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Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM

ef_16-35_28_1_
Review Date: Nov 7, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Really well made . . .
Cons:
. . . for such an expensive failure

Oh, it's really well put together: beautifully weatherproofed, and reassuringly L-series chunky in the hand; it's such a shame that such an expensive lens so spectacularly fails to justify its exorbitant cost. It fails to achieve critical sharpness at any aperture; it fails to control CA; and Canon seems to have failed in its quality control to limit sample variation. To see how a lens of this type is done properly, see the Leica 21-35mm or Nikon 17-35mm AFS, or even the Sigma 15-30mm.

Test results of the latter lenses here: http://www.16-9.net/lens_tests

Impossible to recommend for professional use on the 1Ds II or 5D.


 
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

ef17-40_4l_1_
Review Date: Nov 7, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Nicely made. Not awful optically. Er . . .
Cons:
Relatively expensive. Not very good optically.

The shame of it. Absolutely mediocre - even the price is middling: not too expensive, not too cheap. Not too bad, but certainly far from critically sharp - in fact, grotesquely inadequate for the 1Ds II or 5D unless stopped down to f16. Averagely well controlled CA, moderately sharp centre frame, pretty well distortion corrected, quite perky colour . . . I've nothing but a litany of faint praise for this lens, which is ultimately extremely damning for an L lens of this price.

I've tested three samples, the worst of which was tested here: http://www.16-9/net/lens_tests

The best of them were OK, but frankly not as good as the Sigma 15-30mm I replaced it with. This lens struggles to outperform a healthy 12-24mm, and is hugely embarassed by decent primes in its range - though obviously not Canon's of course (24L and 35L excepted)!


 
Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8D ED-IF AF-S

1960NAS_180
Review Date: Oct 29, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Exemplary sharpness, superb spatial separation, colour, CA and geometry control. My sample demonstrably better than the Leica 21-35 between 21-24mm, and comparable to the CZ28
Cons:
Er . . .

Having tested just about every wide angle lens on earth mountable on the 1Ds II, and having been a Nikon user in the film era, it is quite ironic that this lens should have become my WA mainstay: better than the Canon 17-40L and 16-35L, and sharper than the Olympus 21mm, this lens may just be the next best thing to a CZ21mm at this focal length. Also knocks the Sigma 15-30mm into a cocked hat. Beautiful colour rendering, lovely Zeiss-like contrast and beautifully made, it's hard to ask more of a WA zoom than this delivers. Comparative results can be seen here: http://www.16-9.net/lens_tests/21mm_7.html . . . highly impressed.