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Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

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515 989169 Jul 28, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
90% of reviewers $671.09
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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timothyjames
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Registered: Aug 13, 2010
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 13, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: excellent build quality, fast accurate focussing, nice colours. useful zoom range - ultra wide on full frame!
Cons:
my copy was not very sharp. 'reasonable' would be my pixel peeping opinion of the sharpness. if top end sharpness is a must i'd have to say don't buy this lens, go for a prime instead. massively distorted at 17mm (this is probably inevitable with such wide angles, but it is very noticeable on anything below 24mm). bokeh on full frame is smooth and even but F4 isn't big enough to produce anything really nice.

the zoom range (mainly talking about angle of view) on full frame sensor (5dm2) is particularly useful for a 'walkaround' lens. by that i mean the angles and framing you can capture inside and for people allow for very few missed opportunities. perhaps a little on the short side for portraits on full frame, it's ideal for landscapes and indoor photography/architecture (assuming you have enough light). the lack of sharpness is my main gripe with this lens, considering the price and weight, imho when you have this attached you may want better results. go for prime? go for a more expensive zoom? that said, if you're not printing large or pixel peeping, this is an excellent lens. distortion at 17-20mm will call for correction in photoshop depending on what's in the picture (people's faces for example, will look unnatural in the edges of the photo).

as an aside, F4 is a bit on the small side for me. i mainly shoot with a f2.0 now and that is a much more versatile aperture. those looking for a versatile walkaround lens should look at getting something with f 2.8 ability at least. those looking for very shallow depth of field should also look at wider aperture options. this isn't necessarily negative feedback, as F4 is a clearly published spec and there is no grey area or anything regarding this, so it is more a mention of my experience with the lens in general shooting conditions. knowing if F4 is a wide enough aperture for you should be a research issue, i personally didn't research this thoroughly enough and have found that it's not quite bright enough for shooting handheld without a flash indoors. going to iso 3200 on the 5dm2 is still useable even in dim conditions but obviously such high ISO settings should be avoided unless grainy is what you're going for.


Aug 13, 2010
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micos
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Registered: Nov 16, 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 8, 2010 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Build quality, size and handling, price
Cons:
Overall image quality, AF issues

I had this lens for 5 years on 20,40 and 7D and it was real love-hate relationship. I took close to 100.000 images in almost every imaginable situation, photo journalism, weddings and landscape work. After 5 years, mechanically it was exactly the same as on the first day when I got it (O.K. I take care of my stuff) which tells the story of the build quality. Unfortunately, image quality vise it was the different story: nothing special to complain about but nothing to be particularly excited about either.
Sharpness is so-so wide open and it gets better just marginally when stopped-down. In fact, in real life I could hardly even say the difference if the lens was stopped down to about F.8 or used wide open. After F. 9.0 diffraction clearly brings IQ down so do not expect miracles with extreme stopping down.
Fine details of relatively distant objects (trees, branches and leafs for instance) are just a dream for this lens unless they are geometric forms. Colors and contrast are fine but again lack of sharpness gives a dull impression to the images. Image post processing is a must and it in fact improves the story quite a bit.
Recently (well, maybe year ago) my sample developed weird AF behaviour, throwing AF at the back, in particular at 17-20mm setting. Mechanical check showed everything was perfectly fit inside the lens. Body problems are excluded as it acted same on three different calibrated cameras. It was still able to find right focus point, but using it for serious work was at the end pure gambling. I spoke with a couple Canon trained technicians and they all confirmed that this particular lens was prone to AF problems. Again, I am working pro and use my gear on the daily basis, it does not mean that occasional users or all lens samples will end up like this. To cut it short, maintenance for "L" lenses in Canada is now costly business since July 1st 2010 as 300$ flat fee (plus taxes and shipping of course) has been introduced just to open repair order. So, it would came to about 50% of the new lens price just to calibrate 5 years old product! Some of my colleagues had similar issues and after calibrating the lens problem would came back after 6-12 months, depending on use.
That plus overall mediocre optical performance urged me to get rid (yes, get rid) of the long time work horse and look for other options. New 17-40? No way, things are going forward and I have found myself ordering new Sigma 17-50 2.8 EX with Optical stabilizer for a couple of dollars less than new 17-40L and with 10 years warranty. Tried it briefly and liked it a lot, time will tell...
But I already miss handling and build quality of 17-40 , can not say the same for IQ.




