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Archive 2013 · Canon 17-40L for landscapes?
  
 
gregfountain
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Canon 17-40L for landscapes?


I know this question has arisen before, but my search only returned results of arguments between the merits of the 17-40L vs the 16-35L. Simply put: Is the Canon 17-40L a worthy landscape lens if it's exclusively used for landscapes?

Thanks for your feedback!

Greg



Jul 11, 2013 at 09:28 PM
PeakPhoto
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Canon 17-40L for landscapes?


I really don't see why not. Usually you're stopping down for landscapes so you don't need the extra stop of light. I have the 16-35 and love it, but I need the f/2.8 for my work as an adventure photographer working inside with lighting is terrible. Plus I like the f/2.8 for my night landscape photography.

But if you're doing just landscapes and don't want to drop the extra cash.. then don't. But that 2.8 comes in handy for when I'm not doing set up landscape shots.



Jul 11, 2013 at 09:34 PM
Justin Grimm
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Canon 17-40L for landscapes?


I'm a ridiculous perfectionist, and I love my 17-40. My smallest lens, it doesn’t extend when zooming, nothing to worry about when wet, relatively cheap, and super sharp. The only drawback is being F4, but I still managed to get some nice crisp stars with it. You won’t be able to get those crazy glowing Milky Way shots though. If you wanted milky way shots you could just buy a Samyang 14mm 2.8 and a 17-40 together, and still be cheaper then a 16-35


Jul 11, 2013 at 09:42 PM
schlotz
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Canon 17-40L for landscapes?


Greg,

I've used the 17-40 for a number of years in the field and with good results. Now, it's not on par with my 24 TSE II for edge sharpness but I usually find myself in the 19-20 mm range when using it. The other aspect it provides is very low weight. There is enough in my bag and lowering weight has become a necessity for me to keep going where I want to photograph. The 17-40 fits in well with the 24 TSE and the 70-200.

Matt



Jul 11, 2013 at 10:06 PM
dswiger
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Canon 17-40L for landscapes?


I used to have a 17-40 & wish I still did!
I was never disappointed with its sharpness, but admittedly I shot mostly stopped down.
The 16-35 II is the only Canon lens that has a bit more overall performance, sharpness &
f2.8 but at almost twice the cost? If you don't need the f2.8 its an easy choice for a cost effective kit. I would agree on the combo of Canon 17-40 & Samyang 14 (which I do have).

The 17-40 is more flare resistant then the 16-35, esp the MkI and works great for sun start shots.





Jul 11, 2013 at 10:32 PM
Mike Tuomey
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Canon 17-40L for landscapes?


Although my standard kit is a couple of TS-E's, I've kept a nice copy of the 17-40L to use when I need lighter weight and zoom flexibility. With a UV filter installed, it's surprisingly good in the wet stuff too. It's plenty sharp enough even in the corners, stopped down to f8-11, at least for me.


Jul 11, 2013 at 10:47 PM
gregfountain
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Canon 17-40L for landscapes?


Thanks for the great feedback everyone! Along with my 24-70L and my 70-200L, it sounds like this will be a great addition to my collection for those landscape shots. I'd love to get the 24TSE, but that has to wait.....

Greg



Jul 11, 2013 at 10:49 PM
JustinPoe
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Canon 17-40L for landscapes?


gregfountain wrote:
Thanks for the great feedback everyone! Along with my 24-70L and my 70-200L, it sounds like this will be a great addition to my collection for those landscape shots. I'd love to get the 24TSE, but that has to wait.....

Greg



I had the 16-35L II, 17-40L and TS-E 24L II all for an extended period of time. My 17-40L easily got used the most. The 17-40L and 16-35L II are really just about identical in sharpness when stopped down. I ended up selling both the TSE 24 and 16-35L II.



Jul 12, 2013 at 12:24 AM
gheller
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Canon 17-40L for landscapes?


JustinPoe wrote:
I had the 16-35L II, 17-40L and TS-E 24L II all for an extended period of time. My 17-40L easily got used the most. The 17-40L and 16-35L II are really just about identical in sharpness when stopped down. I ended up selling both the TSE 24 and 16-35L II.




You must have had a stellar 17-40 or a really bad 16-35!

My 17-40 sucks on the edges stopped down. Same as most report for this lens

greg



Jul 12, 2013 at 12:38 AM
gregfountain
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Canon 17-40L for landscapes?


I would probably shoot the 17-40 at around f/8 to f/11 for optimal IQ, so I think it will be fine "sharpness" wise in that range. I still think the 16-35 is a great lens, but with the money saved, I can pick up a 100L and be one lens closer to my desired lens inventory.

Greg



Jul 12, 2013 at 12:42 AM
 

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RobDickinson
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Canon 17-40L for landscapes?


17-40 is a great utility landscape lens.its not perfect but then it's not that expensive either


Jul 12, 2013 at 01:34 AM
JohnBrose
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Canon 17-40L for landscapes?


Go for the 17-40, unless you need the f2.8, it makes much more sense. The 16 is a bit better on flare and maybe a couple other minor things, but not worth the $ except for the light ability. Filters are cheaper too and are the same as the 70-200 and the older 24-70.


Jul 12, 2013 at 01:46 AM
goosemang
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Canon 17-40L for landscapes?


I love this lens

it's nice stopped down, not perfect

excellent reportage/documentary lens

great lens for chasing kids around in tight places.

well built, well priced. spends a lot of time on my camera.



Jul 12, 2013 at 02:00 AM
Gochugogi
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Canon 17-40L for landscapes?


