17-40L Overestimated ?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by ulrich_brandl, Sep 9, 2005.

  1. In most of the discussion threads about wide angle lenses on 1.6x
    crop DSLRs the 17-40L is highly recommended. After shooting about
    one year with this lens I begin to doubt that it is really that
    useful. I fully agree that the lens has excellent optical quality,
    the problem is its zoom range.

    1. In most shooting situations an interesting detail is what makes
    the picture. That often lies in the "normal" (about 28-35mm, with
    the 1.6x crop)range, but frequently it is good when you can quickly
    zoom into the short tele range (50-100mm). This is what makes 24-70,
    24-105, 28-70, 28-135... so useful.

    2. When I decide to take a wide angle shot (indoor, landscapes, a
    detail with much surrounding) the decision for wide angle is clear
    in most situations. I rarely feel the need of quickly zooming
    between wide and normal, there is much more need for zooming between
    normal and tele.

    3. For typical wide angle applications a limit of 17mm is quite poor.

    4. The frequently recommended 17-40,50,70-200 combo is optically
    very good but brings only little benefit if you consider the
    frequent need of lens changes that should be reduced by zooms.

    Having said this, since I have the 10-22mm remains in the closet,
    most of the time. The gap between 22 and 28mm (my most used lens is
    the 28-135) is not a real problem, I never missed something between
    35 and 50mm in the long time when I shot with film and primes only.

    All this would prevent me from further recommending the 17-40 lens
    as THE first choice for people searching something wide (not wide
    enogh) or as standard zoom (not long enough) for a 1.6x crop DSLR.

    How do others think about this ?

  2. " since I have the 10-22mm remains in the closet" - should be read as: "since I have the 10-22mm, the 17-40 remains in the closet..."


  3. I have many lenses in this group: 10-22, 17-40 and 24-70, and the one I now use the most is the 24-70, and I'm now thinking of getting the 24-105 that's coming out soon. I'd like this lens to be wider, though.

    After buying the 10-22 and 24-70, I've kept the 17-40 for when I want to leave with just one "Do it All" lens, but I'm using it less and less, carrying the 24-70 instead, even though it's quite big and heavy.

    The 10-22 is useful once in a while when I really need a wide-angle view. I wouldn't sell it.

    Mr Canon, please give us a 17-70/4L IS lens that would be equivalent on a 1.6 crop factor camera to a 27-112 lens on a 35mm camera.

  4. That is the reason why my EF-S 17-85 IS is the one that I use most often, though I still own the 17-40 L. The 17-40 is optically better, but the zoom range of the 17-85 just so much more useful (and with IS).
  5. The range of the 17~40 is perfectly acceptable for an ultra-wide zoom on FF, but definitely limiting on 1.6-factor, and I have found this myself over the last twelve months. I have just bought a 10~22 and plan to buy the new 24~105 when it is available here in the UK, and I hope that those two lenses together will make a good combination with scarcely any break in coverage, but I think the 17~40 is still a good recommendation for a one-lens solution. The EF-S 17~85 ought to be the answer, but it's a bit slow and my brief test of one against the 17~40 was consistent with the widely-held view that it is noticeably not as good optically over the range they have in common.
  6. 90% of my shots are taken with the EF 17-40L.<br>It is a great lens, but I would often like to go even wider... The 10-22mm is on my immediate wish list...
  7. I was going to get the 17-40 L. However, I decided against it since the bank (my wife) was unsure about the money and so I decided to stay with the 18-55 mm kit lens for the wide end. I know it's not quality, but it will do for now.<br><br>As for the 17-85 mm lens, I dont think I want to pay $600 + Tax + Filter and MACK warranty on a non L lens that has nearly the same quality as the 18-55 mm.<br><br>For the longer end, I brought a Tamron 28-75 f2.8 and a Canon 100 mm f2.0. Later on, I will probably get a Canon or Sigma 70-200 f2.8 lens for the long end, and a Tamron 11-22 mm f2.8 lens for the shorter end. <br><br>As for the Canon 17-40 L, its a slow f4.0 and would be less desirable than the faster Tamron 11-22 f2.8.
  8. I have the 17-40 and I agree the zoom range is limiting. I will be getting the 24-105 at some point when wallet and wife permit, and ultimately will get either a 5D or more likely it's distant descendant when again, wallet and wife agree! That way you have all the wide-ultra wide and a very useful walk-around in the 24-105IS.
  9. Too bad the 17-85 isn't so good, as this could replace the 17-70/4L IS I've asked Mr Canon to develop...

