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Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
515 995626 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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Perdu
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Registered: Aug 1, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1675
Review Date: Apr 4, 2009 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Color, contrast, sharpness stopped down, build quality.
Cons:

This is my walk around lens on my 30D - I bought it before the 17-55 being available. I am always blown away when I see the prints from using this lens. Although a little soft until stopped down the images have a quality about them that makes the image jump out at you. Prior to this I had a Sigma 17-35mm and the 17-40 blows it away. Shooting inside with flash it is equally impressive. Mine is better at the 40mm end. Well worth the money in my opinion.

Also, it's very well built. I dropped mine out of the back of my truck onto the garage floor. The filter broke but the lens survived and works just as well as before the drop. Amazing. You don't need to baby this one.


Apr 4, 2009
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Jman13
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Registered: May 1, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 10799
Review Date: Apr 4, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, great color, wonderful build and handling, light weight, good focal range.
Cons:
Extreme corners are a bit soft on full frame.

For the price, it's hard to get much better. I originally bought this for my 1D, but then I got a 1Ds II, so it's getting even more use on that body. The lens is wonderfully sharp over 98% of the frame, with only the very extreme corners staying a bit soft. For my uses, it's never been an issue. Color and contrast are wonderful, and the lens is great at any aperture. Build quality is typical Canon L...very nicely built, with good tolerances. One nice thing is that even with the robust build, the lens is very lightweight. I'm still amazed at how light this lens is.

For the money, I don't think you can beat this lens. The 16-35 f/2.8L II might be a little better in the corners, and it's a stop faster, but you pay a hefty premium for those things. I am more than pleased with the 17-40L on my 1Ds II. It's a great lens!


Apr 4, 2009
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retrofocus
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Registered: Apr 19, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 4158
Review Date: Mar 1, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $700.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Excellent image quality and sharpness, weight, price, overall performance
Cons:
Chromatic aberrations at 17 mm (can be fully removed with DPP and aberration correction tool)

I bought this lens to be used in combination with my 5D MkII as super-wide lens, mostly to be used at 17 mm. F4 was not an issue for me since I mostly use this lens stopped down to f8-f16. Even indoor photography is not a problem since the 5D MkII can be used with a fairly high ISO-number to compensate easily for the one-stop advantage of the 16-35 f2.8 lens.

I decided to go for this 17-40 lens instead of the 16-35 mostly because of three factors:
+ much more reasonable price tag for the 17-40
+ the 17-40 lens has a filter diameter size of 77 mm which allows me to use my slim B+W 77 mm circ. polarizer
+ better border sharpness of the 17-40

The lens performs extremely well, especially to mention at the 17 mm end on full-frame. Border distortions are minimal. Very sharp in the center and at the borders. The sharpness only decreases a bit in the corners at 17 mm when the picture is not corrected yet for distortions with some software (even when stopped down).

When you enlarge the photo to 100% and check the borders, you will notice some blueish/purple chromatic aberrations (e.g. visible around tree branches in the corners). This can be easily and perfectly corrected with the Canon DPP software tool (lens aberration correction).

The AF works very fast and reliable with this lens, too.



Mar 1, 2009
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halse
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Registered: Oct 29, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 159
Review Date: Feb 25, 2009 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: 5D2 + 17-40 a lot better than 20D + 17-40
Cons:

originally used this with a 20D mostly for garden/landscape photos and rated it a nine in a prior review
now use it with a 5D2 and the 17-40 is just all around a lot better on the 5D2: color, contrast and IQ; have even used it for a few portraits; no other lens showed as much improvement/change between the 20D and 5D2 (and the changes are not focus related)


Feb 25, 2009
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Chococat
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Registered: Nov 26, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 171
Review Date: Jan 24, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, versatile, and in general a good value lens.
Cons:
At 17mm there can be a certain amount of distortion especially at the edges.

