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| p.1 #4 · Canon 17-40 or Zeiss 21 for Zion Subway/Antelop Canyon |
The two lenses mentioned have very differing strengths which speak to your artistic compositional style.
The Canon 17-40/4 is a very modestly priced WA zoom L lens. Its a useful focal length with good center frame sharpness. Its major flaw is the edge/corner sharpness is comparatively poor. Whether this is noticeable or not depends a lot upon your composition. If you have primary subject elements running from the image center into the corners, the viewers eye will follow the detail of these subjects into the corners where the CA and general lack of clarity will be noticeable. At least editing my images it often bothered me. Also the distortion of this lens is greater. For those using a crop body this edge/corner performance will not be as evident as it is most challenging at the corners of a full frame sensor.
This is precisely the area where the Zeiss 21 is very strong: in maintaining sharpness and subject interest as one follows subject lines and details deep to the corners of the frame. There are actually WA lenses that may be a tiny bit sharper in the lens center, but the Zeiss has the full frame sharpness, as quality that can draw the viewers interest into the image. The better Zeiss lenses seem to have terrific micro contrast, which brings out the image detail, and subjectively makes them seem more detailed. The Zeiss lens characteristics of seeming more saturated in color is perhaps a bit debatable, but I think it is there. Perhaps its the T* coatings reducing internal reflections along with the enhance micro contast.