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Archive 2012 · Ultra-wide zooms in the 5D-III era
  
 
alfarmer
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p.1 #1 · Ultra-wide zooms in the 5D-III era


After reading a lot of comparisons of the 17-40L and 16-35L, it seems the main advantage to the 16-35L is that magical f/2.8 moniker. The extra 1mm is good too, I suppose.

But in this age where ISO 6400 is common, should that f/2.8 be weighed far less in choosing between these two fine lenses?




Aug 14, 2012 at 04:36 AM
RogerC11
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p.1 #2 · Ultra-wide zooms in the 5D-III era


Well, to some, that 2.8 makes the difference in not having to go to 12,800. The brighter vf also aids in AF. Do you need 2.8? If not. Go for the excellent 17-40.


Aug 14, 2012 at 04:44 AM
Roland W
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p.1 #3 · Ultra-wide zooms in the 5D-III era


The better performance of the current camera bodies does help with exposure, but that is not all that a fast lens is all about. When the light is low and you want to see well through the lens to frame and see details and to judge the focus, that extra stop helps. Also, most Canon cameras do better autofocus and with more higher accuracy points at f 2.8 than they do at at f 4. And if you are talking about the 16-35 f 2.8 version II lens, I think you will find the image quality is better than the pretty good 17-40. And do not forget depth of focus control when you want the background to blurr out. One stop is not giant in that department, but it does help.



Aug 14, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Jonathan Huynh
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p.1 #4 · Ultra-wide zooms in the 5D-III era


There is no easy answer since both lens are very sharp, you have to used it to decided for yourself.
I used to have both and recently sold 17-40L. the Canon 16-35 L is far better lens in comparison with 17-40.
Better contrast/color reproduction/brighter viewfinder/focus must better on lowlight and Bokeh is beautiful
when shot wide open F2.8.



Aug 14, 2012 at 04:56 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #5 · Ultra-wide zooms in the 5D-III era


Regarding the 16-35 and the 17-40, it really comes down to how you will use your lens. Assuming that you shoot full frame, the chief virtue of the 16-35 is its performance wide open or nearly so. If your thing is low light, larger aperture wide to ultra wide stuff, this can be your lens. If you are mainly going to shoot from the tripod at moderate or small apertures, the 17-40 can be a better choice. If you shoot cropped sensor, the EFS 17-55mm f/2.8 IS can be best.

Dan



Aug 14, 2012 at 07:44 AM
surf monkey
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p.1 #6 · Ultra-wide zooms in the 5D-III era


From what I've tested, read about and heard, the lenses are quite similar in performance.
The big difference besides the wider FL and extra stop is the size.
The 16-35 is not only longer and heavier, but it has an 82mm filter thread.

In general, the small differences are:
1) The 16-35vII is a bit "better" on the wide end and the 17-40 is a bit better on the long end.
2) Generally the 16-35 has better corner resolution.
3) The 16-35 has slightly less distortion on the wide end, which is quite pronounced on both.
4) The 16-35 has less CA and vignetting.



Aug 14, 2012 at 07:18 PM
cineski
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p.1 #7 · Ultra-wide zooms in the 5D-III era


I keep hearing fellow wedding photographers saying they don't need primes anymore because of ISO 12,800. In my experience, even with ISO 12,800, I still need lenses faster than f/2.8. Completely depends on what you're shooting.


Aug 14, 2012 at 07:21 PM
nburwell
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p.1 #8 · Ultra-wide zooms in the 5D-III era


It really depends on what you're going to use either lens for. I would imagine wedding photog's would want the 16-35L for the f/2.8 since they need to deliver useable images to their clients. I have never personally used this lens because I don't have the need for the f/2.8. However, landscape photog's probably prefer the 17-40 since the majority of the time their camera is on a tripod. As others have mentioned before me, the 16-35 is sharper in the corners than the 17-40 is (I can attest to this since I have noticed this in my images when I use my 17-40 copy). CA is also better on the 16-35 too, which is very good for wedding photog's. But again, it all depends on what you're using the lens for.

-Nick



Aug 15, 2012 at 01:26 PM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #9 · Ultra-wide zooms in the 5D-III era


You have received some thoughtful replies. There hasn't been a mention of the lenses from the cost perspective. The price difference is ~$700. I could other lenses for that amount or it could get me very close to the price of a new 135mm or even buy a good used copy.

I thought long and hard before buying the 17-40. I bought it fully aware that overall the 16-35 is a better lens. Since I am now a happy amateur, I have to watch what I spend. I thought about my uses and decided that the 17-40 would be sufficient.

Filter size was another consideration. Since I have a 70-200 f 2.8, I can just buy one 77mm polarizer. The good ones don't come cheap!