This lens seems to have some detractors; this review in particular comes to mind: http://www.16-9.net/lens_tests/1740.html . From my experience, the criticisms are unfair. You should first of all realize what you are buying--this is not a race horse of a lens, but a versatile, sharp, all-in-all good-performing lens that functions best when stopped down. If you need a fast lens, and you want to shoot wide open, this lens will be unsatisfactory. Stopped down, however, I have always found it to be very solid. I have owned several L series Canon lenses, and frankly I have found most of them to be over-hyped and over-priced, and I have sold of the bulk of them. This lens is a keeper for me, however. It fits the way I shoot, and it has always produced well for me, and it cost only half the price of some L lenses which were a major dissapointment. Frankly, I find that stopped down (and I am talking about between f8 and f16) my copy of this lens outperforms Canon's wide angle primes. In fact, I dumped my 24L and kept this lens--stopped down, I found this lens to be sharper in the corners, and without the annoying fringing of the 24L. The 17-40L is a quality product, and the best bargain among Canon's L lenses--but like I said, realize what you are buying. If you really want a fast lens (24L, or 16-35L) to fit your shooting style, and you buy this lens instead due to the more affordable price, you will not be satisfied. In such a case, you would be much better off to wait until you can afford the more expensive lens. But if this is a lens that can meet your needs, I am sure you will be as satisfied with it as I have been.

Jan 24, 2009
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stargazer78
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Registered: Jan 18, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 382
Review Date: Jan 20, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $625.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent sharpness, color, and contrast; Very good build quality; Zoom range is versatile; Excellent lens for such a relatively low price;
Cons:
Optical distortion is noticeable at the wide end;

[reviewed on an EOS 5D Mark II]

Negatives:

-- Chromatic aberration is noticeable at the wide end
-- Barrel distortion is noticeable between 17mm to 20mm
-- Ugly looking hood



Positives:

-- Very sharp in the center at all focal lengths, all apertures
-- Very sharp edges at the longer end, at all apertures
-- Sharp edges at the wider end, when stopped down
-- Excellent build quality
-- The smallest and lightest of all "L' zoom lenses
-- Superb color and contrast
-- Quick and reliable autofocus
-- Versatile range goes from Ultra Wide to Normal Field of View
-- Arguably the best lens for the money, regardless of brand


Jan 20, 2009
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Gary Lee 44
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Registered: Jan 1, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 6884
Review Date: Jan 18, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $670.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp-light weight-not expensive-Great for wide shots-build quality is vey good
Cons:
none

I have had this lens for two years and have never be dissappointed with the results. When I have had less than good results, it has been the guy behind the camera not the lens. It seems better stopped down one stop. I have used it for landscapes and indoor shots and have always been pleased. Great lens! BUY IT!

Jan 18, 2009
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minhnestrone
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Registered: Jan 26, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 122
Review Date: Jan 13, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp. Light Weight. Beautiful looks and construction. A must-have for landscape photographers. Very well priced.
Cons:
None.

This lens is sharp, light, relatively inexpensive and well constructed. I use to think the down side to this lens was it's constant F/4. But through the forums I've learned that the F/4 lens are lighter, cheaper and sharper than the F/2.8 counterparts.

The 16-35 F/2.8 might seem tempting for low-light needs but the price and (from what I heard) IQ might not be worth the dough at almost 1400 USD. That's double the cost of this lens. Since most of my Wide Angle usage is for outdoor the f/2.8 is unnecessary.

When I first used this lens I thought it was the biggest, heaviest lens ever. But now I know better, its the smallest, lightest L I own. haha.

I don't think you'll be disappointed by this lens and if you decide to sell, it retains its value well.


Jan 13, 2009
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HMZRHS
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Registered: Apr 10, 2007
Location: Brunei
Posts: 62
Review Date: Jan 8, 2009 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Good for FF body,outdoor photography landscape,events
Cons:
none it's an L lens

This is my second review.So far i'm happy with this since i just hook it up to 1Ds MKIII,Satisfaction

samples;

http://dastar.shutterchance.com/photoblog/The_Supporter_/
(indoor with 580EXII)

http://suprasonic.aminus3.com/
(outdoor sligh adjustment on colour temperature)


Jan 8, 2009
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EdStanley
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Registered: Dec 25, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 10
Review Date: Dec 25, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $545.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Cost, image quality, build quality.
Cons:
None

I used this lens on my Canon 20D and now use it on my 50D (both 1.6 crop bodies) as my walk around lens. It is just a tad soft at f4, but is razor sharp when stopped down. Some complain about the lack of wide aperature or IS. Adding these features would add to the cost of the lens. As it is, the price point is good. The color saturation is excellent. I have used this lens for everything from product photography to shooting on vacation.