  10. That's why they make so many different lenses. It's obviously not made for your particular taste, which hardly makes it either over-estimated or not preferrable for someone else. It's simply not for you. My two main favorite focal lengths back when I shot 35mm cameras were 28 and 50mm, so the 17-40 is a perfect fit, and I carry an 85mm f1.8. When I want/need that focal length I want a fast one, not the tele end of a zoom thats limited to f5.6. Does that make the 17-85 EFS "overestimated"? Obviously not by some. In my opinion I'd rather my normal zoom not start at 28mm on a 1.6 crop body like my 10D or Digital Rebel, so does that make a 28-135 IS lens any less useful for someone else like yourself? Obviously not.

    Just because certain lenses don't fit your shooting style doesn't make it overestimated.
  11. All this would prevent me from further recommending the 17-40 lens as THE first choice for people searching something wide (not wide enogh) or as standard zoom (not long enough) for a 1.6x crop DSLR.
    The first response to the question "Which lens should I buy?" is usually "It depends on what scenarios YOU need it for". There is simply no "correct" focal length without considering the actual conditions in which it will be used. That said, the 17-40 on a 1.6x body proves itself to be my most-used lens on the ground (in the air, I sacrifice quality for convenience by using a 28-135/IS on a 1.6x body). It best fulfills my needs, as I very rarely need anything wider.
    The frequently recommended 17-40,50,70-200 combo is optically very good but brings only little benefit if you consider the frequent need of lens changes that should be reduced by zooms
    The way I shoot, the new 24-105/4L will fit nicely between the 17-40 and 70-200. I like the fact that there will be considerable overlap of focal lengths, potentially reducing the frequency of lens changes. I could use the 28-135 in this range, but I don't like the results when viewed side-by-side with same-event pics from the "L" lenses.
    17-40L Overestimated ?
    Not to me.
  12. I agree that the 17-40 is too limting on a 1.6 camera as a general walk around lens. The sigma 18-50 f2.8 EXDC is a far more versatile lens, with the extra 10 mm and f2.8.

    I have never really understood why people recommend it so highly for a 1.6 camera except that it is cheap compared to most of the other Ls. Its real purpose is as an ultrawide on a FF camera.
  13. Many thanks for your posts so far.

    Greg, you are right, that the 17-40 doesn't fit to my particular shooting style and may be super useful for someone else. With "Overestimated" I meant that IMHO too many people call it a "must have". I saw recommendations for the lens in many threads where it was rather obvious, that it wouldn't fit with the needs of the member who posted the original question.
    OTOH I understand everyone who praises its image quality. This post was intended to get a more balanced view.

    I personally expect, that the new 24-105 + 10-22 will be a very versatile everyday combo fitting the needs of a high amount of photographers. I will probably replace my 28-135 if tests can confirm optical superiority.

  14. I have a 20D as well, and find that I too use the 24-70L as my "default" lens -- even though it's HEAVY and HUGE. It's just got that nice range where most of my "walkabout" pictures fit in.

    I then carry the EF-S 10-22mm for wides and (usually) my 135L in case I need to zoom a bit. I have more lenses than that, but when I want to minimize my load those are the ones I carry.

    This month anyway. :)

    I recently picked up a 16-35L and gotta say I'm glad I sold my 17-40L (and a couple other things...) to get it. The extra f/stop has already proven useful and this lens is seriously crisp!

  15. > I have never really understood why people recommend it so highly for a 1.6 camera except that it is cheap compared to most of the other Ls.

    It's because it's got a red ring. "Oooh! I have L-glass! Look at me! I'm important! I decided against the far more useful Sigma 18-50/2.8 and the 16-35 which is actually weatherproofed and bought the slow 17-40 which everyone else and their dog owns."

    // Edward - who owns a wide-angle zoom that isn't a 17-40.
  16. I totally ignored the 17-40L. With my first 1.6 crop DSLR I went with a 24-85, then quickly bought the Sigma 15-30. I sold both of those 1+ years later and bought the 16-35L and the 24-70L. I found I needed better quality and FASTER lenses. f/4 was way too limiting (especially considering the small, dark tunnel of a viewfinder these 1.6's sport and not to mention auto- and manual-focus ain't too hot with slower lenses).
    Don't buy the hype; think for yourself.
  17. I forgot to add, my wife is really not aware of PN so if she really knew the cost and the value of those two lenses I could have been in trouble. ;-) (I love you Cindy!) The white bazooka 70-200 2.8L though I never could "hide" so I was able to create a story around that one; it worked.
  18. I've been so very pleased with the sharpness, contrast, and color rendition of the Tokina AT-X 12-24mm f:4.0 on my 10D that I'm looking into their AT-X 28-80mm f:2.8 ($520 plus $50 rebate at B&H; less than half the price of the Canon 24-70 f:2.8L).