Aug 8, 2010
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mccc
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Registered: Jul 23, 2010
Location: Portugal
Posts: 7
Review Date: Jul 23, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $750.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp
Cons:
none

I love this lense because have a "L" built and is cheap.

Allmost of this photos are 24-40mm f4 L:

www.mariocaldeira.com

Mc
Portugal


Jul 23, 2010
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nelvayut
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Registered: Apr 26, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 104
Review Date: Jul 6, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $623.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: good value L lens, nice price, best wide angle for landscape
Cons:
no IS

Canon 17-40 is a good lens for landscape photography. Its a great value L lens too. I own this lens since November 2007 and I love it. I took most pictures using this lens and the quality is good as the 24-105. Smile
Here's some samples using the 17-40:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/codeblue1/4747265257/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/codeblue1/4742769376/


Jul 6, 2010
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nycandre
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Registered: Apr 23, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 22
Review Date: Jun 28, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Good value for the money - lightweight - very sharp, at least in the center - great zoom coverage
Cons:
not that bright, soft in the corners - rather large

Remarkably sharp in the center, which means you are better off shooting with cropping in mind if your subject will be off center.
My impressions were corroborated by the excellent review at the-luminous-landscape site: there the authors compare it to the uber professional 16-35 2.8L. And, turns out that aside from not doing the 2.8 thing, the 17-40 and the 16-35 have areas where one is better than the other, but otherwise are really close.

As far as bokeh is concerned, you actually can get some, albeit not as easily as with the 2.8. And its quality is just excellent, not too surprising, since it's at f4.00

Here is a shot demonstrating the center sharpness .. the tiff file, which is about 60 megs shows incredible details, more like a macro, and even the off center resolution is very reasonably sharp.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nycandre/4743987277/

This other shot shows the quality of the bokeh much better, also its handling of off center areas, which doesnt detract from a great image
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nycandre/4076691149/

And, yes it does great for beautiful leggy ladies ..
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nycandre/4025442567/


Jun 28, 2010
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tororo
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Registered: May 26, 2010
Location: Japan
Posts: 29
Review Date: May 26, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Flare-resistance, contrast, colour, sharpness (F11~ @ 17mm), weather sealing, zoom-range, light-weight, USM, price.
Cons:
Nothing for landscape photography

Some people are not happy with soft corners at 17mm at f4-f8 with this lens. But for landscape photography (which you stop down anyway), this is not an issue as it gets as sharp as 16-35mm F2.8L II at F11. I also own 16-35/2.8L II but for stopped-down landscape photography, I would take 17-40/4L because of the weight and size. Just like any zoom lenses, it's necessary to try at least a few lenses to find a good copy without decentering. A few of my shots that were published on National Geographic were taken with this lens.

Some examples taken with this lens:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ippei-janine/4606037443
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ippei-janine/3506976914/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ippei-janine/3071345120/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ippei-janine/3961264079/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ippei-janine/3506170351/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ippei-janine/4413194709/


May 26, 2010
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dustnet
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Registered: Jul 30, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 20
Review Date: May 25, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Lightweight, range, weather sealing, price, 77mm diameter
Cons:
no IS, a bit soft and the edges

Along with the 70-200 f/4 IS L, this lens is always in my backpack when I'm doing travel photography, here is why:

- Lightweight, you basically don't feel it in your backpack.
- Weather sealed when used with a filter.
- Very fast autofocus.
- No purple fringing like I used to have with my Canon EF-S 10-22mm.
- Distortion is moderate.
- Has 77mm filter diameter, with is the case for a lot of Canon lenses.