I've been very happy with my 17-40L and mainly use it on my 5D2 for landscape and shooting in tight quarters. I've read so much whining about 17-40 IQ but I found sharpness and flare control excellent. I bought it in 2003 with my 10D and perhaps QC was better than later production.


Jul 12, 2013 at 02:00 AM
Kelly Phillips
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Canon 17-40L for landscapes?


I used to own the 16-35 version 1. I have also rented the 17-40 on a couple different trips. Both are good lenses, but the 16-35 gave me better results. Using the 17-40, I felt like I was missing something. I always wanted my 16-35 back. That being said, money is tight. If I were gonna buy one of those right now, it would be the 17-40 just because of price.


Jul 12, 2013 at 02:04 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Canon 17-40L for landscapes?


Although I mainly shoot with the TS-E 17 and 24mm lenses, the 17-40mm is my preferred lens when framing the sun on the composition for its excellent flare performance.
The TS-E 17mm is very flare prone, especially when the light is coming from the sides. The only downside of the 17-40mm is edge resolution, especially at 17mm. Stepping down to f/11 gives good/ok results even on your big prints.
Fred



Jul 12, 2013 at 02:21 AM
JustinPoe
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Canon 17-40L for landscapes?


gheller wrote:
You must have had a stellar 17-40 or a really bad 16-35!

My 17-40 sucks on the edges stopped down. Same as most report for this lens

greg



No, the edges weren't good, the 16-35L II is no better though. I've never seen a 17-40L or 16-35L II reported as having good corners.



Jul 12, 2013 at 02:27 AM
gregfountain
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Canon 17-40L for landscapes?


Too many people to thank individually, but I really appreciate all the feedback! Fred, the 24 TSE is on my list, and I know there is a steep learning curve with it, but knowing how well your shots come out, I can't help but wish your skills came with it !

Greg



Jul 12, 2013 at 02:28 AM
TheWengler
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Canon 17-40L for landscapes?


It's ok if you're on a budget. The 16-35II gives great sunstars but similar IQ. There are better options.


Jul 12, 2013 at 03:04 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Canon 17-40L for landscapes?


gregfountain wrote:
I know this question has arisen before, but my search only returned results of arguments between the merits of the 17-40L vs the 16-35L. Simply put: Is the Canon 17-40L a worthy landscape lens if it's exclusively used for landscapes?


If you shoot full frame and your preference is for (what might be regarded as typical) small aperture shooting from the tripod, the 17-40 is as good as any other Canon zoom that covers this focal length range. It can produce excellent image quality suitable for making very large prints.

For this sort of work, the 16-35 f/2.8 has little or no advantage. It is a fine lens, but its strength is primarily as a larger aperture ultra-wide for low-light hand-held shooting on full frame cameras, where its extra stop and better performance at the very largest apertures is useful. But when you stop down to the apertures you are likely to use for landscape, it produces no better image quality than the 17-40. It is larger, heavier, and considerably more expensive, and it requires the larger, more expensive, and arguably non-standard 82mm filters. (If you need this lens for other types of photography that you do, go ahead and use it for landscape - it will work well. Just don't rush out get it for this purpose based on the assumption that it will produce better photograph quality because it is bigger, badder-looking, and more expensive.)

If you shoot a cropped sensor camera, I recommend against either of these lenses for landscape photography. For covering this focal length range your best bet is almost certainly the EFS 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens. The image quality actually tests better in some ways - especially corner performance - than the two L lenses when used on crop sensor bodies, it also gives you the f/2.8 maximum aperture, it provides image stabilization (useful in those case when you might hand hold, and not available on either L lens), and it has a larger focal length range.

Some will urge you to shoot primes or even tilt/shift lenses. There is no question that you can do this, but you need to think this through very carefully.

As to regular primes, while they can produce "better" image quality at the largest apertures, at the smaller apertures typical of much landscape work the difference declines to the point where it is often insignificant. And some of the best zooms produce truly excellent image quality that differs in no significant way from that of very good primes. (I shoot both, by the way.) And unless you are shooting from the tripod, using MLU or live view and a remote release, and regularly pushing the upper boundaries of very large print size, the differences in image quality will be quite invisible. There is also the issue of flexibility of primes versus zooms. Not all landscape photography is done at a pace or in circumstances in which you have the luxury of carrying large numbers of lenses, taking lots of time to switch among them, or in which you have so much freedom to move change your camera position that you can afford to limit your focal length options. In compositional terms, you are much more limited with primes since the control over composition afforded by focal length variation is much more limited with only a few primes. This can play out in surprising ways in regards to image quality. Let's say you have a 24mm and a 35mm prime, but the ideal composition works out to be at 32mm. You could choose a less-than-ideal composition with the 35mm lens or you could shoot the 24mm and crop in post. However, with the zoom you could "crop in camera" and retain the full original image quality. Here, any image quality difference between prime and zoom will diminish or even reverse!

Tilt/shift lenses are a whole other issue. Frankly, the number of people actually using them in the field, especially among what you might call "serious" landscape photographers is very limited. I'm fortunate enough to "hang with" a good number of such folks, including some who cut their photographic teeth on large format film photography... and I don't know a single one who regularly goes into the field with a TS lens. One or two might occasionally use one for a very special shot, but most don't. While there are those in photography forums who will act as if serious landscape photography requires TS lenses - and there is a very small number of good photographers who actually use them at times - their use in the real world is far, far less than the discussions among equipment geeks might suggest. Go slow on that one!

I don't know who your landscape photography heroes might be, but several successful and well-known landscape photographers who shoot Canon and do very good work rely on the 17-40.

Dan



Jul 12, 2013 at 08:04 AM
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