Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM
Lab Test Results
(From Canon lens literature) A new and affordable L-series ultra-wide-angle zoom lens that's ideal for both film and digital SLRs. Superior optics are assured by the use of three Aspherical lens elements, in addition to a Super UD (Ultra-low Dispersion) glass element. Optical coatings are optimized for use with digital cameras. This lens focuses as close as 11 inches (0.28m), and offers both Canon's full-time manual focus and a powerful ring-type USM for fast and silent AF. It has a constant f/4 maximum aperture, and offers the choice of screw-in 77mm filters or a holder in the rear of the lens for up to three gel filters. Finally, it offers weather-resistant construction similar to other high-end L-series lenses.
The Canon 17-40mm f/4 L is a high quality lens with a full-frame image circle that showed really exceptional performance on the EOS-20D we used to test it with. (The EOS-20D has a nominally APS-C size sensor, so corner sharpness and distortion will be better than if the lens is used on a camera with a full-frame sensor.) Sharpness at maximum aperture is excellent across the board (just a slight decrease in sharpness around 30 mm), and the "sweet spot" for sharpness is unusually broad, with truly excellent results from f/5.6 to f/8 at all focal lengths.
Chromatic aberration is moderate at 17mm, very low at 24 and 31mm, and then rises again for large apertures at 40mm. Vignetting is remarkably low, less than 1/4 EV at all apertures and focal lengths, almost non-existent at apertures of f/8 and higher, at all focal lengths 24mm and above. Geometric distortion is a little higher, with about 0.7% barrel distortion at 17mm, although this decreases to only 0.1% pincushion at 40mm. (Again, note that these figures are when used with an APS-C size sensor: Full frame results would doubtless be worse.)
All in all, the 17-40mm f/4 L easily justifies its premium price with top-notch optical performance.
Full-Frame Test Notes:
The full-frame test results for the Canon 17-40mm f/4L demonstrate to some extent just how much full-frame cameras demand from even excellent lenses in the corners. The 17-40 f/4 is an excellent lens, remarkably so on the 20D. ON the 5D, while it's still excellent, some significant softness appears in the corners when shooting wide open. The good news though, is that closing down just one f-stop brings dramatic improvement, and performance at f/8 is truly excellent. At f/11, the corners flatten slightly more, but at the cost of a smidgen of center sharpness as diffraction starts to limit the resolution slightly. As you'd expect, both maximum and average chromatic aberration are a little higher on a full-frame body, due to the larger image circle the lens has to cover. Geometric distortion increases somewhat more relative to its sub-frame performance, particularly at longer focal lengths, reaching about 0.4% pincushion at 29mm, and increasing gradually from there to 40mm. Barrel distortion hits 1% at 17mm. Vignetting is also much more pronounced on the 5D than it was on the 20D, hitting a maximum of about 0.8 EV wide open at 17mm, and about 0.4EV wide open at 40mm. Light falloff does decrease as you stop down though, dropping by roughly half as you move from f/4 to f/8, and decreasing more gradually from there.
While there's no question that the 17-40mm f/4L has to work a lot harder around the edges of a full-frame sensor, there's also no question that it remains an excellent optic, one of the true bargains among Canon's lenses. - And if you stop it down, its performance is really exceptional for a wide-angle zoom.
A note about the blur plots for this lens - Astute readers will note that the optimal performance appears to be somewhat better (lower BxU numbers) on the 5D than the 20D. We consider this to be an artifact of minor differences in the two cameras' pixel dimensions and in-camera sharpening processing, magnified by the extreme sensitivity of the DxO analysis application and the fine gradations of our graphing scheme. The colors on the graphs make it easy to see variations of considerably less than 1 BxU near the lower end of the graph's range. We've scaled the results to match the performance between cameras as best as possible, but our current gain-only normalization seems to leave the 5D's results looking slightly better at the "good" end of the scale when the "bad" end results are more or less in-line. Given that the differences seen for the optimal conditions are tiny, fractional-BxU unit variations, they really aren't statistically significant.
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM User Reviews
7 out of 10 points and recommended by MichaelShea (8 reviews)Robust and impressive build quality with smooth handling; relatively lightweight; reliable autofocus; familiar vibrant Canon colours. Well priced (at least by 'L' standards).Very weak corner resolution at 17mm below f/11 on full-frame. The bulbous and ugly lens hood is large, obtrusive and awkward to pack unattached.
I have recently used this lens for landscape and seascape images in mostly good outdoor light on two full-frame cameras, namely the EOS 5D and EOS 5D Mark III respectively. Although it covers a range of focal lengths I already had mostly covered by three prime lenses, I did not previously possess anything quite as wide as 17mm and could not justify the cost of other native alternatives.reviewed May 17th, 2019 (purchased for $560)
Having read or watched practically everything published on the internet about the lens prior to my purchase, I had been well aware of the lens's limitations in terms of resolution in the corners of the frame. I now concur with the consensus, in that for landscape purposes the results are virtually unusable below 20mm on any aperture more wide open than f/11. Generally preferring to avoid carrying a tripod, I find the solution to this is to enable auto ISO and set a minimum shutter speed of 1/160 second. The centre sharpness is excellent at all focal lengths and apertures and I found no obvious sign of field curvature, such as occurs with my EF 20mm f/2.8 lens, which can restrict one's choice of focal point.
As you reach 20mm, f/8 is on a corner sharpness par with f/11, and by 24mm f/8 becomes the optimum setting. If you tend to favour the 24mm to 28mm range the lens excels and I slightly prefer the micro contrast here to my image stabilsed EF 24mm f2.8 prime lens. From 28mm, any aperture can been selected with consistently pleasing results.
As with the vast majority of Canon EF lenses, any defects with distortion or chromatic aberration can be remedied with computer profiles and as you might expect, the minor issues here are at the widest end. For reasons already set out, the predictable vignetting at maximum apertures is immaterial to me given that my default position is stopped down.