So far I have been very pleased with the lens on my 5D. I use LR for lens correction and it does a good job.



Aug 15, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Malux
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p.1 #10 · Ultra-wide zooms in the 5D-III era


did you get the 17-40? I've been using for the last year or so and I can tell you it's a fantastic lens. I think you're going to appreciate it quite a bit when you start using it.


Aug 15, 2012 at 01:53 PM
 

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Gunzorro
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p.1 #11 · Ultra-wide zooms in the 5D-III era


(I don't consider 17-55/2.8 IS to be an ultra-wide zoom on cropped sensor = 27.2mm to 88mm.)

I agree with most of the posters, the aggregate of features is strongly in favor of the 16-35L II.

BUT. . . economic factors may prevail. You can find a nice 17-40 for $500 used. You can find a nice 16-35 II for, what, around $1200 used? That's a significant difference for someone just getting their toe wet in an UWA zoom. I first purchased a used 17-40 and liked it, but it wasn't long before I upgraded to a new 16-35 and sold the 17-40 to help recoup some of my costs. Cost is a big factor, including the filter cost with the larger and less common 82mm compared to the common 77mm.

Size and weight also favor the 17-40.

No embarrassment in buying the 17-40, but outside of sample variation, my experience and reading shows the 16-35 II is a significantly better lens overall.



Aug 15, 2012 at 02:08 PM
retrofocus
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p.1 #12 · Ultra-wide zooms in the 5D-III era


surf monkey wrote:
From what I've tested, read about and heard, the lenses are quite similar in performance.
The big difference besides the wider FL and extra stop is the size.
The 16-35 is not only longer and heavier, but it has an 82mm filter thread.

In general, the small differences are:
1) The 16-35vII is a bit "better" on the wide end and the 17-40 is a bit better on the long end.
2) Generally the 16-35 has better corner resolution.
3) The 16-35 has slightly less distortion on the wide end, which is quite pronounced on both.
4) The 16-35 has less CA and vignetting.


Might not be of general interest, but the disadvantage of the 16-35 is its low performance in infrared light and hot spot formation. The 17-40 is suitable for IR photography. At least for me this was of high importance and determined my decision to go for the 17-40/4. I recommend the 17-40 since it provides an excellent IQ for a reasonable cost.
If 17 mm is not enough, 14/2.8 II is the best option IMO.



Aug 15, 2012 at 02:08 PM
surf monkey
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p.1 #13 · Ultra-wide zooms in the 5D-III era


Another consideration is the camera the lens will be used on.

The OP's profile shows the 5D, which has a lower pixel density than most DSLRs.
This will be a factor whether or not the corner resolution of the 17-40 will be satisfactory.
It's the higher pixel density of the 5D2/5D3 that shows the lack of sharpness/contrast in the corners.

Many outdoor photogs have used the 17-40 to great effect, especially with the 5D.



Aug 15, 2012 at 03:46 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #14 · Ultra-wide zooms in the 5D-III era


surf monkey wrote:
From what I've tested, read about and heard, the lenses are quite similar in performance.
The big difference besides the wider FL and extra stop is the size.
The 16-35 is not only longer and heavier, but it has an 82mm filter thread.

In general, the small differences are:
1) The 16-35vII is a bit "better" on the wide end and the 17-40 is a bit better on the long end.
2) Generally the 16-35 has better corner resolution.
3) The 16-35 has slightly less distortion on the wide end, which is quite pronounced on both.
4) The 16-35 has less CA and vignetting.


I'll disagree with #1

#2 is true at f/2.8 and f/4, but not really the case at smaller apertures where the 17-40 performs very well. (This goes back to the point about, to generalize, the 17-40 being a great landscape lens and the 16-35 being a great handheld, low-light lens.) The 17-40 seems to marginally outresolve the 16-35 in the center of the frame, though perhaps not in a way that most would find significant.

#3 Basically, both ultra wide zooms deal with certain kinds of "distortion" at the wide end, though you could be thinking of a range of different things, some of which can be corrected in post.

#4 is related to #2 and really only applies at the f/2.8 and f/4 apertures.

The 17-40 is less prone to flare.

As I always write, both are fine lenses. Neither is perfect - what lens is? Either one could be the "best" choice for a particular photographer depending upon his/her needs and approach to photography. And if you shoot a cropped sensor body, there are better options than either of these - in particular the EFS 17-55mm f/2.8 IS.

surf monkey wrote:
Another consideration is the camera the lens will be used on.

The OP's profile shows the 5D, which has a lower pixel density than most DSLRs.
This will be a factor whether or not the corner resolution of the 17-40 will be satisfactory.
It's the higher pixel density of the 5D2/5D3 that shows the lack of sharpness/contrast in the corners.

Many outdoor photogs have used the 17-40 to great effect, especially with the 5D.


