17-40 buyer suggestions?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by matt_cooper|3, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. Hi all,
    I am planning on buying a 17-40 and was just wondering if there is anything to consider before buying, such as the date of manufacture. I know some lenses are known to have been improved after the initial manufacture. Thanks a lot for any advice for a prospective 17-40 buyer!
  2. The 17-40 is so popular that any new stock will be from a very recent production run. If you buy used, every lens has a date code so you can check when your particular copy was "born." I haven't heard much about incremental changes in the 17-40, but you never know I suppose.
  3. Thanks Craig. I'm planning on buying used...that's why i was asking, because, for example, there is one for sale right now for a good price but it's from 2003.
  4. After testing and buying the lens and for whatever reason you don't like the lens, you can always sell it and lose very little if any.
  5. UZ or UY or UW or UX would show it's of the most recent (4 years) production, also the feel should be closer to new that way. Over time dust can get inside and wear happens too. The price might be quite similar for these and older ones, so I would prefer one of the 4 above, especially if you intend to use it a lot.
  6. I've heard the early runs of this lens had more consistently excellent IQ (more quality checks?) and things got a little looser later in production.
  7. Save yourself a couple hundred bucks and get the Tokina AT-X Pro 17-35 mm F/4.0 FX Lens
    It is a superb lens that meets or exceeds Canon's 17-40, IMHO.
    I have been using one for months now and find it's sharpness, lack of distortion, and overall IQ simply outstanding!
  8. I am selling my 17-40mm USM lens (to KEH with the 85mm f1.2 USM II) if you're interested. I bought it over the 16-35mm zoom but in the end didn't like zooms and I use the matte focus screens with requires f2.8 or faster lenses.
  9. The 17-40L is one of those lens where either you love its colour, user experience and sharpness or you just don't get the zoom range in which case you will likely end up with a 24-70 f2.8 zoom lens.
    It's a wonderful UWA for a full frame. OK walk around lens for crop. Use in conjunction with say a 7d or 1d series and you have a fully sealed system.
  10. I have owned 2 (first one got stolen). Excellent lens. I would not hesitate in recommending it. Built like a tank too
  11. Well, it's built like a relatively small tank (which I like about it).
    Be aware it's not a sealed lens unless it wears a filter. Don't get a cheap one! A Hoya HMC or S-HMC is a very good quality of filter for a very reasonable price. A Pro-1 would be even better, but perhaps not enough to justify the additional price.
  12. A few months ago I was deciding between the 17-40 L and the 16-35 L II (about twice as much). After reading all I could find on both, I decided on the 16-35 L II because it is touted to be sharper in the corners. If, however, I were using a camera with a cropped censor, the 'upgrade' would have not been worth the price difference. Center performance on the 17-40 is more than acceptable (based on tests and specs).
  13. A bit of advice regarding situations in which this lens is great and situations in which it might not be the best options...
    The strengths of the lens include:
    • excellent center sharpness at all apertures
    • very good sharpness across the frame when stopped down
    • relatively flare resistant
    • reasonable coast
    • relatively light and small compared so some of the alternatives
    • excellent construction quality
    The weaknesses of this lens include:
    • soft corners wide open
    • maximum aperture of only f/4
    • no IS
    • relatively small focal length range in comparison to some of the alternatives.
    (All lenses have both strengths and weaknesses, so by listing weaknesses I do not mean to suggest that it is a poor lens. It is a fine lens and I own a copy and use it frequently.)
    Given the strength/weakness list, it turns out that the 17-40 is an excellent lens for stopped down (small aperture) work on full frame cameras - say for landscape, some architecture, and similar subjects. The corner softness issues diminish greatly at f/8 and beyond as you stop down, and you can shoot the lens effectively at f/16 on full frame for these subjects. (A good alternative if you really need an ultra-wide lens for full frame handheld, low-light shooting is the 16-35mm f/2.8. The strength of that lens is its performance at the largest apertures, though it doesn't have advantages stopped down.)
    It is not, in my opinion, the best option for a cropped sensor camera -. When I got my 17-40 I was shooting a cropped sensor body, and I ended up feeling that I was sort of "caught between a rock and a hard place." Because I found its performance, especially in the corners, not all that outstanding at f/4, I tended to want to shoot it stopped down. This meant that between the largest decent aperture and the point at which diffraction blur became a concern in my work... I had only one or two stops to work with. Basically, for the work I was usually doing, f/8 was the closest to an idea aperture, and even there the corners were not great. On the other hand, for some kinds of photography the soft corners and vignetting wide open were not a problem - certain kinds of street photography, for example.
    Given that there is an alternative for cropped sensor shooters, I don't especially recommend the 17-40 for them in most cases. A better lens for them is the EFS 17-55mm f/2.8 IS. This lens is optically the equivalent (at least) of the two L lens alternatives, has a larger focal length range, goes to f/2.8, and includes IS. Objectively it is a much more flexible lens that also performs as well or better on crop in other ways, too.
  14. Thank you all so much for the helpful responses!
    Peter, that is a good recommendation, but I am leaving for Argentina in a couple weeks, and I am purchasing the lens mostly for the purpose of landscape work in Patagonia. I basically have one shot at picking the right lens.
    I will be using it on a 5d original. I'm attracted to the lens because of it's size/weight vs IQ and also the price, which is a concern for me (hence the 16-35 is out of the question). The alternative I am cosidering, actually, would be to continue using my olympus zuiko 18 mm, but i am so concerned about the fleeting moments of golden light that often occurs in Patagonia, that I don't want to risk having to mess around with the stop down metering of the 18mm, and also I want the additional flexibility of the zoom.
    Glenn, I will be investigating the Tokina, I wasn't aware of that lens. Thanks.
    Puppy, thanks for the info, that is basically what I was after. I guess it's a tradeoff between the fact that the older the lens, the more dust and wear, vs the possibility that early runs were more consistent. Because like I said, I only have one shot, it would sure be a shame to get a dud for my big adventure in Patagonia! It sounds like there isn't much to worry about with this lens, though. The consensus I seem to find is that it is quite consistent in terms of quality. I'll be using it mostly at f8,11,16.
    Thanks again everyone!

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