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Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

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515 993746 Sep 3, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
89% of reviewers $670.44
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.49
8.87
9.0
ef17-40_4l_1_

Specifications:
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.


 


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Antje
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Registered: Aug 18, 2002
Location: Germany
Posts: 6157
Review Date: Aug 24, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $700.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, good contrast and neutral colour rendition, good built quality, weather sealing, small and light, price, USM
Cons:
Hood, relatively slow (f4), distortion (minor point to me)

I bought this lens because I needed something smaller and lighter than my Sigma 15-30 to take it on holidays, and I felt the need for some more mm at the long end. The extra 10mm at the long end made me skip taking the 50/1.8 with me all the time, something that was impossible when using the Sigma 15-30 because I really missed a standard lens or even a slight tele. The Canon 17-40 is a better compromise as an all-around lens than the 15-30.

The Canon offers a good, neutral colour rendition. As I actually liked the warm rendition the Sigma has, this is a minor point for me, but it may be important to you people out there so I mention it. Smile It's sharp of course, I think it's visibly sharper than the Sigma. The quality is excellent as is to be expected from an L lens. I took it to the beach with all the salt water spray and wind and sand with confidence (though I used a protective filter there as recommended). After handling this lens for a few days, you'll feel it doesn't need to be babied.

I bought it as a lens that doesn't take up much space and doesn't weigh much when hiking, and that's what I got. It's excellent as a walkaround lens, much more so than the big and heavy Sigma 15-30. It is slower than primes and also slower than its bigger brother 16-35, but offers a greater range and all of the advantages of being a zoom, of course, and that at a reasonable price. The lens is *much* less prone to flare than the Sigma, but it still is. Another advantage over the Sigma is the filter size, it takes 77mm filters just like my 300/f4. There is quite a lot of distortion at the wide end, but that can be corrected with Panotools.

The letdown is the hood, it's clumsy and not very effective. It gets caught in almost everything, including the bag, and fits poorly in about everything I own. But then, it does the job...

All in all, this is a relatively light, small and reasonably priced lens, sharp and contrasty and built like a tank. A wonderful all-around lens.


Aug 24, 2004
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bobbytan
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Registered: Feb 2, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 7559
Review Date: Aug 11, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very affordable high-quality lens. Silent and quick auto-focus. Good wide-angle coverage, and as a general-purpose lens.
Cons:
Flares quite a bit. Large filter size. Relatively slow lens.

I use this lens more than any other lens, or about 90% of the time. The sharpness is comparable to Canon prime lenses, IMO.

Aug 11, 2004
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gooch
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Registered: Feb 7, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 342
Review Date: Jul 23, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Solid Build, Sharp, Nice balance on a 10D + BG-ED, Outstanding color saturation. Very good min. focus distance. Shares the best L value (cost/performance) with the 70-200 4 L and the 200 2.8 L.
Cons:
Slow lens, it could be a stop faster (but then it would be the 16-35 2.8 and cost almost twice as much so it's not really a con) The only real con is the lens hood. Flimsy and awkward sized (hard to hit in bag) The hood for the 24mm 1.4 L is supposed to fit the 17-40 and work much better.



Jul 23, 2004
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BRob
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Registered: Jun 25, 2003
Location: Australia
Posts: 12
Review Date: Jul 20, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Contrast, colour and sharp.Price
Cons:
The usual stated below, a good lens at the lower end of the L series

Good on my 10D

Jul 20, 2004
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btjohnston
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Registered: May 20, 2003
Location: Australia
Posts: 1083
Review Date: Jul 20, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Price, sharpness ...every thing really
Cons:
lens hood.

This is my second L series lens and after buying the 70-200L 2.8 IS USM I thought it would be hard to match the quality of this lens. I'm loving it, the colour, contrast and dof is excellent. There is distortion at the 17mm end but I can live with that.
Brilliant, just brilliant.


Jul 20, 2004
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Location: Australia
Review Date: Jul 20, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $650.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: good color...high contrast...sharp...good build
Cons:
too much barrel distortion on the 17mm end...that's what we paid for in buying this lens...

all i can say is this lens is over-rated for its true value and performance...it's good, but not good enough for the "L" standard...this is probably good for high-end amateurs and sophisticated snapshooters...definitely NOT FOR THE PRO.
the lens performs good...but the distortion at the 17mm end spoils it all...it's not really useful when shooting horizons, buildings, cityscapes, architecture and other photography work that requires accurate straight lines...the kind of shots that really need the wide angle end of the lens...and to be honest...we did not buy this lens because we need a lens with 40mm with an aperture of f4...it is because we need the 17mm ultrawide angle lens (with of course the convenience of zoom)...
a disappointment for canon...they made the "L" series look cheap...they could have made this lens a really good one have they avoided the distortion or at least minimised it to a level that is not so obvious.

p.s. try to compare it with the sigma 17-35 ex...sigma has done a better job minimising the distortion at the 17mm end...


