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Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

ef17-40_4l_1_
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.