    Has anyone used this lens (NOT the older, lower-quality 28-70mm f:2.8!) or seen any reviews of it?
  19. I wish the 17-85 was NOT a S-series lens. This would be the ideal all-in-one lens on a small sensor camera. In all the anxiety and angst on the boards about the future of the 1.6 sensor, I've decided that I cannot afford a 5D and will continue with plans to purchase a 20D (to augment my DRebel) but will NOT buy anymore S lenses, in anticipation of full-frame sensors at some point in the future becoming more affordable.

    So, since my beloved A2E is now lens-less in the closet awaiting sale, I've taken the 28-105 off that and will see how it feels on the DRebel and the 20D when I get that.
  20. In defence (yep - that's 'ce' rather than 'se') I love my 17-40 - I just think it's better thought of as a wide-ultra wide FF lens. It IS limiting as a walkaround, but for Pete's sake stop bashing Canon coz their FF 17-40 doesn't make the grade as a walk-around on your 1.6 crop camera.

    They built you the 17-85IS for that.

    What's the whinge? I will live with the imbalance (as will many) because I want a FF DSLR and don't want to buy EF-S lenses in the meantime (and since I don't make money at this can't justify the added expense). I keep lenses for a long time and hope to be happily shooting away with the 17-40 in a decade or two on my 45MP FF 32bit HDR SL pellicle (for reduced lag and sensor protection) Camera

  21. Just because the 17-40 isn't for everyone doesn't diminish its value to those who need/want to use it. It's a high-quality optic in its FL range, and a good value in its price range.

    I certainly agree that its utility varies significantly between the 1.6, 1.3 and FF crowds.

    The Canon 10D was my first AF SLR, and the 24-85 was my first EF lens. It turned out to be the reasonably-priced, good-quality zoom to use while I learned what I needed.

    Less than two months after getting the 24-85, I bought the 17-40 as my second lens, because I found that the 24-85 isn't wide enough for my indoor photography needs.

    The 17-40 does everything I need for casual indoor flash photography (not including large venues like gymnasiums, auditoriums, churches, etc.). It's the lens mounted on my 20D about 80% of the time.

    For outdoors / walk-around, the 24-85 is still my lens of choice, until I see some reviews for the new 24-105, which I will buy if the reviews don't disappoint.

    (Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.)
  22. I have the the 17-40mm and 70-200mm combo.

    The logic being this. They are rated optically as better than all non L series lenses and Sigma EX lenses.

    I wanted high quality kit that would fit the next camera after my 2OD, so I wouldn't purchase a EF-S lense. The 17-40mm will be great on a full frame sensor which I'm sure will be in the sub 1K pounds bracket before too long.

    If I do decide to sell, I will get 90% of the retail value on Ebay.

    Both lenses give me stunning results most importantly.
  23. 2 years ago, the 17-40/4L was the widest CANON zoom available, and therefore was recommended.

    1 year ago, the 10-22/EF-S came out, as did the 17-85/EF-S.

    The 17-85/EF-S is clearly a good, but overpriced, walkabout lens. Many swear by it, but to me it just seems nuts to buy a consumer grade REDUCED IMAGE lens for almost the same price as a full frame "L" lens.

    The 10-22 is a good lens, also overpriced, but there is basically no other Canon options. Sure, it pairs well with a 24-70/4L. But this combo costs $1900, compared to the 17-40/4L and 50/1.8 which total less than $750.

    Now, there is the 24-105/4L-IS. Clearly, pairing this lens with a 10-22/EF-S seems obvious. But the 24-105/4L-IS actually costs MORE than the 24-70/2.8L. That's just nuts. And this is a 4.3x zoom. Optical quality is a real question.

    So. . .given these choics. . .for a 1.6 crop dslr . . .the 17-40/4L and 50/1.8 is still a low cost budget solution that yields top quality. I use it regularly. Get great shots too.
  24. I think that you should buy a Fuji GW670ii (which is a medium format 120 roll film rangefinder camera with a fixed 90mm f/3.5 normal lens) and use nothing else for one year.
  25. Suggestion for Edward H. - perhaps you should consider therapy for lensvy. P.S. my dogs do not use Canon EF lenses, they don't have opposable thumbs so they have to use pinhole cameras...
  26. I bet I could train a cat to work a cable release (plunger type.) That way he could use my old Minolta SRT! Just put it outside set to the whole "sunny 16" rule and let him go nuts... Think of all the low-angle rodent photos!
  27. I disagree with the OP. That may be his experience, but I have a 17-40/4 L, 50/1.8, and 70-200/4 L (and also the kit 18-55 and a 28-200 (which really isn't too bad in the mid-range) on the sidelines), and don't find that I need to do frequent lens changing.

    I find that the 17-40/4 L hits about say 90% of my cropped DSLR shooting. I've read the reviews, etc., and would really like to get a Tamron 28-75/2.8, but I haven't been able to justify it as a very useful range yet.

    I have no argument about the OP having different findings, but the OP is making an argument for the general case, and I find that it doesn't apply to me, and I don't think I'm very unusual in my shooting.