Jul 20, 2004
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Location: Australia
Review Date: Jul 20, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $399.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: built quality, color, contrast and sharpness ... and sharpness
Cons:
focale range? ... HOOD ... zoom ring too close to the camera body

First L lens. I was a bit sceptical about the L craze, but I can say i am not desapointed with the 17-40.

First the lens is rock solid, and very well designed, controls are smooth and everything looks like it could last for ever. My only complaint is the zoom ring which i find a bit too close to the body. It could be easier to have a steady hold if it was a tad further in front of the lense... a detail really. I was surprised to notice that the lens balance very well on a 10D body. i have heard that before and i thought it was quite subjective, but i did have the same feeling. Focusing is very fast, slightly faster han the 24-85 for comparison.

Now, once you have looked at it, look through it and then you realise how good the lens is. It is very sharp. I had a 24-85 before which is not the best in this domain, but really, the 17-40 is sharp from f4 and above. I didnt use any sharpenning in any of the first photo i took to test the lens. the same apply for the color and contrast. If you pin the exposure, and fill your histogram nicely, litle processing is needed.

It would be nice to have a bit more focale range on the long end, which would make this lens really flexible. The hood provided is ridiculously big so it is difficut to even find a place in a bag to fit it. And well, i could complain about the price, but it is a good product which should last for a while so ...

Dan


Jul 20, 2004
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socratease
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Registered: May 8, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 8
Review Date: Jul 19, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $710.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, price
Cons:
Easily fogged by stray sunlight - use a shade

Really excellent, sharp lens with good color and contrast for a quite reasonable price. Makes my Tokina 19-35 look like an Instamatic by comparison. Not a bad walking-around lens for a 10D.

Jul 19, 2004
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Buck Forester
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Registered: Jul 12, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 543
Review Date: Jul 15, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $700.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Well, it, uhhh, seems really sharp and when I point it at pretty landscapes and go click click click it brings back images that I like. That's pretty much why I take pictures. I'm so techy.
Cons:
It doesn't taste like chocolate when I lick the lens.

Hi. I just hike and paddle and take photos. Photograhy is just a means and not an end. I'm first an adventurer, then a photographer. I bought this lens for my wilderness adventure schtuff (I wish Canon® would have given it to me for free, but hey). I needed to go wide to get all those big mountains into my scenes, and for something wide enough to fit my nose into self-portraits. This lens is relatively light for backpacking, built tough, and chicks dig it. What else is there in a lens? It will break if you toss it off a 2,000' vertical cliff, so I'd recommend a bungy cord if you throw it off cliffs. If you take a photo of a soft, fuzzy object, this lens will make that object look soft at all apertures. Trust me. If you take photos of tacks and razor blades, this lens will give you sharp looking photos. If you like the 17-40mm perspective, just get the freakin' lens and go point it at pretty stuff and you won't be disappointed, unless you're apt to be disappointed. Then you'll find something to be disappointed over. But if you're hiking and fishing and climbing and kayaking while using this lens, believe me, you won't be disappointed. Even if the fish aren't biting. Just get out there and have fun. This lens is really really really really ridiculously good.

Here's some photos I took with this lens while hiking the John Muir Trail last summer. Well, most of them are with this lens, but not all, some are with my 70-200. But you can tell which is which, if you're good, real good. You know who you are.

http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=334185


<a href="http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=334185">John Muir Trail and the Canon 17-40</a>


Jul 15, 2004
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Fredrick
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Registered: Jun 9, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 40
Review Date: Jul 8, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $750.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp, clean, good build quality
Cons:
None

This is a step-up lens for me; sold off an EF 24-85mm I used extensively, and an EF 100mm macro I didn't use much.

The 17-40mm is MUCH sharper, better contrast than the 24-85, especially wide open. Suprisingly good DOF wide-open, not quite as good closed down, NO chromatic weirdness at either end.

No lens creep, feels good and tight.

Due to an inherited hand-tremor, I can only use the lens handheld in good to bright light, but that's me not the lens. It's pretty much replaced my EF 28-135mm IS as my walk-around lens except in lower light shots. For lower light situations, I continue to use the EF 28-135mm IS.

These two lenses, along with the recent addition of a Sigma 80-400mm OS, pretty much cover the gamut for me at present. (The Sigma heaves below 150, but that's another story.)

Bottom line: good lens.



