Upload & Sell: On
I love the 16-35L II, but, as Dan suggests, if you are shooting landscape from a tripod at intermediate to small apertures (f/8-13), there really isn't much gain from the more expensive lens. Buy the 17-40L and save the money, weight and size.
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
Where to begin. . . ?
I agree that there are far fewer "serious", serious, or pseudo-serious owners/users of the TS-E lenses, regularly using them in ANY field outside of architecture. But. . . photographers in any field trying to capture the best IQ within the focal range offered from TSE lenses rely on them not only for their movements and panoramic capabilities, but especially for their superior optical properties and low aberrations. I think this is pretty well known and established factually and shouldn't need to be debated endlessly.
The purported fact that you hang with out with superior outdoor photographers that successfully use commonplace zoom lenses shouldn't be used to negate the pursuit of quality imaging by others. While this may be what you have experienced, it is truly anecdotal evidence, not a wide-ranging truth.
I don't really have any photo heroes, outside of maybe Ansel Adams and Pete Turner (how's that for diverse? ). But on this very forum, I think Peter Figen makes some pretty impressive statements (with notable examples on the TSE images thread) using various TSE lenses on a wide range of subjects, from portraits to products to interiors and more. Stanj also has some amazing shots with these lenses, that easily translate technically to landscape shooting. Good ol' Fred Miranda regularly posts TSE landscape shots here. I could go on. . . there are many amazing TSE contributors on the various FM sections.
If you had wanted to say that people embarking on photography are foolish to lug large expensive TSE lenses around, that would be your opinion, and a very entertaining one to hold. And if that IS your opinion (not saying it is), then be straight-up about it, and lay it on the line for discussion. But if you want your opinion on the subject to be taken seriously (which you apparently DO), you might want to limit the discussion to what you and your buddies like to take into the field, rather than continually poo-poo the TSE (and expensive "L" prime) lenses.
I'm going to coin a new acronym here. TSE = Thoughtful, Superlative Execution. I think that applies to their use, rather than "serious". I'll go out on a limb here and offer my opinion: TSE users tend to be more methodical in their planning and tend to pre-visualize their final result more than most non-TSE users. That's open for discussion or dispute!
Back to the topic, I generally agree with Dan -- being in the right location at the right time with any decent camera/lens combo is the main consideration. The 17-40L should suit most tripod-mounted FF outdoor photography needs (wide angle).
(We're gonna have to hire lawyers soon to draft our forum responses! Ha-ha! )