If you are a landscape or architecture shooter, you will work within the limitations of this lens without it inhibiting your style at all. For street photography, the focal lengths you will probably favour are precisely where this lens most excels and so as long as you don't mind pushing up your ISO on occasions, it will similarly serve you well. I would not recommend the lens to be used for interiors or if background blur is important to you. Presumably the middling maximum aperture would have already put you off anyway.
Overall, the lens has undoubtedly become rather long in the tooth and it won't stand up to scrutiny on a 30 megapixels camera, but if you can work around its deficiencies with good technique and prior warning you will be very pleased by the results it can give. And apart from the hideous lens hood it looks good and you will be proud to own it.
3 out of 10 points and not recommended by brugj03 (14 reviews)17-40 range on fullframe, Looks niceLow color contrast, not sharp, much plastic and PRICE
On canon full frame at first glance a must have lens.reviewed April 7th, 2015
Everybody seems to like it, well.......
I don`t and i am not overly critical too. It seems that internet talk an clever canon marketing give this thing an much better rating than it deserves.
The colors are brownish and boring and to my taste unnatural looking.
Its not sharp wide open and hardly improves stopped down, you just do`t get crip images and all stays soft and bland.
Also it isn`t full metal it seems that many parts are plastic including barel and filter threath ther are many more platic parts inside that you can`t see.
Its way to expensive cause it`s hardly better than a kit lens.
This lens is one of the reasons why i sold all my canon stuff and bought a decent camera.
Never looked back.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by lunacat (2 reviews)Versatility, zoom range, price for quality
I really love this lens. I use it extensively for landscape photography but also for wedding photography even if I would need a lower f-stop for wedding photography. I don't like having tons of lens and this one is my to-go lens whenever I need to be light while traveling (I make a lot of treks, so weight is fastly an issue).reviewed May 23rd, 2014
You can find an insight of the use I make of this lens in my wedding photography as I am a wedding photographer : http://www.lunacatstudio.ch/photographe-mariage-portfolio/
7 out of 10 points and not recommended by Clarktor (2 reviews)Very good on APS-C.Soft corners on Full Frame, especially at 17mm.
I originally bought this lens and used it on my 30D in 2006, with the intention of it being my wide angle once I upgraded to full frame. Back then, the 5D was the affordable FF camera and this lens didn't do too badly on that sensor by all acounts.reviewed November 28th, 2013 (purchased for $900)
I bought the 5D2 when it first came out and it was clear that this lens just wasn't up to it. From 24-40mm it is ok, but lower than 24mm I just cannot get decent corners out of it.
It performs well on APS-C, but is now outperformed slightly by my fiance's cheap 18-55 IS kit lens in terms of resolution. It is obviously built better than the kit lenses and is a constant F4.0 aperture, but a couple of much faster primes combined with the kit lenses would be money better spent if the (minimal) extra speed is needed.
I now use a Tokina 16-28 which smashes the Canon 17-40 in every optical parameter, but is a fair bit heavier.
The 17-40 is in bad need of an update. Come on Canon, all I want is a UWA F4.0 zoom which is sharp across the frame at F8.0-11. It doesn't need to be sharp wide open!
10 out of 10 points and recommended by lomenak (2 reviews)great IQ and build, lightweightnone!
This lens is my favorite in Canon's lineup! The optical quality, build and size/weight makes it the best choice for landscape photographers.reviewed August 28th, 2013 (purchased for $650)
I use this lens extensively and it spends most of the time mounted to my camera.
Please check out my landscape gallery http://www.tomas-stehlik.com/landscape-gallery/ where most of the pictures are taken with this lens.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by Gromit (8 reviews)Excellent IQ, nicely built, lightDoesn't feel 'special' for the price.
I've had this lens a couple of months now, it replaced a Tokina AF193 (19-35mm) zoom which a friend had kindly let me borrow. Used on an EOS 40D, the upgrade on the Tokina has been obvious, but to be honest not the earth-shattering improvement I'd expected - proof that the Tokina is a very good little lens. The 17-40L was clearly better when compared to the EF-S 17-85 & 15-85 (I tried them back to back in the shop) though.reviewed June 23rd, 2013 (purchased for $850)
Good: There's a sense of 'rightness' about its image quality, it's very sharp pretty much from the get-go and doesn't seem to mind where the F-stop is set. The lens is nice and light too.
Not so good: Optically, my Sigma 10-20mm/f4-5.6 is sharper from 17-20mm when stopped down. It doesn't <feel> special - the zoom ring whilst quite smooth, feels slightly cheap. Ditto the focusing ring. For what I paid (540GBP) I'd expect better. Doesn't feel anywhere near as solid as my old Nikkor AI lenses did, for example. Different era though, to be fair.
The photos the 17-40 takes are very good though, and I have no real complaints.
1 out of 10 points and not recommended by thubleau (2 reviews)non beware review strapped to an apc sensorvery high distortion at 17mm end overpriced and heavy
I query some of these reviews because they are not accurate.reviewed June 23rd, 2012 (purchased for $800)
Lets look at the 17-40 l.
I shot a wedding using this lens ona full frame 5D MK2.
when i viewed the results on my computer all the group shots were so bad at The 17mm they were unuseable distortion was horrific.
OK so I know someone is going to say you shouldn't use a lens like this for group shots but my point is using this onan apc sensor is not going to give users an accurate assesment of this lens and the quality of the glass is also wasted on small apc size sensor cameras as I have compared L lens results versus normal glass on an apc size sensor and quite honestly you are wasting your money as there is no visible difference.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by 30/90 (3 reviews)L Series Image and build qualityLow light limitations of f4 lens.
I use this lens primarily for landscape and architectural photography. It is light weight compared to most other L Series lens, but the image quality is heavy duty. Low light shooting may be limited because it's an f4 lens, but it is sharp and capable of great color capture and contrast. It is very much an L Series lens.reviewed March 10th, 2012 (purchased for $750)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Rotremjr (4 reviews)Excellent image quality overallLens hood provide adapted for full frame camera only
Buyed in 2007 to get something near equivalent focal length of my EF 28-70mm f/2.8L to use on my APS-C camera.reviewed January 18th, 2012
I use the EW-83DII lens hood who is more adapted for APS-C camera (Original Lens Hood for EF 24mm f/1.4L USM Lens). Perfect fit.
