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Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Feb 4, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,199.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great performance, sharper than 17-40, fast lens.

I started with the 17-40 f4 but after trying a friends 16-35 f2.8 I was blow away. So I sold it and bought the 16-35 f2.8.

Not only can I handhold with the 16-35 in situations where I would absolutely require a tripod with the 17-40, but the sharpness and also the bokeh with the 16-35 is so wonderful in comparison.

The 16-35 has remained practically glued onto my 20d since I got it. It's the perfect photojournalism/walkaround lens, especially if you don't want to have to constantly break out your flash unit when you go indoors.

Only negative is the price, but you do get what you pay for. While the 17-40 is certainly cheaper, I feel that it is actually pricey in that it's just a consumer type lens that only goes to f4. In this respect, the 16-35 f2.8 is worth every penny. It's a better performer, and is a professional lens. I don't feel the 17-40 is worth the money but I do feel the 16-35 is worth the money.

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Jan 13, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Build quality seems good. Performance when stopped down is good. It's a popular lens so you will probably be able to sell it for a good price when you decide you really want the 16-35.
Can't go wider than f4, a real compromise. Not that sharp. Pricey in that respect.

This is a good lens but consider that it's really an overpriced cheap lens
with the L badging. I feel this lens under performs most other L lenses and
I owned it for a while before selling it for the 16-35 f2.8.

Here's my opinion:

All lenses perform well at higher f stops, that's easy. It's the wide
apertures that really tell you how good a lens is. But this one can't even
go wider than f4 so it's quite limited. The fact that it isn't any faster
than f4 means that it is not good for low light situations. Say you are
street shooting outside, then you walk into a dimly light restaurant.
You'll have to either change lenses or put on a flash. Sure you could up
the ISO setting on your camera but that's a cop out. With a faster lens,
you would have that much greater flexibilty and still be able to up the ISO
and shoot in even darker situations.

When trying to photograph in dim light (and with only f4, it doesn't even
need to be that dim to start giving you problems), this lens will give you
blurry pictures where an f2.8 lens or faster lens will not. Why? Because at
f4, you will require a much slower shutter speed, which unless you are
using a tripod, will manifest as camera shake/blur. Whereas with the f2.8
lens you won't need a tripod in that same light.

Each f-stop is double the amount of light. Because an f2.8 lens is a stop
faster than an f4 lens, it lets in a significant amount more light (double
the amount actually). Huge difference.

The 17-40 also won't allow you good shots with beautiful out of focus areas
(bokeh). The f4 simply doesn't yield shallow enough depth of field. So for
what you get, it's overpriced.

I much prefer the 16-35 f2.8 even though it's double the cost. The 16-35 is
the pro version of this lens, whereas the 17-40 is the consumer one. If the
point is being ready to photograph almost all situations, than a limited f4
lens isn't really the way to go. I believe this lens is a real compromise

Canon EF 35mm f/2

Review Date: Jul 23, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $219.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Lightweight, great quality for the price.
Very noisy autofocus

If you are going to buy a prime why not get a fast f2 (or faster) one? Personally, I don't bother with the f2.8 primes but maybe that's just me.

Anyway the 35 f2 is definitely a keeper. It's a great performer for the price and on the 10d, it has an effective focal length of 56mm which is basically normal. I have found it a great street photography/walk around lens.

My only complaint is that the autofocus is quite loud. Much louder than the 50 f1.8 MKII. I find that I shoot in manual focus mode with this lens mostly. It's fairly smooth and easy to focus and the depth of field dial is an added plus.

I think you would be hard pressed to tell any difference in sharpness between this lens an an 'L' lens.