Jul 8, 2004
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starlite
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Registered: Sep 19, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 341
Review Date: Jul 3, 2004 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: good backup
Cons:
none

My Cannon rep let me try out this lens. It was ok and probably a good buy if money is the main concern. But I'll stay with the 16-35.

Jul 3, 2004
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Location: United States
Review Date: Jun 28, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $575.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Price, performance, what else? Got my lens last week and it's just way better then my old 35-135 USM lens. I was planning to get the 70-200 f/4.0 next year but now I may have to speed up the process and make more money selling off my old lenses on eBay.
Cons:
Will not work with my 10D built in flash, a minus for travellers. Also hood is way big. I have no idea why canon will put a hood that big for this lens.



Jun 28, 2004
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8bit Barry
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Registered: Jun 27, 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 7
Review Date: Jun 27, 2004 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: Quality glass, dust seals.
Cons:
wads of distortion at both ends.

If you are a digital user having a 27-63mm lens must be a great relief, but for a film user like me the distortion (no crop factor to hide it) was rather excessive in comparison to the 20-35mm f3.5-4.5 lens which I ended up with. With detail and colour rendition being the wow factor of this lens, I have to say that I think that Photoshop has to be the last word and something to remember when choosing any lens. I have had excellent results with the 20-35, better distortion control by far and stopped down it produces pin sharp images. BUT saying all this I think for us UK purchasers, if I could get one of these for £300 (like you lucky US photographers) I would probably be all over it. At £600 it just doesnt cut it for me.

Jun 27, 2004
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Rob Ernsting
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Registered: Jun 24, 2004
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 7
Review Date: Jun 24, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Quality, weight, dimension, no extending tube when focal length is adjusted, fixed length dimension. Excellent optical characteristics even on f 4 in conjunction with EOS 10D. Large DOF even at f4
Cons:
The size of the hood, I seldom use it.

The sharpness and detail IN definition of this lens are outstanding. The chromatic abberation is minimum in my opinion. I seldom use the hood because of the clumsy size, even in bright sunglight I can get away with no color fringing or chromatic aberation or vignetting in most cases except direct sunlight. But then the hood does not do any good either. I keep my hand aside as protection against the sunlight, it helps.
I use this lens as a standard lens on the 10D and by that have an effective focal length of 27-64 mm. Great for landscapes, cityscapes and even portraits. The images are such sharp that you can crop quite extensively for A4 size print (letter size). Even 'macros' of flowers are no problem in this way.
I have made over 3000 photos with this lens and almost never use the 28-135mm IS USM because of its poor sharpness and contrast compared to 17-40mm lens. I can afford to crop and still get better quality in contrast and sharpness of the same object by using the 17-40 in favor of the 28-135 mm.


Jun 24, 2004
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Sprice
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Registered: Jan 20, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 45
Review Date: Jun 7, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $650.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness; weight
Cons:
None

Wow! I already own the 24-70mm 2.8L and the 70-200mm IS 2.8L and this lens is amazing even compared to those tough standards. It has an excellent build (much lighter than the 24-70mm) and a nice solid feel. The main thing, of course, is the picture quality and all I can say is "Wow!" I received it last week and took pictures of my daughters and some landscapes in the country. The contrast, sharpness, color rendition are all amazing. Although certainly not cheap compared to other lenses, you can get this one at a bargain basement price compared to other Canon L lenses. And it is most definitely worth it.

I originally bought a Canon camera because I was told the lenses really differentiated Canon from Nikon et. al. Until this year, I had just run-of-the-mill Canon lenses, which were all fine. However, I never really understood all the fuss about Canon lenses, but I chalked it up to being an average weekend warrior photographer. After getting L glass in general and this lens in particular, I now understand how great it is to be a Canon owner.

Like so many things in life, you get what you pay for. And what you get with this lens is an unbelieveable performer and a relatively modest price. Like I said, "Wow!"

P.S. I re-read this review on the web site and I realize it makes me sound like a Canon representative. For the record, the views stated in this email are mine and, sadly, I am receiving no compensation from Canon.


Jun 7, 2004
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Review Date: Jun 5, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Rapido, Alta calidad de imagen, aspecto bello, exelente calidad de construccion
Cons:
no

Yo lo compre para usar en una eos 10d, y es mi primer lente de la serie L y la verdad estoy muy conforme.

Yo tengo tambien una eos 3 y con mi lente 28-105 usm semi pro no conseguia un enfoque eficaz, pero con el 17-40 L es casi en tiempo real.

Super recomendable !!!

Gabriel (fotografo de Bodas)
Rosario - Santa Fe - Argentina


Jun 5, 2004
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Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
515 993746 Sep 3, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
89% of reviewers $670.44
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.49
8.87
9.0
ef17-40_4l_1_


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