    The 17-40 is equivalent to 27-64 in 1.6x. I'd call this a classic range, as it covers 28, 35, and 50 -- 3 different common primes, and the 50 makes the next jump, to 80. I do know that wider still is better. There it's a question of what to fill my piggy-bank for -- the 10-22 EF-S or its ilk, or the 5D/4D/.... I think that the latter excludes the former for me, and so I live with the 17-40 for now. I find that I often have it on "17", so a 24-something will not do the job as well.

    I think the "work with what you have" factor should not be overlooked. The OP came to his conclusions, I think, based in large part due to the 10-22 EF-S. But not everyone wants to or can get this lens. Moreover, I suggest that that commits one to EF-S, and the 17-85 EF-S could be a better answer overall there in terms of range and frequency of lens swapping and economy. If economy is not considered, and pure performance is, then the best answer will be closer to that of the OP. I don't recall any detailed comparisons (likely most who have one simply don't have the other as it would be redundant), but I am prepared to believe that the 17-85 is not much worse than the 17-40 at the wide end, and could even exceed it at the tele end. I don't know; I haven't tried the lens. But it is worth considering IMO. If you think you're going to keep a 1.6x or hand it down, assuming that the lens itself is good (which it probably is), it'd be a good companion.

    I also admit that the "work with what you have" factor also applies to me. I'd like to wider than 27 equivalent, but am not willing to pay for it yet.

    If, like me, you think that FF is in your not too distant future, then I think the 17-40 L + 50 is a better set than the 17-85 EF-S or a mid range + 10-22 EF-S. It's very useful now, and will become an ultra-wide later. I think that if we've managed to live with it so far, we'll manage with its further performance degradation at the corners in FF.

    One valid counterargument in this view is that a good midrange will be wanted in FF. So if you get one now, you can benefit from it further later. This is fine, but it's a question of getting something that's better to use now or later, and some may reasonably prefer more usefulness now in the 17-40.

    In all, I think that the OP has a good point, and that many will think similarly. However, that doesn't change the fact that for me, the 17-40 still seems to be the single best lens at this time.
  28. Never been a big fan of third party optics but the Sigma 18-50mm 2.8 EX is really outstanding optically. It is sharper than my Canon 24-70mm 2.8 on my 20D. No question about it. I would not have believed it myself untill I gave this lens a shot. Don't take my word for it check out the user reviews at the Fred Miranda site. I don't know why we don't hear more about this lens it has been a very pleasant suprise.

    My basic kit now is very compact. Canon 10-22mm, Sigma 18-50mm 2.8, Canon 70-300mm DO IS.

    My 24-70mm 2.8 L is for sale.
  29. re: Mad Wand's response....

    I agree w/ most of your points, but you've made numerous references to "the OP".

    What, who, is that? It's annoying I can tell that.
  30. OP is netspeak for "Original Poster" -- the person who started the thread.
  31. Someone else around here said this about the 16-35 compared to the 17-40:

    The 16-35 is on all accounts 1% better and 100% more expensive. If you don't need the
    extra stop then the extra 700 bucks is a REAL wast of money. You can always pick up a
    fast prime(or two) for that kind of cash.

    I love my 17-40, sure it has limitations but doesn't every lens? 17-40 is a reasonable
    zoom. With all these zooms spanning 100+ mm I'd be concerned with the sacrifice of
  32. Another opinion in this forum is as welcome as a hole in the head, so just for the record;
    I have a 17-40 F4L, Tamron 28-75 2.8, Canon 50 1.8, 70-200 2.8L. I find all my lenses useful. The 17-40 is my main lens during receptions. I was planning on getting the 24-70 2.8L or the 24-105 F4L IS, but after much consideration I went in an extreme direction: I got the 24 1.4L! Why? not that you actually care, but I shoot weddings mainly and I really need a fast lens. Since I have a 50 1.8 (which I am considering on upgrading to the 50 1.4 want to wait until the 24 1.4 and check it out) The Tamron is supposedly as sharp as the 24-70 2.8L. The only thing I do not like about it is that it zooms in reverse, but I heard that the 24-70 2.8L starts at 70mm and zooms backwards to 24mm, well that did not make much sense to me and the 24-105 F4 is just to new. So for me I want the ability to shoot in low light (receptions and such) without the need for flash so that is why I went the way I did. Anyway, that is my 2 cents.
  33. While everyone's got a wish list, I'd love to see a 15-55 to replace the full-frame 24-85. Haven't tried the 17-40 yet; I went for a more budget-conscious option, the 20-35 f/3.5-4.5 and focused on better lenses in telephoto. I have a suspicion that full-frame DSLRs will come down in price, making some of the odder lenses (10,12,17mm or whatever wide) less useful in the long run (i.e. 3-5 years).

Share This Page