Dec 25, 2008
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Abdullah M
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Registered: Jul 10, 2008
Location: Saudi Arabia
Posts: 64
Review Date: Dec 23, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $720.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp, L quality, Good zoom range for 1.6x body.
Cons:
F4 needs high ISO in low light.

I think its best all around lens for 1.6x bodies like my 350D, with zoom range 27-64mm.

Its L lens with great image quality, with fast USM and acceptable price.

Indeed, the lack of fast aperture and IS reduce the capabilities of this lens.


Dec 23, 2008
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Alanu
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Registered: Mar 8, 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 578
Review Date: Dec 14, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Very sharp wideopen @ f/4, excellent colour and contrast, fast USM, L quality at a reasonable price.
Cons:
none

The purpose of this lens in my gear lineup is for UWA for my 5D and walkaround for my XTI. F/4 is not an issue since I tend to use flash majority of the time and for UWA it would be used for well lit outdoor photography (ie, car shows, landscape). I could not justify spending double $$ for a 16-35mkII since my application I would not use f/2.8-3.5 for UWA. If I'm in a bind I'll bump up the ISO.

If you have a crop sensor APS-C body the Tamron 17-50, Sigma 18-50EX and Canon's 17-55IS may provide you more "pop" to your images due to f/2.8.

The 17-40L on the 5D has significant barrel distortion from 17-2xmm so this lens has a specific application for the FF body. It is a fun lens when taking indoor photos of my little one. When used with my crop camera (XTI) the lens is a pleasure to use. On both of my camera bodies I am very impressed with the wideopen capabilities of the 17-40L.

If your on the fence between the 16-35mkII and the 17-40L it will depend on your style. For my application the 17-40L is perfect for my needs and the price is nice on the wallet. My 24-70L is my typical walk around for my 5D so the 17-40L will be the least used. If you require f/2.8 look no further and buy the 16-35L.










Dec 14, 2008
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tito trelles
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Registered: Aug 29, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 6
Review Date: Dec 13, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $700.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent images.
Cons:
none

I shoot mostly fashion, but for my personal work, this is the all around lens. I am one who thinks what counts are the results, there is no perfect lens. I'm also a shooter, not an equipment collector. T

Dec 13, 2008
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nsbkaizen
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Registered: Jul 5, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 8
Review Date: Dec 3, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Lightweight, weather sealed, affordable, sharp at f4
Cons:
Edges are soft

This is a really fun and versatile lens especially mated to a 5D. The center sharpness at f4 is excellent and I don't worry much about the softer edges. There is quite a bit of vignetting on a full frame but is easily corrected in post processing. I have considered "upgrading" to the 16-35mm f2.8 but can't justify the price difference for the extra stops and the added weight. I have found f4 adequate even indoors provided I increase ISO accordingly. On the 5D, I can go up to ISO 1600 and still get acceptable shots. I almost always use this lens at 17mm. I would welcome another affordable rectilinear wide angle (the 14mm is just too expensive) but until then I am very happy with the 17-40L. This and the 135L are great "bargains" if you're looking for a L quality lens.

Dec 3, 2008
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Rolo Tomasi
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Registered: Nov 18, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 18, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 3 

 
Pros: build quality, price
Cons:
very soft

I was looking for a replacement of my Sigma 28-70 EX as a walk around lens on a cropped sensor and ready to spend the extra money on the L series. After reading through most comments which were ranging from "excellent" to "very bad" it seems there is significant volatility within copies. Mine, unfortunately, is very bad. I used it on a 30d and my copy clearly lacks sharpness. I made c.400 shots with it and even compared to my cheapest lens (Canon EF 50mm 1.8, retail price GBP 80) its nowhere near that sharpness left aside the Sigma 28-70. I returned it to amazon and am back to the start. What to buy? Either I try more copies in order to find a sharp one or switch to Tamron 18-50 2.8 or comparable Sigma. I just dont want to spend GBP 900 for the the 16-35L. Any advice from anybody? To those with bad experience - how many copies did you try to find a good one.

Nov 18, 2008
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Amit
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Registered: Jan 1, 2003
Location: Australia
Posts: 1292
Review Date: Oct 13, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros:
Cons:



Oct 13, 2008
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Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
515 995626 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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