Its biggest competitor is the Canon EF 16-35 f/2.8 II (or I) but I personally don't need f/2.8 with this kind of travel around lens. If I want a nice bokeh at a short focal, I will use my 35mm f/1.4.

If you want to see real situation samples, just check my blog and website:
http://photography.emmanuelrondeau.com
http://blog.emmanuelrondeau.com

Emmanuel.


May 25, 2010
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pdx_photoman
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Registered: Apr 5, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 12
Review Date: May 10, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $695.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Light, unobtrusive, good build quality.
Cons:
None

I tend to shoot near the middle of the aperture range, so I have not seen evidence of edge softness as reported by a few others. I tend not to use this lens as much on my 5d as I did on my 10d, but when I need a super WA, I get excellent results. The lens hood is not terribly useful, given the wide field it has to cover, but when you need it, it's there.

May 10, 2010
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JAlexander
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Registered: Jul 17, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 593
Review Date: May 10, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros:
Cons:

I picked up a used copy of this here on the forums and have been very happy with my copy. Mine is nice and sharp on my 5d Mark II. The colors might be a bit duller than with some of my other L lenses but easy enough to bump that up in ACR. I'm particularly happy because I haven't found purple/cyan fringing like I had with another WA lens from a brand that shall remain nameless :-) I would like to have had the 16-35 for the bigger aperture but for the price I am very pleased with this lens, especially since I can up the ISO on the 5d Mark II without a lot of "noise" in the photos so I've found the f/4 shots I've taken indoors (without flash) have turned out quite well.

May 10, 2010
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swolfcg
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Registered: Apr 6, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 137
Review Date: May 9, 2010 Recommend? no | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Colors vibrant. Light weight. Great Walk-around lens range for a crop.
Cons:
Lacks sharpness. Cheap entry level L.

Regardless of it's bargain value of being one of the most affordable entry level Ls', in addition to it's light weight & great walk-around range; I cannot recommend this lens. The lack of sharpness doused any sort love I had for this almost perfect lens.

I tested this lens only on my 40D, so I am not completely convinced that the lens may have been out of tolerance. However, from the many sample photos I've seen, this does not seem to be an isolated event. Die hard Canon and 17-40L lovers may disagree with me; but there it is.

I plan to hold out for a better sealed version of the way overpriced 17-55. In the meanwhile, I will be satisfied with replacing this L with the Tamron 17-50, while still having plenty left over to build up my kit of primes. Zeiss 35/2, Canon 50 f/1.4....and hopefully Canon 85 f/1.8, Zeiss 100/2 & Zeiss 35-70.



May 9, 2010
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haringo
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Registered: Oct 7, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 12
Review Date: Apr 13, 2010 Recommend? no | Price paid: $700.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: cheap, build quality
Cons:
soft, dull colors, slow

I have owned this lens for a few years. I just sold it yesterday. It is a good lens to start photography because it is cheap. However, I don't think it is an outstanding lens! I tried several copies with the same result.

The bad:
- soft, even stopped down. The best example I have the picture with the bride sitting on the beach getting ready. It is the 10th picture on the flash into page: www.haringphotography.com I put the bride right on the picture and her face is extremely soft. With a better lens this picture would have been outstanding. All the pictures are soft. Compared to cheap lenses the 17-40 is slightly better but not much better.
- dull lifeless colors. I used the colors when I bought it but colors are dull compared to good lenses. Look at the picture where the bride and goorm sign the kotubah: http://www.haringphotography.com/blog/wedding-photography-work/wedding-photos-of-mike-and-nancy-sundy-house-delray-beach-florida/
It explains everything
- slow. I missed a lot of shots because I didn't want to put on the flash and wanted to use natural light. In low light it is pretty slow. If you push up the ISO on the 5D Mark II and you try to soot with the lens the colors are dead.
- because of the f4, there is no bookeh.

Recently, I realized that I only take it out of my bag when it is extremely necessary. I had always been looking for excuses why I shouldn't use it so I sold it. You have to feel good about your lenses! I didn't feel good about this one and I am happy that it is gone.