Lens not too heavy nor too short, just perfect in the hand, in perfect balance with the camera.
The picture quality is there. The sharp edge / center is excellent. Perfect color rendering with multi-layer treatment of the L series Canon (8 layers on both sides).
The quality of construction (sealed lens, seal-rings on mount).
Only downside: performance significantly worse on a full frame camera.
Although this is an EF lens that can be mounted on both APS-C cameras and full frame camera. The optical design is optimized for APS-C cameras.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by killersnowman (10 reviews)Light weight (for an L), inexpensive (for an L), Great image QualityHood Design makes using polarizers very difficult
I purchased this lens to replace my Tokina 12-24 f/4 when i moved from the 20D to a 5D2. it provides a slightly longer and wider fov than the tokina on the 20D. the build quility is amazing. no creeks no jiggles, just a solid lens.reviewed December 18th, 2011 (purchased for $700)
both the focus ring and the zoom ring are very smooth. ive had no issues with them and are much nicer than the tokina 12-24 than it is replacing.
now to the image quality. to be upfront, the image quality is really good. combined with the 5D2 ive gotten some amazing images. the flare you get on this lens is actually quite nice. long star shaped lines coming from the light source. it has mostly been used at 17mm and i have yet to see anything that makes me regret the purchase. yes, there is distortion... its a wide angle zoom.... but if you are shooting RAW (which you should be) then a quick check of the Lens Profile Correction box in Camera RAW will take care of that.
the only issues that ive had are with usability related to the lens hood and circular polarizers. the lens hood is very big and it is difficult to operate a polarizer with it on. there are ways around this. pentax came up with a great solution for some of its lenses.
see this image. (they add a cut out to the lens hood) http://i01.i.aliimg.com/img/pb/776/581/285/285581776_785.jpg
samples (all at 17mm)
great lens! buy it!
6 out of 10 points and not recommended by Nikoboyd (12 reviews)Very good built quality, lightweight,weather sealedBack focus randomly, barrel distorsion, no IS
I use this lens with my 500D as a normol zoom. Replacing my old broken ef-s 17-55 2.8 IS with this lens.reviewed May 25th, 2011 (purchased for $800)
Compare the 17-40 L with 17-55
17-55 win ; sharper, less distorsion, less CA
17-40 win ; weather sealed, internal zoom and focus
17-55 win ; the 17-40 doesn't have IS. IS is not necessary if you use this lens as a wide angle lens on FF body. But if you use as a normal zoom on APS-C body, IS may necessary in low light condition.
I'm not a pixel-peeper. I use this lens in real life. I can say this lens has a very good built and that's it.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by Leatherhelmets (1 reviews)Solid Construction, Fast, Sharp and quietNone yet
I just bought this lens last week and haven't had a chance to really take it through it's paces. The shots I've taken so far are sharp and clear. Gives me the extra width I was looking for, though I'd love to see it work on a full frame body like the 5D. This is my first L lens and so far I like what I see. If anyone has suggestions for good photography resources (Canon Experts) in the NYC area, please let me know.reviewed May 24th, 2011 (purchased for $839)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by AutoMotoMedia (4 reviews)Great Image Quality, Light, SharpLens barrel is plastic
Here's some pics I have taken with the lens.reviewed March 13th, 2011
Well, I love this lens, although I don't use it too often any more since I have a 14mm 2.8. I have my second copy of this lens currently and both were very sharp. Only problem I have with the lens is that the barrel is plastic and as I recall there's only like 4 screws that hold it to the metal mount...You might be wondering why I know this. Well, my camera/tripod fell over on varied terrain when a gust of wind hit it. The lens broke right off leaving the mount still on the camera.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by jt354 (9 reviews)Build quality, color and contrast, FF compatibility, distortion performanceSharpness
I bought this lens for use on a crop camera with the intention of upgrading to full-frame. This was a mistake, as circumstances prevented me from upgrading and the 17-40L's advantages are wasted on 1.6x sensors.reviewed May 10th, 2010 (purchased for $700)
Image quality is very good. My copy was strange in that it was tack sharp at close-focus distances and merely ok at infinity. Color saturation and contrast are excellent, flare was only an issue when used with rectangular filters directly into the sun, and CA and distortion are well controlled. Close focus is great, about 4 inches from the filter ring.
The lens' build quality is outstanding. It feels very solid in hand and has excellent, smooth focus and zoom rings. Internal focus is a nice touch and adds to the dust/water resistance (when used with a filter over the front element).
All in all, a great lens on full-frame and film cameras. On crop, the 17-55 IS, 15-85mm, Tamron 17-50mm, and 18-55mm kit lenses are more appropriate.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Creyr Glas Lightworks (10 reviews)Wow, the colors are amazing, tack sharp all overprice maybe? no IS? (really searching here)
Couldn't ask for more out of this lens. Its wide, its got great construction, and the colors and sharpness are wonders to behold. I ultimately parted ways because I needed wide and IS, so I got the 24-105L. I hope I have the funds to get this guy again so I can take a cheaper lens to locations that do not need the IS capabilities. I miss it for sure, but I guess you can't have it all sometimes.reviewed March 11th, 2010 (purchased for $650)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by dseidman (2 reviews)Sharp, lightweight, build quality, inexpensive for an L, weather sealedCorner sharpness, but it's not too bad
When I upgraded to a full-frame camera, I had to find a replacement wide angle lens for my Tokina 12-24. After doing a little research, this lens appeared to be the best value out of all my options (which were pretty much limited to either this or the 16-35). Now that I've had more than 6 months to use it, I can say that I definitely made the right decision for the type of photography I do. I don't need to the f/2.8 of the 16-35 and I don't think the difference in sharpness justifies spending double the money. In fact, there seems be very little difference in sharpness at all judging by comparisons I've made between images produced with my 17-40 and a friend's 16-35.reviewed February 22nd, 2010 (purchased for $700)
Here are some samples of the work I have produced with this lens:
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Mikeh (1 reviews)build quality, colors, contrast, weather sealing with filter, looks greatlacks IS, only F4, lacks reach compared to peers, quality control
I have owned the 17-40L for several years now and I still get goose bumps when I twist the thing onto my 50D. It still feels great and inspires a feeling of confidence. The best things about the 17-40L are the build quality, contrast and colors. There's this very, very fine contrast that meshes with a very real color reproducton that just makes landscape images look so much better. I have tried other non-L lenses and they don't have that same pop. The non-L canon primes do have the sharpness and contrast, but they are missing that special color.reviewed February 12th, 2010 (purchased for $600)
I use this lens to document the national parks and it has held up in the rain, snow, dust and sleet. You can see some of the samples here:
It will take anything you can throw at it. With a filter, the lens become sealed. This is nice when you have your camera protected but not your lens.
