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Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Feb 2, 2011 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated


I would like to add that if you are looking for the sharpest ultimate ultra wide zoom lens for full frame, get Tokina 16-28mm 2.8. It's much sharper than 16-35 II and 17-40. It's sharp at extreme corners already at F4. It's VERY heavy so I sold it to a friend but it was the sharpest I have ever seen. As sharp as Nikon's UWA zooms, if not better.

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Feb 2, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: No lens flare, sharp corner to corner (between F8-F11), weighs only 475g! 77mm filter size.
HUGE sample variations. Worst quality control I have ever seen among Canon lenses.

I rate this lens '10' ONLY for my second copy. My first copy would have been barely '5'.
I own 16-35 2.8L II but I rarely use 2.8-5.6 as I only shoot landscape and I want my gear to be as light as possible for backpacking. Also I'm not happy with 16-35's 88mm filter size since I cannot share the filter with my other lenses.
I was very skeptical of this lens due to mixed reviews but after I read the review on with comments from well-regarded photographers supporting the comparison result, I decided to give it a try.

My first copy was horrible, nothing like the tested sample on so I returned it and I got another copy, which was sharper but still the left bottom corner was pretty soft even at F11-F13. So I took it to Canon and asked them if they can fix it. Two weeks later, I got a call from Canon saying they "calibrated" it. I was really surprised with results from my tuned 17-40mm. It's like another lens. At F8, it defeats my 16-35 II and my friend's 16-35 II in terms of sharpness from center to corners.
However, 16-35 II remains sharper in corners at any aperture wider than F8. So if you need to shoot under low-light with hand-held, go for 16-35 II. If you use tripod in low-light, get 17-40, it's more flare resistant.