The camera it will be used on is really not an issue in this context. The lenses will produce the same resolution in photographic prints at a given size regardless, and all of these cameras (all flavors of 5D) have sensors that can exceed the corner resolution of these lenses.

It is also important to understand that the corner softness issue of the 17-40 is at its largest aperture. If you shoot a lot of handheld ultrawide stuff on full frame cameras, this is probably a very good reason to consider the 16-35 since is primary virtue is its corner performance wide open. However, if you mostly use an ultrawide from the tripod and tend to stop down for deep DOF (a pretty common reason to use an ultra wide in landscape photography, for example) then there is no corner softness issue here, and the lens performs well across the frame.

You are correct about the number of outdoor photographers who regard the 17-40 as one of their core lenses if not the core lens in their kit. One acquaintance of mine who is well known for his work (and teaching and writing) in a very popular western national park shoots essentially all of his work with this lens and the 70-200mm f/4. (He reports that he shares my preference for the 70-200 as our favorite landscape lens, but also says that when he thinks more about it, he probably sells more prints that were shot with the 17-40.)

Dan


Edited on Aug 15, 2012 at 06:36 PM · View previous versions



Aug 15, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Gunzorro
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p.1 #15 · Ultra-wide zooms in the 5D-III era


Now I wish I still had my 17-40 -- it's getting to be time to shoot some comparative A-B shots with the 16-35II at various apertures. Too much academic talk here, and not enough photos!

Something only mildly touched on so far with the 17-40 is that it has more extreme light fall-off and soft edges/corners (the two conditions are related) than the 16-35, and stays softer even into the f/8-11 range.

If anyone thinks the only things really going for the 16-35 are one stop more light and one millimeter more wide focal length, then it must seem Canon has really scammed buyers out of $700+ extra dollars. But as one of those buyers, coming off the 17-40, I don't feel scammed at all -- I could have sent the 16-35 back to B&H and kept the 17-40! It's not an ego thing, not in that sense anyway -- I'm not rich and can't keep an expensive lens that doesn't perform.

As I've said, if the 17-40 works for you, bravo! You are ahead of the game and can use that savings for something else.

Edited on Aug 15, 2012 at 06:52 PM · View previous versions



Aug 15, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Snopchenko
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p.1 #16 · Ultra-wide zooms in the 5D-III era


Well, why not the Tokina 16-28 or even - if the max. aperture is really not a consideration - the Sigma 12-24? Tokina also has a 17-35/4 zoom out.


Aug 15, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Gunzorro
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p.1 #17 · Ultra-wide zooms in the 5D-III era


Shopchenko -- That would be an awesome UWA shoot-out! Canon 17-40L & 16-35L, Sigma 12-24 and Tokina 16-28! Probably the four most discussed UWA lenses for Canon full frame.


Aug 15, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Pixel Perfect
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p.1 #18 · Ultra-wide zooms in the 5D-III era


surf monkey wrote:
Another consideration is the camera the lens will be used on.

The OP's profile shows the 5D, which has a lower pixel density than most DSLRs.
This will be a factor whether or not the corner resolution of the 17-40 will be satisfactory.
It's the higher pixel density of the 5D2/5D3 that shows the lack of sharpness/contrast in the corners.

Many outdoor photogs have used the 17-40 to great effect, especially with the 5D.


I keep reading this, yet in changing from 5D to 5D II I saw no change in corner performance. If the corners are good on one they should be good on the other. The corner issues aren't one of resolution, but mostly distortion and I don't see how the higher pixel density sensor will make that worse and I've not seen such an occurrence. What I like about the 5D II is the extra pixels give me the freedom to shoot a little wider and crop a little to remove the worst of the corners if needed.

A good copy of the 17-40L is well worth adding to the kit for landscape if you want bang-for-the-buck. I bought mine in 2004 when I still had an EOS 3 and haven't found a suitable replacement. 16-35L offered very little advantage for landscape for a lot more money. If the Nikon 14-24 could take filters I would have jumped on that long ago.



Aug 15, 2012 at 10:38 PM
abqnmusa
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p.1 #19 · Ultra-wide zooms in the 5D-III era


on full frame with the 17-40 I always had to stop down to F11 to get corner sharpness.
but is was good IQ on 5D or 5D II

I ended up at 17mm almost all of the time.
now I use a Zeiss 18mm F3.5 ZE and prefer the prime option.

Edited on Aug 16, 2012 at 04:04 PM · View previous versions



Aug 15, 2012 at 10:41 PM
JimmyJames
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p.1 #20 · Ultra-wide zooms in the 5D-III era


You could always scour eBay for the 17-35 f2.8L if you want to spend around the same as a new 17-40.


Aug 15, 2012 at 10:54 PM
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