The negatives of this lens are the lack of IS, the fact it doesn't extend to 50mm and the F4. There are newer lenses out now that do offer these features for the same price of the 17-40L. However, I have found none of them offer the build quality, full frame capability, weathersealing or the outstadning color reproduction. This is why I continue to keep the 17-40L despite the competition. If I want speed I grab a 1.8 prime. If I want to shoot colorful landscapes from 17-40mm I grab the 17-40L. If I want ultrawide, I grab my Sigma 10-20.
I also experienced some bad focusing issues with my 17-40L when I first received it(new). It went into Canon service once but came back the same. This was when I decided to buy a body with micro AF adjust. I did some tests and found out my 17-40L had poor focus past 30mm, and prime like sharpness at 17mm. With an adjustment of +5, I have found that the lens focuses perfectly now, a compromise between 17 and 40 in IQ.
If you are looking for a high quality lens that feels right in your hands while producing very rich looking landscape shots, the 17-40L is for you. This lens just oozes quality. It may not have all the features of recent lens releases, but it's still the superior lens. The 17-40L and the new Sigma 50 1.4 would make an amazing high quality combo.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by uamsstudent (3 reviews)Fast & quiet autofocusOrdinary image quality
I just finished a comparison of this lens and the Canon 17-85 IS and the Canon 10-22. Using a focal length of 17 mm and f5.6, this lens is a little better than the 17-85 IS but not by much. When compared to the 10-22, the 17-40 is definitely better. All in all, the Canon 17-40 is a good lens (at least when mounted on a tripod and using mirror lockup). I'm not sure that its worth $750.00 though. For those of you who don't yet own the Canon 100mm f2.8 macro, it is unbelievably sharp !!! Try it....you'll like it.reviewed December 4th, 2009 (purchased for $750)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by toniwahid (3 reviews)Sharp, IQ, light weight, reasonable priceNone ...
The best seller of red stripe lens for my architectural and landscape. I can say many things about this lens, but let's pictures speak for themselves.reviewed August 14th, 2009 (purchased for $700)
Look the color saturation as you will be happy to own such wonderful lens :
10 out of 10 points and recommended by mrd (2 reviews)
It has Very Good construction quality and good image quality.Maybe It has the same image quality to 16-35 F2.8 II.Maybe the only different between this two lens is diaphragm.But I didn't give the image quality 10 points.Because I thing Canon need to do more work in UW lens.Any way, this is a excellent len.And It is also the cheapest L len.reviewed December 7th, 2008 (purchased for $603)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by sivrajbm (12 reviews)Sharp, Fast focusing, great IQ, quiet, FTMF, great color, great build.Not 2.8 but neither is the price
Ok, I tried not to like this lens. I wanted the 16-35L II, I got this one for a great price, just couldn't pass it up. I may still get the 16-35L II but later, this lens does everything but shoot @ 2.8. It is fast and sharp, my two favorite things in a lens. I've continued to be free of my Canon curse. My last three "L's" have all been SOTB (sharp out the box). Don't ask how many were not, it offends some people. Anyway try it you might like it. Now I can go for the 135L next.reviewed March 24th, 2008 (purchased for $470)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by that_fox (3 reviews)Fantastic IQ, build quality, good standard zoom, weather sealed, cheapMakes the XTi/400D a bit unbalanced, none other than that
I got this lens a couple weeks back and since then it has been an absolute joy to use. The IQ is great, landscape shots with this lens have good colour and sharpness. I really like how wide this lens is, even on my crop camera, plus it makes a great walk-around lens. I find the reach for a standard zoom to be quite adequate and for the price fantastic.reviewed February 16th, 2008 (purchased for $650)
The only problem I've run into is that when this lens is used on my XTi/400D it makes it unbalanced. While this may not sound too bad, when using this lens for a couple hours it makes my right hand hurt. This is wholly attributed to the camera's grip however, I just wanted it to be known. Despite this I would absolutely recommend this to an XTi/400D owner just for it's image quality alone. This is not my first L lens and it most certainly won't be my last!
9 out of 10 points and recommended by f43tgv (16 reviews)Sharp, wll built, great priceUgly hood
I am now on my second copy of this great lens. I have to say I am not a fan of Canons consumer lenses. Having used both Canon and Nikon extensively, I am of the opinion that Nikons consumer lenses are both better built and superior optically.reviewed February 15th, 2008
Somehow the trade off seems to be if you want a pro-spec Nikon lens you will pay for it big time. The Canon 17-40L is half the price of the Nikon 17-55 lens, just as good if not a touch sharper. One of lifes few geniuine bargains along with the remarkably priced 70-200 F4 L lens.
There are no faults with the 17-40l, Canon got this lens just right. Buy this one with confidence and you will lift your Canon into a whole new league as far as colour contrast and sharpness are concerned.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Sea Dragon Rex (5 reviews)Superb IQ, fast-silent focus, excellent build quality
I've used this lens on my XT and 40D and have had many exceptional captures with the lens. The construction is very nice with weather seals.reviewed January 8th, 2008 (purchased for $535)
The focus is fast and silent and the IQ is superb. It would be nice if the lens had more range like the EF-s 17-85 but the EF-s lens just can't match the IQ.