Apr 13, 2010
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emandavi
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Registered: Feb 15, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 998
Review Date: Mar 22, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $700.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: The best wide-angle lens for cameras that now shoot videos. I love using this lens on my 5DII. You can't beat it for the price. Photos are sharp, with good contrast.
Cons:
None

I'm one of those guys who swore "I'm a photographer, not a videographer....". Then I found the right combo - a 5D Mark II and this lens. Now when I make a video of the images, I include short clipses of videos taken with the 5D II, and there's just no going back. Videos are here to stay.

Mar 22, 2010
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KevinA
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Registered: Dec 5, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 5, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: Good Colour, nice and contrasty
Cons:
soft and dreadfull distortion

Strange lens i love it and hate it, I use it on a FF cameras both 1DsmkII and 1DsmkIII, I know of other photographers that had this lens and got rid of very quickly. It is not a sharp lens, well it is at about 32 mm setting. Use it stopped down between 8 & 16 and the corners become acceptable - ish.
Awful distortion, don't ever think of using it for serious architecture work. The Sigma 12 - 24 is much better for low distortion, although that is also on the soft side.
Compared with the wide Nikon it's a bit of a lemon, I also tried the latest 16 - 35 mm, I thought that a bad joke to only much more expensive.
That is the bad bit, the good is it's perfectly usable, vignetting is OK, colour and contrast are excellant as is it's weight. I have shot thousands of images with this lens, at the moment it is as good as it gets for a Canon zoom in this range. I keep it for convienience, I now have the prime 35mm f1:4 and 24 mm f1:4 II, soon I will add the 14 mm and maybe 17 mm T/S. The 35 & 24 mm are leagues better than the zoom and so they should be.
The 17 - 40 mm is a good lens to have but should be much better than it is, the same can be said of the 16 - 35mm.
Yes by all means get one I would find it difficult to be without on some jobs but Canon should be able to offer much better with their UWA zooms than this.


Mar 5, 2010
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Dietr
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Registered: Feb 11, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 9
Review Date: Feb 27, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $795.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: For the price...unbeatable. Build quality and L color rendering.
Cons:
None

This lens is amazing on a cropped sensor. Corners are a little fuzzy on a full frame but so are the corners on the 16-35L . I sold this lens about a year ago and have periodically regretted it. It's compact size was a real plus. BTW I have an instruction booklet for this lens that I found after the sale... if your interested PM me and I will ship it for free. Hate to just throw it away.

Feb 27, 2010
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inski94
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Registered: Jan 21, 2010
Location: Canada
Posts: 64
Review Date: Feb 24, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $750.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: size, weight, color rendition, center sharpeness, corner sharpness from 5.6-8, FOV is so usefull and PRICE (for an L this is a bargain)
Cons:
corner sharpness wide open (a bit soft) not too bad in real life, just if you zoom in at 100%

I just bought this lens and on a 1.6x the FOV is great. It is a much better kit type lens with IQ that is much much better. On a FF it is amazingly wide at 17mm and still quite wide at 40mm. Great for landscapes and street photography. The build quality is typical of an L and the price is right. At f4 it isnt the fastest lens but paired with a 5D/2 at ISO 1600-3200 with or without a flash, this is a great lens even in poor light.

Highly recommended to complete a lens duo of 70-200, 50mm


Feb 24, 2010
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faj3r
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Registered: Feb 23, 2010
Location: Poland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 23, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp, well build, weather sealed, very handy on x1.6, extremely fast AF
Cons:
hood on full frame - you have to buy hood from 25-105 to use on x1.6

I use this lens for 2 years now, and have no regrets.
It's well build, it' sharp, and for me reasonably sharp on 4.5, and itís for years, because it covers Full frame, so after upgrading my EOS 40D I'll be still using it.


Feb 23, 2010
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Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
515 989169 Jul 28, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
90% of reviewers $671.09
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.49
8.87
9.0
ef17-40_4l_1_


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