering on buying a 16-35mkII one day being a stop faster. However I consider my 17-40L a variable "prime lens" its amazingly sharp wideopen!!!!!

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halitime
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Jul 14, 2010 22:00 |  #15

One of my next lenses will be a 17-40 but I don't have expectations of it being as sharp as my other L lenses.


Gear List : 1D MK II n,Gripped XSi,70-200 f4,300 f4 IS,Canon 24-105 f4,35 f2 IS,EF 50 1.8 MK I,EF-S 10-22,Canon 1.4 II Extender,Canon 25mm Ext Tube,YN 468/460 II,RF 602's
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17-40 not "L" enough...
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