I just ordered the 16-35L II and hope that it's IQ can match the 17-40L (I need the extra stop). This lens is a bargain for the price.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by EF-S10-22 (19 reviews)Much better build than that of the EF-S17-55IS, Super fast AF , color and contrastNone.
I ditched the highly over rated EF-S , and got this lens, I could be happier.reviewed August 12th, 2007 (purchased for $720)
The 17-40L has much better build , much better focus accuracy than the EF-S.
Some times, F4 is not fast enough but I have many primes to cover that, also if the f4 is not fast enough, the f2.8 of the EF-S is not much better either.
I believe this lens is optically much better than the EF-S17-55IS , which has produced a lot of dull pictures with less contrast .
Also , it is built to last , less vignetting , less ghosting than the EF-S ,dust-collector.
I highly recommend it , this has 1 super UD and 3 aspherical elements , while the EF-S got 2 UD and 3 aspherical elements , these 2 UD are inferior to the Super UD in this one.
So many claim that the EF-S is optically an L is wrong, all Canon's true L has the super UD not UDs.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by I-R-Lab (1 reviews)small, light, sharp (on 1.6x body)goofy hood
Some notes on alternate hoods for crop format DSLRs:reviewed July 30th, 2007 (purchased for $680)
The EW-83J (for the 17-55 f2.8) and the EW-83H (for the 24-105L) both work nicely on this lens when used on a 1.6x crop body. The J hood is about 60mm deep. The H hood is a little shorter, and provides a little less coverage.
I have tested the EW-83J on my 20D and the 1Dmk3 we have here in the I-R lab. On the 1Dmk3 (a 1.3x crop body) there seems to be a hint of vignetting. The H hood might be a better choice on the 1Dmk3.
The J hood vignettes badly on a 5D (full-frame body), as one would expect.
The J hood is now permanently on my 17-40L / 20D. And, for the record, the J hood is also an improvement over the H hood on my 24-105L (with a 1.6x body).
As always, your mileage may vary.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by witan (2 reviews)Very good constructionA little too big. Picture quality not fantastic.
I also own the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 DI XR (Japan version) and find the Tamron produces better pictures than the Canon 17-40mL. Other reviewers at this site seem to concur.reviewed June 17th, 2007
10 out of 10 points and recommended by anrieff (5 reviews)good range, excellent IQa bit heavy & bulky, "only" f/4.0
This lens is as good as it gets. Bought it four months ago just before a trip to Malta - it turned out to be the perfect decision (I came from there with 900+ photos - most of which simply rock).reviewed May 26th, 2007 (purchased for $969)
This is not the perfect walkaround lens, but hey - it is not designed to be. It is a pro-ish and its IQ is the best you can afford for the bucks. I actually compared this one to a prime - the EF 35mm f/2. It turns out, this one has better CA across the frame, better corners, and comparable center sharpness. The prime beats it up at f/4 (only). It may sound ridiculous how can a zoom be a better than a prime... well, here you have it.
I've noticed that my copy of this lens has some tendency to overexpose - about 1/3 step... nothing much, you just have to compensate it by dialing -1/3 exposure...
Anyways, this is a nice addition to the bag of any serious shooter. You simply won't regret it, the quality of this lens kicks ass (not to mention you also got a hood and a pouch.. handy).
Some photos: http://debian.fmi.uni-sofia.bg/~group6_2008/lens/canon17-40/
8 out of 10 points and recommended by mbee (1 reviews)Build Quality, Weather Proofing, Corner Sharpness, Better Colour Rendition, Full FramePrice, Weight, IQ not as outstanding as I had thought
Not too happy with the kit-lens of my EOS 350D, I recently upgraded to the 17-40L. The first thing I did was compare this lens to the 18-55 II kit lens and to my astonishment, the difference in IQ between the two lenses was not as much as I had imagined and it was only after the comparison that I developed some respect for the kit lens! I realised that in some of my shots the kit lens (at f8) gave better center sharpness. Upon close inspection of several similar (outdoor) shots, I realised that the 17-40L gave overall better IQ, it has better corner sharpness and much, much better depth of field than the kit lens. Another strange thing that happened was that I used to almost always dial -0.3 exposure compensation with the kit lens, with the 17-40, exposure became more accurate and at times I had to overexpose! Between the two lenes, the 17-40 gave slightly warmer colours and slightly better dynamic range.reviewed April 17th, 2007 (purchased for $750)
Having used the two lenses, I know know that the kit lens is capable of producing great results and in image quality, the two lenses are not poles apart. In several subtle ways, the 17-40 is much better and beats the 18-55 hollow in terms of build quality, weather sealing, FTM focus and capability of being used on a full frame body. People living in fungus-prone, humid conditions might feel at ease with the weather sealing of this lens. Overall, the lens justifies its price and its place in any serious shooter's kit. Remember that with a build quality like this, it might serve you well for decades and so it is probably worth the extra $$ :-)
Lastly, I bought this lens after reading several reviews on this website. Thank you, everyone!
Jaipur (Rajasthan) India
8 out of 10 points and recommended by JGLarson (6 reviews)Great IQ in compact, light packageNone on Full Frame camera, limited zoom range on a 1.6x format camera
Great IQ stopped down, and very good even wide open. Flair control much beter than the 16-35L. Distortion minor at 17mm and easily fixed in Photoshop.reviewed January 13th, 2007 (purchased for $740)
This lens is in my main core lens group of 3 lenses that is ALWAYS with me. I got this lens to be my ultra wide lens on my 5D. I already owned a 30D (originally a 20D), and with the 30D camera I use a Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC zoom as my general purpose walk around lens.
While the Canon 17-40L is a great lens and could function as a general purpose lens on a 1.6x camera body, it don't think it would be my best choice if I only owned a 1.6x camera. On a APS-c camera the 17-40 doesn't offer as much zoom range as I would prefer, and I would be mildly frustrated with the f/4 maximum aperture. (I don't have those concerns with my 24-105mm IS Canon on a 5D, because of the Image Stabilization). If you know you will eventually own both FF and APS-c cameras, then the 17-40 can work reasonably well on both.
I originally considered the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8, but upon testing it I was very disapointed with the resolution, and poor flair control (especially for a $1400 lens). Distortion was greater on the 16-35 also, but I normally fix that stuff in PS. Bottom line is that the 17-40 is just a better optic. If you can live with f/4, and don't mind NOT spending twice as much for the 16-35L, you will be very happy the 17-40. Since the 17-40 is intended to be a wide angle for my 5D, not a walk around lens for my APS-c camera, the f/4 issue is no problem at all.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by michelen (1 reviews)IQ, versatility, useful focal length, constructionsoft wide open, CA
This is a good focal length for landscapes, scenery, and architecture. In fact, I use this lens more than any other. The image quality and contrast is good. It can be a little soft near the edges wide open and I have experienced on occasion chromatic aberration, green to blue shift, in areas of high contrast.reviewed January 9th, 2007 (purchased for $678)
The lens is well constructed and the AF is generally fast and accurate. Given the cost of other comparable L lens, this lens is a good value.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by thomiz (16 reviews)Nice on cropped sensor, built like a tank, inexpensive, sharp, fast AFSlow, a little short?
This is my most used lense. It can take anything, sharp wide open, but then again I do miss an extra stop of light.reviewed January 8th, 2007
The lense is really well built, it is wide enough for most of my work, focuses fast, and everything is smooth. I sometimes miss an extra 10-15 mm on the long end of this lense if I bought today I would probably go with the 17-55 IS for the extra speed and IS. However a great lense at this price, and if you are not bothered with the f/4, just get it.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by Lee Jay (16 reviews)Great price, great optics, well builtSoft corners on full-frame, too short to be a walkaround on 1.6 crop
This lens is really better for what it was designed for - an ultrawide on full frame - than it is as a standard zoom on 1.6 crop. Stopping it down on full frame is usually no problem and it is outstanding in that regard. Very low price given the performance.reviewed January 7th, 2007 (purchased for $700)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by ne1rom (6 reviews)Sharp, light, compact, IF, coloursoft corners wide open (on FF)
On APS-C it's very useful range 17-40 (27-60 eqv.), image quality excellent. Build quality up to the top!reviewed January 7th, 2007 (purchased for $700)
On FF image quality remains on high level, still extreme corners shows some softness - stoping down a few stops helps a lot. I'll suggest to use 17mm from F5.6+.
Highly recomended for nature photography!
9 out of 10 points and recommended by amolas (6 reviews)Price, Build, constant aperture, internal movingautofocus problems on some, only f4
Very sharp when focus is well done. Not so expensive for such a good built quality and tropicalisation.reviewed January 6th, 2007 (purchased for $780)
I will recomand it as a very wide angle on a 5D, or as a trans-standart zoom on a cropped sensor.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by philhirn (5 reviews)Allround Quality
Actually not as sharp as a 50mm prime, but prime is prime. Excellent contrast and good iq, a joy to use. I recommend the EW83DII lens hood. For an allround 1.6 crop, the far end may not be enough for your needs. Thats where the 50mm prime comes into play :)reviewed December 28th, 2006 (purchased for $600)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by jraNL2 (6 reviews)L build and image quality, relatively light, priceugly lenshood, for some focal length might be a bit too short at 40mm
Well, what can I add after so many loud applause of the crowd getting excited by the build as well as image quality in relation to the price of this L designation? In one word: an excellent lens. If you're not convinced yet (I doubt it, though), let's see some samples I put here:reviewed December 25th, 2006 (purchased for $774)
The lens is easy to work with, I'd say it's almost compulsory for anyone using 1.6 crop EOS DSLR as a standard zoom lens. The AF is also fast without hesitation, even under dim light condition and the image quality is on par with its other L brothers and sisters. Furthermore the reason to get excited is the price which is reasonably on the cheap side, taking L quality into account. The provided lens hood (EW-83E) is ugly, but I have already given it a kick in the ass on my review of the EF-S 10-22mm so I will not repeat it again this time. But it's butt ugly, believe me, so I decided to mount a cool Contax metal hood #3 I happened to own with a help of a step-up ring 77-86mm in front of the lens, then checked it at every lens opening ... and voila, no vignetting or whatsoever in the corners of my 1.6 crop DSLR images. The 17-40L doesn't produce only best images but it's now elegant, too, thanks to the round metal hood.
Since I have a habit to pair lenses, this 17-40L does pair best with 70-300 DO. A gap between 40mm and 70mm is not much of a problem for me, but the same layout of these lenses is much more of an importance. In the "heat" of shooting session I must instinctively know that both lenses have a zoom ring which lies behind the focusing ring. The other pair, the EF-S 10-22mm and the EF 28-135mm IS, has exactly the other way round layout, the zoom ring lies in front of the focusing ring.
So, recommended? Are you kidding? For its relation of price and (image) quality only it's already compulsory for owners of 1.6 crop DSLR to have it in their photo bags !
10 out of 10 points and recommended by nikoskard (17 reviews)Nice build Q, Weather Sealed, Internal Focus, Light Weight, extremely fast focus.None so Far.
Well pair for F/4 series. I also use 24-105, 70-200 (non is) and now this one for comlete L f/4 series Glass.reviewed December 23rd, 2006 (purchased for $750)
Why Canon don't make an IS version of this lens?
Contrast, Color, Sharpness is on L side.
Highly Recomended, if you can't afford 16-35L f/2.8.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by photo Art (3 reviews)Size, Internal Focus, build, colour, contrast and sharpness, FF capability,weather sealed.probably not as sharp as the 17-55 IS, and has no IS, short zoom range,hood is large
This is an excellent lens in it's own right. From the second you hold it, you find the build quality is typical L for luxury. The zoom and manual focus rings are very smooth, well dampned and the lens does not extend or rotate during zooming or focusing. The colour, and contrast are very, very good for an UWA lens (onFF). While it is not Ultra Wide on a cropped sensor, it still is just as good. The corners are very good at all apertures and flare and CA are virtually non-existent. There is slight barrel distortion at the wide end, but this has to be expected for an UWA lens. At F4 the lens like any, is a tad soft, but very usable. Stopped down to F11 and beyond, the lens really shines, it is excellent for landscapes or other applications. The colour rendition is outstanding, slightly on the warm side. The lens is as sharp as some primes in this range as indicated in some reviews. The size and weight are very manageable. It is probably not as sharp at the 17-55 IS, but that lens does not have FF capability and there have been quite a few reports of it sucking in dust. The 17-40 L is weather sealed which may be a bonus to some. Some have wished the zoom range could have been greater, but then as always, something would have to given up in return. The lens hood is somewhat of an odd shape, it seems quite wide, and if this could be improved upon, it would benefit the appearance of the lens when using the hood. All in all, a very nice lens to own.reviewed December 18th, 2006 (purchased for $775)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by photofanatic (9 reviews)Sharp, good focusing, light.Colours seem slightly muted
This is a good lens, sharp, light and nice colour. I do not find the colours as bright as with the 70-200 L, however they are still good. Very nice for landscape and architecture. Even on a20D, I do not use this as a walk around lens... too wide to give pleasing photos of people etc. Well built, feels solid in the hand.reviewed December 16th, 2006 (purchased for $950)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by viatorum777 (3 reviews)Excellent Build Quality, Sharp PicturesF/4 Aperture, limited focal range
This is currently my walk around lens. On my 1.6x crop 30D the focal range works out to about 28-64 mm which is a decent walk around wide angle range. There are times I find myself wishing for more reach, but the 70-200 will have to wait for a bit until my bank account is replenished.reviewed December 12th, 2006 (purchased for $650)
I have used this lens for some portrait shots and have generally been happy although my 50 1.8 provides much better Bokeh. However, I am often pulling this lens out when the area is too tight to get a good shot of my children.
I am thinking now that I have this lens that at times (architectural photography) I would prefer to have a wider angle which is taken away with the 1.6 crop factor. This lens is probably a beauty on a full frame SLR. However, it still provides an excellent range to cover a wide array of subjects.
The build and image quality are excellent and I am very happy I went with an L on my first lens purchase.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by mxwphoto (12 reviews)Best wide L zoom within limitationsWould like lower distortion on wide end
By saying "within limitations", I mean as far as what this lens can offer. If you absolutely need a f/2.8, wider views for crop cameras, or the extra steadiness of IS, then this is not the lens for you. However, if a f/4 and 17mm is good enough, this lens will deliver with grand results. The first thing I noticed was the color reproduction - it is many times better than my old kit and 28-135! Nothing to complain about on the sharpness either. Weather sealing and solid construction along with buttery smooth focus ring makes holding the lens a joy. To complete the weather sealing though, you will need to buy a clear protector or uv filter (preferably high quality). On the bright side, the lens is IF (internal focus), so you will never have to worry about dust etc once it is sealed. I often shoot by the sea and the weather sealing is very helpful in keeping my gear clean. Distortion on the wide end means buildings will look bulgy and will need some software touch-up, but it's not big problem. IS would always be a plus, but if it means adding an extra $4-500 (see 70-200 IS f/4), I'd much rather have the current configuration. A great lens that has become my favorite walk-around!reviewed December 11th, 2006 (purchased for $600)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by gadgetguy (62 reviews)"L" image quality and construction, lightweight for an "L"; full-frame"only" f/4
This is one of the best value L lenses out there, with the 70-200/f4 being the other. Both are "only" f4, but are good enough when yo have moderate to bright light. Image quality is excellent in color and contrast, which is to be expected.reviewed December 3rd, 2006
9 out of 10 points and recommended by drewmk2 (1 reviews)Build, Contrast, FocusingA bit short on the 30D
This color rendition and contrast of this lens is fantastic, as is the autofocusing. I bought this lens as a walkaround for my 30d, and i surely blows the kit lens out of the water.reviewed November 26th, 2006 (purchased for $630)
When using this lens on full frame cameras, I have noticed the the corners are quite soft and vignetting is somewhat substantial. I can't really complain about this though, because it's inherent with most wide angle zooms.
That said, it's a fantastic alternative to the 16-35L if you don't need the extra stop.
Oh yeah... the hood is useless on a 30D or crop camera.
0 out of 10 points and recommended by redgetanj (5 reviews)build quality, IFSlow max apperture
Bought this lens for my EOS 3 film camera. Perfect ultra wide-angle zoom for film cameras, approaches the normal range for dslrs. Very fast when fitted to the EOS 3. Color and image quality is excellent. Perfect outdoor lens, not so much indoors without flash. Because of the L designation, build quality is second to none. One of the cheapest L serises lens available.reviewed November 25th, 2006 (purchased for $650)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by awalker (6 reviews)Sharp, great colors, fast AF, lightweight, great buildf4 a bit slow indoors with no flash
Bought this for my 20D and 30 (film) - needed full frame for the latter and am pleased to have done so rather than the EF-S 17-55 which was my second choice. Lack of IS is no problem in this focal length range, build quality is so much better with the L.reviewed November 25th, 2006 (purchased for $1,062)
Image quality is excellent - sharper than other lenses in this range that I had tried. Sharpness and colors both superb.
This lens stays on camera for 75% of the time, a real keeper.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by dccps (13 reviews)excellent sharpness and color, constant aperturefield of view for reduced sensor size (all but EOS 1Ds)
I used this lens for a few years with an EOS-3 with excellent results. Switching to an EOS-20D, I was less enamored with the field of view. The 1.6 multiplier really takes the wide angle away from typical full frame glas like this one. This issue aside, images with this optic were reliably well exposed, with good resolution and true color. If you can live with the equivalent of a 28-70mm optic (I round off), then this could be a very good choice. Otherwise, consider a wider lens.reviewed November 25th, 2006 (purchased for $675)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by photosynth (3 reviews)Image quality.Heavy. 40mm too short to use as walkaround lens for 1.6x sensor camera.
Lens with excellent contrast and sharpness, especially at the wide end.reviewed November 20th, 2006 (purchased for $680)
I use it on a digital with 1.6x crop sensor and sharpness remains excellent despite the smaller sensor.
Minor point, but the lens hood provided with this lens is ineffective for the 1.6x sensor (at the wide end, it's a '27mm equivalent') and gets in the way when using the camera's built-in flash.
7 out of 10 points and recommended by freetoken (9 reviews)color, build, AF speedon a FF camera - the corners
Bought this lens initially when purchasing the 300D as the crop factor made my previous Canon lenses not wide enough. Currently using this lens on a 5D, but it sees less use than it did on the APS-C camera due to not needing an ultra-wide very often.reviewed November 19th, 2006
The color and contrast of the images are very good, up with the EF135/2 as a comparison. However the resolution is no where near that L prime, or even several of the good but affordable non-L Canon primes. The tradeoffs of making a very wide zoom lens shows when using a FF camera. Resolution drops off away from the center, and vignetting (correctable with software of course) is very strong in the corners.
Many people complain about the corners on wide angle lenses but few of them realize that on a FF camera the corners in the image likely are not going to be in the plane of focus anyway. Thus corner issues in real life are not common, unless you happen to be photographing brick walls all day long.
Fortunately distortion is not a real problem. Bokeh is average - nothing objectionable.
Build quality is good, with the added seal in the rear a nice touch. Zoom ring is very easy to turn. Regrettably (as with most Canon lenses) the DOF and IR marks are lacking.
For use on a FF camera this is a useful, AFFORDABLE, ultra wide angle zoom. As wide angle is not my thing I do not feel motivated to search for a better replacement as the 17-40L is satisfactory.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by pz (8 reviews)picture quality, priceno
I used it on 20D, 5D. I was really satisfied with this lens.reviewed November 17th, 2006
10 out of 10 points and recommended by amckeown (2 reviews)L Glass and PriceNone
I origianlly purchased this lense used when I got my first Digital SLR to make up for the 1.6x factor.reviewed November 15th, 2006 (purchased for $575)
The pictures can not be surpassed in color or sharpness. The only limitaion I can think of is the Fixed 4 so indoors you will need a lightsource.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by mitch10 (1 reviews)Fast accurate focus, sharp, good contastheavy for its size, flairing
I've had the 17-40 for a little over a year with the 20D and get excellent results nearly every time I use it. It is the sharpest lens I currently own. It is also the fastest to focus and nearly inaudible. I also like that I can use auto focus and then manually adjust to alter where the dept of filed will fall. My only real issue is the flair, which is not helped much by the hood. I often have to hold up something to shade the lens when facing toward the sun, but I expect I would have the same problem with any lens this wide. For the price, it can't be beat!reviewed November 14th, 2006
8 out of 10 points and recommended by cold_fire (5 reviews)L build quality, sealedcorners quite soft at 17/f4 on 1.3 crop, inadequate lens hood for crop factors
my weapon of choice in the search for the Pulitzer winning picture. brilliantly sharp in the center, less so on the edges. one copy that I have used was decentered. 24/1.4 or 24-105 IS lens hood work better than the standard hood for crop factors as then lens is a little prone to flare and needs to be protected.reviewed November 7th, 2006 (purchased for $700)
7 out of 10 points and not recommended by robby (1 reviews)good build, good sharpness from 5.6 & from 24mm (APS-C), good contrast and color.VERY BAD sharpness at 17-22mm in corners and slightly on edge (APS-C), very high price, heavy.
Before I bought this lens I got some samples from the web, great photos. After I bought it I made some myself similar to the ones from the web (eg.: leaves surrounding a window). I couldn't get the image sharpness like on the samples although I set max sharpening on camera, high speed, 200ASA and f8 or f11. But in the web samples EXIF it says that they were edited in Photoshop CS2, so I opened my 350D jpg files in CS2 and sharpened them a bit (smart sharpen) to match the sharpness of the web samples. Maybe the web samples were made as raw files, but this doesn't change the fact that probbably most of the samples from the web do not have natural lens sharpness, they are sharpened by in-camera and computer software.reviewed June 29th, 2006 (purchased for $815)
My main problem with the 17-40 4L was mainly the sharpness in corners at 17-22mm. On the samples from the web it was perfect. Maybe my lens was not good, but I changed it to another one, a bit better, but still not satisfactory. I don't need an expensive Full Frame lens witch is not sharp on an APS-C camera. It must be terribble on a FF camera.
My other problem was that the lens could not set the sharpness correctly on some good contrast objects in slight dark light (eg.: 1/5s, f4).
My greatest surprise was that my KIT lens is sharper at the edges at 18mm than 17-40 4L is at 17-22mm.
I am very disgusted by Canon 17-40 4L USM, and I returned it to the shop.
Maybe I will check-out Tamron 17-50 2.8 (APS-C), maybe it is better for an APS-C camera.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by piep (1 reviews)superior build, great image qualityF4 maximum aperture
was deciding between this and the 16-35. For about half the price of the 2.8 this is a no brainer.reviewed June 13th, 2006 (purchased for $650)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by stuart (1 reviews)L glass, sharpness, contrast and color, reasonable price,none
I have used this lens on my 10D, 20D and 5D, and think that the quality of this L glass is outstanding. I am very happy with the sharpness, contrast and color of the lens, and am extremely pleased with my purchase.reviewed April 18th, 2006
9 out of 10 points and recommended by jyli19 (7 reviews)Excellent image quality, quality construction, light weight, affordableLens hood does not fit tightly
Excellent lens of its price. A very affordale alternative to the 16-35mm when willing to sacrifice one stop. This lens can produce exceptional images with great sharpness and color contrast.reviewed November 3rd, 2005 (purchased for $640)
17mm very wide on film or FF, not wide enough on my 10D.